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Boys it's alright to be poor, but it's so unconvenient nowadays - Dr Clayton, Walking With The Blues

Author Topic: Delta Blues Beginner  (Read 1334 times)

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Offline pfunk75

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Delta Blues Beginner
« on: June 05, 2012, 02:38:38 AM »

I am an occasional guitar for now 20 years mainly electric or guitar strumming (neil young stuff ), I found in love with delta blues let's say for 2 years now.
I am trying to learn finger pickin for somtimes now and I found it quite difficult to manage the thumb rhythm and the other fingers ... I have learn some skip James (Hardtimes killong floor) and trying to fight with Big Bill Bronzy Hey Hey, Lightin is out of touch right now, dam what a shuffle rhythm ...
What would be your advice for a beginner , which payer I should start with or which title ? Any Exercises recommendation ?

I am sure I am the trillionnieme guys to ask this question but as I am new ... ;)

Ps : Pardon my english ... I am French ..

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 05:58:26 AM »
I have heard lots of suggestions over the years.  For me it was a process of very carefully and slowly playing from tab to start with, and then finding, in time, that the thumb got used to the various syncopations, and began to keep going of its own accord, and that I could throw out the tab.  John Hurt did that for me as they are nicely structured songs, which require sie thumb discipline but get you used to most of the common moves.

Another is to mute the strings with a towel or something, and sit in front of the tv or whatever,  just playing  the thumb part, and then maybe adding simple extra bits.  6/4/6/4 then 6/1/4/1/6/1 etc until its just in your thumb's internal memory!

Do a search on here as well- I'm sure there are previous threads with similar themes and contributions from far better players and teachers than me.  Good luck.

Offline colm kill paul

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 06:24:32 AM »

I'm still a learner picker and understand your question perfectly.

Norfolk Slim's advice matches closely my approach also and I think it is a good strategy.

Another important thing to consider is the teacher to follow. Make sure to check out any DVD material from John Miller. His teaching style is precise and methodical. He decodes this music perfectly IMHO. I found that I grew quickly to trust John's teaching. This will allow you to get your programmimg right from the start.

Finally it takes a lot practice, so be gentle on yourself. I regularly beat myself up for being so slow to get a piece doesn't help....eventually I plough on and suddenly it clicks. It is worth all the effort! Good Luck and keep practicing! Colm

Offline junglemap3000

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012, 07:43:12 AM »

I've only been playing fingerpicking for 18 months or so, and a site I found extremely helpful was Lots of lessons for beginning fingerpicking and simple arrangements of well known tunes.

As for the right hand thumb, like Norfolk slim recommends, I sat playing an alternating bass riff hours and hours each day, over a long weekend. Built the muscle memory up before I tackled some John Hurt tunes (Blessed be the Name was, and sill is, a firm favourite). I don't progress particularly fast as a guitar player, but getting the fundamentals down early on has helped me no end.


Offline Richard

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012, 11:57:27 AM »
Well Junglemap and pfunk, why not sign up for some live tuition with the EBA (first week in August) at Northampton since the whole aim of the event is to get folks doing what they thought they couldn't!

And, you don't have to take my word for it that it's a really  fun week  :D
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline pfunk75

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012, 12:07:53 PM »
Thanks to all of you for you're advice.
I will try some John Hurt ... to be satisfied.
I also spend hours playing with my children and playing with my guitar at the same time.


PS : To richard in August I will be in Portugal and Corsica ... But definitivly next year.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012, 05:06:08 PM »
I agree with the John Hurt recommendation, he got so many of us hooked with that steady thumb.

Try just playing the alternating bass with no other fingers for a while. Then when you're comfortable with that introduce your index finger finger to hit some treble notes. I'd recommend MJH's My Creole Belle, since it was the first thing I learned to fingerpick, pretty much, and it's fun finding the melody.

It's all downhill from there.

Offline blueshome

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 05:47:10 AM »
Check out Michel LeLong on the web. He's a great French player in this style and he gives remote lessons as well as running workshops from time to time.
Where are you in France?

Offline pfunk75

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Re: Delta Blues Beginner
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2012, 06:00:04 AM »
Hi Blueshome,

I known about Michel Lelong, and definitively appreciate him. I will check for it.
I am based in Paris.


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