"The blues isn't an English or an American thing - it's universal," says Mick Taylor.
Mick Taylor :
"I feel I play the blues better now than when I was with John Mayall's
Bluesbreakers," asserts Mick Taylor. "Then, I was only 17 and very
self-conscious that I was a beginner. I used to have to think about playing
a lot more. Now it comes much more naturally."
The former John Mayall and Rolling Stone alumnus has just released "A Stones
Throw [Cannonball] - a record that highlights his lyrical slide playing. "I
didn't play a lot of slide until I joined the Stones," says Taylor. "My
biggest slide influence was Earl Hooker. His playing was like nothing I'd
ever heard - it was slide playing , but not like Delta blues. I later
realized he played in standard tuning, which has a lot to do with playing
less predictable licks."
Although Taylor also favors standard tuning for slide, he'll occasionally
employ open tunings. "I always have one guitar set up in open E if I want
to play an Elmore James-type number," he says. "And I used open G on Stones
tunes like "Stop Breaking Down" (Exile on Main Street) and "Love in Vain"
(Let It Bleed)."
Taylor says he's "very traditional" about guitars, favoring either a Gibson
Les Paul or a Fender Stratocaster. Both onstage and in the studio, he runs
a dual-amp setup of a Fender The Twin and a Marshall combo. Effects are
typically limited to an Echoplex or Dunlop Crybaby.
Although he has chosen not to expand his choice of guitars, Taylor feels his
style is growing - even after 30-odd years as a player. "My playing has
matured because of life experiences," he says. "And also for the simple
reason that I play a lot. In addition, I'm playing more melodically than I
did in the past because I'm more comfortable playing over different
changes - I'm not locked into the typical I-V-IV progression. That doesn't
mean I consider myself a jazz player - everything I do is definitely from a
blues perspective. Finally, I believe I've grown because my enthusiasm for
the guitar has not waned. I love music, and I'm still very passionate about
it. In fact, I enjoy playing now more than I ever did.
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