Doc Watson Deep River Blues

To continue with the fingerpicking theme of the last week’s posts here’s a great video of Doc Watson playing Deep River Blues in `91. If you enjoy fingerpicking and Piedmont styles of guitar there are some great close angle camera shots here that might help you with both right and left hands. Look out for some of the string damping, the bass runs and how Doc here uses his left hand pinkie (little) finger to hammer on and pull off (around 1.25 to 1.30). It goes to show that sometimes simplicity is the key to great playing. Smooth.

The Doc is blind by the way.

For those of you who dig the Piedmont fingerstyle of the North American East Coast here is traveling bluesman Jim Bruce showing you how to play the Doc Watson version of Deep River Blues. Jim makes his living traveling and playing on the streets of Europe.

You can find out more about Jim Bruce and his guitar playing travels here and here where he showcases some great ragtime techniques and Blind Blake songs.


  1. Ken Tucker

    It was great Lee, I’ve got some old cassettes of Doc. Gotta dig them out and play them again. Keep the good stuff coming!

  2. Jamorama Post author

    Hey Lee,

    Good on ya. I completely agree with your appraisal of Doc Watson’s unique style. He absolutely nails this tune with so much style and he’s only using his thumb and finger. Yes, it’s incredible.

  3. lee mccormack

    Jake – I remember sitting on my apartment floor in Washington DC. in 1964 listening to this song over and over trying to figure it out. The thing about it that Doc’s playing makes unique is the combo finger & flat picking, at which he was a master. great song, great player!

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