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Hard time Blues Questions

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Hey Johnm,

Quick question, first verse, "A" phrase,  when you are moving between 3rd and 4th fret on the 5th string are you 1) lifting your middle finger off the third string in order to fret bass 2) using your pinky and ring finger to fret the bass, 3) placing index on third string while fretting bass with middle and ring 4) none of the above.

I'm really enjoying the tune, catch as catch can. I've got the intro solo down and moving on to the verse.  Plenty of challenges in this one - but a great tune to do via audio.  Quite a few variations and it is sometimes difficult for a novice like me to see how they fit e.g. how to swap them around (I suppose  this is because the phrasing is different lengths?)  After playing it awhile - I really appreciate Hardin's 'attack'!


Hi, john!

Miller Here!

Lot's of computer trouble, now just got a new virus program up and running, and my computer is able to send me to Weenieland for the first time in ages! I will try to catch up on the chatter, but want to have you e to me any info (again, since I had to erase all my old infected files like WinZip and PayPal) about this and the last tune you offered to Weenies.
This one sounds great, and the last one Slack thought was totally cool. I would like to download them and get on them.

Been playing old stuff, lots to go over, some jazz, some CB. Still work on Overtime Blues, Church Bells Blues, I Never Cried...

Hope to see you in Berkeley, sometime,
Cheers, Miller

Hi John D.,
I am really glad to hear you are getting into "Hard Time Blues", and I agree--Lane Hardin had a great attack and tremendous tone production, which the low tuning really seemed to help with, too.
In the A phrase in the first verse that you spoke of, I continue to hold onto the second fret of the third string with my middle finger, while using the ring and little finger to fret the third and fourth frets of the fifth string respectively (your option 2).  It is a very unorthodox reach and there's a reasonably good chance that it is not how Lane Hardin fingered it, but it was the only way I could figure out to get that bass line moving with the fretted third string continuing to sustain.  Alternatively, you could switch to index finger on the third string for that phrase, with middle and ring fingers on the fifth string, but you use some of the neat division of labor you get by having the middle finger "live" on the third string.
It is quite challenging the way Hardin mixed and matched his phrases throughout the song, but I finally figured out that he is pretty consistent with regard to phrase lengths.  I may create a kind of phrasing map to help illustrate this.
Best of luck in your continued work on the tune.  I will look forward to hearing it next summer.
All best,

Hey Miller!

Sorry to hear of your computer troubles.  Email is passe. :P

Download Winzip here:

John's latest lesson here:

And any other lesson here:

Welcome back.


Hi John, thanks for the reply.

Your reach and pinky use is much better than mine! (no surprise)  I think I will work with switching to the index as that is my tendency and try to pick a good spot to switch back (and I'll see how losing that "anchor" works out).



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