Keith Richards

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Keith Richards
Keith Richards



Keith Richards is a world-wide famous English guitarist who has written loads of great songs with his band, The Rolling Stones. Richards is also a singer, songwriter and producer, who belongs in the "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

Early life

Keith Richards was born in Dartford, Kent. He took interest in music and guitar early on thanks to his grandfather, who played jazz. His mother got him his first guitar (an acoustic), and he listened to Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Scotty Moore.

Even though Richards and Mick Jagger attended the same Primary School (and knew each other) it wouldn't be until years later that fate would re-unite them again. Keith had to move with his parents, years went by, and his interest and skills as a guitarist became remarkable. He even took part in a choir at Dartford Technical school, which he eventually left to attend Sidcup Art College.

It was in 1961 that Jagger and Richards happened to be on the same train, and after talking about music for a while jagger invited Keith to a rehearsal of his band, called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. Keith joined the band, but not for long, as both him and Jagger would leave to create their own band, The Rolling Stones, along with Brian Jones and Ian Stewart.


Keith Richards style is direct and heavily based on riffing. Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed are among his earlier influences. Richards characteristic style mixes riffs and leads in what he likes to call "the ancient art of weaving". He also likes to experiment with open tunings and slide guitar. On stage with The Rolling Stones Keith is a natural band leader, and he refers to his own playing with the band as "oiling the machinery".

Many of his songs have become rock hymns, with an unmistakable style that developed thanks to absorbed influences from blues, rockabilly and even gospel and soul.

On top of his amazing guitar playing Richards is also a great bassist, and plays keyboards and piano as well.


These are some of the guitars Keith Richards has played during his long musical career:

- 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard
- Fender Telecasters
- Fender Stratocasters
- 1961 Epiphone Casino
- 1957 Gibson Les Paul Custom
- Zemaitis 5-String: Custom-made 5 string axe tuned in open G
- 1969 Gibson SG
- Gibson ES-355s
- Gibson Les Paul Juniors
- Newman-Jones custom guitars: Custom five-string guitars

As for amps, these are his favourites:

- Mesa Boogie Mark 1 A804
- Fender Dual Showman
- Fender Twin

Although Richards relies heavily on pure guitar plus amp, he has used several effects too:

- Gibson Maestro fuzzbox: made famous thanks to "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
- Wah-wah pedals
- Phasers


His most famous records are the ones he published with The Rolling Stones, but nevertheless Richards has also recorded some personal albums too:

1988 - Talk Is Cheap
1991 - Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988
1992 - Main Offender

With The Rolling Stones:

1964 - The Rolling Stones
1964 - 12 x 5
1965 - The Rolling Stones No. 2
1965 - The Rolling Stones, Now!
1965 - Out of Our Heads
1965 - December's Children
1966 - Aftermath
1967 - Between the Buttons (UK)
1967 - Their Satanic Majesties Request
1968 - Beggars Banquet
1969 - Let It Bleed
1971 - Sticky Fingers
1972 - Exile on Main St.
1973 - Goats Head Soup
1974 - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
1976 - Black and Blue
1978 - Some Girls
1980 - Emotional Rescue
1981 - Tattoo You
1983 - Undercover
1986 - Dirty Work
1989 - Steel Wheels
1994 - Voodoo Lounge
1997 - Bridges to Babylon
2005 - A Bigger Bang

Realated GMC Lessons

Keith Richards Style
The Rolling Stones Rhythm