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Albert King

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Indianola MS, United States (1923 – 1992)

Albert King (April 25, 1923 – December 21, 1992) was an American and singer.

One of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” (along with B.B. King and Freddie King), Albert King stood 6’ 4”, weighed 250 lbs and was known as “The Velvet Bulldozer”. He was born Albert Nelson on a cotton plantation in Indianola, . During his childhood he would sing at a family group at a church. One of 13 children, King grew up picking cotton on plantations near Forrest City, Arkansas where the family moved when he was eight years old. He began his professional work as a musician with a group called In The Groove Boys in Osceola, Arkansas. He had also briefly played drums for Jimmy Reed’s band and on several early Reed recordings. Influenced by blues musicians Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson, but also interestingly music, the became his signature instrument, his preference being the Gibson Flying V, which he named “Lucy”.

King was a “upside-down/backwards” . He was left-handed, but usually played right-handed guitars flipped over upside-down so the low E string was on the bottom. In later years he played a custom-made that was basically left-handed, but had the strings reversed (as he was used to playing). He also used very unorthodox tunings (i.e., tuning as low as C to allow him to make sweeping string bends). Some believe that he was using open E minor tuning (C-B-E-G-B-E) or open F tuning (C-F-C-F-A-D).

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