Country Blues > Country Blues Licks and Lessons

Casey Bill Weldon

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Now that I've started playing a bit for the first time in years, I've pulled out my old Stella Hawaiian guitar.  (A quick aside before anyone asks - I know absolutely nothing about it.  It was given to me by a high school friend one evening back around 1970.  I think he got it from an old woman in his neighborhood.  It's all birch (I think), with serial number 30 3633 stamped on the bracing just below the soundhole.  It has some lessons from the First Hawaiian Conservatory of Music, copyright 1921, in the case, and some sheet music, copyright 1930.  That's all I know about it.).

Anyway, I'm interested in trying some Casey Bill Weldon licks, but have absolutely no idea where to start.  Does anyone have any idea what tuning/tunings he used?  Are there any books or videos dealing with Casey Bill or with the general use of a hawaiian guitar in the blues?         

mr mando:
Casey Bill is in open G, but most of the time, he plays in keys like C orA. You could start out with some of his biggest hits, like "You Just As Well Let Her Go", very nice & clear melody playing.

Join the Casey Bill fan club, a great lap style to emulate.

As Mr Mando says CBW played mostly in open G tuning in the keys of G, C and A.
When in C the change from C to F is when it really strikes you that are on the right track!

There is the odd bit of tab to be found on the web and and example in one of Stacy Phillips books. Also, there is (was) a video by Doug Cox which was about blues on the Dobro and not CBW per se.

I have given a friend of mine with a much, much better ear than mine a tape with some of CBWs common\favorites licks on to transcribe for posterity!

Although, I think the only real thing to do is to listen, listen and try to copy  :) by the way, some  of his later stuff is very slow and easier to pick up... :-\ 

Mike Billo:

  A number of people have told me that Casey Bill Weldon is one and the same person as, Will Weldon, rhythm guitarist in the Memphis Jug band.
  I hear absolutley no stylistic similarities between the two at all.
  Of course playing in a lap style in an open tuning would bring about a substantial stylistic difference with playing in standard tuning and holding it in a standard manner, but I keep having difficulty accepting them as the same guy.
  Can anybody shed any light on this? Thanks.



mr mando:
I've also heard that Casey (or KC) Bill Weldon might have been the Memphis Jug Band rhythm guitar player. I don't know of any interviews where witnesses would confirm this.
The fairly evolved song structures he used make me certain that he must have had a background as pop/swing rhythm guitar player.


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