Simply My Opinion on the Blues

Everything I say, or play, or teach is simply my take on the Blues. I don’t profess to be anything other than I am. A guy who has always been fascinated by the Blues, it’s music, it’s people and its history.

There are a lot of great players out there who have attained a depth and proficiency  I never will. I’m ok with it. I have always played for me. The Blues has always been a puzzle I’ll never solve.

I get more out of teaching someone something I’ve figured out than out of anything else, except for playing myself.

I always recommend you listen to the original to really get the feel for the song or the lick. Buy the discs and listen to them often just for the joy of listening.

I know there are a lot of people on youtube and elsewhere trying to make a living teaching guitar and kudos to them.

I will never charge for any lesson and don’t dis on them for doing so. I give lessons in my home for free too.

To me the Internet is about sharing information. And I love to share what little I know about playing the blues.

The most important thing is that you get something out of the lesson. If only one of you does then that’s good enough for me.

It’s also important to take the music somewhere else. I know there are a lot of “Blues Purists!” I’m not one. If the Blues stayed pure then Rock and other genres of music would never have formed.

Take the music somewhere else. Improvise and stretch the boundaries. That’s exactly what all the old guys were doing anyway.

Thanks for watching 🙂

Playing The Electric Guitar in Open D

The electric guitar is such a powerful instrument in the Blues. Open D Tuning on the electric guitar is so much fun to explore. The bigger the sound of the guitar the less you can play and still sound really big.

I find this to be true on National Resophonic guitars as well because they’re so loud.

Tune your electric guitar to open D and crank it and add a bit, or a lot of overdrive and you can say a lot with your guitar playing the Blues in this tuning.

The electric guitar is such a dynamic instrument in the right hands. Just go listen to Billy Gibbons. He really doesn’t play a lot, he doesn’t have to.

Go listen to Elmore James or Hound Dog Taylor play their guitars in open D with overdrive and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The electric guitar tuned to open D and cranked is just synonymous with the blues. The lesson I give here is basic but it will get you up and running.

Chords and Licks in Open D Tuning


Open D is such a loud ringing and rich tuning to play in. I can never get enough of it. Once you learn beyond the 1-4-5 basics and some other chords be they minor or major you can site for hours just improvising and exploring open D. I just teach some basic chords and licks in this video for Open D Tuning.

There are so many different types of music that use open D tuning to great effect. In this video I go through all the basics to get up and running and composing quickly, because composing has to be one of the funnest things to do in this tuning.

Remember in the beginning if you are a beginner that it takes time and practice. It all sounds mechanical in the beginning for anyone just starting out.

Just keep banging away at it. If you love Blues stuff then give “Blind Willie Johnson” a listen. His voice was really gravely and some people don’t like it but his slide playing in open D was really spooky sounding. He probably had the best vibrato in this tuning I ever heard.

Just have fun.

Delta Blues Licks in Open G Tuning

This next 40 min lesson is on some of the commonly used licks and chords used by Charlie Patton, Son House and Robert Johnson. I think it’s important to learn them your own way.

I understand that some people want to learn a particular song or lick exactly the way it was played by a certain person at a certain point in time. I get it, I really do.

Here’s the problem for me. I’ve done that. Being the improviser I am I have twisted and rearranged so many of these songs and licks over the years that at times I would have to go back to the record and relearn it.

In my blues journey I finally y came to the conclusion…..and as a result of watching these guys on concert videos… that it doesn’t matter. They usually played that lick or phrase or song that way once and it got caught on recording and so everyone emulates it.

No two Blues guys ever sounded the same. There were echoes of each others music back and forth and through out all of their recordings but that’s it.

The Blues is a living changing and growing thing. It’s still evolving to this day and has long left the Delta and spread out into the world.

Learn where the old guys played, learn their songs, but don’t be rigid. Throw some of “you ” in there as well. A lot of “you!”I recommend the below disc because I have it and listening to it over and over again can really help you with the feel of the music. A bonus to listening to these discs is the fact you have the added dimension of being able to play in their style. [amazon_link asins=’B00138F8HI’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’lonnysites-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3400c459-a3d0-11e7-a86a-69a32f71f3e4′]

Standard tuning slide/bottleneck guitar lesson


Playing standard tuning slide guitar is difficult. Because you’re not in an open tuning the overtones sound terrible if you’re not damping properly.

In open tuning you can have overtones ringing and they’re in tune because the guitar is tuned to a chord.

The important thing is not to get discouraged. It sounds like crap in the beginning for everyone. When someone has been playing slide/bottleneck in standard tuning for years it looks and sounds easy. It’s not.

I started playing slide/bottleneck in open tunings and it wasn’t until I was at a friends gig and heard him playing in the key of G in standard tuning that I really got interested in standard tuning slide guitar playing.

One of the many benefits of playing slide/bottleneck in standard tuning is you don’t have to re-tune the guitar. You can just improvise on the fly. It takes some practice but once you get the damping and intonation down the fretboard is wide open.

Once you get proficient at playing standard tuning slide guitar, it’s easy to make people think you’re actually open tuned. Usually the best keys to start learning in are E, A, and the key of G, all in standard tuning.

There are a lot of players teaching this basic style of guitar playing on youtube. I just learned the hard way by figuring most of it out myself along the way.

It is tough, but stick with it and it will come. Then you’ll spend the rest of your life refining it.