Watch the Tones & Gear online guitar lesson by Jeff McErlain from Focus On: British Blues
The blueprint of the British blues guitar sound (and the rock n' roll guitar sound) was created single-handedly by Eric Clapton, documented on the first John Mayall's Bluesbreakers record featuring him. This record is also known as the "Beano" record in reference to the comic book Eric Clapton is reading on the cover, which gave its name to this famous and huge guitar sound (called the Beano tone). Basically what it was is a Marshall JTM 45 2x12 combo cranked and a Gibson Les Paul. That's it! (well a 1965 Marshall and a 1959 Les Paul...) A key thing to keep in mind is that there were no channel switching amps at the time, all the tones you hear on these great recordings are from the guitar and amp. The main element is the player's hands. Work on sounding good by emulating your heroes!