Want to play guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughan?
Your guitar skills will be your “Pride and Joy” with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Player study. This course will teach you Vaughan’s signature brand of Texas blues, including lead playing and rhythm and chord techniques.
Vaughan was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and started playing guitar at age seven, on a toy guitar he received for his birthday. Young Vaugahn taught himself to play several songs by ear, following along to songs by Texas rock and roll band, The Nightcaps. He also drew inspiration from blues artists like Albert King and Muddy Waters, as well as Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack. His brother Jimmie gave him his first electric guitar, a Gibson ES-125T that he previously owned, when he was around nine years old.
Vaughan played professionally in bands at local bars and clubs while still in his early teens. He dropped out of high school at age 18 to move to Austin for the music scene, establishing the band “Double Trouble”. Vaughan got the name from the title of an Otis Rush song.
David Bowie saw the group play at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival and contacted Vaughan for a studio gig. Vaughan ended up playing blues guitar on Bowie’s 1983 album “Let’s Dance”, which resulted in major label attention and a record deal for “Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble”.
Vaughan put out four albums and was one of the world’s most in-demand blues guitarists. Unfortunately, his life was cut short when he and four others were killed in a Wisconsin helicopter crash after performing at a mountain music venue in Aug. 27. He had several successful posthumous releases and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his Double Trouble bandmates in 2015.
Vaughan cited Albert King as one of his inspirations – he jammed with the blues legend onstage in 1977 – but his biggest influence was Jimi Hendrix. “I love Hendrix for so many reasons,” he told Guitar World in 1983.”He was so much more than just a blues guitarist—he played damn well any kind of guitar he wanted. In fact I’m not sure if he even played the guitar—he played music.”
Vaughan used unusually heavy strings and tuned a half-step below regular tuning. He heavily used the vibrato bar on his instruments. Vaughan utilized vintage amplifiers and effects in his playing, setting a trend for other guitarists in the 1980s.
Though his life and career were cut short, Vaughan helped lead a revival of blues rock and inspired players like John Mayer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Los Lonely Boys. In the months after his death, over 5.5 million of his albums were sold in the U.S., and SONY signed a deal with his family estate to gain control of Vaughan’s back catalog, allowing them to release his work, including “Family Style” which won the 1991 GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000. Rolling Stone named him number seven among the “100 Greatest Guitar Players of All Time” in 2003. In 2022, Guitar World Magazine ranked Vaughan as #1 on its list of greatest blues guitarists.
Once you master Vaughan’s signature style, put it to work with these song lessons!