Page 1


Beginning

--..

e

fry ArnieBerle and Mark Galbo.

Amsco Publications N ew York . London . Sydney


Edited by Roland O newell Interior design and layout by Mirror Mountain Productions Copyrigh t C 1993 by Amsco Publications , A Division of Musk Sales Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved. No part of this book ma y be reproduced in an y form or by any electronic or mechanica l means includi ng information storage and retrieval systems. without permission in writing from the publisher. Order No. AM 71390

us International SUndard Book Number: 0.8256.2556.4 UK Internat iona l Standard Book Number: O.7119.1509.1

Exclusive Distributors:

Music sales Corporation 257 Park Avenue South , New York, NY 10010 USA Music SalOl llmlted 8/9 Frith Street . London WI V 512 England Music sales Ply. Umited 120 Rothschild Street. Rosebery, Syd ney , NSW 2018, Austral ia Printed in the United States of America by VICks Uthograph and Printing Corporation


C O NT ENTS Introduction 4 The Origins of the Blues 6 TheFonn 6 The Beat 8 Picking-HandTechnique for Fmgerstyle Guitar 8

Preparing to Play Our First Blues 10 Building a Solid Technique 10 The Alternating Bass 10 Picking with the Fingers 11 Combining theThumb and Fingers 11

Preparing to Play a Blues in G 17 Preparing to Play a Blues in E 19 Melody Notes 21 Eighth Notes, Dotted Notes, and Syncopation 33 Eighth Notes and theAlternating Bass 33 Dotted Rhythms 38 Syncopation 41

Blue Notes 46 Fretting-Hand Techniques 50 Hammerons 50 Pulloffi 52 Slides 53 Double Stops 54 Bends 55 Vibrato 55

Picking-Hand Techniques 56 The Brushstroke 56 Heel Damping 57 Walking Basslines 58

Playing Chords in the Higher Positions 62 Vamps 70

Singing the Blues 76 The Blues Lyric Fonn 76 Turnaround Fills 79

Five Blues Piece; 81 Contents of Compact Disc 96


I NTROD UCTI ON One day back in March of 1988 a you ng m an named Mark Galbo came to me to study jazz guitar. Over the next several we eks I learn ed a lor abour him . He was rwenry-seven yea rs old . he held a deg ree in music. and he was an excell ent blues guitarist, He taught at his studio and as a guest clinician at blu es festivals. H e also performed all over the country at these festivals and in cl ubs rhroughour rhe New Yo rk area. H e has played wirh so me of th e lead ing blues guitarists of our tim e. incl udi ng Etta Bake r and John Cep has. Th is was of great int erest to me because altho ugh I have been associa te d p tima rily wit h jazz thro ug h my h u nd red s of co lumn s for Guitar Player magazine and the many books I have writ ten , I greatly love finge rstyle blues guitar. For a long tim e I had wanred to write a book on the subject. As time went by and I saw Mark for his wee kly lesson s. I became more and more impressed with his ded ication to the blues, his conscientio usness about ever yrh ing he d id . and his art iculate ness. I asked him if he wou ld like to co llabo rate with me o n a bo ok. T his is the result of that collabo ration . Since the blues falls into th e category of folk or "u nschooled" music, there has always bee n a mystique as to how a studen t might go about learni ng it . Legends abo un d abo ut how Robert Joh nson learned his craft from the devil or a wit ch docto r. We know that many bluesmen learned just by hanging around their elders. But most o f us don't have that oppo rtun ity and have co turn CO instru cti on al books. One type of book co ntains direct transcriptions of blues solos by the masters. Unfo rtunately, many are dauntingly difficult and require a rather advanced technique. The advantage to this bo ok is th at we will start fro m the very begi n ni ng an d grad ua lly wo rk coward greater sop histication . Not o nly will yo u learn the techniq ue necessary CO approach the wor ks of the blues maste rs, bu t you will acquire the too ls to make up your own pie ces. And if yo u decide that yo u want to branch out into other styles o f mu sic. the fin gerpicking techniques you learn here will give you a good basis for explo ratio ns into ragtim e. co u n t ry-a nd -wes tern , folk, and even classical music .


Introduction '

All yo u n eed

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stan is an abi l ity to play so me o f th e basic o pe n-

positio n chords, If yo u can't do th is, d on't wo rry, as all cho rd form s used are show n in d iagram form . All the m usica l exam pl es are given in both st anda rd notat ion and tablature. In o rde r to acq ua i n t yo u w ith th e true flavor o f th e blues so un d, whi ch cann o t be not ated, w e have inclu ded a co mpac t d isc. It ill ustrates most o f the materi al in th is book and li sten in g to it as yo u

progr ess wi ll help to give you a better idea of th e sou nd yo u sho uld be strivin g fo r. Finally. we urge yo u to listen (0 as man y reco rds as yo u can fin d and to attend perform ances by blu es players .


THE O RIGINS OF TH E BLUES Well before the beginning of the twentieth cent ury the re existed in Am erica a large body of music performed by black people for black people. Ir included min strel shows, wo rk songs. field cries o r hollers, and spirituals. H owever, at some tim e during the 18905no one knows any exact dates- anoth er kind of mu sic co uld be

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be called "the blues" sometime aro und 1900. Ma Rain ey, quoted in Sandra R. Lieb's excellent bio graphy M a Rainey, M other of the Blues, says th at she first heard the word "blues" applied to a song she heard sun g by a little girl on a street co rne r in 1902 .

Although th e blues emerged from all over th e Sout h , many of th e most important and influential blues musicians came from Mi ssissippi. T here, scores of impoverished , wandering perform ers accompanied themselves on the guitar at turpent ine and lumb er camps, roadside cafes. railroad stations, and street corners. O ut of many a few were recorded and have becom e famo us am ong

aficionados of early blues. Bluesmen like Charlie Patton , Robert Johnson , Son H ous e, and Bukka W hite helped develop a style known as country blues wh ich has been cop ied over and over again throughout the world. Co untry blues were about unrequited love. lon eliness, troub les at work, the desire to travel (I got to keep movin) , or of specific events. "Backwater Blues" told o f a flood on the Mississippi River. Other songs were about legendary personalities like c.c. Rider and Stagger Lee.

The Form The early street musicians wo uld sing thei r sto ries, adapti ng the musical form to their lyrics. It might have taken them nine, twelve . thirteen. o r any numb er of measures to get throu gh a verse. Their melodies were simple, direct, and element al; their accompaniments often con sisted of nothing mo re than a single chord or a repeated riff. However, th e spread in popularity of the blues led inev itably to its modification and standardization. Ever larger numb ers of phonograph owners picked up an interest in the blues and favored records that were to their own tastes. Bands began to play the blues not just as acco mpaniments but as instrumental pieces. W.C . Handy, who came to be known as "the Father of the Blues," wrote down songs so tha t they could be publi shed an d sold as sheet mu sic. H andy himself receives credit


The Origins ofthe Blues Âť7

for composi ng rhe first blues ro be prinred. Some people considered that Handy's songs were not real blues. but it is mo re valuable co think o f him as emblem atic of the influences that began (and have nor yer ceased) ro filrer inro rhe bl ues and mo dify ir. Today, the twelve-m easure verse reigns as the classic blues form. And whe n we speak o f a twelve-b ar blues we are not just speaking of a num ber of bears. bu r also of a definit e cycle of chords. As we ment ion ed above, the early blue s singers wo uld often use o nly a single cho rd to acco mpany an entire so ng. As thei r melodies became more so phisticated they brough t in more cho rds, borrowin g from rhe sim ple folk songs and church hymns they knew. T he classic pattern uses the cho rds that are built o n the first. fourth, and fifth degrees of a major (or mi no r) scale. In a major key these chords are the three major cho rds, and are know n as a key's p rimary cho rds. Forgett ing the other cho rds in the key and using only these three prim ary chords, it is still possible [ 0 har monize any melody note in th e key. Below we see the I. IV. and V cho rds in th e key of A Major. D

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Still, what is spec ial abo u t the blues progression is not the use o f these three cho rds. but rather their arrangement over the twel ve measures of the verse.

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The sound of the above progression is so distinct ive and commo n that anyone who has the slightest famili arity with popular music will recognize it immediately. The example shown above would constitute one complete verse, o r chorus. of the blues. The performer repeats it as many times as he wishes.


8 â&#x20AC;˘ Beginning Fingmtyk Blues Guitar

The Beat Keeping a solid rhythm is esse n tial to building an aut he n tic solo blu es so und. T he bl uesm an in tu itivel y understands that rhythm is of the body and therefore mu st be expressed by the body during performance. Sto mping out the beat with the foot is the most direct and effect ive techniq ue fo r acco mplishing thi s aim . In fact. the solo blues player is like a o ne-ma n ba nd. The foot will act as drum mer, the th umb as bass player, the right-hand fin gers as rhythm and lead guitarists. and the playe r has the vo ice with whi ch to sing. The early blu es perfo rmer, usuall y armed with only an acou stic guitar. was routi nely exp ected to play "dance" music in crowded , noisy atmospheres. H e wou ld use his entire bod y as well as his instrume nt to capture the crowd's anen t ion and co mmunicate to them his own person al beat. Soon th e dancers wo uld be movin g to his rhythm and an improvisatio nal give-andtake would occur between music ian and dancer. sending the blues so ng in new d irections. T he co nnectio n between dance and music cannot be overstated to on e who wou ld play blues guitar. Try [0 infu se all the exercises and pie ces in th is book with a sense of rhythm and exp ression. Listen to the accompanying cassett e to hear how even the mo st basic exercises can have rhythm ic life bre athed into th em . Only th e for m of blues mu sic is simple; its passion ate co nte nt is anot her matter.

Picking-Hand Technique for Fingerstyle Guitar The standard classical fingerpicking techn ique calls for the use of the thumb plus the first three picki ng-ha nd fingers. T he thum b is used predo m inantl y to pluck the bass notes whi le the index. midd le, and ring fingers pi ck th e treble notes. The pictures below illus trate thi s picking technique used in thi s book and on the tape.

The thumb will usuall y st rike the bo ttom th ree strings- E(6th), A(5t h), and D (4th)-while the index finger strikes the G(3 rd) string, th e middle finge r th e B(2nd) st ring, and th e ring finger th e hi gh Ef l st) string. The music examp le below sho ws how this appro ach looks in the standard no tation and tablature we wi ll be usin g through out thi s book.


The Qrigim of rhe Blues ' 9

PU

E

A

D

G

B

E

Now we'll move o n to so me exerc ises design ed to get yo ur picking hand into the correct positio n. As you play, keep in mind two things: (1) stay relaxed, an d (2l strive fo r a full , warm musical tone. Paying at tent ion to what yo ur ears hear will keep yo u mus ical. No tice that both exerci ses are based entirely o n o pen smogs.

I ,

pr

r r r

r r r pr r r r

r r r

r r r r

~e should note that there are many possible variations o n the

'r.ngetStyle tech nique. T he Reverend Gary Davis and John Cephas use only their thum b and index finge r. Etta Baker picks prim aril y with her thumb and two fingers. Some players use fingerpicks to obtain a louder. mo re aggressive sound. Listen to all approaches

and follow your intuition. If yo u already have a style that you are comfortable with, yo u may certa inly apply it to the material in this book. Wh at is important is the quality of the mu sic created.

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P REPARI N G TO PLAY O UR FIRST B LUES In this sec tio n we arc goi ng to work up to our first blues. We've cho sen the key of A, the same key we employed in dicussing the blu es progressio n. O nce again , the three basic chords used for a

blues in A are A(I), D(IV) , an d E(V) . T he key signature of A contai ns three sharps- F# . C#, and G #. It is very important to understand that since we will be playin g in A and we w ill be wor kin g with cho rds derived from rhar key, the key signat ure fo r that key wi ll be shown at the beginning o f each lin e o f music. It is importan t to understan d this because any cho rd can be related

to

mo re than one key. Fo r example, the D cho rd is rhe IV cho rd in th e key of A, but it is also th e I cho rd in rhe key of D. T he E cho rd rhat is the V chord in the key of A is also the IV cho rd in the key of B. Yo u mi gh t want to refer to a book o n harmony for a more deta iled explanatio n.

Building a Solid Technique T his first sect io n of the book cont ains stu dies designed to co nnect th e thumb to the beat of rhe foor and rhen to develop ind ependen ce of the fin gers ov er that steady beat. If yo u find that so me o f the beginning exe rcises are too easy then perhaps you should sk ip ahead to more difficult materi al. But if th e d ifficulty of the music eve r causes yo u to lose yo ur steady rhythm yo u ou ght to ret urn to the point wh ere yo u can execute the music without losing the beat. Tap yo ur foot!

The Alt ern ating Bass T he fou nd ati on of country blues guitar playin g is the rh yrhm ic dr ive of rhe alternating bass. Ulrima tely yo ur pl ayin g will only be as good as yo ur rhythm ic drive is so lid . So let 's exam ine thi s technique. The first exercise bel ow is based o n an o pe n A chord.

Altho ugh you o nly play two note s of th e cho rd it's important ro fin ger [he co mplete cho rd. No rice th at th e thum b (p) is alternating between the root, A , and the not e E, the fi fth of the chor d. Repeat the exercise until you can play it smoothly. All ow

each no te to li ng out clearly. Afrer playin g rhe A be sure that th e rh um b d oesn't touch th e fifth stri ng as it come s back ro pi ck th e E on rhe fo urth str ing. W h ile playi ng with th e rhumb keep your right-h and fi ngers in good position : that is, w ith the inde x fin ger ( I) abov e the rhird str ing , rhe middle fin ger (m) above the seco nd str ing , an d rhe ann ular (ring) finger (a) above the first string.


Preparing to Play Our First Blues ' 11

A

I p~ lap:

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P

2

3

4

Picking with th e Fingers This exercise is again based on the o pen-posicion A chord, with [he fingers playing rhe nor es of rhe cho rd . You may use rhe i-m-a fingering o r any fingering that you feel is more co nvenient. A

dl tap: 1 2 3 4

Combining th e T humb and Fingers In this next exercise try to be precise abou t synchronizing the thumb and fingers o n beat o ne of each measure. Allow each chord tone to ring for the full fo ur counts. A

pr Pr' lap:

1

2

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r

3

4

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12 ' Beginning Fingmtyk Blues Guitar

The following exercise is based on half not es played against the quarter-not e alternating bass. Again. be sure that the chord no tes and the bass no tes are synchronized. Tap you r foot and keep the rhythm steady. A

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Here you play quarrer notes with your fingers against quarter no tes in the bass.

A

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Fingerpicking the D Chord Below is an alternating bass for the 0 chord. No tice th at the coot is played on th e second an d fourth beats rather th an on th e first and th ird. T his is because whe n we listen co the early blues fingerpickers playin g this chord we hear th ar they almost always st ruc k the A (the fifth of the cho rd) first , followed by th e 0 note.

o

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Preparing to Play Our First Blues · 13

Pick this D arpeggio below as shown. Be sure to ho ld th e cho rd down well thro ughou t. D

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Here we will play the tones of the D chord against an altern ating bass. ~ ~

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D

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Here we'll play half notes against the bass. u ~

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D

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14 • &ginningFingmtyk Blues Guitar

And finally we'll play quart er nores against the alte rnating bass. D "

II

I

II

J

I

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I

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i ii i

Fingerpicking th e E Cho rd Below is an alternating bassline for th e E cho rd. Notice that both of its tones are roots. This is not the usual way to play an alternating bass, but the way this chord is go ing to be used in ou r first blues song is the same way it is heard on recordi ngs by early blues guitarists. Remember to finger the com plete cho rd .

II

II

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pr

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- r - r

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Below are the ton es of th e E cho rd as played with the fing ers. II

• H u

II

E

··

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Preparing to Play Our First Blues • 15

The following exercises co mbine the tones of th e chord with the alternating bass. Below are whole notes played against the bass. ~ ~

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·· Here are half notes against the alternatin g bass. o ~

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And quarter not es against the alternating bass.

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16 • &ginningFingm tyk BIUti Guitar

Since we've just practiced the A, 0 , and E chords. let's now try playing th em in the twelve-bar bl ues form. It's very im portant th at you go smoothly from chord 10 chord with out any hesit ati on. Play slowly and keep the bass not es steady.

B LUES IN II

A

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PREPARING TO PLAY A B LUES IN

G

T he I, IV, and V cho rds in rhe key of G are G(I), C(IY) , and D(V). Below are rhe alternati ng bass and cho rd ton es for th e G chord. T hough th is fingeti ng for the G chord is not the mosr co mmo nly used , for now it is suitab le for o ur purpose . G

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Fingerpicking the C Chord Here are the elements of the alternating basslin e and chord tones

for rhe C chord.

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18 • Btginning Fingerstyk Blues Guitar

Below is a study based on the twelve-bar blues form using the G, C , cho rds we've just practiced , plus th e D chord we used in th e previou s section. Playas slow ly as you need to in order to keep yout beat steady.

B LUES IN

G

G I

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P REPARING TO P LAY A B LUES IN

E

The I, IV, and V chords in rhe key of E are E(I) , A(lV ), and B7(V). Since we already know rhe fingerings for the E and A chords, let 's work on th e B7 cho rd. employed here as a dominant seventh chord. A dom inant seven th chord con tains fou r disti nct

tones-the root , th ird , and fifth of a major cho rd , plus a seventh tone a minor third above the fifth. Alth ou gh for convenience and

simplicity we have waited until now to introduce it, the dominant seventh is the mo st common versio n o f the V chord not on ly in

the blues but in many other types of music as well.

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20 • &ginning Fingmtyk Blues Guitar

H ere is a srudy using the twelve-bar blues form with th e E. A. and B7 cho rds.

TWELVE- BAR B LUES IN

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M ELO DY N OT ES So far th e th ree blues we've played have been made up so lely of notes taken from the cho rds we we re holdin g down with our fretting hand. This of co urse limits our melodies, so now we are going to increase our melodic pot ential with the addition o f 000chord rones. Earlier we learned that cho rds co me from scales; now we will expand our co ncept of melody to incl ude all the not es in the scale. whether o r not they are in the cho rd that we happen co be hold in g d own . For so me cho rds we may be ab le to play all of the notes in t he scale while holdi ng d own th e cho rd , while wit h other cho rds we may be limited to just a few no tes of the scale simply because some chord forms make it to o diffi cu lt to play all of th e melo dy notes. Sometimes if you wish to be able to play more melod y notes yo u may have ro finger certain chord forms a littl e d ifferen tly than you are used to .

Melody No tes and the A Chord Th e fo llowing exercise is based o n playing the A cho rd and all its melod y notes. It 's very im po rtan t that you hold down the chord throughour th e en tire exercise whi le playing t he mel od y no tes. Note the new fingering.

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22 • BeginningFingmtyk Blues Guitar

T he A Chord, Melody Notes, and the Alte rnati ng Bass In [h is exercise hold down [he A cho rd while playing melod y notes against the alte rnating bass. A II ~

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MaDdy Notes »23

In this exercise play half note s against the alternating bass. A A

II

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Here we play quarter notes against the alternating bass. A I

r

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J J J J I I

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Melody No tes and the D Cho rd T he followin g exercises are based on playing the D chord and its related melody notes. Only when th e mel od y note and the cho rd note co nflict must you move your finger off the chord. as in the first measure of the first exercise, where in order to play the melody not e G you have (Q remove your first finger from the chord note A.

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24 • Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

Notice the new fingering for the 0 chord . Playing with the thumb on the low F# is a common practice of traditional bluesmen.

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·· D Chord Melody Notes and the Alternating Bass

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In this exercise be sure to hold down the chord as you play the melody notes against the alte rnating bass. DIPI

r

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T

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T

J ~,

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r r r r

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Also play the 0 cho rd and its related scale to nes in who le notes and quarter no tes against the alternati ng bass.


M<lndy Notes • 25

Melody Notes and th e E Chord Hold down th e E chord as shown while you play th e melody no tes. Using the seco nd finger to hol d down two n o tes frees yo ur third finger co play ot he rs. This is another co mmo n techni que of

blues players.

iii 221

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Now, hold down th e E cho rd while playing melod y no tes against the alternati ng bass. E

~ ~

r

-

r

A

~

~ ~

I

-

r

r

J -

r

r

-

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·· For additional practice hold down th e E chord while playing th e melody no tes in who le notes and quarter no tes against the alternating bass.


26 • Beginning Fing=tyle Blues Guitar

Now rhar you've pracriced playing the melody nares related to rhe A, 0 , and E chords, let's play a blu es which makes use of all rhe scale tones in the key of A.

First and Second Endings Before we play rhis next blu es, look at th e first ending bar in th e eleventh and twelfth measu res. T he blues is usua lly played for more than on e cho rus, and the first ending is a device that indicates that you should return to the beginning of the progression. The first ending is so metimes called a tu rnaround simply because that's what it do es; it [Urns you around to the begin ni ng. No tice that the twelfth measure in the first endi ng co ntains an E(V) cho rd wh ich sets you up harmonically to return to the ton ic (A) chord in the first measu re. Ar rhe second ending you stay on the A chord.

A

B LUES IN A

a ~

r

a ~

WITH M ELODY N OTES

DIF" •

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Melody Notes »27

II

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Melody Notes and the G Chord Now we will hold down th e G chord while playing its relat ed melody notes. G

II

I 3

4

4

·· I

I

·


28 • Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

O nce again hold down th e G chord while playing the melody no tes against the alrernad ng bass. G

~

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J

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I

r r r r r r r r r r r r r r r

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For additional practi ce hold down the G chord and play the melod y not es in whole not es and quarter no tes against the alternating bass. Use the same rhythm ic figures as wit h the A

cho rd.

Melody Notes and the C Chord Hold down the C cho rd while playing the related melody no res.

~

I

32 1

,

L

4.

L

·· I

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··


Melody Notes Âť 29

Hold down th e C cho rd througho ut the followin g exercise, which is based on that cho rd and its telated melody notes, all played against the alrerna ring bass. It is important that the second finger of the fretting hand hold down the alternating bass note E as well as the melody n ote A. It wo uld be best [ 0 use the second fin ger to press down both notes. Al tho ugh such situatio ns d on't oc cur very often, if a co nflic t does arise between the melo dy and the bass, make the mel od y sing and keep the rhythm movin g by stroking th e muted string with YO Ut picking-hand thumb.

c

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Don't fo rget to play the above exercise with who le notes and quarter no tes too .

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30 • Beginning Fing=tyk Bluts Guitar

B LUES IN

G

WIT H M ELODY N OT ES

G

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Melody Notes ' 31

Melody Notes and the B7 Chord In th is exercise hold down the B7 cho rd as shown and play its related melod y notes. 87

1 I

4

4.

4

,

I

I

I

H

Be sure to hold down the B7 chord throughout the enti re exercise as you play the melod y notes against the alternating bass. 87

~ II

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Play the above exercise in whole note s and quarrer no tes against the alternati ng bass.

I

r r r r


32 • Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

Here is an examp le of a blues played in the key of E bur with ton es that are not part of the cho rds they are played over. An

earli er blues played in the key of E (page 20) used on ly chord tones. The addition of other scale tones adds variety to the tune.

E WITH

B LUES IN

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E IGH TH N OT ES, D OTT ED N OTES, AND SYNCO PATI O N This is an eighth no te l' Two eighth notes are written like this

n

Two eighth not es equal one quarter note

n

=

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When playing eigh th no tes it is helpful to tap YOut foot and count aloud . Play the following exercise and tap YOut foot . Note that we call th e and the offbeat.

o ~t _~~ J

2

34

J and2 and 3and4and

2

J

34

Jand2and 3 and 4and

Eighth No tes an d the Alternating Bass The following exercises are based o n playing various combinations of eighth and quarter notes against the quarter-note alternating bass. Be sure your thumb maintains a steady bear. Repeat each exercise as many ti mes as it takes [ 0 play smoothly. G

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J 2 34


34 • Brginning Fingm tyk Btu" Gtutar

T his next exercise uses G-c ho rd mel od y to nes in eigh th notes against th e q uart er-no tc alte rnating bass. Play slow ly and cou n

aloud.

.

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H ere are a few more exercises to give yo u so me p racti ce.

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Eighth Now, Dotted Now, and Syncopation . 35

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36 • BeginningFingerstyle Blues Guitar

Now let's use some o f the rhythms we have seen above in a twelv ebar blues form ar. Below is a blues in the key of A. Note the use of both chord and non-cho rd to nes.

IN A

B LUES

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Eighth Notes. Dotted Notes. and Syncopation ' 37

An exce lle nt way of develo ping yo ur tech nique is to play the same piece of music in differen t keys. H ere is the same blues yo u just

played but switched

to

the key of G .

B LU ES IN

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38 â&#x20AC;˘ Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

Dotted Rhythms T he Dotted Quarter No te-Eigh th N ote Com bina tion The dotted quarter no te has a value equal to a quarter not e plus an eighth note.

The fo llowing exe rcise ill ustrates how the dotted quarte r note is used . Play slowly and co unt alou d .

_

m

12&34&12&34&12 &/ This

4 & becomes this

with these lies

In the following exercise the dott ed quarter no te is played against a quarter-n ote alternatin g bass. It wo uld be most helpful [Q co un t this aloud, making sure that the eighth not e is played exactly betwee n the two quarter not es in the bass. G

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2 &

3

r 4 &

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2 & 3

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T his exe rcise employs scale ton es over a G cho rd . G

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Eighth Now, Dotted Now, and Syncopation • 39

T he Eigh th Note- Dotted Quarter Note Com bination The foll owing exercise illustrates ho w the do tted quarter note is played when it follows an eighth not e. It's very important that you co unt alo ud wh ile playing throu gh this exerc ise.

~ ~Pd i&23&41&i %':111' 2 3 & 4 becomes this

with these ties

This

Here an eigh th not e- cloned quarter note rhythm is played against the quarter-n o te alternating bass. Keep counting alo ud .

"

.

G

r

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/ & 2

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i & 4

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/ & 2

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3 & 4

In this exercise the G-ch ord melod y notes are played as eighth notes followed by dotted quarter notes against the quaner-note alternating bass. G

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40 • Beginning Fingm tyk Blues Guitar

Now we will combine the doned q uarter no te-eighth note pattern with an eighth nore-d orred quarte r note pattern played against an alte rna ti ng bass. G

r r r &r r r r r

I

3

2 &

4

2 & 3 & 4

I

Now let's play th e same rhythm com bi na tion s as above wit h th e G cho rd and its related scale to nes.

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B LUES IN

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Eighth Notes. DottedNotes. and Syncopation . 41

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Syncopation In blues mu sic co ntai ni ng four beats to th e me asure th ere is a natural accen t on the first an d third beats. These are recognized as stro ng beats. Syncopation is an intentio nal shifti ng of th e acce nt away fro m these beats, towa rd th e seco nd and fo urth heats o r the offbeats. Below are several examples of co mmon ly used syncopatio ns .

~ This

with these ties

becomes this

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42 â&#x20AC;˘ Beginning Fingmtyk Blues Guitar

No tice that two tied eighth notes are wri tte n as quarter notes with eig hth no tes on eit her side . It's very impo rtant that yo u count this alo ud. The accents occur o n the offbeats of the seco nd and fourch co u n ts.

Here is the same syncopated figure played against the alternating bass. G

r r r r r r r r Below are several examples o f the use of synco pated figures played aga inst an alte rnating bass. These examples will be easy to play if yo u co u n t them aloud and tap yo ur fo ot o n each beat. G A

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Eighth Notes, DottedNotes, and Syncopation ·

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44 • Beginning Fingen/yle Blues Guitar

Now let's use so me synco pated rhythms in a co uple of twelve-b ar blues exercises. As always . co unt alo ng wi th the alternating bass

and try

to

get a feel for rhe synco pated rhythms bein g played

against the quarter notes. Pay particular atte ntio n to where the & (and) co mes in between the quarter no tes.

G W IT H

B LU ES I N G

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Eighth Notes, DottedNotes, and Syncopation . 45

B LUES IN E I

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S YNCO PATI O NS

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BLUE N OT ES As we discussed earlier, the blues began as a voca l mu sic, but it wasn't lon g before early jazz bands and jazz instrume ntalists began to ado pt the form as a vehicle for band arrangements and improvisation . Th ey would try to capture the emot ion and the mournful so u nd o f th e singing of th e blues singer. This so und, so particular to the blues, was a result of the singe r's tendency to alter the pitch of certain notes as he sang . T hese altered notes (which are not in any European scale and, strictly speaking, can o nly be approximated on a fixed -pi tc h instr u ment such as a piano) we re heard so often in the blu es so ngs that they came [ 0 be called "blue" notes. In tryin g to imitate the so und of these blu es singers jazz instrumentalists began to use these same blue notes in their impro vised solos . Let's have a look at them . For our pu rposes right now, they ate the flatted rhird, fifth , and seven t h degrees of the major scale. Por example, th e blue notes in th e key of C ate Eb, G b. and Bb.

~

C major scale -e. 0 I 2 deg rees

"3

n

4

" 5

Blue notes

..

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II

6

7

8

~" b3

~5

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In man y o f th e blues solos which follow yo u will no tice that some of th e previously practiced melody notes have become blue notes. T hese have, through the years, develo ped into a very impo rtant part of every blues player's vocabul ary, and are used not o nly in the blues but also in ot he r forms of music to create a "bluesy" sou nd . Now OUt blues pieces will fin ally begin to leave behind the "straight" major so und o f the previous pieces and approach the true blue s so und. This next tune is in the key of E and contains two blue notes associat ed w ith that key-G \ an d 0\ (in straight E they wo uld be G # and 0# ). Alt ho ugh Bb is also a blue note in the key of E, it is not used in this solo. You do not have to use all the blu e note s in any particul ar tune- or for that matter, any blue notes at all. But they do add a distinctive touch to the mu sic.


Blue Notes - 47

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Bl", Nous • 49

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F RETT ING- H

AN D ' l ' ECH NI Q UES

T his chapte r is designed to acquaint yo u with so me o f the guitaristic techniques fo und in blues playin g. We will examine the use of hammer ons and pulloffs, slides, double sto ps, bends, and vibrato . It is through rhe use of rhe se rechn iq ues that players add ind ividu al expression to their blues. These mu sical nu ances are developed over the co urse of a player's lifetime and are parr o f what eventually becomes an id entifiable style. As we exa m ine each o f them li sten ca re fully co the in struction C D to ensur e co rrect

.

.

In rcr p reran o n.

Hammerons A guitarist exec utes a hammeron by tapping his finger rapidly and cleanly onto the finger board to so und a nore, as opposed ( 0 picking an already held note. A hammeron is mo st o ften executed on e, ( WO, or three frets (o n the same string) above either an open string or a no te that has just been picked in the convention al mann er.

The first example below shows a hammeron on the offbeat. Sim ply pick the open G su ing and then on the o ffbeat hammer yo ur index finger onto rhe first fret (G#). E

-


Fretting-Hand Techniques . 51

In our nexr exam ple we will add an alterna ti ng bass. Simply hold an E cho rd and each rim e you pick the open G also pick th e bass note. E

-

r

-

I

T

r

-

-

Below we see how the hamm eron is inco rporated into a mu sical

passage. Again. hold th e E7 cho rd th rou ghout th e en ti re exercise.

II

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No w let's take a look at a hammeron played on th e beat . The exampl e below shows the basic tech nique. Be sure to co unt so yo u can make sure that the hamm ered not e sounds on the first, second. third, and fourth counts of the measu re. II

H

E


52 • Beginning Finf[trstyle BI""s Guitar

And here is a simi lar hamm eron used in a musical passage.

8

1

Pulloffs A pull off is the opposi te of a hamm eron: you sound a note by snapping your frettin g finger off a held note to let a lower note sound on the same string. In the example below yo u pick the F ~ on the second fret of the first st rin g and then pull off your finger' (0 so und the open string . D

-

-

-

-

Now let's see how pulloffs can be used in a musical passage. For the next (WO examples tunc the low E string down co 0 and finger th e D cho rd. In th e example below the pu lled- off no te comes on the offbea t. Pick the F: on the first beat while sim ultaneo usly striking the bass n ote 0 with yo ur thumb. Then, o n the offbea t, pu ll your finger off th e F: to sound the open E. D

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Fretting-Hand Techniques • 5~

In this example the pu lloffs fall both on th e beats and on the offbeats . Por the pulloff on the beat pick th e Fs on the offbeat and, as the thum b str ikes the open 0 bass note on the beat of the second co unt , pull off the seco nd fing er from the F# to so und the open E. D

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··

·· Slides To play th e slides show n below, pick the A on the 3rd string, 2nd fret, then slide up to th e 4th fret. Don't pick the second note. Make sure to keep yo ur timing accurate.

-

In th e next exam ple we' ll add a ba ss note, E, to th e ove rall sound . Liste n to th e accompanying CD .

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54 • &ginningFingmtyk Blues Guitar

This exam ple illustrates the cho rd slide. Note th at this slide so unds from the and o f the fourth co unt in the first measure to the first beat of the seco nd measure. To execute it play the notes C and G# o n the first fret with the index finger, then slide this finger up to the second fret just as the th umb st rikes the bass note A. No tice the hammeron co ming into the first me asure. E7 A •

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In the simplest sense a double stop mean s that yo u play two notes at once. The exam ple below shows a typi cal blu es double stop in the key of E. Notice the high position .

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I


Fretting-Hand Techniques . 55

Bends Perhaps more rhan an y other tec hnique, the ben d offe rs o p porruni ry for exp ression and nuance. Mastering the art of bending strings can take many years, so have patience. In ou r first example pick rhe thi rd fre t, first string G and then push th e st ring up toward s you . T h is will raise the pitch of th e note. T he new note will so und somewhere between a G\ and a G ~ (i.e., it will be a blue note). Listen to th e acco m pa ny ing CD to hear how it should sound . In th e pieces at the end of the book yo u'll be seeing some bends of this type. We have notat ed th em with a lillie curved line ( J) coming off th e note th at is to be bent.

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â&#x20AC;˘

V ibrato Vib rat o refers to the so und produced whe n yo u mo ve yo ur fin ger side -co-s ide or up- and-down on a string. It's like exec uting a rapid succession of small bends. The vibrato is co ntro lled by how much and how fast you move your fin ger on the string . Listen to the accompanying C D ro hear th e diffe ren t type s o f possibl e vibrato effects.


PI CKI NG -HAND TECH NIQU ES U p to thi s point we have studied how to play an alte rnating bass

with the thumb whil e pi cking sing le-note mel odies with th e fingers. N ow we are going to look at a few other techniques that will help OUf playin g so und eve n more authentic.

The Brushstroke Th e brushsrroke gives a ni ce rhythm ic drive to any blues accompanim ent and provid es a sim ple, effective co ntrast to the sing le-no te pi cking we've been using. In the first example we see

the brushst roke used with an E chord . The alte rna ting bass is sim ply an E in oc taves. T he stro ke is exec uted by brushing your index fin ger up against the th ree to p strings . The brushsrrok es are

played on th e offbeats. while the alte rn ati ng bass is always played on the beat . Be sure to hold the E chord throu ghout the exe rcise .

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Picking-Hand Tecbniqun â&#x20AC;˘ 57

And here is a b rus hsr ro ke wirh th e B7 cho rd. 87

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At th is po int tr y go ing back and playing through some bl ues progressions using the brushstr o ke technique. O nly by consta n tly playin g these new techn iqu es throu gh blu es progression s in d ifferen t keys will yo u gain facility in usin g th em .

Heel Damping Heel damping is o ne o f the most useful tools in a gu itar player's picking-hand ap proach . It ca n help to sepa rate t he bass from th e treble and tighten th e overall so u nd o f t he guitar. It ca n also be used to muffie jus t the bass strings. givi ng the thumbed nore s a more percussive attac k. When used skillfully in co mbinatio n with undam ped treb le strings it can create the illusio n of two guitarists playin g toge the r.

ReS! t he heel o f yo ur pick in g hand o n top o f th e str ings righ t next to t he bridge o f th e gu itar. By expe rime n ting yo u wi ll be able to find th e positio n th at will be mo st co m fo rt able fo r yo u. T he most im portant th ing is to ac hieve the desired so und wh ile avoiding any u nnece ssary ten sio n in yo ur hand . Look at the pictures fo r the correct positi o n and listen [ 0 th e C D for the sou nd . (T he C D will ill ustrate t he exa m ple below with and wit ho ut heel d amp in g.) It wi ll take a lo t of practice to master t his technique. so stay wi th it, A good idea wo uld be co go back to some of the earlie r exe rcises in th e bo ok and play them wi th heel damp ing.


58 • Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

Walking Basslines Walk ing basslines work vety well wirh heel damping and brushstroking. A walking bassli ne is co nstr ucte d from the no tes o f the cho rd. Let's take the key of G and examine this techn iqu e.

T he examp le below shows a bassline for rhe G cho rd. Stri ke rhe bass nares wirh your rhum b while brushi ng up with rhe rhe index fing er on the offbeats. Pay particular atten tion to the fretting-hand fingering indication s. G

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H ere is a walkin g bassline for the C chord .

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Picking-Hand Techniques . 59

Now let's co mbine the above three chords into a twelve-bar blues in th e key of G . T he followi ng tu ne sounds similar to what Blind Boy Fuller played in his "Step It Up And Go" blu es.

B LU ES IN

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60 • Beginning Fingmtyk Blues Guitar

The posit ion s requ ired

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execute the bassline in the key of E are

fairly di fficult. If you can't manage th em now co me back to th is sectio n w he n yo u have developed mo re strength in your fretting

hand. The bassline for th e E chord requires a lot of work with th e little finger. Tty the alternate fin geting For th e E chord to help you reach th e G: and C: with the pink y. Below is a picture of this fi ngering with rhe littl e fin ger reachi ng the G: .

Here is a w alking basslin e fo r the E cho rd . E

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The next example shows a bassline for the A cho rd. Use yo ur index finger to hold dow n all thr ee of the notes on the second fret. Reach up for the Cs and F: notes wit h your rin g fin ger. A

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·· Fo r the 8 7 cho rd use the alternating bass that we looked at earlier.


Picking-Hand Techniques ' 61

Now let 's play a twelve-ba t blues in E with a walking ba sslin e. Listen to the CD to hear how effec tive thi s style can be as an accompanim ent pattern. Try it with and without heel dampi ng .

B LU ES IN

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P LAYI N G CH ORDS IN T HE HI GH ER P O SITI O N S Up to this poi nt most of the cho rds we've been using have been

played in the open position on the lowest region of the fingerboard . Now we're going to see how it is possible to play some of them highe r up. Doi ng so will enable us to pull off some muc h more sop histicated blues. Fo r ou r first example, let's use the E7 chord. Here it is in the basic o pen position .

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Below is the same chord played in l lnd , Vrh, and IXth position s. (The positi on refers to the resting point of the first finger along the frerboard .)

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Th e exercise on the next page is based on the four differen(

positions of the E7 chord show n above. Strike each chord four times in each measure. Be sure to play from cho rd co cho rd as

smoothly as possible. Try di fferent combinat ions.


Playing Chords in theHigherPositions • 63

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Now lee's look at some of the d ifferent positions available for the A7 cho rd. Here is th e basic ope n-position A7 chord ,

Below is the A7 chord shown in three d ifferent positions.

The following exercise is based on the A7 cho rd played in the vario us position s sho wn above . Again . rey different co mbina tio ns of the positi on s.

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64 â&#x20AC;˘ Beginning Fingmtyk BI"" Guitar

Now let's look at the 8 7 chord with a few of irs po ssible position forms . Here is the open-p ositi on form that yo u sho uld know well by now.

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And here are so me different position s for it. B7

l VI' B7

~~ This next exercise is based o n the 8 7 ch ord and its different posit ions. Once agai n, tr y to play all the changes as smoo t hly as possible.

tr In o rder to create a more " bluesy" feeling, many players voi ce all their chords as seventh chords. We've just learned how to play di fferenr in versions of the E7, A7, and 8 7 cho rds. As you know, these chords are the primary chords in the key of E. Before we play a blues solo with them let's first practice movi ng smoo thly amo ng them . Below are three exercises based on the E7, A7 , and 8 7 chords using the new voicings we've just learned .


Pidying Chords in thr High" Positions • 65

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66 • Beginning hngmtyle Btues Guitar

And finally, here's a blues using seventh chords in a var iety of positions. Watch for slight variation s.

B LUES IN

E W IT H

S EVENTH S AND I NVERSIO NS E7

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P/ayinl( Chords in theHigbe« Positions »67

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68 • Beginning Fingm tyk Blues Guitar

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Next we'll tr y a blues in the key of G using sevent h and ninth chords, We' ll be tryin g out some new cho rd forms. T he di agrams and the tab will clue you in to th e tigh t Fingerings. N inth chords are just seven th cho rds wi th an extra to ne a third above the seventh.

G W IT H

B LUES I N G7

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Playing Chords in the Higher Positions » 69

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VAMPS In order co esrablish a particular mood, a blues player will ofren playa sho rt phrase or riff over and over again before starting his piece. Such a phrase is known as a vamp. Vamps are also used as segues between short pieces in the sam e key. Below is an example of a vamp in the key of C . Note th at we are using a relatively complex bassline. To execute it simply alternate you r fretting-hand ring fin ger betwe en the low C and G notes. Practice th e vamp unti l you can play ir smoorhly and with a flow ing rhythm ic feeling. C I

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.....,

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Now let 's playa series o f sho rt pieces which we will connect by using the ab ove vamp. These five pieces are typical of the "sweet" co un t ry blues style associated with such pla yers as Miss issip pi Joh n HUll and Etta Baker. Use the vamp you've just pract iced as an introduction to the first pi ece. W hen you've finish ed , go ba ck into t he vamp to co n nect you with the seco nd piece. Notice tha t these pi eces are not the usual blu es that we've been playing. They are not twelve bars in lengt h and do not use the usual cho rd progression.


P I EC E

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72 • BeginninK Fineerstyle Blues Guitar

PI ECE

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Vamps· 73

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For the next segment we 've written out two bars o f the vamp in order to show that the note on the offb eat of the fourth co unt in

th e second measure of th e vamp has been cha nged to a high G ( l sr str ing. Brd frer) so that it will move smo othly into th e first beat of the piece. Thus th e G on th e first count of the piece is anticipated in the vamp . N otice also that there is a chord change on the third coun t o f the second measure.

PI ECE

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74 • Beginning Fingerstvie Blues Guitar

Finally, we'll move into a shorr piece by veteran blues player Etta Baker. No te the tension she creates by usin g so me rather odd intervals. D on't be misled by the disson ant-sounding not es on the first cou nt of the first measure. To produce these notes simply move an E7 chord shape up on e fret on th e fin gerboard .

PIECE C

(add 9)

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Utmps · 75

Here are two more vamp s that can be used as in rros co any blu es

in the key of E.

V AM P I N

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SI N GI N G

TH E B LUES

The most powerful and direc t manner of exp ressing the blu es is by singing . The ea rliest blu es grew Q U[ o f wo rk so ngs, ch u rch so ngs, cha n ts, an d field holl ers, an d were su ng un accompanied. The gu ita r became t he logical ch o ice for an accompanyi ng instr u men t, as it was relati vely in exp en sive, po rtab le, a nd o ffered both rh yrhmi c an d harm onic cap ab ilities. W ith thi s in mind let us examin e t he basic relationship between blu es singing and the . . gUita r acco m pa mmen t.

The Blues Lyri c Form T he most co m mo n ly used form of t he blu es, as we've already di scussed , is the twelve-b ar fo rm . T he blu es lyric divi d es th ese twel ve bars into th ree sections ta king up four bars eac h: A {op ening statem ent}

I go t these b lues, M am a. I'm n ot

sati sfied.

A (rep rar ofstatem ent] I got these blues, M a ma, I'm not satisfied. B (am wering statement) Well, th at's the reaso n I ran away and cried. T he music bel ow shows how the lyrics fall ac ross the twel ve bars. In this tun e each fou r-ba r p hrase starts o n the and o f the fo urth cou n t. Pickup notes like th ese are co m mo n in bl ues lyrics. Opening sraUment I!

I

E

Repeat ofopening staUment I! A7

E

~- got

lhe<.e_blues._

Ma. ma. I"m nol _

sat •

A7

1- H$I~

is · (ied._

IClosing statement m 87

I' m nOI _ sat - is - fied._

Well that's the rea-son _ why_l _

A7

5tolea· way_ and

cried.


Singing the Blues ' 77

No w let's take a closer look at each of the ab ove three sections . Notice th at within each four-bar sectio n th e lyric part occupies o n ly tw o bars and is foll owed by a pause. It is in th is two-bar pause that th e guitarist has an opport un ity to fill in with a sho rt solo or riff. T his is th e "calf-and -response." The singer sings, or "calls," for two ba rs and th e gu itar "respo nds" for rwo bars. The mu sic below illustrates a co mplete blues arra nge me n t, beginning wit h a two-bar vamp taken from the last cha p te r. E

,, " ~

··

~

I

"~

.......

-

..--

-

got these _

....... Ma-ma,

blues.

-

'\

··

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-

-

-

sal

I' m not -

is

E

~

-

fied.

rl l'

6

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r

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,....

A7

r

I

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r

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"~

I

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r

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got these_ blues. _

,.....

"~ •

--

A7

r

I

Ma-ma.

-

r

I

sal -

I' m not -

~ I'

6, ~

_

-

I

-

r

-

fled. -

l ....

6,

r

IS


78 • Beginning Fingmty/e Blues Guitar E Jl ~

.........

~

.......

Well that's the Jl

-

~

~.

A

.

r

Jl ~

~

....... stole a

A

Jl

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rea-son_

why _

.. r r - r r

-

r

·

.

way

I

cried.

and

~ r---

h

r

--

Il.. r---

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A7

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r

I

-

1

r

.

-

r

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Below are three fills or responses that could have been used in the bl ues just played. Learn each one and th en go back and play th e blues arrangement using it in the respo nse part. T here are an infinite number of possible fills. Try to make up your own using these as starting points. E7

Jl

~. ~

I

~

ri.r- .,

- r - r

r

r

I

nJ

- r - r

r

··

r

··


80 • Btginninf( Finf(mtyk Blues Guitar

"

~

.

E

1'\ -

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i i

-

B7

r-

r #r

r1.t'

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i r -r r

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f' H

.

E7

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-

n-

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B7

E.r.&i

.1"

··

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w

At thi s point yo u sho uld have som e ide a of how to approach singing a blu es, and of th e possible inter play bet ween the voice and the guita r. Try making up your own blues lyric usin g the A-AB pattern we discussed on page 76. T hen add an accompaniment an d fills an d yo u will have a so ng!


Singing the Blua » 79

"

~

.

4

D.

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-

r

.p.

·· -

-

r

r

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T his next fill is played on the upper register of the finge rboa rd .

.

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j~ ....

I 4

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r

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r

~ (#>.:

~

-

r

I

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t

··

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~

Turnaround Fills We have already discussed how a blues can be repeated as many times as the player wants . Each time the blue s is to be repeated a turnaro und is used in the eleventh and twelfth measures. Below are three exam ples of turnaro und fills whi ch may be played in those measures and are designed to lead yo u back [0 the beginning of the progression . After you get the idea tr y to make up some of your own . E

r r

B7

r r i- r


FI VE B LUES PI EC ES We will co ncl ude with five co m p le te blues pi eces. Four of th em arc arra nge me n ts of tr aditional so n gs, and th e fi fth is an o rigi nal in str ument a l. T h e pi ece s wer e se lec te d for t heir m u sical as we ll as t heir ed uca t io nal va l ue . Ea ch co n tains te ch niq ues we have al rea dy st ud ie d, but he re we are more co nce rne d wit h t hem as t ypes of authenti c blu es t h an as exe rcises. Th ese a r ra n ge m e n ts sh o u ld be st a rt in g p oin t s for yo u r own ex perience with th is mu sic. In o rde r to fully ap precia te them , as we ll as to u nde rs ta nd w ha t goes in to inter pretin g and arra ng ing blues so ngs , yo u shou ld list en to th e origi na l artists and hear how th ey played. Pl ease co nsu lt the di scograp hy fo r d eta ils o n reco rd ings of t h e so ngs.

At t hi s po int t he compact d isc w ill be yo U< be st gui de. Use t he wr i t te n mu sic as a ro ad m ap to un d erst and cho rd positions and frets . W e have incl ud ed a wr itte n ana lysis of each pi ece , b u t t he bulk of th e ex pla na t io ns ap peat o n th e C D , wh ich wi ll tak e yo u th rou gh eac h t un c step-b y-ste p. We ca n't st ress too mu ch t hat t he best way to lear n t h is kind o f m usic is to listen ro th e reco rdin gs of th e g tea ts.

M & 0

B LU ES

Th is M ississi p p i Del ta blue s, popu larized b y t he g rea t Wi ll ie Brown , is a hi ghl y rh ythmi c p iece. Although it is writt en here in th e key o f E. it wa s playe d on th e reco rdi ng wit h a capo on th e seco nd Fret. After you've lear ned th e p iece as writt en , play it w it h th e capo. Eith er of th e two sectio ns can be used as an accompa n ime n t fo r th e voc al, b u t th e second sectio n w ill also work well as an instr ume n tal. Sta rr b y learn in g t he fi rst sect io n , as it is m uc h easier. Th e se co nd sectio n w ill req uire careful list en ing to th e CD to e nsu re co rrec t interpretat ion .

M usical An alysis If yo u h ave st ud ie d th e sect io n on fre tt ing -ha nd techniq ues on pages 50 -55 , t he mu sic in th e fir st sec t io n sho uld presen t no p ro bl em . In d eed , t he last h am m er o n examp le (page 54) fro rn th at sect io n was de si gned spec ifica lly to p repar e yo u fo r t his pi ece. You might also tr y playi ng th e t un e usi ng t h e bru sh srroke tec h niq ue.


82 â&#x20AC;˘ Brginning Fingmtyle Blues Guitar

Section two of "M & 0 Blues" is built prim arily aro und an extended melodic phrase. contrasting with the rhythmic playing of sect io n one. H ear how effective this m elodi c phrase is as an accompanime nt co the vocal. After yo u've learn ed this part of th e tune you can begin to add the vocal line over th e inst rumental.

Vocal m"ody

I'm gon- na leave.

gon - na

ca tch

thai

0.

and

M

A

_

E

~

I'm gon - na leave.

gon- na

lhal

catch

B7

M

and

I' m go- in'

O.

E

A

~ ~~ ,~~~jl w. y_ _

do wn south where

l

ain',

ncv

er

been _

be - fo re. _ _


Five Blues Pieces ' 83

M& O

·

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r

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r

·

~

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r-

H

·

E

,....

~

:t r

:t -

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I

r

;.....

r

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I

,.

r

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r-.... h,

.....

r

:t

r

A

~

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r-... ~ }J:

r

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;..... h.

I

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r

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... r r

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r

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r

r

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r

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;.....

r

B7

-. J"" ,.....

r V r

-

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r

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,..... ,.....

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r

,.... ,.... -

E

-

,....

r

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r

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,.... r-..

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I

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A7

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r:

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A7

-

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.....

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,.-

B LU ES

r

r

,....

r"'""

I

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r

I

r r

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·· ·


84 • Btginninghngmtyk Btu" Guitar

E

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II

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hLJ II

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tr

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A7

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Five Blues Pieces Âť85

A dditional lyrics 2. I got a notio n and, Lo rd , I believe that I will. I gor a notion an d, Lo rd . I bel ieve that I will. I'm gonna bui ld me a mansion out on Decatur H ill. 3. I asked her how ' bo ut it, and Lordy , she said "alright ." I asked her how 'bout it , and Lo rdy, she said "alr ight." But then she never sho wed up at (he shack last n igh t.

4 . I sta rted

to

beat my woman 'til she laid down ' cross my bed

I sta rt ed to be at my woman ' til she lai d dow n ' cross my bed.

But then she looked so amb it ious I to ok back all the wor ds I said.

5. Reptat first

VU st

B EEKM AN B LU ES

This original instrumental is the first of two pie ces that use a dr op-D tun in g. The title comes from the town of Beekman, N ew York, where rhere is a two-hundred-year-old roadhouse that has long been a gathering place for musicians. It was there that Mark Galbo fir st saw Taj Mahal; th is piece is high ly influenced by Maha!'s playing.

Musical An alysis The piece has been arranged in two parts. The first is a straightfo rward alte rn ati ng bass with hammerons and pulloffs . This should presen t no prob lem s if you've stu d ied thos e move s in the sectio n on fretting-hand techniques (page 54) . Notice th at in measure six, on th e offbeat of th e fourth co unt, we return to the D chord , anticipating th e next measure by a ha lf beat. The seco nd part is j ust an eigh t-bar solo id ea t hat yo u ca n su bstit u te for th e fir st eigh t bar s o f part o ne. The last four bars remain un changed. N o t ice th at th is p art is written as four bars wit h a rep eat. To execu te th e so lo simply co m e o u t o f the D cho rd and slide yo ur rin g finger up the B st ring (2nd) to th e 7 th fret . To get the correct interpretation list en to the C D . Below is a pi cture of the hi gher position that yo u will slide to.


86 • Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar

B EEKMAN B LUES Tune 6th string to D D

r-- 1-nJ

-I

~ -

r =

~

r

I

I

= r =r i i

r

G

- ~

r

~

r = r

;0:

-

i

r -

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r

I

r

i

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= i _r = i

r

-

-

i

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.... 0 0

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i

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r--, "

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i

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i

i

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i

D

A

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D

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r-- r:J-nJ

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i 1

i r

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i r i

r

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-

-

= r

_r1_ 1. -

0 0 0

= i

r

~

r--

r

-

i

= i

r

r ··

D

Solo

.-rJ.

tol l

= r = oi i

r

• 0

Fe!

I

.

toI

ri

1

.n .

tol l

I.

t":I

rI

I

0

..

= r =i =i =r =r =r oi i i i i i .

·· ··


Five Blues Pieces • 87

B IG R OAD B LU ES

T his is a M ississippi D elta-style piece derived from [he playing of Tommy Johnson. It is played , like "Beekma n Blues," in dr op-D tun ing, and featu res a classic oc tave bassline. Fo r a great listen ing experience you sho uld cry co hear the origi nal recording: Joh nson had a trul y un ique vocal style.

Vocal melody

D

Cry- n'. ain't

go- in'down_ lhal

big road

by

go - in' down_ thai

big

road

my

by

car- ry you

I don' t want

-

se lf.

And if

J

D

G

A

can't

Cry-in',

D

G

ain' t

my· self.

no

-

bod

Y

else.

Musical Analysis T he pi ece has been arran ged wit h a vamp intro, alt erna ting between 0 m ajo r and 0 m ino r cho rds . M aster this paner n before go ing o n to the rest of the piece. since it is the st ruc t u re o n which everything else is built . As yo u list en to th e C D yo u wi ll hear th at t he vocal ca n be delivered ove r ei ther t he va m p or the octave bassline . T he bassline is best executed by using [he thumb on the lower note and sn app ing th e hi gh er note on th e 0 string with th e index finger. Practice this part sepa ra tely until it you have mastered it. Then add the treb le double sto ps found in th e bass lead riff. Notice that yo u pinch th ese trebl e notes in co mbination with the bass no te. Keep th e ba ssline m oving witho ut interruption. as it is a very effective part of the piece and gives th e illusion of two guitars playin g at o nce.

2. (No w me )


88 • Btginning Fingmtyk Bluts Guitar

D

@- D

i"'o

n r- ~r- N r-

= r = r -- r -r r r r

~

··

U ··

.

D

iB>=D

"

~

L~

~

qF iF -

. J) ··

#l F-

[

qF

#l ··

Notice in the eighth measu re th at on th e and of th e fourth count there is an open A note. Hit this note with yo ur thumb and then in measure five immediately hit a B on the first beat, again with your th umb . On rhe and of the fourth count of measure eighr start a chord slide into the A cho rd o f measure nine . We discussed rhis in our section on fretting-ha nd rechniques (page 54).


Five Blues Pieces »89

B IG R OAD B LUES D

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qr #r

-

r r

qr #r

r r

-

r r

qr #r

GIB A

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r qr #r"

-

r

1"'-

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A7

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..... - r- . r- r:--

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r

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r

r0-

·· -

r

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90 â&#x20AC;˘ Beginning Fingm tyk Blues Guitar

Additional lyrics 2.

No w the Mi ssissip pi River. it 's so deep and wide .

No w the Mississippi River, it 's so deep and wide. No w I be' so wo rried . baby. rryin' to cross

(0

th e: o ther side.

3. C ryin", su n's go n na sh ine. baby. t hro ugh my d oo r so med ay.

C ryin', su n's gan na shine, baby, th rough my doo r someday. Wd l th is rain's ganna change. ganna b low these blu es away.

4.

R~p(at

32-20

first

Vtru

B LUES

This is ano t her Delta blues by th e legendary Robert Johnson . It is in th e key of A. a very po p ular key for blues players becau se o f all th e ope n str ings t hat it makes available. T he drone bass used d u rin g th e first four measures gives the piece a special dr iving qu ality. The title refers to a type of sawed -o ff sho tgu n. which sho uld help you to un de rstan d t he lyri cs be tter ! A7

Ab7

A7

~~~ ~~~ ~ -~I~ - gHj If I

sent for my

ba -

by.

man. and r.he

D9

don ',

If '

co me.

A7

~ ~ ~~~~~~ sent for my

ba -

by.

E7

man.

and she

don' t

D9

come.

A7

~ J3ÂĽij F J "'.~ doc- tors in

Ho<

Springs

W~

All them

can' t

"'"

~

-

-

~

OO~ .

Mu sical Analysis "3 2-2 0 Blu es" co nta ins a good examp le o f the famous Rob ert Joh nso n tur narou nd . We see it during t he intro d uc tion as wel l as at th e end . No te th e d escendin g melod ic line o n t he 4 t h str ing (in t he t hird measure of t he in tra and elsew here) . Be su re to listen ( 0 t he C D and exam ine t he pho tog rap hs. Altho ugh the turn aro un d may be diffi cu lt at fir st , stay with it . It will ge t easier with p ractice. O n th e D 9 cho rd (fo u rt h measure of th e verse) use a thumbstroke o n beat two and a brushsr roke o n th e and o f three. No t ice also th e brushstroki ng in bars 1-4 . 7 . and 8 .


32-20

BLUES E

A7 Int ro

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h l~~ : ~

h~

" H

I

:J

r r r r r r r r r

1

I

r - r

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-

r r

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A7

"H

··

Ab/A

, h#~

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h~

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A7

r r r r r r r

-

h.

r r r r r r r r r

·· D9

A7

-

-

-

r

-

E7

-

r

-

-

-

-

-

r

-' - 1

-

r

r

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1"-0..

......,

r r r -

-

J J J

1"-0..

r

r

I

-

r r

D7

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-

r r r r r r

r

r

Ab7/A

1

'I


Five Blua Pieces »93

E

I

got

rats

in_

my

kit-c hen. I

got

Tats

in

bed.

my

In the

mom-nin'

I

Cal

A

~. break · fast

f WE ~ r=t ~"

in

my

You're just

breed.

0"'

black

87

I'm gon - na hide

gon - na catch yoor n il.

some . where be • neath

Some-day ' ·m

rat.

E

A

~

my

87

E

your shirt - tail.

M usical Analysis Other than its odd length , "Black Rat Swing" is fairly straightforward and sho uld be easy eno ugh if you have studied the section o n melody notes. N otice the slid es in measures 13 and 14,

22 and 23. Mark uses his middle finger

to

slide up

to

the fourth

fret, then slides down to (he seco nd fret and uses his index finger

on fret one, which puts him in position

to

play the E chord.


92 • Beginning Fingersty/e Blues Guitar

E

d J •

r

~ 1"""'1 -

r

r

J J J

I

-

·· -

I

i

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D7/F:

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r r

A7

" i

·· Additional lyrics 2. I said , Oh baby, whe re's you spend th e night ? I said. O h baby. wher e's you spend the night ? You co me in this morni n ' and yo u ain't loo kin ' righ t .

3. I'm go nna shoor my pisto l. gonna shoo t my girl and go ne. I' m gonna shoo t my pistol . gonna shoot m y girl and gone .

You made me love you, now look wha t you have don e. 4. GOI a .38 special. boys. an d if do very well.

Go r a .38 special. boys. and it do very well. I've

gO l

a 32-20 . and it's a-burning.

5. If she geu un ru ly, t hi nks she do n ' t wan t me.

If she geu un ru ly, thin ks she don 't wan t me. T ake my 32-20 and cut her half in two. 6 . She's go t a .38 speci al bu t I beli eve it 's most roo lig h t.

She's

g Ol

a .38 specia l bur I believe it' s most roc light.

I' ve got a 3 2·20. gOI to make the cars alright .

B LACK RAT S WI NG

T his is a piece th at Mark learn ed from John Cephas while Mark was playin g at the Augusta Bluesweek. It is an excellent example of what is known as th e ' Piedmont" style of guita r picking. T he Pied mont style came o ut of the m id -Atlan ti c stat es (the Carolinas. Marylan d. erc.) and is bri ghter and more delicate than the Delt a style. In many Piedm ont blues tunes the performer will dou ble her vocal mel od y on th e guita r. You will notice also th at this blues does no t follow the usual format , but rather each verse take s up twenty-five bars. It was recorded in the 1940s by Memph is Minnie.


94 • Beginning Fingmtyk Blues Guitar

B LACK RAT S WI NG E

~ ~

··

- I

n

I

I

I

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r

r--,

r

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r

n r-

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J- JI

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··

H

• " ~ hJ oJ

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r

n r-

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r

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-

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r

hJ-JI

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- r

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r

r

r1

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r

r

A

J-D-J J- JI •

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r

:

I

I

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r 0

1

2 0

2

i

I

0

r

:

r

-

r

5

2 0

r

r

2

r

i :

-u

2 5

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Additional lyrics 2. Wh en you [old me you loved me You done told me a lie, But st ill I love yo u gir l until th e d.1y I die You' re just o ne black rat Someday I' m gon n a catc h you r tra il,

Go nna hide my shoes Somewhere beneath you r sh in -ta il.

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CO NT ENTS OF COMPACT DISC O n this reco rd ing, Mar k plays through JU St abo ut all of the exe rcises and pieces printed i n th e book. and he gives so me extra explana tio n of so me o f the co ncepts and techn ique s you have read abo ut. Below is a guide co the sequence o f seg ment s

on the C D , along wit h th e page numbers of the ir corresponding sectio ns in the bo o k.

Track/Page 1. 2. 3. page 10 4. page 11 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

page page page page page

12 16 18 20 21

10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

page page page page page page

26 27 30 32 33 37

16. page 38 17. page 40 18. 19. 20. 21. 22 . 23. 24.

page page page page page page page

41 44 45 46 47 48 50

T itle

Track/ Page Inrroduc d on 25. page 52 Tuning 26 . page 53 T hum b and fi nger pattern s 27 . page 54 for the A chord 28 . page 55 C o mb ini ng rhumb and finger s 29 . page 56 on th e A cho rd 30. page 57 D and E cho rd pattern s 3 1. page 59 Blues in A 32 . page 6 1 Blues in G 33 . page 62 Blues in E 34 . page 70 Melody no te for A, 0 , and 35 . page 7 1 E cho rds Blues in A wit h melody no tes 36 . page 72 G chord melody notes 37 . page 72 Blues in G with melody no tes 38. page 73 Blues in E wit h melody no tes 39 . page 74 40 . page 75 Eighth note s Blues in G with mixed 41. page 76 42 . page 8 1 rhythms Dotted rh ythms 43. page 85 Blues in G wit h dotted 44. page 87 45 . page 90 quarter no tes 46 . page 92 Sy ncopa tio n Blue s i n G w ith sy nco pat io ns Blues in E wi th sy nco pat io ns

Blue notes Blues in E wit h b lue not es Blues in A wi th blu e notes H amm eron s

T itle Pulloffs Slide s Doubl e sto ps Bends Bru shstto king Heel dam pi ng Blues in G wit h walking bass Blues in E wit h walking bass C ho rd i nversions

Vamp s Five pieces w ith co nn ec ting

vamps-Pi ece # 1 Piece #2 Piece #3 Piece #4 Piece #5 Vamp s in E Singing th e blue s M &O Blues Beek man Blues Big Road Blues 32-20 Blues Black Rat Swing


A step-by-ste p metho d for learn ing thi s rich and powerfu l style. Graded exercises tak e yo u fro m th e fundamentals o f fingerpicking to five a uthent ic blues tu nes. Each tec hniq ue is ca ref ully ex plained and illustrated in the book as well as on the accompanying co mpact disc. A ll mu sic is prese nted in bo t h sta nda r d n o t a ti on a n d tab lat ure. The o rigins of the blu es The 12-ba r blues form T he import ance o f the beat in th e blues The rol es of th e th umb and of the finger s Playing th e alternating ba ss Playing the melody Put ting the thumb and fingers togeth er

Who le notes, half notes, and quarter notes Fingerpicking pa tterns for va rious chords in vario us keys Playing o ur first blues The turnaround Melod y notes fo r eac h cho rd Eighth notes and dotted qua rter notes Synco pa tio n Blue notes Hammero ns Pulloffs Slides Double sto ps Bends Walking ba sslines Brushstrok ing Heel d amp ing Cho rd inversio ns Vamps Singing th e blues

M&O Blues Beekman Blues Big Road Blues 32-20 Blues Black Rat Swing

u'C

$2 1.95 in U.S.A .

Amsco Public ation s Order No . AM 7139U US ISBN 0.8256.2556.4 UK ISBN 0.7119.1509.1

Arnie berle beginning fingerstyle blues guitar  
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