Jim Bruce Blues Guitar Lessons


It can be tough to properly describe 'blues' in general terms, even if  its narrowed down to simple 'blues guitar'. In that one broad category there are of course lots of other smaller categories , even allowing for the differences between acoustic and electric.

In the video below Jim demonstrates and discusses
techniques of Texas blues great Lightnin' Hopkins

As acoustic blues guitar is the thing that I teach, let's focus on this area for a while.
In the USA, differences in picking style evolved according to a particular region, which was additionally dependent on the influences of the best blues guitarists in that area. In general we can say that the extremities of classic acoustic blues guitar are the dark tones of the delta and the ragtime dance rhythms of Piedmont ragtime blues picking. Naturally, there are other major styles between the two different styles. Its best to investigate all the techniques when deciding to learn how to play blues guitar.

Delta Blues Guitar

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.

The Complexities Of  Ragtime Blues Guitar

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.

The Roots Of The Blues
Learn Blues Guitar The Right WayLearning blues guitar in today's world is a curious thing to go for. Even the least well off in Western countries are so much richer than the early blues legends who first invented the wonderful music that was the corner stone of all the various musical styles of our times. Even making use of the best blues guitar tabs, it's difficult for students to identify with the authentic spirit.

The first beat quite obviously was handed down from the people's roots in Africa, but modern African music is much more rich in rhythmic differences and more complex, so how did this happen?

It's known that early 'guitars' were basic instruments with a single string, cobbled together from a large wooden cigar box, or similar box. It wasn't practically feasible to produce musical sounds of a very intricate form, and possibly made a short lived 'damped sound', with small difference in tune quality.

Also, for a lengthy time in southern America, traditional drums were outlawed, as were other cultural things that enhanced the inner strength of the black people and instilled principles of self determination or freedom from slavery. Maybe the hypnotic feel of the primordial blues guitar chords were intended to be drum like, possibly explaining why the single string thumb strike style of plucking was amongst the first to be used.

In that technique of playing guitar, the rhythmic pattern was basically simpler and the thumb picking stroke was made to sound like a drum's beat. In those tough decades, a dedicated guitarist would pluck a monotonous bass pattern which frequently was at the same timing as a beating heart. This made sure that the beat has an emotional contact and it wasn't that important for the music to be analyzed, or be musically over structured.

Yet another possibility is in relation to the jobs that negro laborers were forced to apply themselves to. Most variations of tough work implies rhythmic repeated actions, such as hammering, cutting down cereal grass, digging turf with a hoe, hitting with a hammer or levering over steel rails for train tracks.

You can find examples of the work in restored film archives of the time, where a line of workers with strong iron bars holler a repeating work song and synchronize their work motion such that the massive steel rail is eased over a short distance at the finish of a line of verse or perhaps the chorus.

More often than not the work song was split up and an answer sung by designated parts of the work crew. This successful application of question and answer was utilized in many blues songs when sung by a couple of singers, and was a mainstay in church blues music.

Even though it's a fact that modern day music has been developed with complicated musical patterns and interesting rhythmic variations, the fundamental rhythms are detected - the elemental guitar boogie is unmistakable in a huge number of rock classics in the past 50 years and the style extended the traditional blues guitar chords. The more varied syncopation of ragtime guitar became the foundation of the first attempts at jazz.

What To Look For In The Best Acoustic 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.

What's New from Jim Bruce

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

I know that it's often very difficult to get enough practice time in, particularly if you have a family and job commitments. We often start out as youngsters playing blues guitar avidly and then it tends to tail off as we get involved romantically, or take a demanding career path - and later on balancing a relationship, kids and job all at the same time! It's no wonder that playing guitar takes last place.

This exact thing happened to me. I was playing at pro level in my twenties and then got married. Of course, I needed a good job to support a family, which demands time. Basically, I stopped playing at all for about 5 years, which was not a good idea.

I thought that I would just pick it up when I was ready and carry on where I left off - wrong! Years of 'no practice' left a big hole, which I recovered after about  a year's hard work. However, for some reason, I never recovered the slickness that I had previously.

Judging from my emails, there are many men between 50 and 60 years of age coming back learn guitar after years of inactivity, and finding it tough even if they played really well in their youth. My advice is always the same - make time every day for a little playing, even if it's 10 minutes. It really does work wonders and keeps those muscle memories active.

I'd really welcome any comments you might have, or any questions ... Cheers,  Jim

Jim Bruce Blues Guitar Videos

Acoustic Blues Guitar - Livin' With The Blues - Brownie McGhee Cover

Acoustic Blues Guitar - Livin’ With The Blues - Brownie McGhee Cover

Learn this song here: http://ift.tt/1y1aD2O Complete Blues Guitar Course http://ift.tt/19YuuZv I’m sure that it’s tough to get enough time to play guitar, especially if you are raising a family and have a job to go to. A lot of people playing blues guitar when they are younger with a passion, and then tend to get less and less asw eget hooked up with a woman, or decide to develop a ‘career’ - and when older it’s hard to balance a relationship with a significant other, children and work similtaneously! Little surprise that practising guitar often gets shelved for other things deemed more important. Well, that’s what happened to me at any rate. After performing at professional level between my twenties and thirties, and I suddenyl found myself married. Without a doubt, I had to find a great job to keep my new growing family, all of which takes a lot of time, motivation and energy. In short, my playing just kind of fizzled out and I stopped playing for good, for five years or more - this really isn’t a good thing to do. I imagined that I could simply grab the guitar when I wnated to play again and just pick from where I was - I was dead wrong. Many lonths of little practice made a large gap in my previosu expertise and the state of playing 5 years later. I got most of it back after practising regularly for about a year. But - I didn’t get all the easiness of playing in exactly the same way that I used to. If my emails are any judge, there are lots of baby boomers returning to acoustic blues guitar after not playing for many years, and they find it difficult even they used to play well previously. I always give away the same piece of advice - just makesure you play each day, just for a little while. It absolutely makes ahuge difference - 2 minutes a day keeps those muscle memories working. Cheers Jim acoustic blues guitar lessons online blues guitar lessons online free blues guitar lessons learn guitar online free learning guitar online guitar lesson videos fingerstyle blues guitar classes online fingerpicking lessons online guitar player how to learn how to play the guitar beginning blues guitar acoustic guitar lessons online acoustic blues lessons guitar now online fingerpicking blue guitar lessons online best online guitar course online guitar instruction learn to play the guitar online online video lessons youtube blues guitar lessons online blues guitar lessons best online acoustic guitar lessons internet guitar lessons free online beginner guitar lessons blues guitar for dummies how to play the blues guitar guitar lessons videos guitar lessons video learning fingerstyle guitar acoustic blues lesson learn to play the blues best blues guitar lessons online guitar teacher http://ift.tt/1y1aEDV http://ift.tt/1E4Fkwe http://ift.tt/1y1aEDZ

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Posted 4 days ago

Blues Guitar Lesson Preview - Nobody Wants You - Scrapper Blackwell

Blues Guitar Lesson Preview - Nobody Wants You - Scrapper Blackwell

http://ift.tt/1BTETmw The link above will take you to the page where you can get this lessn by Scrapper. Blackwell is one of my favorite blues men, with a very rich guitar style full of surprises. http://ift.tt/1xKJfG2

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Posted 6 days ago

Blues Guitar Lessons Online - Jim Bruce Master Classes

Blues Guitar Lessons Online - Jim Bruce Master Classes

Blues Guitar Lessons Online - http://ift.tt/1IqnIZG I wrote this song some years ago, as I performed on the streets as ‘Reverend Jim Bavery’ (well, it worked for me!) Love Gary Davis songs, and I found myself writing one or two in the same style - of course, ripping off licks from the old master and throwing some of my own ideas in there as well. In this week’s master class, I’m going to be teaching another Gospel style song I wrote ‘Can’t Cross here’ - everything you need to sign up is here: http://ift.tt/1IqnIZG Cheers Jim online blues guitar lessons beginner blues guitar lessons youtube blues guitar lessons how to play the blues guitar playing the blues on guitar learning to play blues guitar how to play the blues on guitar for beginners beginning blues guitar learn to play the blues learning the acoustic guitar learn to play acoustic guitar online easiest songs to learn on acoustic guitar how hard is it to learn acoustic guitar learning acoustic guitar online acoustic guitar playing how to play the blues on acoustic guitar acoustic blues tabs guitar classes online learn to play the guitar online guitar tuition guitar instruction online guitar teacher online learn how to play guitar online free play a guitar online learn how to play the guitar online guitar lessons online best guitar lessons online for beginners youtube learn to play acoustic guitar online guitar course online guitar lessons online for beginners best free guitar lessons online guitar lessons online for free play the guitar online learning acoustic guitar online online guitar course internet guitar lessons learn to play acoustic guitar online for beginners learn guitar online videos blues guitar lessons online learning to play the guitar online guitar lessions how to learn guitar online how to play acoustic blues guitar how to play the blues on acoustic guitar how to play acoustic blues play acoustic guitar play acoustic blues guitar acoustic blues guitar tabs best acoustic blues guitar learn to play the blues on acoustic guitar playing the blues on acoustic guitar acoustic blues lessons learn acoustic blues guitar learn to play the acoustic guitar beginning blues guitar blues chords for guitar free blues guitar lessons learning how to play acoustic guitar acoustic blues tabs how to play the blues guitar how to play acoustic blues guitar how to play the blues on acoustic guitar how to play acoustic blues play acoustic guitar play acoustic blues guitar acoustic blues guitar tabs best acoustic blues guitar learn to play the blues on acoustic guitar playing the blues on acoustic guitar acoustic blues lessons learn acoustic blues guitar learn to play the acoustic guitar beginning blues guitar blues chords for guitar free blues guitar lessons learning how to play acoustic guitar acoustic blues tabs how to play the blues guitar http://ift.tt/1s5fkMU http://ift.tt/1s5fkMW

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Posted 2 weeks ago

Blind Blake - Down The Country - Jim Bruce Cover

Blind Blake - Down The Country - Jim Bruce Cover

Blues Guitar Lessons http://www.play-blues-guitar.eu/menu-36-lessons-review.php “Blind” Blake (born Arthur Blake or Arthur Phelps, around 1893, Jacksonville, Florida; died: 1933) was a prolific ragtime blues singer and guitarist. He is known “The King of Ragtime Guitar”. He put out around 80 songs for Paramount from 1926 to 1932. He was an accomplished guitarists of his style with a astonishingly diverse repertoire. He is well known for his rhythmic guitar sound that sounded like ragtime piano. Unfortunately, here is only one photograph of him existing. Not a lot is known about Blake. His place of birth is shown as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount but that its not certain. On one song he lapses into a Geechee way of speaking, which could lead us that he was from the coastal region of Georgia. Nothing is known of the circumstances surrounding his death and we are not even sure of his correct name. According to some, his proper name was Arthur Phelps, although there is no real, written evidence of this. The “Phelps” name probably came about after he responded to Blind Willie McTell in a conversation in 1955 in Atlanta, where Blake was never reported to have frequented; neither did Willie McTell ever live in or near Chicago. However, many of Blake’s tracks were copyrighted by the name ‘Arthur Blake’, and during his recording with Papa Charlie Jackson, “Papa Charlie and Blind Blake Talk About It”, the following words are clearly heard: Jackson: What is your right name? Blake: My right name is Arthur Blake! Ragtime Guitar Master He first recorded in 1926 and the sold really well. The very first solo track was “Early Morning Blues” and “West Coast Blues” was on the other side. These are great examples of his guitar technique and are the basis for the growing Piedmont blues style. Blake last entered the studio in 1932, Paramount’s bankruptcy accelerated the end of his career . People often say that the later songs don’t have the same ‘panache’. By all accounts, Blind Blake drank a lot during his last years. Maybe this caused an early death at 40 years of age. Nobody know how he died; Reverend Gary Davis thought that Blake was knocked down and killed by a streetcar. Blake’s complicated and delicate finger style has been the inspiration Reverend Gary Davis, and many others. Blake’s Amazing Guitar Finger Picking Technique It’s not known if Blake was taught by a previous master, or how he formed his idiosyncratic playing style. Of course, many guitar players had a complex and rhythmic guitar technique, but not many were so accurate and quick as Blake. In his musical presentations, regardless of the key, the formations he used were often strikingly simple. His left hand fretting fingers were good at damping the bass string sound and that movement is vita when finger picking rapidly. It seems to me his picking hand (the right) was the most important, but of course both hands coordinate to make that wonderful sound. His finger picking patterns could be separated into these parts – rolling thumb strikes , rapid finger triplets and single string runs picked with alternating thumb and finger. It’s true that other players had these techniques, but Blake used these techniques continuously throughout his songs, forming complicated and syncopated combinations. His thumb action in should be a particular subject of students starting to learn how to play blues guitar in the ragtime blues style. Many guitar players know the picking pattern called ‘alternating bass’. However, Blake would roll his thumb between two bass strings, forming two beats instead of one! Also, he could change the picking pattern and reverse it in mid flow, which exemplifies Blake’s incredible dexterity. http://youtu.be/ZIsyPyLvZfE http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Blake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIsyPyLvZfE

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Posted 4 weeks ago

How To Learn Blues Guitar - Truckin' Little Baby by Blind Boy Fuller - Free Guitar Lesson

How To Learn Blues Guitar - Truckin’ Little Baby by Blind Boy Fuller - Free Guitar Lesson

Acoustic Blues Guitar Lessons http://ift.tt/19YuuZv I started out playing Bind Boy Fuller tunes 40 or 50 years ago - don’t really remember, and Truckin’ was the one that fired me up. This complete lesson is my Chrsitmas gift to you - use it wisely, as it’s powerful stuff! As usual, Like it, Embed and it and generally Share the hell out of it. Very best to you Jim Bruce http://ift.tt/1xDKBbN http://ift.tt/1wdPsJO

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Posted 4 weeks ago
blues guitar lessons               acoustic guitar lessons                 learn blues on guitar               learn blues guitar               ragtime blues guitarists - willie mctell

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