It’s not every day that you get the chance to learn from someone who has shared a stage with the legends of the blues genre. Larry McCray, a Rust Belt blues singer, guitarist, and bandleader, has played alongside some of the biggest names in the business, such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Albert King, to name a few.

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His ability to blend traditional blues with his soulful spin sets Larry apart from other bluesmen. He has been recognized with several awards for his playing, including the Orville H. Gibson Male Blues Guitarist of the Year and the Top Guitarist prize in the International Blues Matters writer’s poll. This blog post explores how Larry McCray emulates great gospel singers with vibrato, slides, and string bending in his solos and how he develops a solid right-hand attack by mixing fingertips and picking.

Larry McCray believes that the blues is like a well-traveled road where one honors the old footprints and stamps out their own unique path. He starts every lesson with a reminder of the importance of honoring the roots of the blues. His playing style is a testament to his dedication to this philosophy, as Larry has a way of blending traditional blues with his own unique style, making it feel fresh and modern.

One of the most striking aspects of Larry’s playing is his use of vibrato, slides, and string bending in his solos. He often goes back to his gospel roots for inspiration in his lessons. He believes gospel singers have an unmatched ability to infuse soulful vibrato into their singing, and he tries to emulate that in his guitar solos. Larry’s slides and string bends give his solos a distinct character, which is always soulful and groovy.

Larry’s lessons also focus on developing a strong right-hand attack. He believes the right-hand technique is as important as the left-hand technique in guitar playing. In his lessons, Larry mixes the use of fingertips and picking to create a distinct tone that separates him from other blues guitarists. He also stresses the importance of rhythm, pointing out that the groove is the backbone of the blues.

When it comes to developing interesting chord progressions, Larry keeps it simple. He uses smaller chord fragments to spice up the progressions. He also emphasizes the importance of using lick-enhancing techniques to create a more interesting and varied sound.

In Larry’s latest album, he showcases his rhythm and lead guitar mastery. In his lessons, Larry offers insights into how he crafted his solos and rhythm parts for some of the tracks in the album. He also shares tips for making the most of what you already know, emphasizing that even small changes to your playing can significantly impact the overall sound.

Aspiring guitarists will gain a wealth of knowledge from Larry McCray’s lessons. His ability to blend traditional blues with his unique style is awe-inspiring. He offers an incredible insight into his playing style, from picking techniques to chord progressions and solo crafting. His approach to the blues is refreshingly modern, yet he is always mindful of the genre’s roots. Larry McCray is, without a doubt, the modern-day torchbearer of the blues tradition.

RELATED: Get Larry McCray’s NEW Course, Bridging The Blues, on TrueFire >