In The Style Of Mike McCready

By Miguel Ángel Ariza

If you are the lead guitarist of one of the bands that to a great extent fanned the flame of rock high in the 90s - after a decade in which electric guitars seemed doomed to disappear - you have to be a great guitarist and indeed he is; Mike McCready may lack the aura and fame that surrounds others in our world but not regarding his quality and skill with the six strings. Evidence of that quality comes from almost three decades with that gigantic band he founded in Seattle called Pearl Jam.   

Perhaps we might think that a guy who is a true grunge icon was inspired by a guitar hero like 
Neil Young or maybe by an artist who preceded that movement like Frank Black, but in fact the guitarist who blew his mind and made him dedicate himself body and soul to perfecting his technique and to form a band that would never step down from the stage was actually Mr. Stevie Ray Vaughan- so now you know it friends; there is a lot of blues in the origin of grunge too.

It was his passion for his idol that made him search out a 1959 Fender Stratocaster, the same one used by SRV. It is this guitar that we can hear on innumerable songs by Pearl Jam such as Even Flow; but do not think that everything that sounds like a Strat in Pearl Jam is this guitar as this artist has an amazing collection and although this is his favourite Strat it is not the only one he has from the year 59. But probably this was the first of his trio of guitars from the year 1959 that he has exhibited with pride over more than half the planet. The second is a Gibson Les Paul Junior that his wife gave him for his 40th birthday and the third, how could it be otherwise, is a Gibson Les Paul Standard that belonged to Jim Anderson, the guitarist of Van Morrison’s Them, and the one that the Seattle guitarist praises highly saying that it is, without a doubt, the best Les Paul that he has by some margin and - we do not know if is to make all the earthly guitarists of the world envious - he says that all the good that is said of them is still too little. It is a shame not to have three or four hundred thousand dollars to test out his belief ...

Regarding his amplifiers we are before a real fan of the Fender Bassman, both the vintage blackface like the 59 in combo format but also of course - and as has happened with the guitars - there are many amplifiers that he has used including the Plexi or the Marshall JCM 800 or cabinets such as the Satellite (made in Seattle).

Being a professional rocker but also born not so long ago, and therefore in the middle of the guitar effects explosion, it is impossible not to reflect a moment on all the many pedals he has used both in the studio and live. We will highlight here his love of Line 6 (DL4 and MM4), the Xotic Effects (EP and Ac booster), the Electro Harmonix Pog 2 or its reduced version Micro Pog, but all this without forgetting of course the Ibanez Tube Screamer, which, similar to his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan, has accompanied him since the start of his career. So we will have to thank the Texan guitarist for having changed the life of Mike McCready forever and having been the spark that made him form his own band... a band that made us believe in rock again when we were about to throw in the towel. Thanks Stevie! Thanks, Mike!

Find you own way to the tone of Mike McCready