Legendary players like Blind Blake, Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson pioneered fingerstyle blues guitar by playing bass lines, chords, and melody simultaneously as a solo performer. Learning fingerstyle can be challenging but if you break down the fundamentals into bite-size chunks, you can get your fingerstyle technique up to speed fairly quickly. And that’s exactly how and what John Hatcher’s Fingerstyle Blues Roots will do for you.
John Hatcher is a very popular and highly successful online guitar educator. TrueFire students voted him TrueFire's Next Top Guitar Instructor out of a field of hundreds of applicants. We’re very proud to welcome John to the family with his first TrueFire course, Fingerstyle Blues Roots.
”I have a bit of an obsession with acoustic blues players like Etta Baker, Keb Mo and Blind Blake. I can trace this obsession back to one song: Eric Clapton's version of "Hey, Hey" by Big Bill Broonzy. I spent months trying to get my rock and roll fingers to play that tune. But eventually, I nailed it. I believe that good guitar playing comes from starting small and simple. Over time, all the small things will add up to something big. With Fingerstyle Blues Roots, we'll focus on those small things and brick-by-brick, build a solid fingerstyle blues foundation.”
John organized the course into three sections. In the first section, John guides you through 10 key fingerstyle concepts and techniques: Dead Bass Thumb-picking, Alternating Bass Thumb-picking, Brush Up, String Snaps, Common Country Blues Chords, Common Country Blues Forms, Blues Turnarounds, Using ii V I in Blues, Shuffle Rhythm, and Triplets.
In the second section, you’ll work through a series of four finger picking workouts that’ll help you build thumb control, finger independence, and picking coordination: Picking Workout: Level 1, Picking Workout: Level 2, Picking Workout: Level 3, and Picking Workout: Level 4.
In the third and final section, you’ll dive deep into 4 rootsy fingerstyle blues performance studies. John will first perform the arrangement study and then break it down measure-by-measure, explaining the underlying techniques and harmonic approach.
New Kind of Old - ”This performance study has it's roots deep in 12 bar blues classics like "Kind Hearted Woman Blues" by Robert Johnson, but puts a twist on things with a few smart chord substitutions. This tune is in A and is based on a shuffle rhythm with dead bass picking throughout with a little alternating bass mixed in to keep you on your toes. Keep an ear out for a variation of the descending turnaround in A, the 7th chord sounds, and the II V I chord movement.”
Snap it Up - ”This performance study is a 12-bar blues in E. We'll run through 2 choruses that really pack a punch, calling on the percussive string snaps technique along with rhythmic brush ups. Listen up for remnants of the classic turnaround in E we covered in Section 1. This number should help you add some real life and energy to a basic 12 bar blues and is perfect for pickers looking to expand upon the sounds of the basic blues shuffle.”
Pickin' My Blues - ”"Pickin' My Blues" is a ragtime based tune in C that is sure to build your fingerpicking chops. There's quite a lot going on with the alternating bass, constant chord changes and bright, syncopated melody. You'll hear similar chord progressions in Blind Boy Fuller's staple, "Truckin' My Blues Away" and even Robert Johnson's outlier tune, "They're Red Hot”. Have a listen and focus on the melody. Let the melody guide you through the chord changes and this one will fall in place much quicker.”
Right on Track - ”This is an 8 Bar blues tune in C with more advanced use of alternating bass techniques. There's a cool B section that gets us moving around the neck a bit as we use some of those cool bluesy chord shapes we covered earlier. The main takeaway in this number is the heavy use of a syncopated melody. You'll find yourself picking in between the beats quite a bit, which will really help you build independence between your thumb and fingers on your picking hand.”
All of the key examples and performance studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons.
Grab your guitar and let’s play some fingerstyle blues with John Hatcher!