Posts Tagged ragtime blues
When beginning blues guitar you must learn that blues music is far more complex than it seems. This is why it is important to choose a specific blues style and pattern your music after it. One of the specific styles recommended by blues experts is the ragtime blues. To find out why it is the best blues style to play, you can find out more details below.
What is Ragtime Blues?
When it comes to producing blues music, even the smallest details that musicians include could go a long way. This is a lesson that many have learned from the so-called blues guitar master, Gary Davis. Several musicians who wanted to learn more about blues music included Gary Davis and ragtime blues in their study, which has led to a great deal of success.
One of his songs in particular, Candy Man, is recognized as one of the best examples of ragtime blues music. When he is playing this song with his guitar, Gary Davis uses only one finger and his thumb when picking the guitar. However, this is just a glimpse into the techniques that practitioners of ragtime blues use to produce their own song.
Gary Davis: Ragtime Blues Master
Gary Davis made a name for himself by mastering the ragtime blues style. Those with an ear for blues music will easily recognize his songs due to their complexity and diversity of musical elements. It is quite impressive how Davis managed to preserve his skills despite all these years. Unlike other blues musicians, he took a break from playing but he never fully let go of playing blues. Instead, he started again after re-discovering his blues skills and has managed to become really successful throughout his musical career. He showcased his style by making records and performing in live gigs. He also managed to pass on his techniques to other aspiring blues musicians including Stephan Grossman.
Learning Davis’ Techniques
Gary Davis uses only two fingers to pick on his blues guitar: his thumb and forefinger. And yet, these two are able to produce a wonderfully rich sound. This forefinger naturally moves quickly and is independent of his thumb’s movements. He also uses picks instead of his bare fingers because it is far more accurate in producing the desired sound. Another crucial component that makes Davis’ ragtime blues music stand out from others is the thumb beat timing. You must also be quick in moving your thumb such that you can easily switch treble strings to create the illusion that more than two fingers are used at the same time.
Allure of Ragtime Blues Music Until Today
The classic Candy Man song from Gary Davis is something that will forever be embedded into the history of blues music. It is one of the perfect examples of ragtime blues music, as far as structure goes. You can therefore follow the patterns of this song or some of Gary Davis’ musical patterns in general to replicate his own musical style. Another important tip to consider for beginning blues guitar students is to have fun. Learn to enjoy this process and take it easy. If you can begin by enjoying the music itself, then you will find it easier to learn and develop enthusiasm into the learning process.Tags: beginning blues guitar, blues musicians, candy man, ragtime blues, stephan grossman
Would You Like To Play Authentic Blues Guitar – What Does That Mean ?
Son House once stated that a great many musicians ” … make up some sort of boogie in A and say it’s the blues – well isn’t !” When someone asked ” What’s the blues?”, Big Bill Broonzy replied “If you have to ask you’ll never find out ” How did the original masters make their fantastic musical style ? How can we learn old sounding acoustic blues guitar – ‘the real deal’ ? In this piece we take a look at a few classic blues guitarists ways of playing and how we can approach their picking techniques.
Blues And Ragtime – From The Roots – Blind Arthur Blake
I always thought it a bit strange that there is only one picture of Blind Blake, the King of Ragtime Blues . He made over a hundred tracks for Paramount in his career and was very popular. Surely other snaps must be hidden somewhere ? Even legendary Robert Johnson had two pictures taken and , at that time, he seemed less successful and famous than Blake.
To confess, I’m rather peeved about it all. It would be fascinating if some old film were found showing Johnson or Blake playing in a bar or elsewhere. Then we would get to see how they made those wonderful sounds.
Ry cooder says he thinks Blake played guitar with a light feel , but other people related told that he had a hole in his right thumb, leading us to think that he plucked the strings heavily . On recordings he says ‘boot that thing’ – which also makes me think that he could have had a heavy touch. I’ve tried performing Blake lots of ways , employing a light and heavy approach on various sized strings, changing the height of the guitar bridge accordngly. It’s very difficult to copy the playfulness of some of his pieces in G, like That’ll Never Happen No More and Too Tight Blues.
You Can’t Have Too Much Big Bill !
Listen to Big Bill Broonzy’s music, for example – it’s quite easy to decide where our fretting and right fingers should go , but that amazing swinging feel is another thing entirely! It’s very nearly magical. Here’s a quotation from Broonzy about timing – ” you can either ride the front of the hoss, or on the back of it and this is what I do when I play the blues “. His picking thumb rhythm stays a little behind the beat and makes a ‘swing’ feel. Sounds easy , but have a go at it! Incredibly, he’s using just one finger for the high strings to create some syncopation.
How Do We Learn To Play The Blues ?
The reply is inevitably ‘from a guitarist who can play it like it was played ‘. There is a huge number of guitar tuition packages for sale on the web , with many styles and price tags. Some can be found for no cost ! ( Take care – mostly in life, nothing of value is given free.) Very frequently , the lessons presented don’t match up to expectations. Sometimes the playing doesn’t quite match the tabs ! Some packages present riffs or tips to give your playing a ‘bluesy feeling ‘, but is it the blues?
Look for a guitarist who can play like the old guys. Search locally, or search the internet. After you’ve found your guitarist , ask him for some tuition. If he doesn’t normally teach then listen to his music and follow him around, if there’s nothing else for it . Like most things in life, if you want it badly enough, you have to go for it. Most real blues men are not interested in asking a lot of money for their advice.
Don’t listen to too many modern guitarists . The old styles often become diluted and changed too much, particularly that great timing and accents on the beat. Listen to as many old blues guitar records as you can, specially if there is video of the person performing . Take my word, you get an awful lot by just seeing Big Bill Broonzy perform Hey Hey repeatedly.
Obviously, practice as much as you can – concentrating on the basic picking patterns . Control the movements of that picking thumb! One hour early morning and an hour in the evening is minimum. You don’t suppose Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil do you? Of course not, just like Clapton, he took himself away for a couple of years until he could pick with the dexterity we can evidently hear on his classic tracks.
As far as I’m concerned this is essential – when you pick blues guitar , BE that piece you are performing or that blues man. The lives of these men were difficult and not at all like ours. Saying that, we all get the blues from time to time and this is how we can relate with those artists . The blues feeling is all of these – a woman, having no job, wayward kids, rainy weather, mortality and hundreds of other events. Bring it to life it through your guitar.
Learn the techniques first, don’t take shortcuts with the basics and finally, put your soul into it.Tags: arthur blake, guitar bridge, king of ragtime, ragtime blues, ry cooder