Watch the Alternating Bass Thumbpicking online guitar lesson by John Hatcher from Fingerstyle Blues Roots

In contrast to dead bass, which is monotonic, alternating bass shifts the bass notes between two tones (sometimes three). You can hear this at work in songs like "Freight Train" by Elizabeth Cotten, "Carolina Breakdown" by Etta Baker and just about anything by Mississippi John Hurt.

In this lesson, we'll cover exercises to help you nail this technique.