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Shaft Guitarist Charles 'Skip' Pitts Dies


05/03/2012
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(Gibson) Guitarist Charles "Skip" Pitts, who is best known for his work on Isaac Hayes' "Theme from Shaft" has died. Pitts passed away from lung cancer in Memphis on Tuesday, May 1, according to Spinner. He was 65.

Pitts was born in Washington, D.C. and was mentored by his neighbor Bo Diddley. In the '60s, he played guitar with Wilson Pickett, the Isley Brothers and Sam & Dave. He joined up with Hayes in 1970 and continued to be a member of his band until Hayes's death in 2008.

In an interview with Guitar Player, Pitts explained his wah-wah sound on "Shaft": "The 'Shaft' part was created because Isaac needed something driving for the beginning of the movie, when [actor] Richard Roundtree is coming out of the subway and walking through Times Square. I was checking my pedals. I tested my overdrive, my reverb, the Maestro box, and then I started in with the wah. Isaac stopped everything and said, 'Skip, what is that you are playing?' I said, 'I am just tuning up.' He said, 'Keep playing that G octave.'" more on this story

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