Traditional acoustic blues is the bedrock on which rock, jazz, country, and electric blues music was formed. Without acoustic blues as a foundation, we would have no Elvis, no Led Zeppelin, no Rolling Stones, and no Jimi Hendrix. While crucial to the development of modern music, the study of acoustic blues is, at the same time, the study of the future of American music as well. Acoustic blues remains an important influence on ongoing generations of musicians, including The White Stripes, The Black Keys, G. Love, and many more important current artists.
Acoustic Blues Guitar is geared towards students with pick-style electric and acoustic guitar backgrounds and offers a structured and comprehensive entrance into the world of fingerstyle and bottleneck acoustic blues guitar. The goal of the course is for students to develop a foundational, working repertoire in the acoustic blues style that includes early and contemporary material from the Mississippi Delta, Texas, Georgia/Carolinas, and more. You will learn to fingerpick melodies and solos over independent bass patterns, and perform in the acoustic bottleneck slide style in standard and open tunings. These techniques will provide a strong platform for pursuing folk, pop/rock, country, and other fingerpicking guitar styles. The course also provides an important perspective on the history of traditional blues, including its artists and the regions in which the music developed. You will gain an appreciation of the role traditional blues artists played in the development of all American music that followed and how the legacy of acoustic blues is manifested today.
The material will be presented with extensive tab/notation, audio, and video, with music broken down into digestible concepts for the acoustic blues novice and intermediate level guitarists to master. The initial focus of the course is to develop independence between the thumb and fingers of the picking hand. As the comfort level is established with single-note bass patterns, the course introduces alternate bass figures upon an ever-expanding repertoire. The course then explores the bottleneck style (slide over bass patterns) and alternate tunings, concluding with a study of current contemporary voices in the acoustic blues style.
Artists covered include Big Bill Broonzy, Tommy Johnson, Elizabeth Cotton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Tampa Red, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, Corey Harris, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Johnson, and more.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
recognize the primary regions where blues developed, including the characteristics of music and representative artists in each region
fingerpick melodies and solos over independent bass patterns
perform in the acoustic bottleneck slide style in standard and open tunings
develop a varied repertoire of acoustic blues that includes historic as well as contemporary examples