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THE BABY BOOMER GUITAR

Robert-Johnson-King-of-the-Delta-Blues

via jasobrecht.com

How To Fill Empty Hands With Music, Your Music, On Your Baby Boomer Guitar.

From E string to E string, Every Body Goes Down An Elevator.

Get in tune with a tuner and get busy.

Skinny string E to fat string E, low bass to high treble: E, B, G, D, A, E.

If you’re right handed hold the body of the guitar under your right arm with your left arm stretched to the guitar neck. Get comfy and don’t hold too tight or your rib will feel it.

Pinch the top and bottom string between thumb and pointer with your right hand and listen. Two E strings sing to each other.

You’re not a guitar player yet, but it’s the first step. You’ve made noise.

Hum in tune to the E strings.

You’re not a singer yet, but feel the connection between your voice and your guitar. It’s the best connection of the day.

If you can touch each finger on your left hand to your left thumb you can play guitar.

Too easy?

Take another look at your left hand.

Four fingers? Check. One thumb? Check. Put your thumb behind the guitar neck with your fingers on the bottom edge of the fret board. (That’s the wood under the strings.)

As if by magic each finger lines up with four frets. It’s not a stretch. That comes when you cover five or six frets without moving your hand.

But it’s your first guitar and you’re not worried about the range your fingers can cover. Your biggest concern is sounding bad and putting that guitar back in the closet for the next decade or so.

Now you’re in tune, your hands are ready, but what next?

Fret_Chromatic

fret board notes via keeping-tabs.io

With your right thumb pluck the thick top string without touching it with your left hand.

Now move your pointer finger down to the fifth fret and push the same string down above the fret. You just moved from E to A on the same string. Like magic. Boom, boom.

Move the same finger to the seventh fret for the sound of a B note. E – A – B.

Thumb each note once, then twice. Now you’re ready to roll.

Hit the low E twice, then the A twice before returning to the E for four beats, again to the A for four beats, to the E for four beats, all the way to the B for two beats, the A for two beats, then back to the E for eight, and repeat.

Easy, right?

Blues are easy because you just played a 1-4-5 progression right out of the gate. Keep it easy until you can feel the beat. And you will.

The man up top, Robert Johnson, not God, was a blues God who some suspect sold his soul to the devil for the life of a bluesman. Me And The Devil Blues helps the idea.

Early this mornin’
You knocked upon my door
Early this mornin’
Ooh, you knocked upon my door And I said, “Hello, Satan, I believe it’s time to go”
Me and the Devil, were walkin’ side by side
Me and the Devil, were walkin’ side by side

Chances are you won’t go to hell playing the blues, but be careful.

If you’ve never played a song in your life, now you have.

You just played two finger blues. Let it sit with you. Do it again with a favorite beer by your side. Maybe two. It’ll sound different each time and that means you’re getting it. Or getting buzzed.

Hold your left hand in front of your face and make a claw. See how your fingers curve and your hand arches? That’s what keeps the other strings free for sound on the fret board. Lay you hand across the strings to mute the five out of six you’re not playing.

These three notes, the E, the A, the B, represent the roots of Rock and Roll. From these humble beginnings came the great English blues players like Eric Clapton and early Fleetwood Mac, and the greatest of them all, Rolling Stones.

Are the blues important and long lasting?

The Beatles hung it up in 1970; the Stones are still on tour.

And so are you.

You’ve heard Eric Clapton’s Crossroads? It’s his song and he wrote it? Or did Robert Johnson.

Call it influence, or thievery, but too many players, talking to you Stevie Ray, didn’t give proper attribution to the past.

From Robert Johnson:

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please
He’s standin’ at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride, I tried to flag a ride
Ain’t nobody seem to know me babe, everybody pass me by Standin’ at the crossroad baby, risin’ sun, goin’ down
Standin’ at the crossroad baby, risin’ sun goin’ down
I believe to my soul now, poor Bob is sinkin’ down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin’ Lord, babe I’m sinkin’ down

And I went to the crossroad mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad baby, I looked east and west
Lord I didn’t have no sweet woman, well babe in my distress

If the Delta Blues of Louisiana feels like a step in the right direction, if they sooth your soul more than folk or gospel music, then I have someone current you can depend on.

Jack Mayeaux posted a series of instructional videos to move forward from the two finger blues.

Part one, and part two in E. You can hear what you play in these lessons and play along while you watch.

He’ll show you 12 bar blues, boogies, and leaving the station. He’s the best traditional bluesman I’ve been around, the pride of Shreveport, Louisiana.

Your turn for those Boomer Blues? And a one, and a two, and a three.

jack

Jack Mayeaux via youtube.com

 

About David Gillaspie
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