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In this tutorial, we examine the playing of a Chicagoan that many say was the 'American Clapton' - the great Michael Bloomfield.
The Clapton/Bloomfield comparisons came about for several reasons. There's the obvious 'white boy playing black music' connection, but the two players were also sidemen to leading blues lights in their respective lands - Paul Butterfield and John Mayall.
They got into playing vintage guitars at exactly the same point too; Bloomfield's use of 1950s Telecasters, P-90 Les Paul Goldtops and, of course, his '59 sunburst closely mirrored Clapton's taste at the time (EC had used Teles in The Yardbirds and actually wanted a Goldtop like Freddie King's, but found a sunburst instead).
Musically, though, while Clapton's take on Freddie, BB, Albert, Otis Rush and so on was very accurately executed, with 'finesse' being his musical watchword, Bloomfield attacked his licks, often adding wild vibrato and unexpected phrases.
The shock of Clapton for any of us lucky enough to hear him at the time, was the timing, taste and technique in his playing: Bloomfield exhibited more of the 'on the edge of your seat' approach that we've come to associate with Jimmy Page and Buddy Guy.
There were sonic differences between them too, with Bloomfield's generally cleaner tone due to his use of Fender (or Gretsch) amps, while Clapton's deployment of heavier-toned Marshalls is of course legendary.
These licks look at the edgy side of his playing, so some of them are a tad off-the-wall - but there's nothing wrong with that as far as we're concerned.
Click onwards for the tab, examples and backing track.