|Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield|
Among his early supporters were B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Buddy Guy. Bloomfield used to say, 'It's a natural. Black people suffer externally in this country. Jewish people suffer internally. The suffering's the mutual fulcrum for the blues.”
|Gibson Fretless Wonder Les Paul Custom|
But it was this event that gave Michael Bloomfield the impetus to start playing electric guitar again.
1956 Fender Duosonic, which he played through a white Fender Bassman head and cabinet. He also played it through an Epiphone Futura amp that had four 10” speakers, in the style of the 1950’s Tweed Fender Bassman amplifiers.
He had met Bob Dylan in New York back in the Folk days and at this point Bloomfield had a good reputation.
It was here that he would wind up with Dylan, Al Kooper and some studio musicians who were working on this album.
In fact Dylan liked him so much, he invited Bloomfield to be in his band permanently. Bloomfield declined.
|Guild Thunderbird Amp|
Bloomfield was given the permanent position as lead guitarist for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He continued to use the Telecaster and the Epiphone Futurama amplifier.
He had a Twin Reverb and a Super Reverb and frequently hooked up both in performance.
The Electric Flag.
He had seen Eric Clapton playing a Les Paul Standard the previous year when the Butterfield Band toured England.
|Dan Erlewine with L.P.|
By now, Bloomfield was in San Francisco. Erlewine, who is now a world renowned guitar technician, realized he had installed the Grover tuners on the Les Paul upside down.
|Bloomfields Les Paul|
Shortly after this, Bloomfield quit playing. No one is certain why, but we can guess his heroin addiction may have played into this decision.
By 1972 Bloomfield was back to using his Telecaster. Sometime in 1973, his friend’s daughter painted it, so from here on out it was known as The Blue Telecaster.
All we know is Bloomfield made no effort to retrieve the guitar. Ironically soon after this Bloomfield also lost The Blue Telecaster. I am guessing part of the problem stemmed from Bloomfield's addiction to heroin.
Gibson Marauder that Gibson gave to him. He used it on just a few performances. Shortly after this Gibson contracted with Bloomfied to endorse Epiphone guitars. In exchange for Gibson advertisements he was given the Marauder and a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom. Bloomfield did not care for the Custom and rarely played it on gigs.
Although these guitars were acoustic, Bloomfield electrified them and played them through a vintage Fender tweed amplifier.
He teamed up with his friend Woody Harris and played guitar and piano; usually traditional Blues and Ragtime, but sometimes playing Gospel songs.
Bloomfield died in 1981. He was found by San Francisco police in his car, a tragic victim of a drug overdose, dead at only 38 years old. At that time many of his instruments went missing. We know that Carlos Santana purchased the Les Paul Custom. The black Stratocaster that Bloomfield had painted was sold to a collector through a music shop.
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