Watch the Down in the Valley online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Americana Greatest Hits

Lesson Source: David Blacker's Lone Wolf Blues

In this piece we work with a simple right hand pattern where the thumb of the right hand carries the bass notes and the 2nd and 3rd fingers of the right hand pick out the melody. This piece gives you a nice palette of major chord tones to work with in the open position.

In the first four measures the progression shifts from G major to G6 creating a nice country blues flavor. Over the IV chord you basically have almost an identical melody as on the 1st two measures of the I chord. The challenge with the IV chord is to adjust to the Travis picking pattern whereby the thumb alternates between the 5th and 4th strings. It's okay to practice one section at a time until it is second nature.

This progression introduces a two measure turnaround that remains on the V chord (as opposed to modulating from the V to the IV to the I) as in a standard twelve bar. Over the V chord an open C chord shape is moved up two frets to illustrate the moveable nature of this shape when playing in this style. This is a classic style major sounding delta blues, reminiscent of players like Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Blake.

Recommended listening: The Best of Mississippi John Hurt by Mississippi John Hurt.