Acoustic Blues Guitar

Well, it is around the hundred year mark since the world first started noticing blues guitar players. Of course they were all acoustic guitar pickers then because they had very few places to plug their electric guitars in, but they made the best of what they had. Just as a basic first impression, I would say that blues guitar players kind of favor acoustic guitar every bit as much as electric guitar. A glaring example is the success Eric Clapton had with his Unplugged album, but there are plenty of other electric blues players whoare on record playing acoustic guitar. Even Jimi Hendrix appeared on TV playing some acoustic blues songs.

Acoustic blues guitar was brought to the world by the likes of by Robert Johnson, Bill Broonzy, and Rev. Gary Davis. Fingerpicking acoustic blues uses your thumb to play the bass notes while the first and second fingers play the melody. Bear in mind that the thumb is responsible for keeping time, so it will take some time getting your fingers to work independently but it will be worth it. Rev. Gary Davis was an acoustic blues player who used his thumb to strum the chords and only his index finger to play the melody.

Lightnin’ Hopkins was another acoustic blues player whose style was out of step with fashion when he was trying to make his way as a guitar player in his youth. Hopkins grew up listening to music played by bands but he learnt to play the guitar in isolation from other musicians. So he developed a guitar style that imitated a band playing lead, rhythm and bass. He even provided his oWell, it is around the hundred year mark since the world first started noticing blues guitar players. Of course they were all acoustic guitar pickers then because they had very few places to plug their electric guitars in, but they made the best of what they had. Just as a basic first impression, I would say that blues guitar players kind of favor acoustic guitar every bit as much as electric guitar. A glaring example is the success Eric Clapton had with his Unplugged album, but there are plenty of other electric blues players who are on record playing acoustic guitar. Even Jimi Hendrix appeared on TV playing some acoustic blues songs.

Acoustic blues guitar was brought to the world by the likes of by Robert Johnson, Bill Broonzy, and Rev. Gary Davis. Fingerpicking acoustic blues uses your thumb to play the bass notes while the first and second fingers play the melody. Bear in mind that the thumb is responsible for keeping time, so it will take some time getting your fingers to work independently but it will be worth it. Rev. Gary Davis was an acoustic blues player who used his thumb to strum the chords and only his index finger to play the melody.

Lightnin’ Hopkins was another acoustic blues player whose style was out of step with fashion when he was trying to make his way as a guitar player in his youth. Hopkins grew up listening to music played by bands but he learnt to play the guitar in isolation from other musicians. So he developed a guitar style that imitated a band playing lead, rhythm and bass. He even provided his own percussion by slapping the body of the guitar.

The secret to playing lots of acoustic blues songs is in learning a basic chord sequence. A one, four, five progression – for example C, F and G or G, C and D usually make an acoustic blues guitar chord sequence. Listening to the music of Mississippi John Hurt is a good way to get started on acoustic blues. His early career as a blues performer was hampered by his guitar and vocals being too subtle and expressive than was fashionable at the time.

You can do a web search for lessons on how to play acoustic blues guitar like the great bluesmen of the past, but as a general introduction to playing acoustic fingerstyle guitar, you cannot go wrong with the guitar technique known as “Travis Picking”. The basis of this style is to use the thumb, first, second and third fingers of the right hand to pick the strings in a predetermined sequence while the left hand plays chords. This is the basic idea of the style, but once you can perform this kind of picking with ease, you will find that you will begin to develop your own musical ideas that allow you to depart from rigidly playing standard chords and the same right hand picking patterns. “Travis Picking” was made popular by Country guitarist Merle Travis and popularized further by Chet Atkins.

So we have covered the names and techniques of great acoustic blues guitar players and found a basic way of playing the guitar that will set you on the road to being a blues guitarist.
wn percussion by slapping the body of the guitar.

The secret to playing lots of acoustic blues songs is in learning a basic chord sequence. A one, four, five progression – for example C, F and G or G, C and D usually make an acoustic blues guitar chord sequence. Listening to the music of Mississippi John Hurt is a good way to get started on acoustic blues. His early career as a blues performer was hampered by his guitar and vocals being too subtle and expressive than was fashionable at the time.

You can do a web search for lessons on how to play acoustic blues guitar like the great bluesmen of the past, but as a general introduction to playing acoustic fingerstyle guitar, you cannot go wrong with the guitar technique known as “Travis Picking”. The basis of this style is to use the thumb, first, second and third fingers of the right hand to pick the strings in a predetermined sequence while the left hand plays chords. This is the basic idea of the style, but once you can perform this kind of picking with ease, you will find that you will begin to develop your own musical ideas that allow you to depart from rigidly playing standard chords and the same right hand picking patterns. “Travis Picking” was made popular by Country guitarist Merle Travis and popularized further by Chet Atkins.

So we have covered the names and techniques of great acoustic blues guitar players and found a basic way of playing the guitar that will set you on the road to being a blues guitarist.

By: Ricky Sharples

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