Since my last post, a lot has happened. I’ve managed to work through the first 15 pages of the Blues book I’m learning from and have chosen a song to focus on learning. Though I have not found the time to post as often as I had hoped, I have made a number of recordings that can show the progress I’ve made over the past 2 weeks. From where I left off my last post, I was working towards getting my fingers used to the motions needed for this style of blues playing. I subsequently moved into basic picking patterns in E, starting with getting the simple melody notes of the chords played smoothly. In the video that follows, you can see my first attempts followed by my later attempt, after practicing for a bit:
As you can see, even seemingly simple picking patterns can require a bit of rehearsal to get those movements ingrained in the muscle memory. It is reassuring that even 10-15 minutes can produce significant improvements. I have found that starting off slower than I want to play has kept me focused on ensuring each finger is hitting the strings right. Though it is always tempting to play faster, I have learned through practicing other guitar techniques that thorough practice of these basics now will allow me to progress faster in the long run. In this nest video, I move into practicing alternating the bass notes of the E chord while increasing the frequency of its melody notes:
It was about 30 or so minutes from start to finish for the progress that occurred during this segment. From here, the book I’m working from goes on to cover a couple of the other basic chords with similar picking patterns applying to each. In this next couple of clips that I’ve merged together, you can see the progress I’ve started to make with the A chord and its simple melody notes. I finish this clip playing a basic blues in A, which includes the A, D and E chords:
As I’ve moved through these basic blues progressions, focusing on only simple melody notes, I’ve been reassured that it really dose not take too long to pick up these little skills. What’s more exciting, though, is that I’ve come to realize that it does not take much more than these basics to create a full sounding blues song. Maybe it won’t be as difficult as I imagined to learn a full song! Speaking of, I’ve chosen the song I’m working towards playing. Its a song by “Mississippi” John Hurt, called “Corina Corinna”:
I found this song in the guitar book I have of his. The book comes with a couple of CDs that have live recordings of him playing. What I like about his songs is the way he tells stories and relays such strong emotions with often very simple lyrics. His finger picking style is certainly not simple, but I think this is one of the simpler ones to learn (I hope).
I’ll be next focusing on expanding the range of melody notes to play with each chord and will be starting to break off chunks of “Corinna Corinna” to learn. I think that the basics I’m learning from the finger picking book lead me perfectly into being able to tackle this song, but I’ll find out soon enough whether this is true or not!