The classic blues pattern is not technically complicated. The devil is in the details, the nuance. Beginning guitar players often start out with a blues scale, a watered-down version of the American Songbook, and a play-along CD in the background. There's nothing wrong with that — everyone's gotta start somewhere — so long as you can recognize that the masters are on a different plane. Unfortunately, some people think anyone can play the blues, and we all know that ain't true. Coco Montoya is an iconic musician because he makes the blues sound deceptively effortless. He's best known for his work with the Bluesbreakers (which featured Eric Clapton almost 20 years before Montoya's involvement), but he's had a successful solo career for the past 15 years. In addition to intense proficiency in the style for which he is so admired, Montoya's notable for the unique way he plays left-handed guitar. Instead of stringing it backwards, as Jimi Hendrix did, he plays a guitar strung for right-handers upside down and backwards, with his left hand. It's one of those subtle things novices fail to notice but that makes an impression on people smart enough to know that not just anyone can do what Coco does.
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