Check out these songs featured in the Blues Guitar course.
Now that you’ve got a few techniques under your belt, you’ll learn a variety of songs that cover the gamut of lead guitar blues styles.
Learn to play a lead guitar solo on the blues classic “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor.” You’ll learn an approach to soloing that starts with finding the melody and then fleshing it out by filling in the spaces in the melody using repeated-note licks, two-string harmonies, and string bends.
Learn an instrumental tune in the style of the blues guitar instrumentals that were popular in the 1950s and ‘60s. In addition to the melody, mostly played in double stops, you’ll learn some solos, a recurring riff, and a rhythm guitar figure.
The song “I Found a Dream” was recorded by blues and jazz guitar legend Lonnie Johnson in the early 1950s. Johnson began recording in the 1920s and was one of the first guitarists to play lead single-note breaks in blues and jazz songs. In this lesson you’ll learn a solo to “I Found a Dream” that includes some elements of Johnson’s solo style.
Learn to play the swingin’ blues shuffle “Remington Ride,” which was one of the great blues lead guitarist Freddie King’s showpieces. You’ll learn the melody and a couple of solos that include a fast hammer-on/pull-off lick, some cool double-stop ideas, and some triplet string-bending licks.
Learn a fingerstyle arrangement in the key of C of the gospel song “When He Calls Me,” which comes from the old-time country blues singer Howard Armstrong.
This fingerstyle arrangement of the folk-blues classic “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor” is inspired by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt. You’ll learn a basic version and some variations as well as what Orville plays behind his singing.
The jazz blues “Blue Monk,” written by Thelonious Monk, is a great vehicle for looking at different ways to use the thumb in fingerstyle blues. Instead of playing alternating bass or a steady pulse, you’ll use your thumb to play a harmony line with the melody. Also learn a version of “Blue Monk” played up the neck, with the melody harmonized in sixths and played with the index and middle fingers, while the thumb plays drone bass notes.
This arrangement of the pop tune “The Glory of Love” is based on the version recorded by Big Bill Broonzy. It’s in the key of C and is played with alternating bass in the Piedmont style, a la Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, etc. You’ll learn a basic version as well as one that adds variety by changing the timing of the melody.
The song “You’ll Work Down to Me Someday” was recorded by Memphis bluesman John Henry Barbee in the late 1920s. It’s played fingerstyle in dropped-D tuning. You’ll learn an accompaniment to the vocal, which includes some nice call-and response-licks, as well as two solos. The first solo is a fleshed-out version of the accompaniment, while the second solo moves up the neck.
Mississippi John Hurt’s “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me” is a classic of fingerstyle blues guitar. It features a strong alternating bass on C, G7, and F chords and a melody played on the treble strings.
The great guitar player, singer, and songwriter Lightnin’ Hopkins played his “fast” songs, like “Fan It,” with a moving bass line played with the thumb and “upstrokes” on the offbeats with the index finger. You’ll learn a rhythm guitar part to “Fan It” that includes one of Hopkins’ favorite turnarounds. For solos, Hopkins just soloed on the I chord for a while and then came back in on the IV chord whenever he felt like it. You’ll learn a couple of solo ideas, one using some simple bends in open position and one using a pentatonic scale up at the ninth through 12th frets.
Blues slide guitar great Blind Willie Johnson recorded in the early 1930s and played exclusively in open-D tuning. In this lesson you’ll learn his great song “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” and use it to work on getting a touch with the slide that will produce good tone without extra noise.
This great bottleneck blues song is in open-G tuning. You’ll use it to work on playing cleanly using damping and pick blocking. You’ll also learn an accompaniment, using a monotonic shuffle bass and nice fills between vocal lines, as well as a solo that includes a cool series of double stops that walk down chromatically from the 15th fret to the tenth fret.
Learn to play the melody to “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor” in standard tuning in two positions. You’ll also learn a solo that includes some sliding ninth chords and get advice on how to use vibrato on long melody notes.
Muddy Waters recorded “I Feel Like Goin’ Home” in the 1950s with just slide guitar and bass. In this lesson you’ll learn a version of the song in E in standard tuning and a version of the way Muddy played it, in open-G tuning.
Learn to play the traditional favorite “John Henry” with a slide in open-D tuning. This arrangement uses an alternating bass on the sixth and fourth strings throughout while you play the melody up high. You’ll also learn some variations that include two-string harmonies, a version of the melody played an octave lower, and strums played with the middle finger.
This cool instrumental slide tune comes from the great Tampa Red, who recorded from the 1920s all the way into the 1960s. He mostly played in open-D tuning, the tuning you’ll use to play “Boogie Woogie Dance.” You’ll learn the first 12-bar melody (the signature phrase of the tune) and three variations to the melody.
This traditional blues song was originally recorded in the 1930s by Big Bill Broonzy, and Eric Von Schmidt rewrote some of the lyrics in the 1960s. You’ll learn a version in open-D tuning that includes a few unusual chord voicings and some cool parallel-sixths harmony lines in the solos.
“So Long Blues” recalls the 1920s “classic blues” songs of singers like Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, and Ma Rainey. The melody is played in standard tuning and is designed to be played with a rhythm section. You’ll learn how to get a “singing” quality in your playing: how to get the “notes in between the notes” and move them around in the beat, in the way that singers do.