Video: Buddy Guy on the Guitars of His Career

Lead photo by Reverb. Archival: Buddy Guy with Strat, Graphic House/Staff/Getty Images. With Guild, David Redfern/Staff/Getty Images.

As a child in Lettsworth, Louisiana, Buddy Guy first taught himself to play the blues on a two-string guitar. With dogged practice, he went from sounding "like a bunch of bees," as he tells it, to fretting his first recognizable riff, that of John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen'."

Decades later, as a hotshot out of Chicago, he'd turn the blues-loving world onto the Stratocaster, inspiring Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many more to pick one up for themselves.

In our career-spanning conversation above, Buddy Guy talks to us about that first guitar, his first Strat, and many other important instruments from throughout his life.

Buddy Guy in concert, 1970, with his 1957/58 Stratocaster Buddy with the same Strat, at American Folk Blues Festival Tour 1965 Buddy at the the 1978 Nice Jazz Festival, after his Guild endorsement

What's maybe most interesting is that Buddy's first electric guitar was not a Strat at all, but an early '50s Les Paul Goldtop.

The player that became synonymous with a Stratocaster—and even today tells us "I'm gonna be a Strat man the rest of my life"—would have burst onto the scene with a Les Paul, had it not been stolen during a gig in 1957.

Hear more stories from his life in gear in our video above. Buddy Guy has just launched a worldwide farewell tour, which stretches from February through October 2023. Find all of the tour dates on his website.

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