Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to play blues guitar - Lightnin' Hopkins



 

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Lightnin's guitar style could be quite basic or quite complex, but it was never out of place, or awkward. He used the damped bass style of thumb picking, in the am way as Mance Lipscomb, and master like Broonzy, more often than not preferring to play in E.

For ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ the tune picked on the higher strings roughly mirrors the vocal line, sometimes not a very bright idea, but of course Lightnin' s shows how it's done! Hopkins' guitar guitar was usually tuned down a step or two, probably to suit his low voice, and maybe to help bend those strings around.

A throbbing bass line drives the music and the results are almost supernatural. A master playing moderate to slow blues songs in E or A, he could show his complete control of his thumb action by creating syncopation while singing along at the same time!. (Check out 'Mojo Hand' and try it out yourself - you need good chops!)

The best tip for playing the Hopkins way is go nice and steady, all the while trying to make it sound 'real'. When we think about acoustic blues guitar, its very often music from the Mississippi played in E, the high trebles notes underscored by the driving bass line of that monotonic thumb stroke.

Of course, we can make blues as complex as it can be, but it's true that the most attractive and effective music is frequently simple – it’s the approach and feeling that separates them. An expert such as Texas blues man Lightnin Hopkins, could of course play complicated arrangements, but was best known for making music with an incredible deep and bluesy sound.

 When beginning to look around for those ideal acoustic blues guitar lessons, many folks use the omnipresent 'G', and Google it, as they say. Increasingly more searches for just about anything you could imagine are carried out on Youtube - as a matter of fact it's the 2nd most used search engine after Google itself. Similar to Google, the amount of results found for a term such as 'acoustic' is formidable - how do you pick the tuition that suits you, and how to play blues guitar in the authentic style?

Youtube guitar videos feature all kinds of techniques and skill levels, both paid and for free. Blues guitar tabs of course are the basis of the most effective guitar lessons. It doesn't have to be that complex in the least, with only simple indications of finger movements and blues chord progressions. Many blues tabs have too much complexity, attempting to encapsulate the overall style of the old blues playing, a task not really plausible!

This directs us to the second attribute of great blues guitar courses - the instructor has to be able to play the guitar very well (and the tablature should show exactly what he is demonstrating.) Guitar tab itself isn't enough to translate that delicate pause, or the monotonic thumb strike that hits off-beat when required to complement the song style.

Sure, the tab can indicate the fact that one movement should be damped with the heel of the picking hand, but can't indicate that action itself doesn't continue, but changes in sound as the pressure of the hand in contact with the guitar strings is constantly being varied according to the flow of the music. It's best not to rush when searching for instruction, of any kind.

The Orientals say 'a year or two spent doing little else but finding the right teacher is very well spent'. This is a good observation. You don't need to take a year in your search, but choose with care and take no notice of the hype. Don't expect to improve in two weeks, take it easy, don't push yourself too hard and above all, enjoy the ride and the music.

Looking on the world wide web for guitar tuition in video format can be a time consuming activity, especially for the new student with hardly any experience. What are some of the things to look for in the most effective packages on offer? As you could imagine, we can identify desirable features that could assist in choosing the right instructor.

Lessons should be painless To Follow

Although it just about stands without saying, any lesson for whatever subject should progress in a logical way and be simple to absorb. First steps need to be properly described, and grow into further tuition. Of course music notation has it's place, but the new guitar player is basically impatient to start the learning process - he just wants to play some guitar! This should be the primary step, presenting the fundamental things that can be put into practice right away. When it comes down to it, a deep understanding of the buidling blocks will give huge advantages later on in the instruction.