The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools
Old 02-15-2015, 03:19 AM
sirwhale sirwhale is online now
Registered User
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Spain
Posts: 1,043

I play quite a few blues songs on ukulele and guitar, all fingerpicking with either an alternating bass or a muted monotonic bass. I pick up the licks and turn arounds from each song and bit by bit the jigsaw keeps filling with pieces.

Never bothered with the scales too much. What I mean is I don't know all the pentatonic scales in the different degrees on the fretboard like say a flatpicker would. I've got a friend who plays jazz and knows a lot of chord theory and knows all the modes on the fretboard at different degrees.

I don't know any. What I do understand is intervals, and which intervals are the more important sounds for blues, which can be nicely bent etc. So I understand what I'm paying when I hit those notes. But spending time learning the scales at different degrees up the fret board, it's just not for me. I'd rather learn full songs and steal the licks to put in somewhere else. Lightnin' style I suppose.

The video lessons from the people mentioned above will have you paying blues songs very quickly...
Guitar: Camps Primera Negra A (a flamenco guitar)
Strings: Aquila Rubino, Knobloch CX
I play: Acoustic blues & folk
Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2015, 08:08 AM
richyrich richyrich is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 49

Thanks folks, I've taken all that's been said, I've made a good start with lightning Hopkins, I've got a few of his songs in motion now, just putting my own groove on them now.
Thanks again
Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2015, 09:50 PM
Toby Walker's Avatar
Toby Walker Toby Walker is offline
AGF Sponsor
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Stationary home in NJ. Mobile home on any given highway.
Posts: 8,724

Originally Posted by richyrich View Post
I have been playing guitar now for the past 2 and a half years, I want to learn the blues but I'm a little unsure about the best approach, where to start with it. I'm sure alot of you have been in the same place as me, so I'm looking to see how you have gone about it. I know there's alot of online material but again I'm unsure which Areas bepst to start with, who's good?
Hi Rich,

Seeing as how your question is 'how others have gotten into it' which may help you start you on your path then perhaps the best example I can give you is from my own experience. Very early on I was attracted, and still am, to both acoustic and electric style blues. As this is an acoustic oriented forum, and I'm assuming you're talking about acoustic music, I'll start there.

I was immediately attracted to the acoustic music of folks that, as it turned out, were very good imitators of the music. David Bromberg, Ry Cooder, John Hammond, Jorma Kaukonen come to mind. At 14 years of age I didn't know that they were copying the music from the originators... men and in some cases women who recorded the music in the 20's and 30's. Once I found this out I quickly purchased as much of this music as I could. As much as I loved listening to it, trying to figure out how to play it was very frustrating. Again, I had just turned 14, had just started learning a few chords and had no idea that there was something called 'fingerpicking.'

Back then there were only a few instruction books to learn from. Happy Traum had one out called Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar which literally opened up all the doors for me. In that book was a picture of Mississippi John Hurt, one of those original blues musicians that everyone else was copying from.

Using that book - which didn't come with any recording of someone playing the song, just a reference to the original recordings - I spent literally months and months learning how to master his style. Once I had it down, as well as some songs from Etta Baker, another player featured in the book, the songs that I heard on those records started to become a little easier to figure out.

The only other 'method' out there at the time were some books by Stefan Grossman. Once I found out about them I literally bought every one of them and again, dutifully spent many hours learning practically every song that they contained. Stefan covered a wider spectrum, from Piedomont to Delta, Texas to Ragtime blues. As with the previously mentioned book, all of Stefan's stuff didn't come with him playing anything but rather contained the original recordings of the songs from the 20's and 30's, and those were pretty scratched up!!! Even the tab back then was only 75% accurate... you really had to figure out the rest for yourself!

In spite of that by the time I was 16 I could pretty much play in all of those styles. Mention any of the names of those old guys like Hurt, House, Johnson, Patton, etc... and I had them down pat. The other benefit was that when I revisited those first albums by guys like Bromberg, Jorma and Cooder, I could play all of their stuff... note for note.

These days there are numerous avenues for learning this music, WAY more than when I was growing up. So... which one is right for you? Unfortunately this is going to be something you'll have to answer for yourself. The only way I can help you is by asking you some key questions.

Is there a particular style or artist(s) that really gets your feet tapping, your heart pounding? Identify that and what about that style do you find appealing? Start there. I will say that if you're a fan of acoustic blues then fingerpicking, (or even hybrid pick and fingers) is a technique that you absolutely must learn. All the great acoustic blues players do it.

Next, everyone learns differently. Some can open a book and figure things out. Others need to see what someone is doing. Still others can do it by using their ear. Finally, some folks enjoy doing a little of each. What way works best for You?

Finally, find those sources of learning... DVDs, YouTube, downloads, private instruction... and pour everything you have into it. Considering that you already expressed a desire to learn this style, that shouldn't be that hard to do.

I wish you the best of success in your journey.
Reply With Quote

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > PLAY and Write

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:20 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=