Lowell George

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Lowell George

There’s very few musicians who can write a great song, sing it superbly, and then play a great guitar lead on it as well.. someone who is truly a triple threat.

Some that come to mind over the last 60 years would be Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Freddie King, Todd Rundgren, Mark Knopfler, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Robben Ford, and a handful of others. And many of these could be considered weak in one of these areas. For example, Paul McCartney can sing and write as we all know… but his guitar leads are not his strong suit.

And one thing about this list… it shows that these guitarists are more than just guitarists. They are complete musicians who can truly do it all.

My favorite guitarist who is seldom on anyone’s list (he’s not included in the Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists”), but is truly great at all three skills is Lowell George, the great leader of Little Feat. Lowell not only wrote great songs (i.e. Dixie Chicken), sang superbly, but also defined slide guitar in a way that is totally unique. There is still no one that has the style or musicality of Lowell George’s slide guitar playing (Bonnie Raitt comes close).

And to top it all off… Lowell was the producer of Little Feat’s best albums. That puts him in truly rare company… a quadruple threat if you will.

But as I mentioned, Lowell George is often forgotten. He seldom is remembered on the top songwriter’s lists and, and although his songs are classics, he often seems missing when people talk about the greatest musical influencers of the last 60 years.

For me, he is one of my greatest influences. I loved everything that Little Feat did in the 70′s and caught their shows many times. The band itself was the epitome of a great band with everyone playing their role and creating that great synergistic whole that truly defines greatness.

Blues Influences

lowell george2 Lowell George

Lowell George

And although Lowell is not known as a blues guitarist, early material by the band included blues songs and his early slide guitar playing was directly styled after Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Listen to Apolitical Blues, or early cuts like 44 Blues or Cat Fever, and you’ll hear some of the early blues influences on Little Feat and Lowell George.

The blues was often cited as a big influence on rock musicians of the 60′s and 70′s and I think this was also the case with George. The great book about Lowell, Rock and Roll Doctor, mentions Howlin’ Wolf being a big influence on him. And Lowell himself has said that Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson were big influences on his guitar playing, if not directly in the songs he wrote. It can be assumed that he picked up slide guitar after listening to these blues men, and his early slide playing comes directly from them, as you can hear on the blues cuts mentioned above.

Lowell George Takes Slide To A New Place

But the most important contribution Lowell George made to music was the way he took slide guitar in a whole new direction. Other slide guitarist of the era, including Ry Cooder and Duane Allman, played in a way that was directly related to the blues slide guitarists that came before them, with Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Elmore James being the main ones.

But although Lowell started from this same bluesy place, he took slide guitar in a new, and entirely unique direction. His “clean sustain” style and long, lazy legato lines, that were intimately woven into the arrangements of the songs, were brand new and totally his own. He never went for “over the top” leads just for the sake of playing a lead. They seemed to be more like horn parts that fit perfectly in the song and never overwhelmed the songs themselves. This is what made Lowell George the genius slide guitar player that he was.

And to this day, there are no slide guitarists that can do what he did. Bonnie Raitt is closest to that style, but her sound does not quite have that sustain or same clean tone that George had. It is said he used compressor pedals to get that sound, notably the MXR Dyna Comp. Initially he used a compressor from Carangella Electronics that was designed for radio stations.

 Lowell George

Vintage MXR Dyna Comp Compressor

Vintage MXR Dyna Comp Compressor  Lowell George

As far as amps, Lowell used a combination of Fender Twin and Music Man amps in the early 70′s, and reportedly settled on a Dumble Steel String Singer model in around 1976. Yet his sound is not really distorted like many slide guitarists. It’s pretty clean with a bit of overdrive… and that long sustain.

He tuned to his own somewhat unique tuning, using an A chord which is really a G-tuning with some strings moved up a step. Here’s how George described it in a Guitar Player interview in 1976…

“I use an open A tuning which is an open G tuning moved up a whole step. Instead of moving the first, fifth, and sixth string down, I leave them alone and move all the other strings up a whole step. There’s a lot more tension on the strings, and it gets a much cleaner and brighter sound.”

The rest of the interview is here.

But the fact is… like all great guitar tones, it doesn’t only come from the equipment or the tuning. There is always an element of touch in the hands, pick, and attack on the strings that makes a guitar tone unique. The proof is, that after all these years no one else has been able to quite duplicate that sound that Lowell George had. I know I’ve been trying for over 30 years myself.

But what makes Lowell George a genius is the fact that he invented himself. He used all of his influences to come up with a style and a sound that was uniquely his own. When you hear a Lowell George solo, you immediately know it’s him. That’s always the sign of a great guitar player. Only the greats can do that.

And it’s a shame that Lowell George is not remembered better. He really was one of the best guitarists of his generation. And his songwriting and singing are at the same high level. There really are few who can achieve his stature as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is truly in rare company.

He had a short musical career… less than 10 years really (he died in 1979). Perhaps that’s partly why.

But for me, Lowell George will always be one of my great influences. And when I listen to his music today, it has lost nothing in my mind. If anything, he sounds better than ever and just maybe was years before his time.

Here’s some videos that show you what I mean.


Dixie Chicken Live on Midnight Special with Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, and Jesse Winchester

Little Feat Live at Rockpalast (over 1 hour)

Interview about his technique at Rockpalast

Click To Watch A Free Lesson

Click For Online Guitar Lessons

1 Comment

  1. So to reply to your question, I would say play in the music you love.
    Whatever kind of music you love listening to ought to be the basis of what sort of gutar you choose.
    the pitch approximately the tone and if you tune past
    a bad tone, you’ll be able to lower a bad tone by loosening the string
    and try.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • e celulite
  • used treat bipolar
  • side effects pregnancy
  • overdose baby
  • italia 3-2
  • prix 50 milligrams
  • direct sunlight
  • allergic reactions
  • ativan side effects
  • schedule 11
  • comprar in italia
  • 7808944520
  • vs anxiety
  • overdose in children
  • with clavulanic acid
  • remAdio 90 mg
  • 600 mg xr
  • pics
  • side effects taking phentermine
  • free copay card
  • is a cephalosporin
  • withdrawal dramamine
  • drug interactions tramadol
  • concerta 72
  • pill description
  • q es
  • available over counter ireland
  • what does cures
  • class drug
  • soon after taking can take benadryl
  • vs d&c
  • goes off patent
  • klonopin alcohol
  • 200mg 5ml suspension
  • can i take before bed
  • what to use if doesn't work
  • didn't work
  • how to take
  • withdrawal side effects
  • interactions between and
  • cr for men
  • cardizem
  • withdrawal how long
  • uses drug
  • take morning or night
  • side effects insomnia
  • can you take and xanax together
  • zombie effect
  • cheap no prescription
  • foot swelling
  • omega 3 and
  • online pharmacy
  • power outages
  • side effects muscle aches
  • fda warnings
  • alcohol consumption
  • function men
  • i bodybuilding
  • how long after i stop taking can i drink
  • trying to lose weight on
  • vicodin combination
  • ointment yeast infection
  • kidney cancer
  • taking for pneumonia
  • thyroid problems
  • generic otc
  • drug interaction sudafed
  • ibs dosage
  • used for depression
  • safe stop taking
  • facial swelling
  • side effects back pain
  • 10 mg fiyatA
  • type medicine
  • buy herbal nz
  • effect blood pressure
  • taking for 3 months
  • c diff treatment with
  • salbe zusammensetzung
  • 2 per day
  • international
  • o que significa
  • stopped my hair loss
  • package insert
  • where to buy in malaysia
  • taking at night or in the morning
  • vs
  • 6780267737
  • for headache
  • good for depression
  • does stop working
  • is mixed with
  • dosage range
  • for a head cold
  • accidentally take 2
  • uk
  • versus hives
  • severe discontinuation syndrome
  • icd-9
  • w\/o prescription
  • good substitute
  • taking together
  • unguento
  • vs vs
  • how does it work
  • t yan etkileri
  • can you take ultram
  • extended release
  • dosage for c difficile
  • nebenwirkungen geburtseinleitung
  • doses adults
  • sales
  • alzheimer's disease
  • cough medicine
  • can quit taking cold turkey
  • vs
  • best
  • 15 mg\/1.5ml
  • d 24 hour drowsy
  • and side effects
  • natural alternatives
  • suspension gerd
  • efectos secundarios al dejarlo
  • 2 tablets once
  • effects overdose
  • is a controlled substance
  • what is prescribed for
  • how often should i take 150
  • courier cargo
  • why are there bathtubs in commercials
  • mines eilat
  • najtaniej w sieci
  • meglio o meropur
  • 400mg 3 times day
  • obat
  • risks taking
  • 150 mg pregnancy
  • se usa pastilla para abortar
  • safe take during pregnancy
  • ointment prescription
  • allergy rash
  • brain zaps dangerous
  • levo sodium same
  • safety in pregnancy
  • emulgel spc
  • 8821046474
  • como o age
  • chewable pediatric dosage
  • scene menage
  • copay card
  • how take
  • commercial script
  • classification
  • generic canada customs
  • can treat depression
  • bandcamp
  • and drug interactions
  • off patent date
  • price cvs
  • insomnia
  • le
  • yahoo
  • lip blisters
  • roche taking off market
  • how to get
  • hoeveel kans op zwangerschap na
  • teeth pain
  • medication interactions
  • migraines children
  • vitamin d deficiency
  • taking both and
  • can you lose weight
  • brain zaps
  • spiagge piu belle
  • depot flashback
  • 378584117
  • food drug interactions
  • 2 mg \/ml annostus
  • and postpartum depression
  • 200 mg pcos
  • for high cholesterol reviews
  • pain relief rub
  • blurry vision while on
  • for chafing
  • cheap generic online
  • primero luego pulmicort
  • for chronic pain
  • lyme treatment
  • 500mg dosage
  • tricyclic antidepressant
  • safe take 2 one day
  • interaction
  • dosing schedule
  • xl advil
  • ok when pregnant
  • recommended dosage of for diverticulitis
  • actress dead
  • hcl
  • chlamydia
  • dosage too high
  • armour thyroid vs equivalent
  • rapitab gravid
  • risks using induce labor
  • billig bestellen ohne rezept
  • patch skin irritation treatment
  • 200 mg efectos secundarios
  • gel shingles pain
  • fungsi obat
  • and hair loss
  • weight gain cytomel
  • and alcohol withdrawal
  • causing more outbreaks
  • max dosage
  • na co jest lek
  • why does lengthen your cycle
  • scalp peeling
  • foods you can eat
  • can crush d
  • does cause alcohol cravings
  • discontinuation
  • does affect your blood sugar
  • kidney failure
  • o que A
  • patient assistance plan
  • e ejaculaAA?o
  • max dose of
  • 10 mg
  • 40 mg
  • can you take twice a day
  • recommended dosage for cold sores
  • 25 pill id
  • suppositories prescribing information
  • bipolar mania
  • cream and endometrial cancer
  • cut in half
  • can i take l-arginine with
  • para que sirve el medicamento
  • nasal spray coupon
  • pfizer z-pak
  • otc esophagitis
  • cause itching
  • can you take xyzal
  • for heavy bleeding
  • can i take with
  • during nursing
  • used erectile dysfunction
  • patient education
  • nursing implications
  • e ritalina
  • versus losec
  • can switch armour
  • pct protocol
  • stopped working for me
  • interaccion y omeprazol
  • whats better
  • tablete cena
  • side effects rxlist
  • cosa serve 5 mg
  • cause hives
  • suppository supplied
  • blood sugar
  • nurofen plus vs
  • team iA?o
  • wyeth coupon
  • zoloft interactions
  • where can i buy
  • jarabe 40 mg
  • y porros
  • switch
  • pliculete 10 mg
  • blood monitoring
  • prozac difference
  • 3 pe zi
  • are and in the same family
  • vs carboplatin
  • bipolar disorder
  • para que sirve 120
  • allegra orange juice
  • yahoo answers
  • drug
  • for herpes simplex
  • dr sears dosing chart
  • can increase blood pressure
  • brown discharge after ovulation
  • adhd
  • cost per pill
  • 28 generic
  • cataflam
  • and difference
  • monitoring recommendations
  • mlt no prescription
  • via oral
  • together
  • adriamycin taxol chemo
  • by ranbaxy
  • together
  • is good for post nasal drip
  • rx assistance
  • is a narcotic
  • sudafed taken together
  • rapid half life
  • tylenol dosage chart infants
  • carteret
  • 1g chlamydia
  • drug information
  • is a sulfa drug
  • is good for bodybuilding
  • and renal failure
  • to treat croup
  • 5 month old baby
  • for a bladder infection
  • drug reactions
  • drug class
  • buy generic nz
  • starting dose sleep
  • schmerztabletten beipackzettel
  • chronic prostatitis
  • dose 4 year old
  • can i take ambien and together
  • cong dung thuoc
  • 75 dosage pregnancy
  • sides men
  • vs
  • back pain mechanism
  • and
  • and
  • zpak dosage
  • do side effects of go away
  • long term use
  • sciroppo bambini posologia
  • vs weight
  • estrogen amount
  • pijnstiller
  • substitute
  • 10mg dosage
  • can take if have high blood pressure
  • does cause hypoglycemia
  • is a benzodiazepine
  • link between ibs
  • 2250245088
  • for swine flu prevention
  • dose too high
  • can help weight loss
  • and lorazepam
  • vs
  • order
  • versus other medications
  • hfa 90 mcg\/actuation aerosol inhaler
  • odt phenergan
  • taking niacin together
  • adverse side effects
  • cheapest uk
  • ritalin and together
  • 6\/1 kytkin
  • o e
  • can take ambien together
  • can i drink alcohol while taking
  • 3 day
  • hypoglycemia
  • drinking beer while
  • ok during pregnancy
  • bone loss
  • taking zoloft
  • e alois
  • or d&c
  • guide
  • emedicine
  • prozac or for ocd
  • effectiveness over time
  • 875 mg dosage for adults
  • benadryl withdrawal
  • use in pediatrics
  • strengths
  • can i take d and
  • mrsa cellulitis
  • dti
  • hives
  • social anxiety disorder
  • should be taken with food
  • linked celiac disease
  • does cause joint pain
  • can you drink milk with
  • 4998415266
  • difference between and
  • 48 hours
  • is a statin
  • how to take for fever blisters
  • efectos
  • itchy skin
  • cns vasculitis
  • hearing loss study
  • dangers using
  • used for migraines
  • dissolving under tongue
  • high cholesterol
  • or infertility
  • avant l'ivg
  • cijena u ljekarnama
  • spc
  • acne