Born in Canton, Mississippi, in 1951, he settled in Breaux Bridge in southern Louisiana. Sonny Landreth is blues musician, especially known for being a master of slide guitar, characterised by an exceptional technical skill of slide, usually played on Stratocasters. He developed a peculiar style of playing bottleneck with his little finger together with fretting the guitar behind the slide, thus generating more variegated sounds and complex voicings. Landreth is also famous for his right-hand technique which wisely combines slapping, tapping, and picking with all of his fingers.
Throughout his career, he has taken inspiration from the Louisiana musical traditions, while creating his own, unique sound. “When I first started listening to Delta blues, I didn’t even know what a slide was,” Landreth told Vintage Guitar magazine in 2012. “I had learned a right-hand finger-style approach from Chet Atkins, so when I listened to the Delta players and discovered a lot of them like to slide, putting the two of those together set me on my path. Looking back on it I realize that my jazz heroes who played trumpet and my blues heroes with a guitar were all seeking to emulate a human voice and to have that character in their playing. I think that really helped me a lot: Slide lends itself to that, but even more so [than fretted playing].”
Landreth has always used Stratocaster guitars. His main instrument is a 1966 sunburst Strat with which he recorded most of his albums since his 1981 debut with Blues Attack. Over time, he has played several modern Strats: a ’57 Reissue Strat with Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot pickups, his own Signature Strat with Michael Frank-Braun noiseless single coils and his main touring road Strat with a DiMarzio DP181 Fast Track 1 bridge pickup and DiMarzio Virtual Vintage neck pickup, just to name a few. “I like the idea of changing the pickups,” he once explained “I wanted to create different colors and have different voices.”