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Guitar Tutorial

Blues/Roots Guitar

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8 Videos | Length: 1hr 20min 16sec
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  • Chapter 1 11:47

    Chapter 1

    Steve plays us a ditty then dives into Tuning, Picking, Chords and more.

  • Chapter 2 6:33

    Chapter 2

    In this video, Steve demonstrates how blues is a Harmony System, as well as a feeling. Steve gives valuable advice on how to understand the different scales and melodies.

  • Chapter 3 16:34

    Chapter 3

    Steve shows us the "12 Bar Blues", and then shows bar by bar how to play it, along with some variations.

  • Chapter 4 11:50

    Chapter 4

    In this video, Steve gets back to playing blues in the key of C, along with tips and tricks to help you along the way.

  • Chapter 5 11:38

    Chapter 5

    Steve busts out the Bottle Neck Slide Style guitar and hops in Open C Tuning.

  • Chapter 6 5:29

    Chapter 6

    In this video, Steve talks about open D tuning and helps you grasp the understanding of slide guitar technique in open tunings.

  • Chapter 7 3:14

    Chapter 7

    Steve shows a different open D tuning and shares chords and sliding techniques.

  • Chapter 8 13:11

    Chapter 8

    Steven demonstrates a song by Sam Mcgee, "A hot time in the old town tonight" on the Bottleneck guitar.

Product Overview


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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