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MB95068BCD

by Duck Baker

MEL BAY PUBLICATIONS, INC.


#4 INDUSTRIAL DRIVE
PACIFIC, MO 63069
CD CONTENTS
1 E Blues Line # 1 ............................................................ 7

2 E Blues Line # 2 ............................................................ 8

3 Baby Let Me Follow You Down ................................. 24

4 Blues In A .................................................................... 28

5 The Jackson Stomp ...................................................... 31

6 Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor ............................... 40

7 Sister Kate .................................................................... 48

8 Seven Point One .......................................................... 53

9 Still Staggerin .............................................................. 58

10 The Dirtman Cometh ................................................... 63

11 The Deep Blue C ......................................................... 67

12 The Mighty Midget ...................................................... 75

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
2004 BY MEL BAY PUBLICATIONS, INC., PACIFIC, MO 63069.
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3First song I ever played was the blues. I didnt know much but I knowed that much. After a while
I begin to play the E blues, the D blues, C blues, A blues, and G blues. That was all there was to it.
Scrapper Blackwell, in an interview with Art Rosenbaum

CONTENTS
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Blues in E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
E Blues #1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
E Blues #2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
An Idiots Guide to Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Major Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Chords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
The Dominant Seventh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Upper Interval Chords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Turnarounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
E Blues Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Baby Let Me Follow You Down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Blues in A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
A Blues #1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Blues in C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
The Jackson Stomp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Blues in G . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Sister Kate Variations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
E Blues Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Seven Point One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
A Blues Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Still Staggerin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
The Dirtman Cometh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
C Blues Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
The Deep Blue C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
G Blues Again . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
The Mighty Midget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
INTRODUCTION
In the context of traditional folk music, blues as we know it is a very new form. The classic 12-
bar form evolved during the early years of this century, and while there are clearly African
antecedents of presumably ancient origin, the harmonic underpinnings of all but the most basic blues
mark the music as AfroAmerican. How far back into the 19th century the origins of this musical
strain (as separate from ragtime, spirituals, and other early black music) can be traced is an area for
scholars to fill in as best they can. The point remains, however, that in terms of traditional music, a
century or so is a short time. Modern composers can, of course, stretch the limits of their constructions
until they literally do not exist; their predecessors indulged in ever more-extended forms culminating
in Wagnerian cycles which take days to perform. But the folk song has to make its point, and quickly.
Dance tunes are usually constructed of 8-bar sections and the standard 32-bar popular song (also of
8-bar sections) is a far longer structure than most folk songs.
Contemporary culture is geared to the notion that even last years tunes are passe, so it bears
reinforcing the point I want to start with. Every form of American music in this century, except for
some free jazz and free improvised music, is an extension of forms which existed by the 1920s, of
which the popular song form and the blues are the newest. This is true of New Orleans jazz, swing,
be-bop, gospel, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and even such hybrids as Western swing and rock and
roll. Not one of these styles can even be imagined without the vital element of the blues.
It is much easier, however, to talk about blues as either a structure or a kind of musical
flavoring than it is to define the parameters of the music called blues. Even a term as geographically
specific as Delta blues means little musically, lumping together players as diverse as Son House,
John Hurt, Sam Chatman, and Skip James. Hurt, for instance, played a guitar style that was not at all
rooted in folk inventions but in Victorian parlor music. Nonetheless, his early recordings have a
definite African feeling to them that has eluded his many imitators. Chatmans band, the Mississippi
Sheiks, played in a jug-bandish style that included elements of blues, ragtime, minstrel tunes, and
early popular songs. Their composition Sitting on Top of the World remains popular with blues
players but also crossed over to Western swing by 1940, and then, sometime later, to bluegrass. The
Western Swingsters were particularly prone to cover race recordings (as well as just about anything
else) and often did a great job of it. Milton Brown, for instance, was a hell of a blues singer.
Of course, black musicians in the South always learned from whites as well. Many spirituals
sound like syncopated Scottish folk songs (a fact which people who puzzle over Stephen Fosters
ability to write plantation songs without ever going South would do well to consider). Just hearing
pianos would have opened all kinds of doors for people who didnt previously think chordally. Doors
that lead, ultimately, to ragtime, stride, and jazz. The glorious truth of the matter is that all white
American music has black elements, all black American music has white elements, and it is exactly
this integration that makes American music great.
My own feeling is that music that is not open to other styles is in danger. A lot of contemporary
blues, jazz, rock, and country is tired and formularized, largely because each little world is
increasingly cut off from the others. As far as blues goes, I get the sense that a lot of young players
who are taken with the music wind up in the hands of teachers who consider themselves experts
because they try to imitate old recordings without getting the feeling. A better approach in my mind
is to let our own imaginations enter an area whose dimensions have been defined by the great masters
of the past. There are lots of musical ideas that fit well into that framework that Delta players didnt
use. Of course there are many that dont, notably the tendency of younger white players to rock-and-
rollize the blues. One purpose of this book is simply to provide a whole lot of new licks that can be
used in old contexts (and hopefully give ideas for other new licks). There are ideas that are swing and
even country-oriented, but I have stopped well short of anything truly modernthough all the
really great modern jazz players are great at the blues, from Miles and Monk to Coltrane and Ornette.
Another basic purpose is to expand knowledge of the instrument for the student. A lot of whats
here was designed to address specific problems that students have, like the tendency of the right
thumb to only approximate what it is hes supposed to be doing (with apologies to all you southpaws,
who are, I hope, sufficiently habituated to right-handed chauvinism to be able to make the necessary
adjustments without too much pain).
In laying things out according to key, I am following the lead of not just Scrapper Blackwell but
of the great majority of traditional blues players, who learned by figuring out licks in various keys
and then constructed their arrangements and improvisations around those licks. (I havent included
a D blues because Ive never used D much for solo blues playing except for some D-tuning pieces,
which seem a little out of the way for our purposes.) Nowadays students can buy books that show
just what people like Robert Johnson were doing, and of course this is a great aid. The idea here is
sort of a compromise: a book that teaches according to the system of self-taught ear musicians.
I have included a section which aims to de-mystify theory, by which we mean the analytical
side of music. Im well aware that some people are suspicious of any musical analysis and think that
its opposed to the feeling side, which in one sense it is. This doesnt mean, however, that knowing
theory prevents a musician from being soulful, any more than having a big vocabulary prevents
someone from writing a love letter. Its true that there are many players who seem to be hung up with
the analytical or technical aspects so much that they are boring musically, but there are probably even
more boring players who have no grasp of analysis or technique. Still, in recognition of the fact that
some people really have a block and not just a prejudice when it comes to theory, there will be no
problem in completely bypassing such analysis as there is if you start to have an allergic reaction.
Ill add here that the biggest problem with theory is that its hard to communicate. Its really no more
complicated or difficult than the rules to a board game. Being analytical does actually use a different
part of your brain than music itself does, and I think for some people that gives them an almost
physically uncomfortable feeling. Ill just say that you can get over that aversion if you try, and if
you dont feel like getting over it, thats fine too. All theory does is makes things easier.
I hope that students who are used to the classical convention of designating left-hand positions
according to the lowest fret being used wont be too put out by the fact that I dont use this system.
It always seems very arbitrary to me (talking about third or fourth position on a fiddle, by contrast,
seems to convey something definite). So what classical people would call a first-position C, I just call
a normal C, or straight C, or anything else that renders the idea.
One final point: The pieces here range from intermediate to very advanced, as far as degree of
difficulty is concerned, but none of them are extremely difficult all the way through. The idea here
is as much for you to pull out passages that you can use someplace else as to learn the pieces as written.
If, for instance, the first part of The Mighty Midget is beyond your reach for the moment, dont skip
all the rest of it, most of which is considerably easier. Generally, the simpler tunes are at the
beginning, and techniques that may be new are discussed when they occur and references back to
where they occur are made only a couple of times afterwards, if at all. The design then, is to work
through from start to finish rather than as a collection of pieces, though you are of course free to cut
in wherever you wish. Just remember if you encounter a technique that seems hard in the middle of
the book that it may have been covered in detail earlier.
All kinds of people have helped me develop my understanding of this music since Larry
McCullough first showed me how hed figured out Mississippi Blues from a Library of Congress
record in 1965. I sometimes wonder if Id have ever gotten anywhere without having known Buck
Evans in those days, for instance. But to confine what could be a very long list of people to those who
have helped me in specific ways with this project, I want to gratefully acknowledge the assistance
of Jerry Ricks, Lynn Abbott, Stefan Grossman, Joe Ayers, Art Rosenbaum, Craig Fox and Tom
Baker.
BLUES IN E
E is the most popular key for blues jamming, for the simple reason that its a great key for guitar
blues. The fact that in a three-chord blues you have the open 5th and 6th strings that you can drone
under two of the three chords certainly has something to do with it. So does the fact that so much good
stuff has already been worked out in E.
Here are two fairly simple 12-bar tunes that will hopefully introduce some new ideas.

E Blues #1
The tune starts with a hammer-on that comes at the same time as a bass note. If this is new to
you it may take time to familiarize yourself. With your left middle finger already down on the 2nd
fret of the 5th string, play the open 3rd string, and then when you hammer with your index finger on
the 1st fret, hit the open 6th string at the same time. The left index finger and right thumb go together,
which may be a new kind of coordination to get used to.

`_`
The hammer in the second bar is quicker and comes after the bass note. Here we start with an
A minor 7th shape

then hammer on with the ring finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret, for a normal A7 shape. Hold this shape
and finger the notes that follow with your pinkie. Similarly, in bars 34, go back to the two-finger
E7 shape we started with, and hold that while getting the other melody notes with your ring finger
and pinkie. Bars 5 and 6 are out of the A7 shape until the last note, which starts a little run that begins
index-middle-ring on the high string. By the end of bar 7 were back to E7 again. In bar 9, hold a
normal B7 and then, without moving either your ring or index finger, let your little finger go to the

~+~` ~ ` ~ ~ ~ ` ` ~
3rd string, 3rd fret, and then back again, while your middle finger goes over to the 6th string for the
third bass note. Its back to A7 for bar 10, before a turnaround based on the following shapes:

_ _ ` _ ` _
E Blues #2
E Blues #2 starts with a monotonic (which is a fancy way to say one-note) bass line. The
melody notes over it are all fingered with the left index and middle fingers. The index moves from
the 1st to the 2nd fret of the 2nd string at the beginning of the 2nd bar, so you can reach the 5th fret
of the high string immediately after with your pinkie. Note that, in bars 56, all the notes on the 5th
fret of the top 4 strings are fingered with the index finger, but its not really desirable to bar these
strings. Just move the index finger where and when you need to this is more how you would
improvise a line like this than holding a bar shape would be. In bar 7, we start by building up an E9
shape, then move the ring finger from the 2nd to the 3rd fret of the high string and make an A7.
The passage that needs the most attention starts with the last note of the 7th bar, which we want
to fret with the left pinkie, 4th fret, 1st string, while the index finger gets the 2nd fret of the 5th string
for the bass note at the beginning of bar 8. The index finger then comes to the 2nd fret, 2nd string,
for the note that goes with the 2nd bass note (open A). This frees our middle finger to get the 3rd bass
note on the 4th fret, 6th string, and the next one, one fret down. The ring finger gets the 3rd fret of
the 3rd string at the same time. These same two fingers then move down to the 2nd fret, where in bar
9 we get ourselves into a recognizable B7 shape. Likewise bar 10 is built around a standard A7
if you start with your middle finger anchored on the 2nd fret, 4th string, youll eventually wind up
with your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd string.
6
1
E BLUES #1

# # # # 12 j j n j j jn . j
.
. nn # .. j j
& 8 n # . . n # n #
. . . . . . . . . .
0 0 2 0 3 0 0
0 2 3 1 2 2 0 2 0 0
0 1 1 0
2
0
2
0 0 1 0 1
2 2 0 0 2 2
0 0 0 0
N.B.: Downstem in tab indicates notes played with the r.h. thumb

j j j j j j
#### j n . jn # j .
& n . . n .
. . . . . . . b .
0 0 2 0 0 0 2
4 3 1 2 2 2
1 0
2 2
0
2 2
2 2 0 0 1
0 0 0

j j j j j j j
#
## # n # j j j n . b j n
& n # n #
. . . .
. . . . . a. .
.
3 4 0 0 2 2 0
2 0 0 2 3 0 0 0
0 1 0 1
1
3 2
1
2 2 2 2
0 0 0 0 0 2

# # # # n j . j j j j .
& n . # n # . .. .
. b. . n . . n . # .
. J J
3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
2 2 2 0 0
0
2
0
2
1
0
2 0 1 2
0 1 4 3 2 0 1 2
0

7
2
E BLUES #2
j j
# # # # 12 j n j j n j # n j n j n
j
& 8 n # j
. . . . # n
. . . . . . . .
0 5 3 2 0 0
0 3 0 2 0 3 0 1 2 0 3 0 3 3 0
2 2 0 1 1
2 1 0
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

j j j
#
## # n
j

j
. n # n j j j j
& .. n .
. . . . . . . . . . . .
7 5
3 5 8 8 7 5 7 5
1
2
5 6 6
5
0
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

j j j j j
# # # # j n n # j b j j n j j
& # n # n n j
. . . . . n . . .
. . .
2 3 0 3 4 0 0
0 3 2 2 0 0 3 0
1 0 3 2 3
1
2
1
0
2 0 2 0 2
0 0 4 3 2

j j j
#### j n j n j # j n n j . .. .
& . . # n .
.
. . . n. . J # J J .
0 0 0
0 3 1 2 3 2 1 0 0
2
2 2
4 3 2 1 2
0 0 1 2
0 0 4 3 2 0 2

8
AN IDIOTS GUIDE TO THEORY
Major Scales
If you hum a note and then let your voice slide up to the note an octave higher, you actually touch
on innumerable points between, but Western music divides that octave into 12 tones. On the guitar,
the frets do the same thing. The process by which the tempered scale, as its called, was arrived at
doesnt concern us here. All we need to know is that there are 12 notes, of which every key uses 7
to form its basic scale.
At this point, let me expand on a comparison I made in the introduction between learning theory
and learning a board game. In both cases, the rules are simple, and in both cases the question Why?
is superfluous. Why are there 7 notes in a scale instead of 5, 6, or 8? Well, in fact, there are 5-, 6-,
and 8-note scales but in learning the basics its the basic 7-note scale we use. Why is that the basic
scale? For our purposes, we wont consider that question any more than you would ponder why, in
Monopoly, you cant move your piece counterclockwise.
We can get that basic 7-note major scale out of the 12 tones by starting at any tone and
proceeding up as follows: a whole tone, another whole tone, a half tone, a whole tone, a whole tone,
and another whole tone. Another half tone from that brings us to the note thats an octave higher than
the note we started with. Confusing? Then lets break it down. A half tone (or half step) is the distance
between a note and the one next to it. A whole tone (or whole step) consists of two half tones. It helps
that the tones have names: A - A  (B  ) - B - C - C  (D  ) - D - D  (E  ) - E - F - F  (G  ) - G - G  (A  ).
Notice that, if we leave out the flats (  s) and sharps ( s), we have 7 tones to correspond to the
letters A - B - C - D - E - F - G. You would expect that to be our basic scale, but for a reason Ill have
to give later, it isnt. The basic scale using these notes starts on C. Now look again at our formula for
deriving a major scale: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step. If we
start at C, we move up a whole step by skipping C  (which would only be a half step). Our second
note is D. Then we move another whole step by skipping D  to E. Next we want a half step, which
is F. (As for why there is no E  or F  , dont ask why it just works out that way, as it also does for
B  and C  .) Proceeding along by whole steps, we add G, A, and B, and our major scale C - D - E -
F - G - A - B is complete. It will sound more complete when we go up another half step to C, an octave
above the note we began with.
Its impossible to explain why this process of building a scale is so important, and if it all seems
strange at this point the only thing to do is get an instrument and play it and hear it. It will certainly
sound familiar. The song that goes, Doe, a deer, a female deer, taught to young students to
familiarize them with the major scale, may prove helpful if you remember it, especially if you know
that Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do are Italian names for C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. If you have access
to some kind of keyboard, this scale looks like this:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B

On the guitar, these notes can be found starting with C, 3rd fret, 5th string. Then play open D,
E on the 2nd fret of the 4th string, and F on the 3rd fret. Then play the open 3rd string for G and A
on the 2nd fret of that string. Finally, play the open B string and your higher C is just a half step, or
one fret, higher.
An easier way to see whats going on with the guitar is to play an open string and proceed up
the fretboard using our formula for finding a major scale. There is, of course, no C string in standard
tuning, but were ready to find some other scales anyway, so lets start on the open G string.

9
Remember that each fret we move up is a half step, so for our first whole step we go to the 2nd fret,
which gives us A. Another whole step means 2 more frets, which will give us B on the 4th fret. Now
we want a half step for C on the 5th fret. Next we have three whole steps, so well move 2 frets each
time, for D on the 7th fret, E on the 9th, and F  on the 11th. The 12th fret will give you your octave
higher of G.
When we played open G and then the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 12th frets, we got the G
scale: G - A - B - C - D - E - F  - G. If we play the same frets on the other strings, well also get the
corresponding scales. Try it. After the G scale, play the D which is D - E (2nd fret) - F  (4th fret) -
G (5th fret) - A (7th fret) - B (9th fret) - C  (11th fret) - D (12th fret). If we begin on open A, our scale
will be A - B - C  - D - E - F  - G  - A. Starting with E, we get E - F  - G  - A - B - C  - D  - E. Finally,
with B, well have B - C  - D  - E - F  - G  - A  - B.
If youre confused reading this, then get your guitar and play the scales on the indicated frets
to hear what they sound like. Its always the sound itself thats important, but we have to give names
to correspond to the sounds in order to describe the relationships between them. You should be able
to hear that the major scale has the same sound to it no matter what key you play it in. (The key is
determined by the note you start with.)
Since this pattern we call a major scale can be applied to any of the 12 tones, its useful to be
able to talk about this pattern without reference to a particular key. Classical musicians do this by
giving names to each step in the scale. The first note is called the tonic, the second the super-tonic,
and we continue with the mediant, sub-dominant, dominant, sub-mediant, and leading tone. For our
purposes, the only names we use very much are the tonic and the dominant. We can thank jazz
musicians for the simpler method of referring to the steps of the scale by their number, like the second,
third, or fourth, or even just the 2, 3, or 4.
Now lets look at what weve got so far. Here are the major scales weve described, with the
names for all the intervals (which is what we call them, in this case always meaning the interval from
the tonic).

Key of C G D A E B
I Tonic C G D A E B
(whole step)
II Super-tonic D A E B F C
(whole step)
III Mediant E B F C G D
(half step)
IV Sub-dominant F C G D A E
(whole step)
V Dominant G D A E B F
(whole step)
VI Sub-mediant A E B F C G
(whole step)
VII Leading Tone B F C G D A
(half step)
VIII Tonic C G D A E B

Be sure youve got a good grasp of whats been covered before going on.
At this point, we have the notes to correspond to six major scales. One simple fact needs to be
stressed: Each letter gets used once, and only once, when making up our scales. We dont ever have
scales that use, for instance, an F and an F  , nor are there any which dont have any F at all. This fact
will soon lead us to some odd places.

10
So far, we havent seen any flats at all, because the keys corresponding with the open strings
are all sharp keys. This is why string players tend to favor sharp keys (while wind players usually like
flat keys, which is where their basic scales lie). Lets look at the other scales anyway, just to see what
they look like in fact, it will be a good exercise if you try to figure them out yourself, then check
and see how you did.

Key of F B  E A D G  or F 

I F B E A D G F
II G C F B E A G
III A D G C F B A
IV B E A D G C B
V C F B E A D C
VI D G C F B E D
VII E A D G C F E
VIII F B E A D G F

The reason for the order the keys have been given in will be seen clearly later, but basically with
both the sharps and the flats we started with keys closely related to the key of C, then moved further
away. Dont worry if that seems strange for now, but notice how each scale moving from left to right
in our charts adds either a sharp or a flat. The key of F has one flat note in it, B  has two, E  has three,
and so on until we get to G , which has six (in other words, only one note in the scale is not flat).
Likewise the sharp keys: G has one sharp tone, D has two, A three, etc. The key of G  can also be
called F  its just as big a mess with six sharps in it. Notice that in the scale for this confusing key
we actually have C  and E  . This is due to the rule of only using each letter once, so we cant have
B  followed by B, or F followed by F  . The reason for this rule is that writing music on the staff
depends on it. Luckily, neither F  or G  is used very often.
We should be ready to move on from the major scale, but I want first to suggest a method for
familiarizing oneself with the intervals. Ultimately we want to hear what interval a note is from the
tonic just by recognizing the sound of it. A good way to develop this ability is to take simple tunes
and sing them to ourselves, substituting the numbers of the intervals for the words of the songs. For
example, This Land Is Your Land would go, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4; 4, 1, 1, 3, 3; 3, 1, 1, 2, 2; 2, 1, 2, 3, 3;
1, 2, 3, 4, 4; 4, 1, 1, 3, 3; 2, 2, 1, 7, 5, 7, 2, 1. The 7 and 5 in the last phrase are in the octave below
where we started. You can do this with any simple familiar tune. O Christmas Tree begins 5, 1, 1,
1, 2, 3, 3, 3; 3, 2, 3, 4, 7, 2, 1; etc. Happy Birthday is 5, 5, 6, 5, 1, 7; 5, 5, 6, 5, 2, 1; 5, 5, 5 (an
octave higher), 3, 1, 1, 7, 6, 4, 4, 3, 1, 2, 1.
You can of course do this with any tune, but you will want to start with very simple ones. Not
all songs use the major scale, after all. There are various ways to alter that scale that are commonly
used, and we will begin to look at those in a moment. First, however, well take a look at major chords.

11
Chords
We have seen how we make scales by taking 7 notes from the 12 in the octave. To make chords,
we take notes from the scale and play them together. The notes in the major chord are the first, third,

``
and fifth in the scale. They can be played in any order. For example, look at a basic E chord on the
guitar: Holding this shape
`_
`
and playing each string from bottom to top (in terms of pitch, that is NOT what is the lowest string
physically) we get E - B - E - G  - B - E, which in terms of intervals would be 1 - 5 - 1 - 3 - 5 - 1. The
common C chord
`_
`
gives us E - C - E - G - C - E, or 3 - 1 - 3 - 5 - 1 - 3. Anyone whos confused should refer back to the
scale to see where the numbers are coming from.
Of course not all chords are major chords, nor all scales major scales. Minor chords differ from
major chords because the scales for minor chords are altered relative to the formula by which we
derived our major scales. In a minor scale, the third note is flatted, so that between the second and
third notes there is now a half step instead of a whole step, while the interval between the third and
fourth becomes a whole step. The minor scale usually also features a flatted 7th and often a flatted
6th. Lets consider the A minor scale which has, besides the flatted 3rd, a flatted 6th and 7th. Our
normal A major scale is A - B - C  - D - E - F  - G  . Flatting the 3rd, 6th, and 7th gives us A- B- C
- D - E - F - G. This, by the way, was what in medieval times was thought of as the basic scale, which
is why it is the one which starts with A. Its hard not to reflect that the somberness we associate with
minor keys might have seemed normal to that grim epoch. A minor is called the relative minor of C
and shares its key signature (no flats or sharps). The relationship between a major chord and its
relative minor is an important one, albeit a little out of our range of focus here. To get a taste of what
its about, try playing these chords and their relative minors a few times: C - Am, G - Em, F - Dm,
D - Bm. The relative minor of any major chord begins with the 6th note in the scale of the major.
Lets look again at our A minor scale: A - B - C - D - E - F - G, and take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th

``
_ `
notes to make an A minor chord. The notes we get from the standard A minor shape

are E - A - E - A - C - E, or 5 - 1 - 5 - 1 - 3 - 5. My purpose in spelling out what the intervals in these


common chords are is not to demonstrate a pattern, but the lack of one; as I said, it doesnt make any
difference what the order is. There is a value, however, in noticing what the intervals are in other
chord shapes you use regularly. What theory is often about is giving names to relationships you
already understand.
So now we have two kinds of chords with three notes in them, the major chord and the minor
chord. These are called root chords, because so many chords are made by adding to the basic 1 -
3 - 5 root. C 6th, for instance, consists of the 1 - 3 - 5 C root plus the 6th note of the C scale, which
is A added to C - E - G. An A minor 6th would start with the A - C - E root and add the 6th note of
the A minor scale, F  . (Note that the scale implied by this does not have the flatted 6th of the A minor
scale we looked at earlier. Minor scales are pretty evenly divided about 6ths, but this wont cause real
problems.) A somewhat confusing fact is that when we add the 7th note of the scale to the root chord,
we dont get a 7th chord but a major 7th chord (major here referring not to the 3rd but the 7th). Thus
C - E - G - B is a C major 7th. C 7th is C - E - G - B , which logically we would expect to be called
a flatted 7th, since that interval has been altered from our major scale configuration. I suppose that
this is because 7th chords are so much more common than major 7ths, and, back when these things
were being worked out, major 7ths must have been rare indeed. They dont get used in blues at all,
except in passing.
12
The Dominant Seventh
The 7th chord, on the other hand, is extremely important, because of something called
resolution. Resolution is the most important feature of whats called horizontal harmony, which
is about how chord progressions work. (It is so-called because it refers to how written music develops
left to right. Vertical harmony refers to notes played at the same time and hence written over one
another. Our discussion of chords is about vertical harmony, but now when we start to talk about
chord progressions, its horizontal.)
Take the guitar and play a G7 chord, then a C chord. The way that that G7 leads back to that C
is crucial. For hundreds of years in classical music you pretty much couldnt play a G7 without going
to a C (or C minor). Theres a wonderful story about J. S. Bach being such a deep sleeper that nothing,
including slaps and screams, could rouse him. Finally the solution was found: one of his sons would
play an unresolved 7th chord and hold it while the old man tossed and turned until eventually he
would rush from his bed to play the resolution. An apocryphal story, but one that illustrates how
important that resolving chord change is in the development of Western music.
This is as good a place as any to point out what some of you may be already thinking: namely,
that blues music is not classical music and some of the rules are different. In blues, we often bend
strings to get notes in between the 12 basic ones, and we can play G7 all day without ever going to
C if we want to. Even when were doing things that are completely different, however, its useful to
be able to describe the difference, and even in a standard, three-chord, 12-bar blues we do use
resolution. Ragtime-type progressions depend on it still more.
In the C scale, G is the 5th note, and we can call the corresponding chord a V chord or dominant
chord. The 7th chord, which as we have seen is used when resolving from the dominant chord to the
tonic chord (as G7- C), is often called the dominant 7th chord. We can also talk about other chords
according to the interval they correspond to. The most important, beside the I and the V, are the IV
and the VI. Most three-chord progressions would be the I - IV - V type (C - F - G, E - A - B, G - C
- D, etc.). Now its time for a quick look at that famous musical mandala, the circle of fifths.

THE CIRCLE OF FIFTHS

C
F G sresolution
B D

E A

A E

D B
F
(G)

Here we have the 12 tones arranged around a circle like the hours on a clock face. Starting at
C where 12 would be, we move clockwise to the tone (or key) a fifth up from C. A glance at our C
scale (C - D - E - F - G) shows us that will be G. The next note moving clockwise, D, is a fifth up from

13
G, and so on. There are any number of musical relationships that can be seen with this diagram; we
will just look at a few of the most important ones. Notice how the direction we move when resolving
is counterclockwise: G - C, D - G, B - E, etc. A point which can cause confusion is the reciprocal
relationship between the fourth and the fifth: G is the fifth of C (C - D - E - F - G), while C is the fourth
of G (G - A - B - C). Thus when we resolve from G7 to C, we are moving up a fourth, but resolving
by a fifth.
Lets look at the circle again, this time indicating the number of flats or sharps that occur in the
major scale of each note on the circle (these are called key signatures and indicate the key in
written music).

C 

F G

 
B D

 
 E   
A 

  A
 E  
   

D B  
F   
    
 
  
(G )   
  

The statement made earlier about the order in which we considered the major scales being
according to their distance from C is clearly illustrated here. What we did was move around the sharp
side clockwise (G - D - A - E - B) and then down the flat side counterclockwise (F - B  - E  - A  -
D  - G  or F  ). Each step we move clockwise adds a sharp to our scale or removes a flat, while each
step counterclockwise adds a flat or removes a sharp. Lets consider this a moment because it gives
us a way to apprehend what resolution is.
Back when we discussed the dominant 7th chord, it was described as the major I - III - V root
plus the flatted VII. What this means is that we have altered our scale; the distance between the 6th
and the 7th is now a half step, while the distance from the 7th up to the octave becomes a whole step.
The G major scale is thus changed from G - A - B - C - D - E - F  - G to G - A - B - C - D - E -
F - G. What weve done is change the one note that made the G scale different from the C scale. One
way to understand resolution is to think of that alteration creating a tension which can only be
resolved by moving to the tonal center implied when we use the scale with the flatted 7th in this
way we move from G7 to C, or from D7 to G, or, for that matter, from F  7 to B.
There are any number of ragtime-blues tunes that have progressions like A7 - D7 - G7 - C
(starting with A7 but resolving to C) or E7 - A7 - D7 - G. Glance at the circle to see how these
progressions work. Actually its more accurate to think of it as one chord progression put into two
different keys. Again, if this seems strange, get the guitar and play the chords above and see if you
hear how the progression feels the same in either key. To transpose this progression into any other
key, look at the circle and pick any key at all. Then go three steps clockwise and play the dominant
7th chord of that note, followed by the 7th of the next note moving counterclockwise, the 7th of the
note after that moving counterclockwise, and finally the major root chord of the note you started with.
Resolution by fifths is not the only kind of motion we can have in chord progressions by a long shot,
but it is the most important, and the dominant 7th is also crucial in vertical harmony, as were about
to see.
14
Upper Interval Chords
Many of the chords with names that frighten the uninitiated, like 13ths, 7ths with augmented
fifths, raised or flat 9ths, etc., are all extensions of the dominant 7th that function like dominant 7ths
and, in most cases, you can just think of as dressed-up dominant 7ths. Im going to show how these
chords are derived even though the more exotic ones wouldnt be used in any but a very modern kind
of blues. The main reason is that by the time we see where the ninth comes from, which is a very useful
chord, were halfway there. I also figure its worth a little time just to be able to know what these
seemingly intimidating creatures are actually made up of. It should be said, however, that there are
many more of these chords used in blues tunes than one might expect.
Up to now we have only discussed intervals up to the octave, or VIII. We can, however, go into
another octave as well. When we add these notes from above the octave to a chord, we get whats
called an upper interval chord.
The way weve built most of our chords up to now has been by leapfrogging over the even-
numbered intervals, I - III- V for the root and I - III - V - VII for the 7th. Lets continue this process
by skipping the octave to go to the next note which is the 9th, then make two more jumps for the 11th
and 13th. Here is what this will involve using the G7 scale:

I G
II A
III B root chord
IV C
V D
VI E
VII F seventh
VIII G
IX A ninth
X B
XI C eleventh
XII D
XIII E thirteenth

There are no intervals higher than 13 to consider, since weve now used up all the notes in the
scale with our leapfrogging; one more jump would bring us back to G. Note that when we play upper
interval chords, we dont usually want to play all the notes that we hit jumping up the intervals. We
definitely do not want the 3rd under the 11th, for instance, and there are any number of other fine
points that could be considered. Whats important is the point we began with, that the 9th, 11th, and
13th are extensions of the 7th.
Just as we altered the major scale to get minor chords and 7th chords, we can alter the upper
intervals, which will give us the weird-named chords. Heres a more complete list of upper interval
possibilities.

15
I G
II A
III B root chord
IV C
V D
VI E
VII F seventh
VIII G
A flat ninth diminished, often
IX A ninth
B raised ninth
X B
XI C eleventh 7th suspended 4th
D raised eleventh 7th flat 5th
XII D
E flat thirteenth 7th augmented 5th
XIII E thirteenth

In order to avoid confusion we will refer to chords like  9s as 7  9s, so that, for instance, an
A chord doesnt get taken for an A . Admittedly this is getting pretty far from Charlie Patton, and

+(
once weve gone over these additional possibilities we can wrap up the theory section. The most
interesting of these chords in many ways is the flat 9th, which could be played

_` `1
2 3

This could be used to get a passing tone between A and G on the high string. Notice how the
top 4 strings are holding a diminished chord shape. There are times when the diminished really is a
flat 9th with the root lost in the shuffle, though the diminished functions in other ways, too. The raised
9th has a distinctive sound that Jimi Hendrix used to kick off Purple Haze.
For the rest, Ive given the names that the 11th, raised 11th, and flat 13th are usually called by,
though I could take issue with all of those names, since they include intervals below the octave and
to me the fact that they include 7ths shows them to be upper interval chords. Anyway, there they are
and if Ive helped anyone overcome an inferiority complex acquired by listening to jazz players talk
shop, its been worth it. I do hope that all of this analysis will prepare you for the relatively simple
practical applications that follow, starting with a look at how to find some new turnarounds.

16
TURNAROUNDS
In each of our E Blues tunes, we encounter a figure in the last 2 bars that seems to make a
decisive resolution to E before going to B7 at the end of bar 12. These are called turnarounds, and
are a particularly fascinating aspect of blues playing. Jazz tunes have turnarounds, too, but they are
not quite as important a feature of that music. Nor do they jump out the same way as blues
turnarounds, which seem to imply a great flurry of harmonic activity right at the culmination of chord
progressions which have moved slowly up to that point.
It seems likely that the blues turnaround evolved from ragtime-type music. Joe Ayers, a Virginia
musician at the forefront of the revival of minstrel music who is also a fine blues player, performs
a pre-ragtime banjo tune from the 1840s called The Japanese Grand March, which features what
may be the earliest form of a blues turnaround.* It works by going from A to A7 to D to D minor,
then back to A. For those of you who braved the theory chapter, it would be going from the I chord
to I7 to IV to IV minor, then back to I. In the key of E, that would be E - E7 - A - A minor - E. Right
now, we will examine what must be the absolutely most commonly used blues turnaround with two
aims in mind. The main aim is to see if we can, with a minimum of analysis, figure out how to expand
from that and find some other ways to voice the same turnaround. Secondarily well see if we can
understand what is happening in the chord progression. Afterwards well look at some other
turnarounds more briefly.

We want to start with a standard D7 shape moved up 2 frets to make an E7. After playing the
fretted strings over the open 6th-string bass, we move the shape down by a fret and play the same
strings again. The shape moves down by another fret and then theres a standard E major, again
picking the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th strings. Usually this is all followed by going to B7, but for now we
wont be concerned with that. Heres what this turnaround looks like in music and tab:

T-1
#### 4 n b n n ww
& 4 w
w
4 3 2 0
3 2 1 0
4 3 2 1

0 0 0 0 0

~` ~ ` ` ~ ```` ~``~~
Now lets add another E bass note on the 4th string, 2nd fret. This will change our chord shapes
but not the flavor of what were doing. Our shapes look like this:

_``` _` ` _ _
1
1 2 3 4
2
3 4

*Anyone interested in hearing what this and other minstrel music sounded like should write to
Tuckahoe Music, P.O. Box 146, Bremo Bluff, VA 23022.

17
And the music/tab:

T-2
#### n n
b n ww
& w
w
4 3 2 0
3 2 1 0
4
2
3 2
2
1

0 0 0

As will be the case with much of the work well do in this book, its the chord shapes that we
want to focus on here. You can vary things a lot just by playing the high strings one at a time in
differing patterns instead of all at once.
Lets take a look at what weve actually got here. The first E7 chord shape on the top 4 strings
gives us (from the 4th string to the 1st) E - B - D - G  , or, in terms of intervals, 1 - 5 - 7 - 3. The next
chord looks like a standard diminished shape, but for now lets just think of it as the second turnaround
chord well worry about what it is later. The third chord, which well also get around to naming
later, is gotten by again holding the 4th-string E and moving everything else down 1 fret. Then we
have an E major chord. So what we have is an E7, with a 1 - 5 - 7 - 3 configuration, followed by a
chord that flats everything but the I, which would be 1 -  5 - 6 -  3. The third chord will give us
1 - 4 -  6 - 2, while the final E major is 1 - 3 - 5 - 1.
What we are going to do now is move up the neck of the guitar and find other shapes that will
function the same as the ones weve looked at. Not that theres anything wrong with those shapes,
but they do get played often enough that a little variety would seem desirable. I also hope to show
with this a practical application of our theory discussion, the better to get you interested in using it,
hopefully.

~`
For what were doing here, the order in which the intervals occur, like 1 - 5 - 7 - 3, doesnt matter
as long as theyre all there. The next E7 to be found moving up the neck on the top 4 strings is

_
7
``` 2
3
1

In terms of intervals thats 3 - 7 - 1 - 5. We know that we want to hold the I where it is and move
the others down a fret, and doing so gives us

`_```
5 1 2
3 4

Still holding the I and moving down another half step with everything else, we get

`_^
5 1
3

18
An E major below that on the top 4 strings would be
````
5_
but the same notes are found more easily on the middle 4 strings:

`_
7 `
``` _^
2
1

3
4
or
7 1

In music/tab, this sequence looks like this:

T-3
#### b ww
& n n n ww

7 6 5
5 5 5 9
7
6
6
5
5
4
9
9
7

The next E7 moving up the neck looks like an A7 shape moved up 7 frets:

_&`
10

The configuration is now 5 - 1 - 3 - 7, so the note that wont move down for the next two changes

`_``` _&` `
is now on the 3rd string. The next shapes will be
1
2
9 and 9 3

Since there isnt any sensible way to wind up with two Es in our final E major chord in this

`_```
register, Ive simply let this turnaround resolve to E7:

T-4 n n n w
#### n www
& b

10 9 8 7
9 8 7 5
9
9
9
8
9
7
7
6

19
There are any number of other ways to do exactly the same thing moving from E7 through our
two turnaround chords to E major if we use the lower strings. Well look at just one, to show how
the flavor changes but not the overall feeling.

T-1
#### 4 n b n n ww
& 4 w
w
4 3 2 0
3 2 1 0
4 3 2 1

0 0 0 0 0

It should be stressed that, besides all the turnarounds that can be found with this formula, you
can find many times more by only using some of the intervals instead of all four. Its more common,
for instance, to just use the 3rd- and 5th-string notes of the last turnaround we looked at, possibly over
a droning low bass:

T-6
# # # # 12 . b
& 8 w.
n n w ..
. . . . w

4 3 2 1
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
0 0 0 0 0

You can also jump from register to register, or make short independent melody lines over a bass
or a bass plus a middle voice that descend according to the formula. The possibilities really are
limitless, though of course some discretion is necessary.
T-7 is similar to the turnaround in E Blues #1. It sound churchy, and is certainly related to the
E7 - A - Am - E progression: here, E7 - A - C - E. It also continues its downward motion for longer
than the turnarounds weve considered up to now, getting to B7 with more subtlety than just walking
from A to B on the 5th string.

T-7 j j j j j j
#### j
& n . nn n # j w .
. . . # . n. .
. w.
0 0 0 0 0 0
1
0
2 0 1 0
4
0 1
2
4 3 2 1 0 2
0 0

20
T-8 is likewise extended, and this time one line goes up while another descends for a very
different feel.
T-8
#### j j
b .
& n . # ..
. n . . . .
.
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0
1
0
2 3 4 3 2
1
4 3 2 2
0 2 2

We can also move the ascending line down and the descending line up.

T-9
#### j
&
n n b j .
. . #. . n. #.
. .
0 0 0 0 0
3 3 2 2 1 1 0 0
3
0
2
1
0 1 2
0 4 2

I could, of course, fill the rest of this book and many others with turnarounds, but there are other
things to get to and I think there is enough here as far as E turnarounds to keep everybody busy for
a while. For that matter, those of you who have survived the dreaded application of the forbidden
knowledge of theory to the holy body of the blues can go on to other keys. Even if you didnt get all
the theory, you may be able to use some of the shapes covered here up and down the neck. Because
of this, I wont go into a lot of turnarounds in other keys, but here are a couple in A. The first follows
the same formula as the first E turnarounds, but starts on a shape that would be uncomfortably high
in E:

_&`
5
2

`_``` _^` `
This is followed by

1
and 2
4
5 5

21
T-10 j j
### b j j
n . n bn .
& . n . n
.
J J J J
5 5 5 5
5 5 4 3 3 2 1 0
6
5
6 5
4
4
3
4 2
2
2
1 0
0 3
0 0 0 0

The other A turnaround is much closer to what Delta players like Willie Brown did

T-11
### j .
& # n # .
n . .
J J n
J

J . .
0
2 2 3 3 4 4
2 2 2 2 2 0 1
2
0 0 2 2
3 3 2 2 1 1 0 0

Many of the tunes which follow dont even use turnarounds. But theres nothing to prevent your
using licks from an 8-bar tune like Follow You Down and a 16-bar like Pallet on Your Floor with
turnarounds like those here and making up your own E blues, C blues, G blues, etc.

22
E BLUES AGAIN
Baby, Let Me Follow You Down
This song has a long and checkered history, originally as Baby, Let Me Lay It on You but best
known by the title given above, as it was called by Dylan and other revivalists who recorded it in the
60s. My favorite version is by New Orleans R&B king Professor Longhair, who did it as Baby, Let
Me Hold Your Hand.
The melody shouldnt present many problems at this point. Bar 5 uses two E shapes and bar 6

`
two B7s, but they should all be familiar by now. Bar 7 does have an unusual A7:

```
_
5

The first variation begins by building up an E9

_
7````
1
2
3
4

from open strings. The A7 in bar 3 is built on a half bar on the 5th fret with the index finger; weve
already seen this very useful shape. In the next measure we grab the bass string on the 6th fret while
still holding the rest of the shape. Bar 5 is tricky but not really difficult. With your index finger
anchored on the 2nd fret of the 4th string, slide the ring and little ringers from the 3rd to the 4th fret
of the 1st and 3rd strings. Then keep the ring finger down but lift the pinkie and play the two open
high strings. The slide then repeats, but this time the bass note comes with the slide, much like the
bass note/hammer-on combinations discussed in E Blues #1.
The ring finger and pinkie then move down to the 3rd fret and finally to the 2nd, where a B7 is
formed. When they return briefly from there to the 3rd fret, be sure your index finger doesnt leave
the 1st fret of the 4th string. The run in bar 7 sounds hard but its easy to do. Just watch the double
pull-off on the high string over the third bass note. The bass note goes with the first pull-off, then
theres another pull to the open high string.
Variation 2 is based on a sliding chord that will sound familiar to Chicago blues fans. When the
shape moves down 2 frets, the chord changes from a 6th to a 9th. These slides are much easier on
electric guitars, but with practice sound good on acoustic. Notice how the right-hand index finger
picks the 4th string in the bass riff after the slide in bars 12. Bar 4 has our first honest-to-goodness
knuckle-buster lick, featuring pull-offs on two strings while the string between gets a hammer-on.
This just takes a lot of work to start with, get the two pull-offs together, and you can leave the
hammer-on out until you get it down.
I dont think what follows is difficult. Be careful that the last note in bar 6, B on the 4th fret of
the 2nd string, is part of the shape that follows a half bar with the index finger. Phrases in blues
tunes often begin with the last note of a measure rather than with the note right after the bar line, so
the corresponding chord may have to be in place before the bar line, as well.
Bar 7 is harmonized in 6ths. It begins with a normal, two-finger A7, but the notes on the 2nd
fret of the 1st and 3rd strings require an index-finger half-bar so we can get the subsequent notes with
the middle and ring fingers. As for the right hand, use the index and ring fingers for the notes on the
1st and 3rd strings, and either the index and ring or index and middle for the 2nd and 4th.

23
3
BABY LET ME FOLLOW YOU DOWN
#### 4 j n # n .. j n j .
& 4 . .


0 2 3 3 3
2 2
0 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2
0 0 0 0

n j
#### j j n #
& n #

0 2 3 0 3 0
1 2 2
2 2
2
2
2
0
2
3
2
0 0
0 0

j j j
#
## # n # n # j
& #


3 4 0
0 2 0 3 4 0
3 4
2
1
2
2 2
4
2
1
2 2
0 2

#### j j j . j
& n n
#
J

2
5
2
5
2
5 2
2
1
0
4 4 0 1 2
5 5 0 2

24
Variations
#### n j
& a n . n

J
0 0
0 7 0 7 0
6
7 7 7
6
5
7 7 7 7
0 0 0 0

#### # b j
n ..
& n n
b
5 7 6 5 0
5 8 8 7 5 5
6
5 5
6
5
6
5
0 0
0 6

# # # # n # j
n # n bn .
& # n .
J J
3 4 0 3 4 0 3 2 0 3 2 0
0 0 0
3 4
2
3 4 3
2
2 3
1
2
1
2
0 0 2

3 3
#### n
3

n
& n
#

3
2 0 3 2 0 0
3 2
2
0 4 2
1
2
1
0 4 0 0 1 2
0 0 4

25
#### n n
& n
n # #
. .
J J
4 2
5 3 5 3
6 4
0 0
6
6
4
4 0 0
1 2 1 2
0 0 0 0 0 0

#### n
& n n n #
n . .
n

J J
5 3
7 5 7 5
6 4 0
1 2
0 5
7
6
5
0
1 2
0
0 0 0 0 0 0

j
#### j

j n #.
& # # n n

J
0
0 4 5 6 7
1
2
2 3
0
1 4
4
4
6 7
0
2 4 2
7

#### n . j
& n # . N
b

0 2 3 2 0 0
2 2 0
2
0 2 4 2 0
2
1 2
1
0 0 2 1 0
0 0 2

26
BLUES IN A
A Blues #1
A lot of this tune is based on an A made by barring the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings on the 2nd fret
with the index finger. We start by sliding the whole chord up from the 1st fret, even though were
only playing the 2nd string at that point. We then hold that shape while using the other fingers over
it in bar 2 and slide up to it again as we come into the 3rd bar. At the end of bar 3 we drop the A shape
and by bar 4 have a normal A7. The rest of the first variation is straightforward enough, even if the
sliding A7 and A are a new idea. This blues gets by with no turnaround, but notice how the right index
finger alternates with the thumb where the turnaround would go, in bar 11.
The sliding chord idea is taken further with the beginning of the second variation, with shapes
that should be familiar by now, at least until we get to the last A9. At the end of bar 7, after hammering
on from the 1st to the 2nd fret with the index and middle fingers, leave your middle finger down and
get the next two hammer-ons with the index and ring. We get the E7 shape in bar 9 by holding the
index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th and 5th strings while the little finger slides up the high string.
We put down the middle finger on the 3rd fret, 2nd string, and the ring on the 4th of the 3rd to complete
the E7, then move them both up one fret for an unusual D7.

27
4
BLUES IN A
# # # 4 n j # j b n # n j # j
& 4 n

1 2 5 4 3 2 1 2
2
4
2
2 2
5 2
2
2
4
2 1
2
0
0 0 0
0 0 0

j j
&
###
. n
j n # n
n n


#


0 1 2 3 2 0
2 1 0 1 3 2
2
0
2 0
2
0
2
0
2 2
0
2
0 0 0
0 2 2

j
# # # n b # n n # j . n
& n # #
n #

2 1
4 5 1 2 0 3
5
4
6
5
1
1
2
2 2 2
0 1
0 0
0 0 2
0 0 0

### n j j j n b # n
& n


0
3 1 1 4 5
0
2 2
4
2 2
4
2
2 4
2
2
5
4
6
5
0 0 0
2 0 0

28
Second Variation
# # # # n n b # n #
# # n n b # n # # n n #
& n n

7 8 4 5 7 8 4 5 7 8 11 12
8
6
9
7
5
4
6
5
8
6
9
7
5
4
6
5
8
6
9
7
11
10
12
11
0 0 0
0 0 0

j
# # # .. n j . n # b n n
& b n n


0 1 2 0 0 0 0
10 4 3 1 1 0 4 3 1 1
11
12
11 0 0
2
0 0
0 0 0
0 2 2

### j
. n # n
& # n # .

0 3 4 0 0
0 1 2 3
2 1 2
1 2
2 2 2
4
2
5
0 0 2
0 0 0

### # j j j
&

n
j
j

J . n
Ending
J
0
4 1 2
4
2 2
4
2 2
4
2
2 4
2
2 4
0 0 0 0
2 0 3

29
BLUES IN C
The Jackson Stomp
This blues comes from an old-time string band called The Mississippi Mud Steppers, but its
closely related to a lot of old tunes. In this incarnation it works out to be a 22-bar blues, which is of
course unusual. The double-time feel would make it a 24-bar tune, but when it moves back from F
to C in bar 13, there are just 2 bars of C instead of the 4 you would expect.
We start with single-note runs that are played by alternating the right thumb and index finger.
This is a very useful way to play single-note runs, especially for bass runs. Some players do all of
their single-note playing this way. I especially associate it with Rev. Gary Davis but lots of blues
players have used it, as have traditional country pickers like E. C. Ball and Wayne Henderson.

~ ``+
`_
We start normal fingerpicking in bar 9 with a simple F chord

`
T

3
2
1

that gets a little less simple when the little finger goes to the 4th fret of the 2nd string while we hold
the rest of the shape. Just get used to it its one of the things you need to do when playing in C.
You also have to be able to get your pinkie to the 4th fret of the 2nd string while holding a C chord
(bar 19 and elsewhere).
Also in bar 19 is a sort of ripple effect made with the right-hand fingers. Instead of playing the
top 3 strings together with the 5th-string bass note, the index and middle fingers precede the ring,
which goes with the thumb. This is a very useful technique and is easy once you get the hang of it.
Its not a question of picking the strings in rapid succession but rather a single, almost rolling motion,
a bit like drumming the fingers but in the opposite direction from finger-drumming.
Bars 1518 feature what I sometimes call the secret chord on the guitar, made simply by
hooking your thumb over the 3rd fret of the bass string, which leaves four fingers free to find whatever
they can.
Some of you may have heard that in classical music the use of the thumb is a no-no, but this aint
classical music, and using the approach of one discipline as a yardstick for measuring another is
always a futile exercise. I usually improvise at this point in the tune, but the variations here contain
a lot of ideas I use to base things on.
Looking at the lead-in notes for the second variation for bars 18, we want to play the 6th-string
bass note with the right thumb, the open 5th-string note with the index finger, and the next 5th-string
note with the middle finger, all in rapid succession. Next lets look at the third variation for bars 1
8. When were playing a normal C chord and need to play an A note on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string,
we reach behind the middle finger and fret that note with the index finger. This way the middle finger
stays anchored on the 4th string and we dont have to worry about where it is when we need the 4th-
string bass note. I strongly suggest making a habit of doing this, both with the C chord and with the
G, where it also happens frequently, as well see.
In bars 914 of the second improvised chorus, the left pinkie is busy flicking the 3rd and 4th frets
of the 2nd string on both a C and an F. This is a very quick flick, but not all that difficult once you
have that stretch to the 4th fret mastered. By the way, the improvised parts referred to were originally
done for my Folk Blues Themes video, in case anyone is wondering how improvised choruses are
being written down. (I know the Beat writers experimented with stream-of-consciousness writing,
but Ive yet to hear about anyone writing music/tab that way.)

30
5
THE JACKSON STOMP

4
& 4 b b
1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
3 2 0 3 2 0

& b
#
b
#
5

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
3 2 0
1 2
0 3 2 0
1 2
0

b
& b

8

1 3 4 3 1 1 3
1 0 0 3
2
3 3 3 3 3
2
3 3
3 3 0 0 0
1 1 1

b n
&
12

4 3 1 4 3 1 5 3 5 3 5 3 5
3 3 5
5 5
5
5 5
5
5 5
5
5
0 3 3
1 3 3

31
j
& i

#


15
3 3 3 3 3 3
0 0 5 5 3 5 3 3
0

0 0 0
3 4
0
4 0
0
0
0
2 0
0
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

b
& .






19
3
0
1 1 4 3 1 1 1 1 1
2
0
2 2
2 0
2
0
2
2
2 t t
0
2
0
2
3 3 3 0 2
3 0 3 3 3

2nd Variation, Bars 1-8



& . # . #
X X
3 3

w q w
0 1 2 X w q w
0 1 2 X
3 3 0 2 3 3 0 2
3 3

b
& . #

w q w q w q w
0 2 0 2 q w q w q
3 2 0 0
3
0 1 2
w q w 0 2 2 0
3
0
3

32
2nd Variation, Bars 15-18

3

& j
#
j
#



3 7 5 3 1 0 1 0
0 0 3 3 3
0
0 0 0 0
3 4
0
3 4
0
0
0
2 0
0
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

3rd Variation, Bars 1-8


b b
& # #

1 1
2
0 3
2
2 0
2 1 2 1 2 2
0 3
2
2 0
2 1 2 1 2
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3

& b b b
. # # #

1
2
0 3 2 0
1 2
0 2 3 2 0
1 2
0 3 2 0
1 2
0
3 3 3 3 3 3

3rd Variation, Bars 15-18


3


&


etc.
3 3
3 5 6 5 3 5 3 5 3 3 5 3 1
4
0
4 4
0
4 4
0
4 4
0
4 4
0 0 0
4 0
0
3
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

33
4th Variation, Bars 5-8 (Bars 1-4 as 3rd Var.)
b ww
& .
J #

1 1 1 3 1 2 3
0 4 3

4th Variation, Bars 15-19


3

3

j
&

3 5 3 5 3 0
6 5 3 3 5 3 5 3
0 0 0 0
4
0 0
3 3 3 3 3 3

. b
&


etc.
0
0 1 1 4
0
0
2
0 2
0
2
3
3 3 3

Improvised Chorus (V) Bars 1-18 (last 4 as before)

j #
& #




1
0 0 0 3 0 0 3
1 4 4 1 3 1 4
0
2 2 2 2
0
2 2
0
2
2 0
2
3 3
3 0 3 3 0 3

34
# n b
&
b

5
0 0 0 3 0 0 0
1 4 3 1 1 1 1
0
2 2 2 2
3
2 2 2
3
2
3 3
3 0 3 3 0 3

b b
&
9
3 1
1 3 4 3 1 1 4 3 1
3
2
3 3 3
2
3 3
2
3 3
2
3
0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1

j j .
& . #
13
0 3 0
1 3 1 1 3 0
0
2 2
0
2
0
2
3 4
0
3 4
0
3
3 0 3 3 3

# n j j
& #
16

6 5 5 0 3 0 3 0 1
3
0
4 3
0
4 4
0
3 2 0
0
2 0
0
0 2
0
3 3 3 3 3 3

35
2nd Improvised Chorus (VI) Bars 1-18
# # j
# b .
&

1

0 5 3 3
1 3 4 4 5 4 5 4 3
2
0
2 2 5 5 5 5 5 5
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3

b
& # b b

5

3 5 6 5 3
3 4 5 5 3 3 3
5
5 5 5 5 5
3
5 5
3
5
3 3 3 3
3 3 3 3

3 3 3 3

& b

9

1 3 1 1 4 1 1 3 1 1 3 1
2
3
2
3
2
3
2
3
2
3
2
3
0 0 0
1 1 1

3 3 3 3 3
b b
&
12

1 4 1 1 3 1 1 3 1 1 4 1 1 3 1
2
3
2
3
0
2
0
2
0
2
0
2
0 3
1 0 3 3

36
i b b
j
&
j
#

15
3 3 3 3 3 3 3
0 3 5 5 4 3 2 1 0
0
3 4
0 0 0 0 0
0
0
2 0
0
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Last Chorus, Bars 15-22


& i #

bend & release
3
5
(5) 3
3
5
3
3
3
0
3
5
3
3
0
4
0 0
4 0
0
2
0
3 4
0 0
4
0
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

b
&
b

w
ww
w
0
1 1 4 3 1 1
0 2 0 0 2 3
2
3 3 3

37
38
Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor
This is a good example of the kind of bluesy folk song that made up a great deal of Mississippi
John Hurts repertoire. This version differs from Johns from years of playing. This is as good a place
as any to point out that we really want to slightly vary the way we phrase a melody every time we
play it. You should first learn the tune exactly as written, then make up slight variations and learn
those. When you get to where you can decide which variations of the melody to play at the moment
you do it, youll start having ideas for other slight changes, too. Just keep it simple, and youll develop
this ability, which is the intermediary step to learning to improvise. Its also much more fun than rote
repetition, but may take some time to learn to do.
After The Jackson Stomp, Pallet shouldnt cause great problems. Do note the change from
F - D7 in bars 1112. We move the thumb from the 1st to the 2nd fret of the bass string and lift the
ring finger to leave the 4th string open, but the index and middle fingers stay anchored where they
are. The Jelly Roll variation is so-called because it is based on a lick used by the great New Orleans
pianist/composer Jelly Roll Morton in his wonderful piece, The Pearls. Here we have to make a
half-bar on the top 4 strings with the index finger while holding the bass with the thumb. Its cramped,
but you get used to it. The E7 shape in bar 10 should be familiar by now; we move it all up a fret in

`_^`
the next measure for F7. The next bar features a very useful diminished shape:
1
2 3

This shape is probably the best diminished chord going as far as fingerpicking is concerned.
The second variation is played entirely out of familiar positions, as is the third, but lets take a
look at the 3rd bar. This is a normal C chord, but the index finger now has to reach the 2nd fret of
the high string, then slide down to the 1st fret. While the middle finger stays anchored on the 2nd fret
of the 4th string, the ring finger moves to the 3rd fret of the bass, and the pinkie is getting ready to
go to the 4th fret of the 2nd string. This is just not an easy bar to play. The good news is that the middle
finger doesnt move. There may be easier ways to finger this passage but we always want to hold our
shape, both because it makes things easier in the long run and also in case you want to learn to
improvise variations on the melody.
The E7 in bar 10 is related to shapes weve seen before

`_
` ``
3
1

4
2

and as has happened before, it simply moves up 1 fret to F7 in the next bar. Our first F in the 4th
variation is like the secret chord we saw in Jackson Stomp it consists of only the thumb. The
release on the choked 2nd string should be as slow as possible.

39
6
MAKE ME A PALLET ON YOUR FLOOR
j j
4
& 4 #
j

1 1 3 1
1 2
3
2
3 3
2
3
0
0 0
1 1


& #


3 3 3 3
1 1 1
2
0 0
2
0
2
1
2
3
3 0 3

j
. b .
&

3 3
1 3 4 3 1 1 1 1
2
3 3 3
2
3
0
2
0 0
2
0 0 3
1 1 3

j j
. .. .
& #


3 0 0 3 0
1 3
2 2
0
2 2
1
0 0
3 2
0 3 3 0

40
j j

&
#
0 3
1 1 3 1 1 3 1
2
3
2
3
2
0 0
0
2 2
0 0 3
1 2 3

j j j j
&
b. .


0
0 3 1 3 1 1 0 1
0
0
0 0
2 2
3
2
3
2
2 2 3
3 3 0 3

Jelly Roll Variation


j
j
& b # b #
n


3 1 3 1 3 1 3 3 3 0
1 1
1
1
2 1
1
2 1
1
2
1
2
2 2
0 0 3
1 1 3

j j j
j .
&
b # b

3 1 3 1 3 3 3 3
1 1
2
0
2
1
1
2 1
1
2
1 1
0 0
0 3 1 1

41
j
.
& n w




3 0 3 0 3 3
1 1 1
2
0 2
2 2 2 2
0
2
3 3
0 3 3 3

#

j .. b

j
. ..
& b
#
4 0 4 5 5
3 3 4 3 3 1 3
2
4
2 3
5
3
2
1 1
0 0 0
0 0 2

j j
.
& n . b. #




0 3 0 0
1 0 3 1 3 1 1 0
0
2 2
0
0
0
2 2
3
2
1
2
3 2 2 3
3 3 3 0 3

2nd Variation

. b j j
&
. N .

1 4 3 1 1
2
3 3
2
3
2 2
3
0
2 2
0

1 1 1 1 0 3

42
b j b

& N b.

4 3 1 1 3 4 3 1 4
0
2
0 3
2
2
3
2
3
2
3
2 2
3
2
3 0
3 1 1 1

b . #
& N

0 3 1 0
3 1 3 4 1 4 1 0
0
2
0 0
2
0
2 2 2 2
3
0 3 3 0 3

b
& #


0
0 4 3 1 1 3 1
1
0 0
2
3 3
2 0
0 1

j
i b
j j
&
b
k .

#
bend & release
0 0
3 (4) 3 1 1 1 1

0
2
0
0
2
0 0
2
0
2 0 3

43
j j j
.
& .



.



0 0 3
3 1 3 1 1 1 1
0
0
0 0
2 2
0
t 0
2
0
2
2 2 3
3 3 0 3

3rd Variation

b b
3
j b #
& .
b b n

3 2 1 3 2 1 0 0
1 4 3 1 1 3 1 1 4
2
1
2
1
2
1
2
1 2 2
1 1 1 1 0 3

b b b b
& b
b

3 2 1
4 3 1 1 4 3 1 4 3 1 4 3 1
2
0
2
2
1
2
1
2
1
2
1
3 0
3 1 1 1

j
j # j
& n .

J

0 0 3 5 3
1 1 1 3 4 5
0
2
0
2
0
2 2 5 5
4
3 3
0 3 3 3

44
j j j j

b n b j .
& b
# J J #
0 0
3 3 3 4 4 4 1 1 3 1
4
2 2
5 5
3 3
2 2
1 1
0 0 0
4 4 2

& n
j j j
. .



0 0
1 0 3 1 3 1 1
0
2
0
0 0
0
0
0
t 0
2
0
2 2
0
2
3 2 3
3 3 3 0 3

4th Variation
j
ib 3 3
& b # n


bend & release
3
(4) (3) 1
2
1 0 1 0 0 1 2
0 2 0
0 0 0 3 3 3
1 1 1 1 0 0

j
ib j j
& .
b n

bend & release
0
1 3 (4) (3) 1
2 2
2
1
2
1
2
2
0 0 0 0
3 0 1 1 1 1

45
b
& j j

.




0
0 1 3 1 4 3 1
2
2
2
0 2 2
0
2 2
3 3 3
0 0 3 3

j j b
& #


#

0 0 0 1 3 4 3 1 3
2
0
1
0
2
3 3
2
0
2 2
0
2
0 1 1 2 2

j j
. . b ...
& N



0 3 0 0 0
1 1 3 1 3 1 1 0 1
0
2
0
2 0
0
2 2
3 3
u
2 2
3 2 2 3
3 3 3 0 3

46
BLUES IN G
Sister Kate
Ive heard that this tune was written by a very young Louis Armstrong, who sold all rights to
the sometimes overly entrepreneurial pianist/composer/publisher Clarence Williams. This version
is really just variations on the progression, however, so it doesnt much matter who wrote it.
We start with a straight D shape, and then go to a G that bluegrassers like a lot

` ``
`_
but doesnt get used very often in fingerpicking. The ring finger doesnt move when making the
change.
The break in bars 78 has notes on the 3rd fret of the 2nd and 3rd strings that we get with the
ring and middle fingers. In this case, we dont want the notes to ring out for long; be sure to lift the
fretting fingers as soon as the next note is played. There are any number of ways to finger the passage
from bar 11 to bar 12, so choose your own poison. Note that for the change from C to A7  9 in bar
13, the middle finger doesnt move.
Be very sure about your bass note alternation when we go to the second variation. The first
variation began 6th string - 4th - 5th - 4th, but this time we have 5th - 4th - 6th - 4th. This is especially
for those whose thumbs tend to think for themselves. Be careful with this tune and a lot of that
tendency will be cured.
Theres a transition chord in bar 2 made by simply moving the index and middle fingers up a
fret from D7. The break in bars 78 is not difficult, but watch the right-hand fingers and the timing.
Theres a tricky passage going from bar 12 to bar 13. The pinkie needs to slide from the 4th to the
5th fret on the 2nd string as the index finger lays down for a full bar on the 3rd fret. Finally watch
how, in bars 1516, the index and middle fingers move up and down the fretboard together while the
thumb holds the secret chord.

47
7
SISTER KATE
j j j j j j j
# 4
.

& 4
n #
2 0 2 2 0 3 0 3
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 2
0 1 2 2 3

j j j j
# . b.
&

3 0 2 0 2 0 2 0
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4
0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 0
3 2 2

#
# # j
&
.
0 0 3 2 0 2 0
3 0 3 0 3 0 3 3 3
3 3 3 0
0 0
0
3 2

j n
# . . j
&
b n
2 0 2 0 3 0 3 0 0
3 3 3 3 6
0 0 0 0
7
0
7
0
0
0 0
2 3 6 7

48
j j
# j j # .. j j j #
n .
& #
#
0 0 0 0 3 2
1 2 3 3 2 1 3
2
0
2
0
0
1 4
2
2
0
3 1 2 2 0
0 2

j j
# ...
#


n .
w
ww
& #
b

3 0 3 3 2 3
5 3 2 2 1 3 0
4
0
1
0
4
2
2
0
0
0
0 2 1
3 0 2 3

2nd Variation
# j j .
& . # # ..

1 0 1 0 1 0 2 3 0 3 0
2
0
2
0
2
0
2 3
0
0
0
0
0
0 0 2
2 2 3

j j
# n n
& # # ..

#

0 2 0 2
3 0 3 2 1 0 1 3 1 3 1
0
0
3
0
2
0 0 0 0
3
2 0 0
3 2 2

49
# j j
&
. #
J b


J J
0 1 0 1 0 0 1
0 2 4
0
0 0
2
0
2
0
2 3 4 2 1 0
3 3 2

# j j j j j j j j j j
& . # . #
#

0 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 2 3 4
2
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0 0
0 0 1 2
2 3

# j j
n n ... n j # j j n #
& ## # #

3 3 1 0 0
5 5 5 3 3 3 1 2 1 2
5
3
5
4 2
0
1
0
0
2
2 3
0
4
3 4 0
3 0 2

j
# n j j j j n
& n #
n # # .

n
0 0 3
3 1 0 1 2 1 0 0
2
0
1
0
0
2
2 3
0
0
0
0
3 0 2 3 0 1

50
E BLUES AGAIN
Seven Point One
The most basic kind of blues progression that gets used much in E would be something like
E / E / E / E7 / A7 / A7 / E / E / B7 / A7 / E / B7. (If youve never looked at chord progression written
out this way, just count four beats for every bar line. In cases where there are two chords per bar, each
gets two beats unless otherwise indicated by accent marks.) The first E Blues tunes in this book
both have an added change or two, starting with going to A in the 2nd measure of each. E Blues #1
also employs a passing chord (A7  9 or E diminished) in the second half of bar 6, and both have
turnarounds in bars 1112.
The progression were going to play next looks like this: E - E7 / A - Edim / E / E7 / A7 / A7
/ E / C  7 / F  m7 / B7 / E - G / F  7  9 - B11. This is the kind of progression that jazz players tend to
use, but the roots go right back to ragtime/blues players like Blind Blake and Bo Carter. In fact, when
we think of early blues composers like W. C. Handy and the music of performers like Ma Rainey who
worked the black vaudeville circuit at the turn of the century, progressions like this that move around
the circle of fifths may be older than the simpler progressions like the first one we looked at here. (The
idea that Delta blues is the original blues may well be an assumption of recent folklorists whose
sources are usually each other.)
Seven Point One is a fun tune to play despite being named for an earthquake I got a sort of
free ride in. Of all the tunes Ive made up to teach students blues licks, its the only one I perform
regularly (Ive also recorded it on Opening the Eyes of Love, available from Acoustic Music
Records). The bass line at the beginning is just like what the great country picker Jerry Reed did in
his famous tune Blue Thumb, and if it sounds anything at all like Jerry, so much the better! Hes
been known to sound earthquakish himself at times.
Start by sliding from the 2nd to the 4th fret of the 3rd string with either your ring or middle finger,
and grab the second bass note with your thumb. You need to finger the E on the 2nd fret, 4th string
in bar 2 with your middle finger so that the index is free for the second bass note. Notice next how
the right thumb jumps quickly from the 4th to the 6th string in bar 3, and from the 5th to the 6th in
bar 4.
Theres a trillish figure on the high string in the 7th bar that youll want to fret with the index
and middle fingers. When you get the timing for this and get used to the bass note that comes in the
middle of it, its not hard to do. The next chord, C  7, is just C7 moved up a fret.
The trickiest passage is in bar 9. The shape we need is

`_
```
T 1

4
2

which is somewhat cramped but its the right hand we really need to look at. Pick the 3rd string with
your right middle finger at the same time as the first bass note, then roll quickly with the index, middle
and ring fingers on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. This is a lot like the right-hand ripple we saw in The
Jackson Stomp. Next move your right-hand fingers over and make the same roll on the three high
strings. The bass note on the 5th string comes at the same time as the high-string note.
I use my thumb to fret the bass notes on the turnaround, which is more modern-sounding than
the ones weve had up to now. Its also the take-off point for the first variation, which has an unusual
E9 shape in bar 1:

T ```
`_ 3 4
2

51
+^
The next 2 bars are sticky but negotiable enough, if were sure to end bar 3 by following a normal

`_
A7 with the index finger on the 6th fret, 2nd string. From there its easy to get to Bm7:
7 2 3

and then B  13: ` ```


_
1 2
3
8 4

`~ ``
Things calm down after that until we get to bar 9, which isnt difficult, but be sure to start with
this F  m shape:

_
T 1

3 4

The C9 in the last bar is most easily done without the ring finger half-bar thats usually the best

`
```
way to finger 9ths. This time use all your fingers:

_
~ `` ~ ` ^^ ` ` ` ^
`
` `
The second variation starts with a series of high-string chords thats pretty demanding:

_` _`` _` _` ` _ _
1 1 5 1 5
2 1 7 2 2 3
8 2 4
7 3 7 3 4 4 3 4

`
`` ```
Bar 3 features a tricky passage which
E7 moves between
A9 these shapes

_ _
1
2 2
3 4 3
and

```
_
2 3
before moving through E11: 4

` ```
_
to E9:

``` ~
The next few bars shouldnt cause great problems, and there are various ways to finger bars 9
10, as long as youre sensible. Do notice the last A9 shape

_ 5

and be careful to bring your right ring finger from the 1st to the 2nd string when playing it.

52
8 SEVEN POINT ONE
#### 4 j j j
j j j
3

& 4 n b n # n n j
b n J
.
0
3 3 0 0
2 4 4 3 2 0
2 2
0
2
0 1 2 1
0 2 0
0 1 2 4
0 4 0

#### j b n b n
n # N
& . b
J J
7 6 5 7 6 5
5 8 7 5 8 7 5 0
5 6 6
2 1 0 0
0 0 0

3
j j j
####
3
...
3

& n
n n

4 0 5 4 5 4 0 0 2 0
0 2 0 2 2
0
4
3
2
4
2 2
4 0
0 3 2

#### n n bn j
& n
n

3 0 2 3 2 0 0 0 2 3 0 2 0
2 0 0 2 3 0 2
1 4 3 2
2 0 2
0 3 2

53
Variation
#### n n # n # b n n # n n #
& n n
n
0 0 2 3 4 5 4 5 4 0 0
0 2 3 2 3 4 2 6 7
1
4
4 5 0 3 4 0
2
7
7
0 0
0 4 3 0

# # # #
3
j
n n n #
& n n
b #
0 0 0 2 0 0 0
8 7 1 2 2 2 2
7
6
0 0 0
0 0 1
7 6 0

#### j j
n # n n #
3 3

&

n # n n #
#
0 0 0
0 2 0 0 3 2 2 0
2
0 1 0 1
4
5 4
3
2
4
2
4
0 1
2 0 0 1
0 4 2 4

#### b n n # n n #
& n #
n n
n #
b n n
J
0 2 0 0 3 4
0 0 3 0 4 5
0
4
0 1
2
1
0
2 0 1 3
2
2
1
6 7
2 1 0 2 4 3 2
0 3 2

54
2nd Variation
# # # # n n n # j j
n n # n
& # n
b n

5 7 8 9 5 0 4 3 4 3 2
7 9 7 8 7 5 7 3 2 3 2 3
7 7 8 9 6 6
5
4
0
4
7 0
0 6 0

# # # # j
j n n #
& n # n # n n



2 0 7 5 0
0 3 4 5 7 3 2
2 0 1 6 7 5 6 1 2 0
2
0
2
2 0 0 2 0
0 0

#### j j
& # #
n n n # n


2 0 0 4 5
0 0 2 0 0 2 2 5 7
1
0
1 2 3
0
0 1 2 1
3
1
3
2
4
2
4
2
4 2 0
0 2

# # # # n bn
& n # n
n

5 4 0 0 0 2 3 0 2 0
7 5 2 2 0 2 3 0 2
4
5
1 4 3 2
0 2
7 0 3 2

55
A BLUES AGAIN
Still Staggerin
Like Seven Point One, Still Staggerin uses a chord progression that moves around the
circle of fifths: E - C  7 - F  m7 - B7 in one case, A - F  7 - B7 - E7 in the other. If these chords are
unfamiliar, remember that in C or G, the progression would be C - A7 - D7 - G7 or G - E7 - A7 - D7.
Actually, Still Staggerin is an interesting progression all the way through. Its based on Jerry
Ricks version of Stagger Lee, which is based on several others. Hence the title.

`
`_`` _`
T
~~
This one starts with familiar shapes for the first few bars. At the end of bar 5 and into bar 6 are
two F  chords:
1
1
3
2 and

`_ _ ` `^
Bar 7 features a pull-off that changes a B9 to a familiar diminished shape:

```
The trick is laying the index finger down for the half-bar on the 1st fret without losing the sound of
the note it was holding on the 4th string. This is somewhat difficult but something we need to be able
to do in advanced playing.
This tune features a hook in bars 1314 that goes from A to D to A to F  +5. There are several
ways to finger this last chord, but I use

`_
T

`^ 2
1

We begin bar 15 with a B9, and then the pinkie has to stretch to the 4th fret, 4th string, without
the ring and middle fingers moving. If this phrase sounds familiar, its been used in dozens of songs,
from Fishin Blues to Im Beginning to See the Light to Ive Got the Hongries for Your Love
and Im Waitin in Your Welfare Line.
I used to hear a harmonica player named Ray Bonneville play a line like the one that starts the
second variation, and I think of him whenever I play it. If anyone runs into him tell him Hi for me.
Start with your left index and ring fingers and then slide your ring finger from the 4th fret of the 3rd
string up to the 6th. Get the next two notes on the 2nd string with the middle and little fingers. If you
make a full bar on the 4th fret with your index finger, the rest of bar 2 should fall into place.
The key to bars 45 is that the middle finger stays anchored at the 6th fret of the 3rd string once
it gets there. Also note that the index finger doesnt bar the three high strings but moves from one
to the other. We wind up in bar 6 with the index finger on the 5th fret, 2nd string, the middle finger
still holding the 6th fret of the 3rd, and the thumb reaching around for the bass note on the 6th fret
of the low string. Then the index and middle fingers walk their way down the frets until they get to
the 2nd and 3rd, while the thumb jumps ahead to the 2nd fret. This is awkward but not as hard as it
may seem at first. The next few bars are familiar shapes.
Variation 3 is based on chord riffs alternating with high-string runs in whats called a call-and-
response pattern. The A7 and D7 shapes in bar 1 should be familiar, but notice the trick of putting
the E bass under the D7 you can get a lot of mileage out of that. The melody notes in bar 2 are all
fretted with the ring and index fingers, and the rest of the runs shouldnt be hard to work out until late
in bar 6, when the index finger goes to the 6th fret of the 3rd string so that the middle finger can slide
from the 7th fret to the 8th as we come into bar 7. When it gets there we need to have a full bar down
56
on the 7th fret, which puts us in position for the B9 and E7 that follow. Similarly, in bars 1011, the
little finger slides up the 2nd string from the 6th to the 7th fret as the index finger bars the 5th fret.

&` `
Our hook is now an octave higher, so we need to work out of

_`
10

For the D that follows, the index and middle fingers stay where they are while the little finger
moves over to the high string. The C9 shape that follows in bar 14 is used as a substitute for F  +5.
The last variation gets back to alternating bass lines in shapes weve seen by now. Note that the
12HP1PO figure in bar 4 is out of a normal A7, and bars 56 are a bar chord.

57
9
STILL STAGGERIN

### 4 j j j
3

n w n . j
& 4
# ww

2 0 1 0 0
2 4
2
2 4 2
2 4 5 4
3
2
4
2
4
2 2
2 2
0 4 0 0
0 4 2 0

### n
& # # n
# # n

0 2 0
2 2 3 2 2 2 1 0
2 4
2
5 3 0
1
2
1
2 1
0
0 1 2 2
0 2 2 0

### j
3

& # n n . #

#
0 0
2 3 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
2
4 2
4
3
1 2
4
2
4
2 2
1
2
0 4 0 2
0 1 2 2

# # # j j j j
#
n j .
&
. . # n
w
ww

2 3 2 3 2 0 0
2
2
4 2
2 3
4 1
2
4
2
0
2
0 0 2 4
0 2 0 5

58
### b n # j
& n


5 7 5 4 0 1 0 5 7
2 4
2 4 6 7 6 5 4 2
4
2 2
4
2 5 6
0 4 0 0
0 4 2 0

### n n n b # n # n # b n n n # #
& #
#
5 0
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 1
6 6 6 6 5 4 3 2 3 2 3 3 2 0 1
0 2 2
0 6 2 2 0

### j j
& . # .
n j
#

0
2 2 2 3 2 3 3 3 0 0
2
4 2
2 4
3
4 5 5 2
1
2
0 4 5 2
0 4 5 2

# # # j j j j j j
. #
j .
& .
# n
..
.
.
0
2 3 2 3 2 0 0
2
2
4
2
2
2 3
4 1
2
4
2
0
2
0 0 2 4
0 2 0 5

59
j j
### n #
in k b # j n #
& n n.

bend & release
0
5 7 5 7 5 3 2
6
5
5
7
6
5
8 7 5 6
5 5
4 5
0 0 0
0 0 0 0 5 0

# # # j n .. n k # n # j
i #
& n . n

bend & release

7 5 0 9 7 7
5 7 5 7 10 10 7 8 9 9 7
6
5
5
7
6
5
6 7 8 7 9
0 0 9 7
0 0 7 0

j
# # # j n .. n k # .
& n . n i

n n
#

bend & release
5 5 5 7 5 5
5
6
7
5
5
6
7 (8) (7) 5 6 7
5
7
5
7
5 7 5
0 5 6
0 5 0 5 5

j j j j

# # #
n j .
# n
&
n J
9 10 9 10 9 7 7 5
10 7 10 8 10 7 10
9 9 9 8 7 6
0 0 7
0 8 7 5

60
j j .
. . j
###
3
. #. n. # n # n
&


9 5 4 7 5 2 0
6 7 1 2 1 2 1 0
9
7
6 4
6 6 7 0 2 2
0 7 4 5 0
0 0 4 2 0

### j. n j . j
3


# n b n # .
3

& # #






0 3 2 3 2 2 0 0
0 1 2 5 4 4 3 2 2 3
2
2 2
3
2 2 4
4 4 3 2
4
0 1
0
1
0
0 2 2
0 2 2 2 0

j j . j

# # # .. . . j j .
& # . n n
#

9 5 4 7 5 5 7 5 5
6 7 7
9
7
6 4
6 6
5
7 7 7
5
7
0 7 4 5 6
0 4 5 5

j j j j j j .
..
### n #

n w
w
&
. . n w
J
9 10 9 10 9 7 7 5
10 7 10 10 8 10 7 10
9 9 9 8 7 6
0 0 7
0 8 7 5

61
The Dirtman Cometh
As you might guess from the title, this tune would not be played in an ivory tower. Its main feature
is right-hand slapping techniques that give the illusion of percussion accompaniment. Brazilian and
flamenco players arent any shier than bluesmen about hitting their instruments, but they have different
ways of doing it. What were trying to do here is replace the bass notes on the 2nd and 4th beats of the
bar with slaps. First you have to learn just the slap, and then there are a couple of ways to make the slap
while playing melody notes. Its interesting that British guitarists like Martin Carthy and Nick Jones
have incorporated this approach into their tradition while most Americans have neglected it. A notable
exception is John Miller, whose very evolved slapping style inspired me to try it.
Its particularly hard to describe techniques like this in words, so Ill again mention that my
Guitar Aerobics video does include this tune before taking the plunge. When we slap, we curl our
fingers and hit the strings with everything above the first joint, from the knuckles to the fingernails.
To begin with, dont move your arm at all but bend the wrist back from your normal playing position.
If your thumb feels lost, put it against the index finger just behind the first joint (at least to get started;
once you get the hang of it, it will be in that general area but probably not right against your finger).
Dont back your wrist up too far your thumb shouldnt go past about a 45-degree angle. Now slap
down and hit the strings hard enough to get a sound but no harder than necessary. Try to get used to
that, then to alternating between slaps and bass notes (see the 1st bar of the intro).
The next thing to watch out for is the fact that many of the bass notes in the intro are played with
the right index finger, not the thumb. The thumb only plays the notes on the beat, while the index gets
those in between. This happens in bar 2 of the intro, and then the last note of that bar comes at the
same time as the slap. We do this with our thumb pushed against the first joint of the index finger as
described earlier, much as if we were holding a flatpick. Strike the string with the tip of your index
finger using enough force to get the slap (your other fingers may slap other strings, too) but without
overplaying. I strongly suggest spending a lot of time with this intro before moving on.
We begin the melody with a slide on the 2nd string from the 3rd to the 5th fret, for which we
use the ring finger. Actually the middle finger needs to hold the 4th string and slide parallel on the
same frets even though we dont play on that string (intentionally, anyway). This is done because with
slapping you often hit strings besides those indicated, so we sometimes go ahead and fret those likely
to be hit so that it wont sound wrong if they are. We can also muffle strings; in this case its a good
idea to let the left middle finger touch the 3rd string enough to keep it from sounding. So theres a
few things to think about that arent indicated at all in the music or tab, but at least you dont have
to change the chord shape for the first 2 bars just fret the high-string notes with your index finger
and pinkie. The second note in bar 2 comes at the same time as the slap. We do this with what is pretty
much a strum, hard enough to get the slap sound. You may need to lift your right forearm an inch or
so from the face of the guitar to get a little extra force into this.
The 3rd measure starts simply enough with two Cs in a C7 shape, but to get the first slap we
have to utilize the pseudo-flatpick technique described earlier. Then you have to immediately pick
the open 3rd string with your index finger. Bar 4 is very similar.
In the 7th measure, we have to pick the open 3rd string and then immediately cross over it with
the index finger for a pseudo-flatpick-style slap on the 2nd string. The last new technique is the strum
in bar 8. We get a double-time up-stroke by strumming up with first the middle, then the index fingers.
This is very useful as a fill or in back-up playing.
The bridge starts with a C7 shape moved up 2 frets for D7. At the end of the first measure of
the bridge the left index finger simply moves up a fret, almost behind the other fingers, which dont
move. The last 2 bars of the bridge are a G7 with the thumb fretting the bass string, ring finger on
the 5th fret of the 5th string, and index finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th, but its once again the right
hand to pay attention to. The middle finger picks the 3rd string, which is easy to start with but gets
harder when it follows the pseudo-pick slap on the 5th string.
Its a lot of fun, though very tricky, to try to improvise this way, and Ive included the
improvisation from the video mentioned. Im not going to do a blow-by-blow here, but the main
problem when playing licks over the bass note/slap alternation is that you cant avoid hitting more
strings than one at times. You have to learn which other strings dont sound wrong (open G, for
instance). It isnt called The Dirtman for nothing.
62
10
THE DIRTMAN COMETH
j j j
## 4 .. .
& 4 X X X X X X X
X
.
Intro. J A
. 3 5
3
5
5 q 3
3
X X X X .0 X X X X
0 0 0 5
0 0 0 q 3 0

j j j
&
## n
b n .
n X
n
X X
X X X
3
1 1 1 3 5 5
q 3 0 q 3 0 2 q 0 2
0 X X
3 X
3
X
2
X q
3 0
0

##
1.
n b #
& X
X ..
n
X
X X X
5 q 3
3 1 q1 4 3 q 1 2 .
X X
0
X X
2
e r 2
2
2
2 rr 2 2
2 2 X .
0 5 3 0
3 X 0 3

n # j .
2.
## j
& n #
X X
X X X

X
B

2 2 2 2 2 2
3
e 3
5
3 4 5 q 3
5
2
2
0
e r 2 2 rre 2 2 2
5 X
X
0
X X
X 0 X 5 0

63
## j n # n #
& n b n .

X
X X

X X X

3
3 q 1
3
0
0
5 q3
5
2 2 3
q 5
3 q
4
X X X X 4 X
2 0 5 X
3 0 5

&
## n # j j
n n
X

X
X X X X

5 q
3
5
2
2 0 0 0 0
0
X X
5
q 3
5
q
3
5
q 3
5
q
3
0 3 X 3 X 3 X 3 X

Improvisation
## j j

n
& n n #
X X
X X
X X X
3
q
0 2
q 1
2
q
1 3 5 q
5 1
q
2 2 0 0
2
X 0
X X
0
X
X 0
q 2 q 1
0 0 X 0 X

## j
& n
X X
X X X X
3
q
0 2 q 0
q
1 3 5 q 5 3
2
0
X
X 0
q 2
X 0
X X
0 X 0 0

64
## n
b n # n n b # n i k n #
3
b
3 3
&
X X

X X X X X
X
bend & release

1
q 2 1 0 e 4
5
5
6
q q
5 7 5
7 q 5 6
0 X
2 1 0
qX
3 4
2
0
X
X 0
X
X 0 X
5 q 4
0 0 0 0 X

3
3

## j j b
& n # n b # n

X
X X
X X

X

3 2 4 5
q
7 6 5
8 7 5
2 q 4 5
4 5
e0
0
e 5 6 q 7
0 0 0
X 0 X X 0 X X 0 X

# j
& # #

X X X
X X X

0 0
5 6
q
7 5 q 4 2 4
q 2
7
q 6
7 t 6
5 t 6
5
0 0 0
X 0 X X 0 X X 0 X

65
C BLUES AGAIN
The Deep Blue C
The structure here is a little unusual. The basic idea is that of the classic 32-bar A - A - B - A
construction that so many thousands of standard pop songs use, not to mention a host of other kinds
of tunes, including the one we just looked at. With this piece, however, the first A has 16 bars, and
is really a repeat of two 8-bar segments, as if the tune were going to develop into a 64-bar structure
of 16-bar sections, but then the B and last A are 8 bars only. So its really A - A - A - A - B - A, 48
bars. I mention all this in case it seems an unusual length to anyone; it is, but it feels natural once you
get used to it. There are swing and even country-oriented ideas here, but I would still think of this
as a blues tune.
There are probably enough challenges involved in just playing this tune to keep most people too
busy to worry about such technical considerations, however. Many of the shapes will be familiar, but
there are some new wrinkles. The first thing we need to look at is a right-hand technique that involves
alternating the index and middle fingers over an alternating bass. Lets look at the 7th measure (D7
with your thumb fretting the bass string). The three melody notes played at the same time as bass notes
are picked with the middle finger, while those in between bass notes are picked with the index. The
7th measure of the bridge continues this idea for the whole bar. This technique is essential for
advanced fingerpicking since your individual fingers cant go twice as fast as your thumb, but melody
notes often do. We can use hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides to get around this but not always, and
this alternating fingerpicking is a good tool to have in the box in any case. It can give a real explosive
kind of sound, for one thing.
Lets look at the bridge. Be sure were holding F7 with the index finger barring the top 4 strings,
as we did in Pallet on Your Floor. In the second bar the pinkie gets a real workout getting the notes
on the 3rd and 4th frets of the 2nd string while the rest of the shape doesnt move. Note that the second
time the pinkie goes to the 4th fret, its a hammer-on. The bass run in bars 23 is thumbindex
alternation as seen in Jackson Stomp. This particular run has been used by a lot of people, but I
always associate it with Leadbelly.
The second variation to The Deep Blue C is one of the happiest-sounding things Ive ever
written which is strange because I was pretty miserable at the time. Why it is that upbeat tunes
come from downbeat times I cant say, but they often do. Our starting C bar chord has been seen in
Jackson Stomp and elsewhere, but this time a lot happens from that shape, and then from an F7 bar
chord. Once youre used to all that, youve got to make a very fast shift to A7  9 at the beginning of
bar 6.
The second A in this variation is a little easier since the hardest passages have been seen before,
like bars 910 (Pallet on Your Floor). The bridge has some tricky moments, however, in bars 2
3. We start with a bar that initially covers five strings but shifts over halfway through the measure
to leave the 5th string open. In the next measure, the bar has to shift again to cover all six strings while
the pinkie hammers on the 2nd string, 5th fret. Simultaneously the ring finger goes to the 5th fret of
the 4th string to be ready for the next bass note.
This is fairly advanced playing, and if it doesnt come easy, dont be worried. Its worth
plugging away on a piece like this one even if you never get it down, because just trying it will do
a lot for your dexterity. I should also say that once you get used to things like this, its really not that
bad. In fact this is a fun tune to play, though I admit there are a few passages that are real easy to
mess up.

66
11
DEEP BLUE C
C 3 C F
j
& 44
b





#



A1,2
0
1 1 3 1 0 1
0
2 2
3
2 2
1 2
3 3
3 0
3 0 3 1

C C A
b j
3
j b. j j
& b
# .
b
0
4 3 1 1 1 3 1 0
1
2 2
1
0
2
0
2
3
2
0 2 0
2
0 3 4
2 3 0

D G C
j
3
j
& # #


#
3 0
0 1 0 3 0 1 1
4
0 1
0
2 2
0
4 2
0
0 0
2
0
2
0 0 2 3
2 3 3

C F C
j . j b
b . b b
&
b

1 1 1 0 1 4 3 1 3
2
3
2
2
1 1
2 2
1
2
1
0 0
0 3 1 2

67
(A) (A) D G
C A
# # n b
& N n
N #

0 0 0 3 2 1 0
1 1 1 2 2 1 1 4 3
0
2
0 0
2
0
2
0
2
2
0 0
3 0
3 0 2 3

1. C G 2. C C F
j j
& .. b . b j


B

1
3
. 1
0
0 1

3
0
2 0 . 3
2
3
2
2
1
0
1
0
3 3 1 1

3 3 C C
b .
&
b
#
4 3 1 1 4 3 1 1
2 2 0
0 0 3 0 2 3 2 3 0 1 0
1 1 0 1 2 3 3

F 3 3 D
j j b #
& b # #
#

4 3 1 1 4 3 1 0 1 2 3
2
1 1
2 2 0
4
0 1
0
2
0
0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 2

68
G 3 C j C
. j # . b n
&


A3
0 1 0 3 0 0 3 0
3 1 1 1 3 4 4 3
0
0
2
0
2 2 2
0 2 3
3 3 0 3

F D
j
C j
j .
& # b .

# b
0 3
1 3 1 3 1 1 3 1
1 2
1
1 2
1
2
0 0
0
2
0 0 3 2 1
1 2

A D j G G jG
# n j
n b
& # .

#
3 2 1 0 3
2 1 1 4 3 1
0
2
0
2
2
0 0 2
0
0 3 0 2
0 2 3 3

Second Variation

b n b n b
& b


A1
3 3 1
5 4 3 3 4 5 5 4 3 3 4 5 4 3 1 1 3 4
5
5
5 5
5
5 1
2
1
3 3 3
3 3 1

69
1.
b
b b n #
& b


1 3 6 5
4 3 1 1 3 4 5 4 3 3 4 5 8 6 5
1
2
1 5
5
5
6
5
6
5
3 3 0
1 3 0

j j 2.

b b #
& n # b ..
#

3 3
0 3
5
3
5
2
4
1
3 . 5
3 3
4

5
5
4
5
4
4 4 3
0
2
0 2
. 3
5
2
2
4
5 3

j j
b n # n .

&
b n N
#
3 1 0 3
3 2 1 1 3 1 0
1
3
0
2 0 3
0
2 0
1 0 3
2 3 3

j j j
j b b .
# b #
& b

2

A
3 5 3 6 6 5 3
4 5 5 4 3 1 1
5 5 5 5 1
1 2
1
3 3 0
3 3 1

70
j
b n .
& b #




3 1 0 0 1 1 1
4 3 1 1 1 1 2
1 1
0
2
0 0
2
0
2 2
0 3 0
1 3 0

3 j
j # n #
3
# n b
& #



#
2 1 0 0 3 0 3 2 1 0
3 3 2 1 0 1 4
0
2
0
3 0
0
0
2 2
0 0 2 3
2 3 3

j
b n b . j b b b
& # b b
#

4 3 1 1 3 4 3 1 4 3 1
2
3
2
1 2
1 1 1
2 1
1
0
0 0
0 3 1 2

j j j
# . # j b
& n

#

J
#
0 0
1 3 4 1 2 1 4 3 1
2
2
0
2 2
0
2 3 4
2
0 0
3 0
3 0 2 3

71
n j b
&

b .
#
b


B
0 3
0 1 4
2
3
2
1 2
1 1
3 0
0 1

j
b 3
j
b . n b # b n b.
&

5 6 5 3
4 4 5 4 3 3 4 5 4 3
5
3 3 5
5
5 5
3
5
3 0 3 3
3 3

b k ib j n b #
& # i
#

#
bend & release
0
1 3 3 3(4) 1 3 1 1 3 1 4 3 1
0 1 2
2
1 2
0
2
0
3
0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 2

j
j #
b n n b n
&

A3
3 3 3
0 4 5 4 3 3 4 5 5 4 3 3 4 5
0
0
4
3 5
5
5 5
5
5
3 3
3 3 3 3

72
j
b b n #
& b b

1 1
4 3 1 1 3 4 4 3 1 1 3 4 8 8
1
2
1 1
2
1
9
7
8
7
3 3
1 1 8 7

n b b b #
& # n
b

8 6 5 4 3 2
7
6
6
5
5
4
4
3
2
2
0
2
5 3 0
6 5 3

Coda

& n
# #




# X

1 0 0 1
2
0
0
3
X 1
1
2
2
2 3
2 3

73
G BLUES AGAIN
The Mighty Midget
This title is taken from a long-time landmark in Leesburg, Virginia, not so much a food-to-go
restaurant as a trailer with a stove in it. It wasnt haute cuisine but its presence in a town full of
overpriced restaurants and antique dealers was reassuring before it was forced to move in 1994.
The first variation here is just plain hard, based on two shapes that really stretch the left hand:

T
`` `~
`` ~ `_
`_
GC

4
1
2
D7

T 1

3 4
2

The only thing that may make this easier is to put a capo on the 2nd fret, but even then youll probably
need to use the secret chord position for a long time before this will work. That your hand will
stretch in time is the good news. And if you try this, the other shapes with your thumb fretting the
bass string will feel easy.
The second variation starts with an example of the kind of swing and country-flavored licks that
Western swing players introduced to blues playing. This is not easy stuff but should be understand-
able if youve looked at Deep Blue C.
The third variation combines alternate fingerpicking with a strum thats a little like our slapping
from Dirtman but easier. Elizabeth Cotton and others employed similar right-hand pick-strum
patterns. Here we pick with the thumb and middle fingers together and then the index. Next strum
down with the index and middle fingers together, and finally pick with the index again. When you
can keep this pattern going, take a look at bar 7. Here the pattern is just bass notes and strumming.
In bar 8 well make this more interesting. Instead of both the middle and index fingers
strumming up simultaneously, the middle finger comes first with the index immediately after before
making the down strum together. We saw this double-upstroke strum in The Dirtman Cometh.

`_
5
`3
` `
` ` _` _1
`
G7

`
4
`
`` _ `2
`
` _`
` 4
``
Variation 4 is the easiest one here, based on these shapes:

`Gm7

T
1

4
2
5

3
C11

4
2
1
5
T
B

4
2
1
4
D7+9
1
2 3
4

The last variation requires some alternate fingerpicking in the first few bars and is generally a
good workout, but its based on normal G, C and D shapes. We wind up with the bass pattern we had
at the beginning of the piece, but its easiest to get this with the middle finger fretting the 6th string
and then switch back to the thumb when we start over.

74
12
THE MIGHTY MIDGET
# 4 j j
& 4 # # #


0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
3
2
0
2
3
2 2
3
2 2
5 5 5
3 3 3

# w j j
b b j j n
&

0
0
2 2
3 0 2
2
0
2
3
2
0 3
2
5 5 5
3 3 3

# . j j j j j
# w
&

0 3 0 0 3 0
2
0 3
2 2 2
5 5
2
5
2
5 5 5
3 3 2

# ..
& w

0 3 0 .
5 5
2
5
5
2
0
2
5
2 2
5
2 .
3 3 3

75
2nd Variation
j
# b n j
&
i
.

bend & release
7 10 8 5 3 6 5 3 3
8 7 5 5 5 (6) (5) 3 1
7
0 0
7 5
0 2
0 3 3
7 0 0 3

# j j
& # n n j b j n
# # n #

0 0
3 0
3 0 1 2
2
0 1 2
0 3
0 1 2
0
3 3 3 3
0 0 0 0

j j
n # n #
3
# #
3

& n #
J

3
0 5
0 1 2 3 3 6 7 7 6 5 4
0 2 3
0 2 3
0 0 0 7
7
7
5
3 3 3 3 5

# b n j #
j
n b n #



&
J
3 1 3 3 3
5 5 4 3 2 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0
5
5
5 0
3
0
0 t 0 y t 0 0
3
3 3 3 3 3

76
3rd Variation

# n
b n
n
b n
&

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 3 1
0 0 3 1 0 3 1 0
t
0 t
0
t 0
0
3 0
t
0 t 0
0
3
t 0
0
3 3 3 3 3 3

# n
& b b n

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 1
0
e 0 r t
0 0
0 t 1
3 t 1
3
3
3
1
3
0
0
t 2 t 2
3 3 3 3 3 3

#
&

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
0 ty 0 0 yty
0 0 0 yyt y
0 0 0 0 yyt 0 0 0
t 5
4
5
t
4
5
3 3 3 3 5

# n
& b


3 3 3 3 3
3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 3
e 3
2
0
e 3
2
0 t y
0 0 yyt 0 0 0
t y 5
4
5
4 yyt 5
4
5
4
5
4
3 5
3 3 3 5

77
4th Variation
n j
j

&
b n b n b
0 0 0 0 0 0
6 6 6 6 6
7
5
7 7
5
7 7
5
7
5
7 7
5
7 7
5
7

7 6 7 6 7 6

b b j j
& w
n b b b
0 0 0 0
6 6 6
5 5
7
8
7 7
8
7 7
8
7
8
7

7 6 8 6 8 6

w
& #
n b n b J
0 0 0 0
6 6 6 6
7
5
7 7
5
7
5 5
5
4
5 5
4
7
5
7 6 7 6 5

j . b. .
j
#
&
b
b n b J
0 0
6 3
7
8
7
8
7
5
6
5
5
5
5
3
5
8 6 7 6 5

78
5th Variation
j
&
#
# n . n b #

0 3 1 0 3 1 0
0 0 3 0 3 3 3 3 3 2 1
3 0
0
0
0 0 0 0 0
3

3 3 3 3 3 3

# j
& b n n. b # b
#

0
0 3
4
2
3 0 1 2
0 3 2 0
1 2
0 3 2 0
5 5 3 3 3 3
3 3 0 0 0 0

# j .
& b j n #
J #

0 3
3
0
2 0 2 0
2 0 0 0 2 3 4 0 1
0 0
3 3 3 3 2 2

# j .
& w
n #




3 0
2 0 1 2 2 2 2 2
3 3 5 5
0 0 3 3

79