Tag Archives: blues guitar

Playing the blues – its as easy as 1, 4, 5

Playin’ tha blues – it aint no big thing and it aint nobodies business if i do!

To play the blues you only have to count to five. Well holy schmoley Batman! That`s one number too darn many fo` some! Right , look out people because today’s post is about as much fun as a mouthful of sand – dry, uncomfortable and nitty-gritty; but just like your monster-in-law its a necessary evil if you want to reap the rewards!!!

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 seomtimes simplicity is the key to great playing.

Son House Blues Legend

Yessiree, here`s the mighty Son House. I`m not going to say much except this man is 100% the real deal and spent the first half of his life in the Steam Age and the later half working on the New York Central Rail line. If this man`s music doesn’t move you – nothing will. You must be dead. In my humble opinion Son House is the greatest blues player of all time…

House was born in 1886 (officially) 1902 in Clarksdale, Mississippi and in his mid twenties, inspired by Willie Wilson, he bought a guitar and played alongside Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. Son House even spent time on Parchman Farm for killing a man in self defence.

Blues Fundamentals

Blues Fundamentals

After finding an online video teaching the two-fret (whole tone) string bend as a fundamental blues lick, there has been a certain degree of disagreement around the office as to whether this simple bend can constitute an blues fundamental.

How can something as simple as this elicit so much passionate debate?
Well, it`s all about emotion, passion and technique.

For me the ultimate blues lick would probably have to consist of only one note and some might say that maybe no-one has played it yet. I disagree:

On Freddie King’s “Pack It Up”, and “Shake Your Booty Baby” King takes this simple single bend technique and pushes it to its emotional maximum.

If you wanna hear simple blues playing that just really really cooks like a blister burning on the surface of the sun this album is the real deal. If you play the guitar and you`d like to develop the kind of passion and string control that will take you somewhere then this is one of the top ten albums in your list:

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

I said yesterday that I`d write about Robert Johnson; there`s a lot of hoodoo wrapped up around the man, in particular that he sold his soul to the devil down in Clarksdale. Originally, Son House suggested, Johnson was not regarded as a good musician but after the trade with Satan he returned with the blazing skills and blues mastery of a demi-god.