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  #16  
Old 06-16-2019, 09:48 AM
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I’ve searched the net and get confused on what to learn. I normally just find songs to learn, but most acoustic blues tutorials are scales and riffs. So what’s the best way to get started and what should I concentrate on learning first. Thanks
Find a book of easy blues tunes that comes with the mp3 files (as a download) or with a cd and play along with the music.

That's basically how I learn everything, blues, Celtic, folk etc.

If you get confident enough to play for others, no one in the back of the room is going to whisper "He didn't learn that by ear" or "He had to use a looper to learn that"

No one cares, or has a clue about song learning except for geeks like us, It has nothing to do with the final product to the listener.
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  #17  
Old 06-16-2019, 12:31 PM
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As you study licks, tunes, etc. LISTEN to this album a few times. Seriously.

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  #18  
Old 06-16-2019, 12:58 PM
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4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch--ain't no way out.
This is most certainly not true. Blues is not about giving in to adversity, it's about overcoming it. By singing about even worse things, or using an upbeat tempo that presumably has a similar effect as joking and laughing about your hardship is (cf. the jokes told *by* Jews, or East-Block people before the Iron Curtain fell.
I think the tarantellas sung (and danced) in the south of Italy and certain parts Greece can be compared to the blues.
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  #19  
Old 06-16-2019, 01:03 PM
rwmct rwmct is offline
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5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks.

How about if you are crazy 'bout a Mercury???
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  #20  
Old 06-16-2019, 01:23 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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How about if you are crazy 'bout a Mercury???
Oh yeah... the AGF's wiiliejohnson doing the Mercury Blues in the S&T section...

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...89#post3362889
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  #21  
Old 06-16-2019, 01:45 PM
Dakotabison Dakotabison is offline
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Toby Walker, who is a member of this forum and posts here often, has a website specifically targeted at teaching people to play the blues. He has lesson sets targeted at beginners all the way up to advanced. You can purchase individual lesson sets or if you prefer he has added a membership platform which gives you access to all the available lessons. He's a great teacher, going beyond simply teaching you how to play a tune but how to embellish them to make them your own as you advance. I've learned a lot from his lessons.

www.tobywalkerslessons.com
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  #22  
Old 06-17-2019, 11:48 AM
jseth jseth is offline
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Great answers in here, with a few hilarious ones...

Addressing the whole "learning the Blues academically" topic, there's a great thread that illustrates exactly this. A member is confused because a song he's trying to learn is a 12 bar blues form instead of an 8 bar blues form... he actually had no idea that the Blues can be played over a 12 bar repeating phrase!

Lesson is: Don't get attached to what you "study and learn", ESPECIALLY when it comes to the Blues!

As an aside; personally, I LOVE the Blues and happen to be of the opinion that, without the Blues (and all that's come from it), we'd all be dancing to polkas and minuets!!! However, I'm a white, middle class, reasonably healthy guy... and the truth is, when I woke up this mornin'? Things didn't look bad at all!

I can't "fake" my way through blues songs that I can't relate to or grab a hold of... seems more than disingenuous to my sensibilities... so I only do a few Blues songs, but the Blues has flavored every bit of music I play, in some way or the other...
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  #23  
Old 06-17-2019, 11:59 AM
roylor4 roylor4 is offline
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1) Learn a variety of shuffles in E and A as well as several turnarounds.
2) Learn how to use the D7 shaped triad up and down the neck
3) Learn the Robert Johnson Blues "walk" (It's used in ZZ Top's "La Grange")
4) Learn 8 and 12 bar forms (12 is most common)
5) Learn at least one "fast change" blues form like "Key to the Highway"
6) Consider open G or D tunings and using a slide


The Blues are simple to learn in theory, but hard to perfect the soul behind the music.

Listen to A LOT of the old masters like: The 3 KIngs (BB, Freddy & Albert), Muddy Waters, RL Burnside, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy. Learning the feel will help you as much as learning the technical things.
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  #24  
Old 06-17-2019, 12:17 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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If you are writing blues lyrics, it's good to know these rules...

1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning..."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes... sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch--ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and company motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. Highway
b. Jailhouse
c. An empty bed
d. Bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. Gallery openings
c. Ivy league institutions
d. Golf courses

12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be a old ethnic person, and you slept in it.

13. You have the right to sing the Blues if:
a. You older than dirt
b. You blind
c. You shot a man in Memphis
d. You can't be satisfied

14. You don't have the right to sing the Blues if:
a. You have all your teeth
b. You were once blind but now can see
c. The man in Memphis lived
d. You have a pension fund

15. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

16. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues

17. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. Cheap wine
b. Whiskey or bourbon
c. Muddy water
d. Nasty black coffee

18. The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast

19. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broke-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

20. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

21. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

22. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

23. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit: a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.) b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Melon, Kiwi, etc.) c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jackleg Lemon Johnson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

24. I don't care how tragic your life: if you own even one computer, you cannot sing the blues.
Great stuff ! Thanks but regarding No.12.

See :

and

signed, Deaf Banana DeGaulle. (You did say a physical infirmity, a fruit, and a president's name didn't you?)
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  #25  
Old 06-17-2019, 01:25 PM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
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Lose it all, and then come back to sing about it.

Tony
Absolutely, you cannot sing the blues well unless you've been rock bottom.
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  #26  
Old 06-18-2019, 12:16 AM
sirwhale sirwhale is offline
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Originally Posted by 815C View Post
If you are writing blues lyrics, it's good to know these rules...
I had a good laugh at these. But this exactly the sort of thing you find funny after you have had a lot of exposure to blues and have listened to a lot of lyrics.

Best way to learn the blues. Listen to songs, learn songs. The more songs you learn and perfect, the more you will feel how to play it. I have learnt most of my songs via the lessons on Stefan Grossman's website.
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  #27  
Old 06-18-2019, 09:11 AM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Hi sloar,

I posted about this in another thread a while back. I've been concentrating on learning how to fingerpick blues for about 2.5 years now. I started with Mark Hanson's Introduction to Travis picking book and a couple of introductory videos from Toby Walker. About 7 months in I kind of stalled, my technique just wasn't letting me play tunes I liked. So I found a good teacher, and take a half hour lesson every week. I was surprised by how affordable he is (20 bucks, and this is not a cheap place to live). Here is my post from the other thread:

My teacher had me buy these 2 books. I've just finished the Steve James' book and just started Rick Rubin's.

https://www.amazon.com/Fingerstyle-B...YE6V95AFA9FA78

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/14...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The tunes are short, mostly 12 or 16 bar blues, but you can make up your own turn arounds to repeat. They will get you playing up the neck and using a lot off different techniques--droning and alternating bass, hammers on and off, slides, bends, palm muting, open tunings, slide on the fretting hand, etc. The come with downloadable sound files. Don't try to play them at the same speed as the author

There are some familiar tunes, but most are the author's own compositions "in the style of_______________." I found them challenging, but not impossible, and could play them almost mistake free after a week or 2. For reference, I'm a long time strummer who started finger picking about 2 and half years ago.

Mark Hanson also has some good books, which include 2 different arrangements of Freight Train and lots of other good stuff, not limited to blues tunes. Many here got started with his resources.
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  #28  
Old 06-19-2019, 02:42 AM
tonyo tonyo is offline
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Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post

My teacher had me buy these 2 books. I've just finished the Steve James' book and just started Rick Rubin's.

https://www.amazon.com/Fingerstyle-B...YE6V95AFA9FA78

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/14...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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Those links didn't work for me, would you mind posting in text the title and author of each book?


Thanks
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  #29  
Old 06-19-2019, 03:08 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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You're right, Tonyo... those links didn't work for me either. Here are Steve James' books and DVDs. The one that reeve21 is referencing is entitled, "Fingerstyle Blues Songbook," and is purplish in color.

Steve's material is excellent. He's a student of the blues and loves teaching it. I really like his books and tabs. I think they are easier to use than most. The book mentioned above comes with a CD with the tunes played both slowly and up to speed. His website also includes some free lessons and tabs.
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  #30  
Old 06-19-2019, 03:14 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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True, never sing a word you don't believe, or about something you have no experience with.

Or maybe just don't sing and concentrate on your playing

Meanwhile, here's a few other things to avoid

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