How to play blues guitar - Lightnin' HopkinsHow to play blues guitar - Lightnin’ Hopkins
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Just a step away from the early field work song, bottleneck or the slide delta blues guitar technique evokes a heart-felt cry from the emotions. It's probable that this blues style evolved before others, simply because it reduced the necessity to form many complex chords. Frequently, guitars were tuned down to open tunings, such as D, G and sometimes C (Skip James, for example). One thing is certain, it produces a very plaintive sound when performed in the right way, and some masters like Fred McDowell, and Robert Johnson perfected this interesting way of playing.
It could also be that a guitar that was tuned down was much easier to keep tuned in the hot weather of the Mississippi, delta where the blues first appeared.
One celebrated delta blues guitarist was not delicate at all with his playing style, but the emotional appeal of Son House gets him a prominent place at the top of the blues table when making a list of the masters we should study if we would like to learn blues guitar.
Other kinds of blues guitar
In general, blues guitarists preferred t go within their own regional way of playing,now and again including music from other styles to diversify the repertoire and keep their public engaged. Some blues men nonetheless, moved over the
boundaries and mastered many styles of blues guitar, like Big Bill Broonzy and Gary davis. Any blues guitar lessons should included a study of such players.
The Reverend was a student of Blind Willie Walker, a really slick and precise ragtime blues guitarist from Greenville, Carolina. Reverend Davis could perform in mostly any key and in several style, but he preferred to play religious songs in his later years.Big Bill was southern born, but became a celebrity 'pop blues star' in the city of Chicago, where he created a much admired and copied style called Chicago swing blues guitar, which was notable for its monotonic thumb strikes on the basses. He was additionally really fast and accurate - few present day guitarists can emulate his technique properly. Some of his songs lean towards ragtime blues guitar but he could also play pop songs from his day.
Ragtime blues might be thought of as the most complicated style within the group 'acoustic blues guitar'. The songs of Lightnin' Hopkins was most definitely Texas bluesy and was frequently performed in the keys of A and E. Its true that many of his songs performed in the same key were quite similar. Nonetheless, his talent for up-beating the tempo and mixing styles puts him in a group all by himself. He shouldn't be ignored in any serious study, if if you want to learn authentic acoustic blues guitar.
It's fascinating that some great guitarists who could really play blues also came from South Carolina, like Floyd Council, Pink Anderson and Scrapper Blackwell. Anderson was a fast guitarist in the ragtime blues style and perfected his technique performing for the good Doctor Kerr's traveling medicine show.
Floyd Council didn't make a lot of records under his own name, but we can hear him playing second guitar to Blind Boy Fuller on some tracks recorded in the forties. The techniques were quite similar, and they were probably both influenced by Willie Walker and Reverend Gary Davis. He was called the 'Devil's Daddy In-Law' for advertising purposes, but it isn't clear why that is.
Scrapper Blackwell was a very influential artist who wrote quite a few blues guitar classic songs, like ' Nobody Knows You, Blues Before Sunrise' and the powerful 'Kokomo Blues'. This later song was 'borrowed' by delta guitarist Robert Johnson, who adapted it, giving it the new name Sweet Home Chicago.Its also worth noting that a unique style of finger picking evolved called 'Travis' picking (it was pioneered and perfected Merle Travis) - it has a distinct ragtime blues guitar feel with a heavily damped alternating bass pattern. Doc Watson shows us the way of this style of playing blues guitar with his great rendition of 'Deep River Blues.
Blues Legends Bios
Online Video Lessons
When first starting to search for those
ideal lessons for guitar, many people used to go to the great 'G', and
'Google it'. More and more searches for everything imaginable are made
on Youtube, as a matter of fact it's the second most favorite search
engine after Google itself.
Like Google, the number of items returned
for a search such as 'blues guitar lessons' is formidable - how to
determine the instruction that's best for you and how to play blues
guitar in the authentic style? Youtube guitar lessons feature all manner
of styles and teaching levels, both paid and for free.
Blues guitar tabs are the basis of the best guitar lessons. It doesn't have to be incredibly complex at all, with just elementary notation indicating finger movements and blues guitar chords. Some blues tabs go into too much detail, trying to capture the feel and ambiance of authentic blues playing, which just isn't possible!
This points us to the second
characteristic of good blues guitar lessons - the teacher must be able
to play the music very well (and the tablature should precisely
represent what he is playing.)
Guitar tablature itself isn't enough to translate that delicate pause, or the thumb strike that is a little off-beat when needed to complement the words. Sure, the tab can show that a single thumb stroke should be damped with the palm of the hand, but can't indicate that this damping movement itself isn't continuous, but varies in sound as the force of the palm on the strings is continually being changed according to the flow of the song.
Take your time when looking for any instruction, of any kind. The Chinese have a saying 'a year or two spent doing nothing but locating the right instructor is very well spent'. This is a good observation. You don't need to take a year for your search, but choose carefully and ignore the hype. Don't expect to improve in two weeks, take it easy, don't beat yourself up and above all, enjoy the music and the travel.
The Vital Features Of Great Video Guitar Lessons
A search on the internet for guitar instruction in video format can turn out to be a daunting activity, particularly for the fledgling student with little experience. What are the best features of the most effective packages on offer? As you might imagine, we can identify common components that might help us choose the right tuition.
Tuition should be Easy To Follow
Although it almost goes without saying, any lesson for whatever subject needs to flow in a logical way and be simple to take in. First steps need to be clearly described, and grow into further lessons. Musical theory is important, but a student guitar player is basically impatient to start learning - he would like to play!
This must be the first step,
presenting the basic things that can be put into practice straight away.
When all said and done, a thorough understanding of the first concepts
will bring huge advantages later on in the instruction.
Musical Notation versus Tablature
Traditionally, guitarists in the classical style learned to read musical notation and followed the written notes
when performing or composing new music. Inevitably, this means a progress that is often perceived as too slow in today's fast moving world. During the 60s, blues guitar master Stephan Grossman and others,
created a method of guitar tablature that represented the frets and strings of the guitar neck.
This abbreviated 'musical' notation was quickly
assimilated and is an effective tool for learning blues guitar, for
example. A grid of six strings is numbered from the bottom bass string
(1) to the top E string (6) and a number written on a string shows which
fret finger should be placed above. A straight line at the side of the
number denotes that the thumb or finger is employed.
Image Presentation - Guitar Tablature - What Should Be Displayed On The Video Screen
There are many variations for this theme, but we can identify important features of this vital visual aid to guitar tuition. The student should be made aware right at the beginning what the purpose of that instruction may be. If he is to learn a complete song, then that song needs to be played in exactly the same as the detailed tuition demonstrated throughout the complete lesson.
Before the detailed
tuition, any difficult techniques can be discussed and valuable tips
given. A close up of both hands are invaluable, and would be best shown
seperately. Blues guitar chords and tab may be overlaid on the screen,
so that students can follow the finger movements at the same time.
More Desirable Attributes Of Blues Guitar Tuition
When being taught a song, it's good to have the words at hand and a short discussion covering singing whilst playing. This might seem obvious, but it's quite tricky for a new student to do both together! The complete tablature and words could be provided as a separate Word or PDF file, which can be printed and referred to at the student's leisure. A Wave audio file could additionally be provided, in this way the instruction could be referred to casually at all times. However, if the video file is in the right format, it could be watched on an iPhone or iPad.
If you'd like to keep abreast of what's happening on my Youtube Channel, it's a good idea to subscribe, and get notified in your emails whenever I post a new video. There are also services that notify you and also send you the video to watch - you don't even have to go to Youtube!
Another great way to keep informed about what I'm doing is to follow my blog here.Guitar Practice
How to play blues guitar - Lightnin' HopkinsHow to play blues guitar - Lightnin’ Hopkins
Livin' With The Blues by Brownie Mchee - Guitar Lesson PreviewLivin’ With The Blues by Brownie Mchee - Guitar Lesson Preview
Blues Before Sunrise by Scrapper Blackwell - Guitar Lesson PreviewBlues Before Sunrise by Scrapper Blackwell - Guitar Lesson Preview
Love In Vain by Robert Johnson - Guitar Lesson PreviewLove In Vain by Robert Johnson - Guitar Lesson Preview
A Final Word About Ragtime Blues Guitar
We talked about Rev Gary Davis, who was the daddy of ragtime blues guitar, but of course there were other worthwhile performers of this very appealing complicated guitar style.
Blind Wille McTell created syncopated patterns on his 12 string Stella guitar, writing classic songs like 'Statesboro Blues'. Fuller was maybe the most financially successful out of the ragtime blues guitar players, and his technique was heavily guided by Reverend Gary Davis, who had him as a student for some years.
Blind Arthur Blake recorded more than one hundred tracks under the Paramount label and produced many great standards. His complicated picking
technique featured complex thumb-roll
syncopation, lightning fast triplets using his fingers and slick
single strings runs.
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Jim Bruce Acoustic Blues Guitar Lesson Videos