Santa Cruz guitarist Jake Nielsen made his third appearance this week at Harrah’s Tuesday Night Blues, a weekly show from 8 to 11 p.m. with the Buddy Emmer Blues Band.
“Every time it gets better,” Nielsen said. “I learn stuff from Buddy every show. I watch him and soak it up like a sponge.”
Nielsen is putting together his second album, which he expects to be released before the end of the year.
Nielson was a bass player until his uncle game showed him an “Austin City Limits” performance by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The experience changed his life. He put away the bass and picked up a guitar. He said he learned to play by watching pro jams.
A student of great guitarists, Nielsen shared his top 10 favorites, which includes a flood of Texans.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan. “I was pretty much raised on Stevie Ray Vaughan songs. He can play clean and I love his tone and everything about him.”
- Jimi Hendrix. “Jimi is the inventor of shredding on guitar and the style he played was crazy. Sometimes I am feeling Jimi more. Stevie and Jimi are clearly the top two.”
- John Frusciante. The Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist has “a distinct funky rock style that I can instantly recognize.”
- Albert Collins. “The tone he gets off that Telecaster makes it sing. I play a Telecaster, too. I was big on him way before I played guitar. He’s the Ice Man.”
- Dimebag Darrell (Pantera). “Even though I play the blues, I’m a rocker through and through.”
- Freddie King. “He’s so aggressive. I love that style.”
- John Mayer. “Everybody thinks he’s bubblegum but the man can play guitar. A lot of blues fans might not like it, but this is my list.”
- Chris Cain. “He has a blues and jazz style and he is passionate. He’s one of my local favorites, for sure. And he knew who I was and that made me like him even more.”
- Eric Gales. “I don’t know where he’s from but I’ve been watching him online. He has a high energy style and plays a Fender Strat sound and he just frigin’ rips.”
- David (Cuz Dave) Palmer III. “He’s my bass player. He’s a shredder so I put him on my list. I had to give my band some love.”