Riley B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known professionally as B.B. King, was an amazing American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists.
B.B. King used simple equipment. He played guitars made by various manufacturers early in his career: he played a Fender Esquire on most of his recordings with RPM Records (USA). However, he was best known for playing variants of the Gibson ES-355. In 1980, Gibson Guitar Corporation launched the B.B. King Lucille model. In 2005, Gibson made a special run of 80 Gibson Lucilles, referred to as the “80th Birthday Lucille”, the first prototype of which was given as a birthday gift to King, and which he used thereafter.
King used a Lab Series L5 2×12″ combo amplifier and had been using this amplifier for a long time. It was made by Norlin Industries for Gibson in the 1970s and 1980s. Other popular L5 users are Allan Holdsworth and Ty Tabor of King’s X. The L5 has an onboard compressor, parametric equalization, and four inputs. King also used a Fender Twin Reverb and his signature model strings “Gibson SEG-BBS B.B. King Signature Electric Guitar Strings”.
King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname “The King of the Blues”, and one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” along with Albert King and Freddie King. King was known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing at more than 200 concerts per year on average into his 70s. In 1956 alone, he reportedly appeared at 342 shows.