Guitar Tutorial

Blues/Roots Guitar

  4.9   (1)  - log in to review
8 Videos | Length: 1hr 20min 16sec
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Sample this tutorial...
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    Chapter 1 (11:47)


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    Chapter 2 (6:33)


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    Chapter 3 (16:34)


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    Chapter 4 (11:50)


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    Chapter 5 (11:38)


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    Chapter 6 (5:29)


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    Chapter 7 (3:14)


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    Chapter 8 (13:11)


Steve James is known for his mastery of blues guitar styles, as well as his deep knowledge of the history of the great traditional players, from Piedmont to Delta.

In this video tutorial series, he takes five pieces representative of different styles and teaches them in careful detail for the learning student.

Using guitars from his extensive collection (a 1936 National Trojan, a Collings C-10 and a National "O" style resophonic), he covers some of his favorite arrangements in different keys and tunings, highlighting techniques, chord theory, licks and other musical insights that will be useful in figuring out any other blues-based songs you'll want to learn.

This lesson starts with Mance Lipscomb's classic version of Sugar Babe, a basic 8-bar blues arrangement with alternating bass. Steve shows how, by changing bass notes and adding hammers, slides and syncopations, even this fairly simple song takes on a life of its own.

Wet Laundry Blues moves to the key of A, and is more typical of the Delta style, with rhythmic feels, walking basses and licks used by Scrapper Blackwell, Robert Johnson and others. Buddy Bolden's Blues, a classic jazz/blues in C, makes use of the "thumb roll" and some funky New Orleans-style chords.

Moving into open G ("the queen of tunings"), Steve gets you started in bottleneck style, showing how to produce a good tone with proper slide technique. His powerful version of Stack Lee's Blues (aka Stackolee, Staggerlee, etc.) mixes slide, fretted and open string notes in a powerful instrumental.

Finally, Hot Time on the Old Town Tonight, Steve's show-stopper in open D (Vestapol) tuning, was adapted from the playing of Sam McGee. It includes combinations of slide, pulled-off, fretted and open notes, with variations involving both standard and palm harmonics as well as rhythmic "banging" the strings.

This video tutorial series with a top contemporary blues artist will add many new tricks and some wonderful songs to your guitar repertoire. You'll also get rare insights into the great traditional players who originated this truly American art form. Watch it today!


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PeterCtunes
Submitted 1 year ago

Excellent videos

Very helpful. Starts fairly simple and gets more complex. Great if you want to improve your blues acoustic and slide playing.

I am a: Semi-Pro, Musician, Producer

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Steve James is a well known name among devotees of contemporary acoustic folk and blues; this notoriety based on numerous critically acclaimed recordings, a tireless international tour schedule and a sheaf of published work including articles, instruction books and videos. His instrumental versatility (on guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, guitar-banjo) also makes him a favorite at music camps and workshop programs.

In the studio, his solo efforts have been enriched by musical contributions from fellow travelers Bob Brozman, Bad Livers, Alvin Youngblood Hart,Cindy Cashdollar, Gary Primich, Ruthie Foster, and his frequent duet partner Del Rey. In turn, Steve has recorded with a diverse crew including Maria Muldaur, James McMurtry, Jesse 'Babyface' Thomas and Kevin Russell of the Gourds. He's played live with a slate of blues/roots luminaries including John Hammond, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and Howard Armstrong. His original songs have been variously covered by artists from new-folk phenom Ana Egge to folk/blues godfather Dave Van Ronk. Steve has also appeared on numerous compilation albums, including a recent Grammy-nominated tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell and an homage to Charley Patton to which he contributed both music and liner notes.

Products by Steve

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Blues/Roots Guitar

    Steve James is known for his mastery of blues guitar styles, as well as his deep knowledge of the history of the great traditional players, from Piedmont to Delta. In this video tutorial series, he takes five pieces representative of different styles and teaches them in careful detail for the learning student.

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Learn to Play Blues Mandolin

    In this Homespun video series you’ll Learn to play traditional blues and old-time string band music on the mandolin. Steve James knows this music and its history well, and he brings it clearly into focus in this video series filled with “fun-lovin’ high-jinks.”

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Blues/Roots Guitar is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 1.
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent videos Very helpful. Starts fairly simple and gets more complex. Great if you want to improve your blues acoustic and slide playing.
Date published: 2017-04-02
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