What guitar did BB King play?

BB King was renowned for playing a signature guitar called “Lucille”. Lucille was originally a Gibson ES-355 but over time there have been variations of the model. Generally, BB King preferred hollow body electric guitars with two humbucker pickups and he also used semi-hollow body Epiphone Casino’s as well as other archtop models. His use of vibrato, bent notes and string bends has become the benchmark sound in blues music.

The History of BB King’s Guitar

The Blues musician BB King famously used a variety of guitars throughout his musical career. In particular, he was most well-known for playing the “Lucille” Gibson guitar. This iconic instrument is now synonymous with BB King’s legacy and has become somewhat of a cultural icon within the blues genre.

BB King began using this guitar in 1949 when his own personal instrument caught fire during a show at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. The story goes that two men had gotten into an argument near the kerosene space heater on stage which ultimately led to it being knocked over and setting off a blazing fire that nearly destroyed everything inside. However, when all was said and done it was found out that each man blamed one another for starting the fight so they both rushed outside without paying cover charge; hence, “Lucille” as a reminder to never do such things again.

From then on BB King made sure to name each of his guitars “Lucille” in order to serve as an important reminder of what happened back in 1949. Over time he would use various models of Gibsons with “Lucille” written on them which is how he became associated with this model of guitar today – even if other instruments were used during certain points of his musical career or performances.

BB King’s Gibson ES-355

One of the most iconic guitars to ever exist is none other than the Gibson ES-355, made famous by legendary blues guitarist BB King. Originally released in 1959, this guitar has seen an immense amount of recognition and use from many professional musicians across various genres of music. With a distinct classic look featuring an arched top and gold hardware, this electric semi-hollow body makes for quite the statement whether you’re just playing casually or jamming on stage.

BB King was known for his incredible performances and one of the reasons why he sounded so great was because of his choice of instrument – a custom Gibson ES-355. It featured a humbucker pickup at the neck, which gave it a deep bluesy tone that set him apart from others in the genre. He famously named it Lucille after walking into burning building to save his beloved guitar during a gig between two rival gangs in 1950s Arkansas. From then on he used it as his main axe until 2009 when he retired it due to health reasons.

The construction quality behind these guitars is also remarkable, with each being crafted out high grade materials such as mahogany and maple for its body as well as having an ebony fingerboard and frets that are sure to last decades with proper care. In addition to sounding amazing even unplugged (thanks to its hollow body design), these guitars can also handle some serious crunch through any amplifier – making them suitable for both live performances or studio recordings alike.

Modifications to BB King’s Guitar

BB King was renowned for his guitar playing and is associated with the iconic Gibson ES-355. However, as well known as this guitar was, it was not King’s only one. He also made modifications to other instruments such as the Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster to create a unique sound that distinguished him from other blues players of his time.

One of the most famous changes he made to his guitars was to install two humbucker pickups instead of single-coil ones. The humbuckers gave him a thicker and louder sound than what you would typically get with a standard Telecaster or Stratocaster setup. This allowed him to cut through the mix and really stand out during live performances. He had an XLR output jack installed on all his guitars which allowed him to connect directly into an amplifier without having any cables in between them.

King’s customizations weren’t limited just to the pickups; he often customized the bridges too, opting for heavier brass versions which would help give more sustain and resonance when strumming chords or bending strings. This helped add further depth and texture to his tone and give it even more character.

The Importance of Lucille in BB King’s Career

B.B King’s career is closely intertwined with his beloved guitar, Lucille. The iconic artist first acquired the guitar in 1949 during a performance at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. As the story goes, two men got into an argument that ended up setting the place on fire. In the chaos of trying to save himself and his instrument, King impulsively grabbed what he thought was his own guitar but realized it was not after making it out alive. After learning who actually owned it and why they were fighting over it -both wanted to buy beer with their winnings from the show- King decided to name his new ax “Lucille” as a reminder never again to do something so foolish and put his life at risk over alcohol.

From then on Lucille became an integral part of B.B.’S career, being present onstage for most of its duration until her last performance in 2008 when she retired due to age related damage caused by frequent touring and travel conditions; however she is still displayed alongside other memorabilia at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and her legacy lives on through signature Gibson guitars modeled after her original form which are now available for sale.

Thanks to Lucille’s unique sound – warm low tones combined with sweet high notes- B.B was able to develop his revolutionary blues playing style which blended elements from different genres such as jazz or gospel; this not only brought him great success commercially speaking but also allowed him pave the way for other artists like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix whose careers took off because of this innovative approach to music composition.

Legacy of BB King and his Beloved Lucille

One of the most renowned blues and rock guitarists, BB King is remembered fondly for his incredible playing style. He was known to mesmerize audiences with his soulful voice and groundbreaking solos. What made King’s sound so unique were his string bends, single-note runs, vibratos, and a signature warm tone that reverberated through concert halls everywhere. It was all thanks to his beloved guitar Lucille – a Gibson ES-345 which became almost as famous as its master.

King had always named all of his guitars Lucille in remembrance of an incident in Twist, Arkansas in 1949 when two men began fighting over a woman called Lucille at one of King’s shows. In order to break up the fight, he started playing music until the men dispersed without causing any harm. As such, he decided to name all of his future instruments after her as a symbol of gratitude for saving him from danger that night.

The Gibson ES-345 he played became synonymous with King’s style because it allowed him to produce an array of sounds on stage while still retaining clarity between each note – something necessary for creating memorable solos during jam sessions or concerts. Its semi-hollowbody design gave it resonance even when not connected to an amp; therefore enabling King to practice whenever inspiration struck no matter where he was or how loud he could be. This fusion between legendary player and reliable instrument produced timeless tracks like The Thrill Is Gone or Rock Me Baby that are still appreciated by musicians around the world today.






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