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You know, I think it’s a good time for a movement to happen, and we’ve been patiently waiting for these doors to get kicked open so we can cannonball through with our version of what the rock ‘n’ roll flag should be.”

T.B via Redlightmanagement.com

Tyler Bryant Player Spotlight. Photo from Facebook.com.

This week’s chapter discovers and uncovers a young and explosive, modern-day guitar player💥 whose techniques and licks hail from heritage blues.  Whether you see this cat playing with his band ‘The Shakedown’ or trading riffs with fellow emerging guitar players at a showcase/guitar show, or even tearing it up on Instagram it’s always a joy to watch and listen to.  This true next generation 6-stringer that nods & bows to classic Rock & Roll of the past.

Although first laying hands on a guitar at the tender age of six it wasn’t until 11-years old that this incredible rock ‘n’ roll story was put into motion.  Let’s Shakedown with Tyler Bryant!

Tyler Bryant. Photo - Eleanor Jane.

Who Is Tyler Bryant? Blues Man Hand Me Downs

The “sweetest town” in Texas, Honey Groove is the birthplace of Tyler Dow Bryant (TB), born 24th February 1991. His mother a school teacher and his father a factory worker 🏭, TB hails from a humble upbringing.

As we have heard many times in the past so many young players find a lot of influence in their parents record collections; they immerse themselves in that world, and naturally development comes as a guitar player alongside such escapism.  However, Tyler’s passion and drive for guitar was truly sparked in a unique way:

As a 6-year old boy he obtained his first guitar to learn on - as many children do.  Tyler was very much transfixed by the instrument and chomped away learning to the best of his ability.  At the age of 11 Tyler was in guitar store with his parents looking for strings having just bought an old acoustic guitar from a pawn shop to satisfy his current Elvis addiction.  This is where the story gets incredibly interesting!

Tyler Bryant as Elvis...

“Every town below the Mason-Dixon line has a Roosevelt Twitty. He’s the kind of old dude you find in music shops or bars, or maybe out on the street, playing the blues like Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson. In another life he might have been as famous as those guys, but in this one the world passed him by a long time ago. Still, as long as he has a guitar and life in his fingers, all those missed opportunities don’t mean a thing.

Tyler Bryant met Roosevelt Twitty a decade and a half ago in a guitar shop in Paris, Texas. Bryant’s parents had bought young Tyler, an 11-year-old obsessed with Elvis, a pawn shop acoustic guitar that needed stringing."

“Sitting in a corner of the guitar shop was this old black gentleman, playing a Lightnin’ Hopkins-style blues song,” Bryant remembers. “I was immediately moved by it. I’d never heard anything like it. So I sat down and listened. He said: ‘Do you like the blues?’ I said: ‘I don’t know what the blues is.’ He said: ‘I’ll teach you.

Roosevelt Twitty did just that, shaping and moulding this skinny kid. Bryant learned the blues from Roosevelt Twitty, but he picked up so much more too: dedication, decency, hard work. Fifteen years on, those lessons are starting to pay off.”

From loudersound.com

The age of 11 was filled with significant events for Tyler, most notably one where he sold his dirt bike his parents had bought him so he could buy his first decent electric guitar, a red Epiphone Les Paul purchased from Hollybond’s Music store in Paris, Texas.

Upon turning 13 Tyler was at the level of playing alongside Twitty the BluesMan and they started to go out and do shows together as a duo; by the age of 15 they were the support act for big names such as Paul Simon!  The bond they formed and the working relationship they developed went so much further than just mentor and student but to guitar buddies.  As Tyler states, it broke down barriers and developed his social, human interaction to a higher plane:

“The way Bryant tells it, their friendship became about more than just music. “The kindness and compassion he showed me, and the way he shared music with me, it completely changed things, to where I watched it kill racism in my friends and my family.”

Roosevelt Twitty died in 2013 after a fall. “Sixteenth of May,” Bryant says instantly.

He has the older man’s signature tattooed on his arm. “I had him write it before he passed. I told him I was gonna have it with me at every show. When we played Madison Square Garden [supporting AC/DC, in 2016], I was like, ‘This is gonna be fun, Mister Twitty.’ He was right there with me.”

Quote via Loudersound.com

Image credit: Tina Korhonen

The Blues Man Becomes a Rock 'n' Roller

The young fiery blues man became the young Rock ’n’ Roller through experience and development, and via wider musical discoveries.  Tyler started to come to the realisation that rock 'n' roll is mostly derived from louder-than-loud blues!

"Rock and roll and the blues are one and the same."

TB: It started out as, “I want to play the blues. I want to feel the blues. I want to make people feel the blues.” Then as I got older, I saw The Black Crowes. Then I realized that they were playing the blues with longer hair and more distortion and a little louder. So I said, “Oh, rock and roll kind of is the blues.” I was always bummed out as a kid that I couldn’t make my friends get into Freddie King or Lighting’ Hopkins the way that I was into it. So I thought, “Man, I’ll play rock and roll, and I’ll trick them into listening to the blues.” Like it was sort of this scheme that I’d created in my head."

Quote Via Ernie Ball String Theory.

Tyler Bryant’s prized 1960 Fender Stratocaster - Photography Eleanor Jane 

In 2006, at 15, he was presented with the Robert Johnson Gibson New Generation Award for aspiring young guitar players. Then in 2007, Tyler won Ernie Ball’s first “Play Crossroads Competition”, which got him a spot performing at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago.

After playing in a band for a few years TB made the big move to Nashville when he was 17; with the intention is to become a songwriter for other artists he eventually found that he became a songwriter for himself and began to form a band around his own situation.  In the heart of Nashville forming a band is harder than you may think and Tyler resorted to setting up a fake email account posing as a manager promoting a new hot guitarist in town, it clearly paid off and The Shakedown was born.

“These days, whenever he meets young kids, would-be musicians, he gives them the same advice: “Man, you’ve got to sell yourself. You’ve got to go out and hustle and make things happen.”

He’s got a knack for making things happen. In 2011 he was invited to open for Jeff Beck on his Emotion & Commotion tour. Beck had spotted a video of this teenage guitar prodigy on YouTube and liked what he saw.”

Quote via - Loudersound.com

In a way the gods of rock have never stopped looking down on Tyler Bryant.  Another huge moment in his life was when he was gifted the guitar of his dreams at a just a regular gig he was playing.   Very few people were paying attention to the slow blues covers except one man…

“I was playing just slow blues after slow blues with my blues band and no-one was paying attention, except for this really huge guy in the front. So I went and stood on the table he was sitting at and soloed for like 15 minutes. Afterwards he asked me what my dream guitar was, and because Alan Haynes played a 1960 Strat through a Vibro-King, I said a 1960 Strat.  “He said, ‘Why don’t you have one?’ And I said, ‘They’re crazy expensive.’  A couple of days later one showed up at my house! It’s still one of my most prized possessions.”

Quote via - Guitar.com

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown


An all out rock 'n' roll band with blues roots, supercharged riffs and exceptional levels of playing Tyler Bryant put The Shakedown together and the world is a better place!


The Shakedown has gone from strength to strength through personal perseverance and as a unit, from massive support slots with AC/DC, ZZ-Top and Guns N' Roses, this is a band that shows how to traditionally approach both onstage and offstage in regard to music business practices.

“For me, there are a few different elements of The Shakedown,” Bryant says. “There’s the energetic, raw, jump-out-of-your-skin live version of us. Every night when we run on stage I get such an adrenaline rush that I feel like my heart and soul are going to come busting out of my skin. That version appears in rock songs, like ‘Drive Me Mad’, from the new album.

“And then there’s this other side, which is a little more sensitive, a little more insecure and hopeful, and you see that in songs like ‘Shape I’m In’, another new one.”

Quote Via Redlightmanagement.com

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown via guitar.com

Strings That Shakedown. What Strings Does Tyler Bryant play?

Now let's really get into it the part that intrigues us all and why are we’re really here… the Strings that Shakedown. TB talks exclusively to the legendary Ernie Ball and dissects his history with strings and the relationship he has with the gauges and tunings he prefers.

The initial findings are that Tyler is tuned to Eb as a standard, which is more to suit his voice and vocal range than his playing, although this does of course have its positives.

Like many of us Tyler has been fascinated by Stevie Ray Vaughan and the big string theory, however having tried the larger gauges he felt it wasn't for him.  He did like the thicker strings on the bottom end and as such used to make up his own custom gauge sets from single strings (yeah, we do those here)

“TB: I started doing custom gauges from Ernie Ball early on where I was doing 10, 13, 17, 30, 44, 54. I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to do the 52.” And I’ve gotten so used to just doing the 10-52. That’s what I’ve been using for a really long time. The resonator I take out with The Shakedown is normally in open G. I have stepped down. I’ve been told by a lot of people that I should put the Ernie Ball electrics on that, but I like the acoustics on it better.”

Ernie Ball - String Theory

More recently Tyler Bryant has settled on ERNIE BALL 3115 Coated Titanium RPS Skinny Top Heavy Bottom Slinky 10-52 Electric Guitar Strings.  This particular set gives him everything he needs including added reinforcement and security at the ball-end with the Ernie Ball’s titanium RPS system, the correct gauge he's looking for with the light top and heavy bottom, and of course the longevity of the Everlast coating.🤘 

Tyler Bryant on String Theory with Ernie Ball
Tyler Bryant plays Ernie Ball STHB Coated Titanium RPS Slinky Guitar Strings. Photo from Facebook.com.
Tyler Bryant plays Ernie Ball STHB Coated Titanium RPS Slinky Guitar Strings. Photo from Facebook.com.

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