So I live in almost the middle of nowhere, in a town called xuyi, central China. Today I went to the only guitar shop in town and asked the guy if he could teach me blues and he said he could only teach me standard mainstream rubbish. I wanna learn how to play John Lee Hooker songs and old shit like that but when I'm looking at the tabs on the internet I just don't know where to begin. Yes it's possible but how hard of a challenge will I face when trying to teach myself say a John Lee Hooker song? And where do I begin? Are there any good books out there that anyone can recommend on how to play the blues or where to start? I just feel so overwhelmed but I really wanna play the blues!
you can learn by understanding a few basics and then listening or if you can, watching youtube.
a lot of blues is structured into 12 bars. three chords are typically used. we can go into details as this thread develops.
John Lee Hooker did some "one chord boogies," too.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
yeah, JLH did quite a lot of one chord stuff in E or A with the open low E string running as a bass pedal note while he did fills over the top using the E minor pentatonic or blues scales. Very dry sound, no overdrive and heavy strings, no reverb. Man, it's been ages since I played me some Hooker, gotta do that this week! :P
Ra Er Ga.
Ninjazz have SuperChops.
that is right. the boogie blues. JLH is the man.
one chord and deep rhythm.
There are some good lessons on basic blues structure on the easy songs on this site, too. Before you accuse me comes to mind...
I am a beginner also, and I have been playing from "Blues You Can Use" by John Ganapes. No well-known songs, but good exercises and a play-along CD.
John Lee Hooker was not an advanced gtr player but he had a very stylized sound. I recorded him in my studio and I played one gig with him. The best way to learn what he is doing is not to read tabs. For one thing, they may be incorrect. Listen to his records. Experiment until you begin to discover what he's doing. Be prepared to spend a half hour on one 10 second section. That's often what it takes.
My recollection is that he played almost everything at the nut. Nothing up higher on the neck. For 25 years his guitar player was Mike Osborn who now lives in Oregon. You might try contacting him.
The best way to learn anyone's playing is to listen to a short section and then work it out on the neck note for note. There are many things that defy notation and those, frankly, are the things that are cool in someone's playing...
this is fantastic advice.
Been "playin' the blues" lately thanks to one hassle after another getting my studio in order. Was getting rather soulful when my own kid (16...and quite good) asked the very same question: "How can I learn the blues, Dad?" So I remembered seeing this thread and referred it to him.
Nope. No help. So I tossed an idea at him out of thin air and within a couple of hours he was cookin'!!! I gave him a Tracey Chapman CD and told him to ignore the lead fills and concentrate on how ONLY the bottom three strings worked. After he got going I said to play along with her voice and NOT the six string fills that were goin' on.
He was not exactly following the vocals...but was feedin' off 'em. There were "questions" and he played "answers". He was grinning from ear to ear as the penny dropped.
Another Proud Papa moment...
"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
what's that? happy blues?
Cat, good to hear from you. it must be winter down under. it sure is nice up here.
keep busy and warm. but don't smile.
no smiley blues y'hear?