Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mike Bloomfield - Influential Guitarist

You would think that I would be more familiar with Mike Bloomfield, the late, great American guitarist who set the standard for blues guitar in the 1060s. After all, it was Mike and Eric Clapton who made the Gibson Les Paul popular in the mid 60s. When Mike started using one, they surged in popularity. Sadly, I am not all that familiar with him. I have always known who he was, but have not listened to him all that much. I am catching up.

Michael Bloomfield (July 28, 1943 – February 15, 1981), born in Chicago, Illinois, became espected for guitar playing,  working with many of Chicago's blues legends. He was one of the primary influences on the mid-to-late 1960s revival of classic Chicago and other styles of blues music. In 2003 he was ranked at number 22 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

He worked with Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop on the influential blues album, East-West, and was a session musician, playing alongside Bob Dylan. He was the guitarist for Dylan when he went electric at the Newport Jazz Festival, causing much controversy with his fans.

His success did not carry much into the 1970s, as drug use and mental issues casued him to have many problems. He died of a drug overdose in his car of February 15, 1981.

He was a huge influence on many of the young guitarists back in day, and is regarded as one of the best.

For gear, he used a Fender Telecaster before switching to a 1954 goldtop Les Paul. He traded that guitar for a a 1959 Les Paul Standard, which he used throughout the rest of his life. However, that guitar was lost in Canada. Whoever has that guitar has a goldmine, as it would be worth millions. Gibson reissued a Tribute Les Paul, based on what was known about it through  .

Here is a video of Mike from 1968. I love his guitar tone on this.

With that 1959 Les Paul

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