Tag Archives: blues

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.

Bill Frisell – glacial effects

In a recent post featuring Adrian Legg I slyly suggested that Bill Frisell was definitely another idiosycratic guitarist to look for in your listening research. Bill has always been an exponent of an healthy array of effects – most notably delay, reverb, chorus and more rarely pitch shifters to create unique tones and sounds; a uniquity exaggerated by his jazz leanings combined with clean sustain and an emotionally oblique sense of melody.

He does however ensure that his use of processing, or effects, don`t colour his sound in a way that might obscure the emotional intent or message. and seems incapable of descending into gratuitous, meaningless affectation. Bill often sounds as if his notes are shards of ice slowly melting as they descend through warmer water and the overall impression is of a glacial and ambivalently jazz-blues fusion. It`s a novel approach to sound, feel and melody that conjures up a sense of constant ideation. Use it…

17th Century Schizoid Man I

The lute’s strings are arranged in courses of two strings each with the highest-pitched course usually consists of only a single string. An 8-course Renaissance lute will usually have 15 strings, and a 13-course Baroque lute will have 24.
If you listen carefully to the lesser known songs on albums by Cream you will hear the classical training of maestro Jack Bruce evident in passages redolent of the Bream Consort above.

Blues Threads – Mojo Hand

…you`re stuck between a rock and a hard place ?

…up to your middle at the crossroads trapped amid the gleam of a loamy moon?

…or find yerself petitioned by the Baron, aboard the skullbone trap of the Devils midnight charter?

Well, if your black cat bone just evaporates into an unholy dust, your Black Spider Dumpling gots the taste of a drowning witch – sold to you by a snake oil trickster with badluck in his teeth then you better head on over to

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.

Dylan, Bloomfield, Son House and the Highway 61 Blues

SO if you dont know who Mike Bloomfield is here`s a chance to catch up. Bloomfield was one of the first popular music stars of the 60s to earn his reputation entirely on his instrumental prowess and his early supporters were Buddy Guy, B.B.King, Muddy Waters and Dylan. Bloomfield got together with Elvin Bishop and Paul Butterfield and formed the Butterfield Blues Band who were in part responsible for bringing that whole Chicago sound from a black to a white audience. Butterfiled was famous for his cross-harp inverted harmonica style. You can hear them both hear prior to Bloomfield`s departure to form Electric Flag.

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:

Resonator guitars

The stunning resonator guitars featured in the pictures above are of handmade resonators made right here in Aotearoa, New Zealand by Russ Mattsen. For over 10 years Luthier Russ Mattsen has been handcrafting Resonator Guitars, built to inspire the playing of the Blues. With design options across materials such as brass, copper and nickel or innovative or traditional body style options these resonators are absolutely amazing to play and there is one currently available at Mojo SOund in Wellington.

Terry Robb – updated

No description, introduction or eulogy required. Terry Robb is a blues guitarist occupying a unique position in the guitar pantheon as an exponent of American Primitivism a style pioneered by John Fahey and derived from the country blues and string band music of the 20’s and 30’s. If you own a gramophone and are familiar […]