Doyle Bramhall II – Playing Upside Down Sounds GREAT!

Doyle Bramhall II is the son of the late singer, songwriter and drummer, Doyle Bramhall, who grew up as a close friend of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan. At age 16, Doyle Bramhall II toured with Jimmie Vaughan’s band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, as second guitarist.

Some of Doyle’s influences include, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Donny Hathaway, Freddie King, Albert King, Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sly & the Family Stone, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Curtis Mayfield.

In 1992 Doyle formed Arc Angels with Charlie Sexton and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section of bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton (also known as Double Trouble).

Eric Clapton took an interest in Bramhall’s music and they have often toured and recorder together. Doyle co-wrote “Superman Inside” and played guitar on Eric’s 2001 solo album, Reptile. He occasionally joined Eric on stage.

Doyle became Clapton’s second guitarist after Andy Fairweather-Low backed out of the tour in 2004. He also toured with Eric Clapton as part of his 2006/2007 world tour along with slide guitarist Derek Trucks and he performed at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival at Chicago’s Toyota Park.

While all of that is very interesting, the most amazing fact about Doyle is that he is left-handed and usually plays the right-handed model of a guitar upside-down! When he does play a left-handed model, the guitar is strung as if to be played by a right-handed player (as was the case with Albert King.)

In other words:

  • The low E string is at the bottom of his guitar
  • The high string at the top of his guitar.
  • The pick-guard is on the top.
  • Strings are bent DOWN, not UP.
  • The most common pick motion is an “Up-Pick”.

Check out this video to see his most unusual style in action and up close.

Of course, a Flying V almost looks the same either way…Enjoy the VIDEO.

(Note: at :40, Clapton looks away from Doyle’s sharply as if to say “I can’t watch that!)


  1. Robin Miller says

    The facts on Doyle’s left handed style are incorrect. Doyle is actually right handed and plays upside down left handed. he says it just felt natural to him. The only other guitarist I know of (all though i’m sure there are others) that played the same way was Gary Moore who was left handed and played right handed.

  2. Donnie Herron Jr. says

    Robin – The fact that Doyle is right-handed has no relevance to GuitarDaddy’s point, which was in fact accurate. Doyle Bramhall II plays guitar left-handed, but with the guitar strung for a right-handed player. Gary Moore, while being left-handed, does not string his instrument inordinately as Bramhall does. Albert King is the only other commercially successful example that I am aware of that plays a guitar this way.

  3. Marc Hollingsworth says

    Otis Rush, I believe is another player who plays left-handed with the bass strings on the bottom of the guitar and the treble strings on the top. A long time ago I had a friend who played this way as well, very interesting to watch, hard to play this way if you haven’t done it from the very beginning. Makes bending more powerful because the bending hand is pulling down instead of pushing up, but chording, that’s gotta be more tricky…


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