“Acoustic Blues Guitar Lessons”



“The Only Guitar Course Teaching All Major Styles – Over 750 Minutes of Blues Tuition!”


Jim Bruce shows precisely how anyone can learn to play authentic acoustic blues guitar just like the old masters.

“It’s just not necessary to have to spend a lot of money on effective acoustic blues guitar lessons – my video classes show any guitarist how to play blues guitar while benefiting from all the tips and tricks I’ve used over the last forty years of pro level guitar picking – all the things you need to play blues guitar in the old way is a heart-beat away – you can learn blues guitar now.

(Jim was voted N°2 Top Internet Guitar Instructor by Truefire.com users 2013)

Watch Jim Give Some Very Special Tips In The Video Gallery Below

It’s The Secret Sauce That Makes Great Fingerpicking Acoustic Blues Guitar Lessons!


  • Big Bill Broonzy
    • Big Bill Broonzy

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  • Dropped D and All That Jazz
    • Dropped D and All That Jazz

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  • Open G & Bottleneck
    • Open G & Bottleneck

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  • The Basic Blues In E
    • The Basic Blues In E

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Where Did The Blues Come From? – The Mississippi Roots


The roots of theGndy Dancers Adjusting Railroad Tracks, Texas Gulf Sulphur Company blues stretches right back to the end of slavery and beyond, when workers would ease their sorrows and work load by singing the so-called ‘field holler’, which was a very rhythmic song without music that followed a call and response form. The idea was that the cadence of the lyrics would coincide with the tempo of the work and make team work more effective.

Gandy Dancers was the name given to teams of men who’s job it was to  put rails back into place for the many local railroads from the Mississippi Delta right up to Chicago. One man might lead the singing, and the rest joining in on the chorus. At the end of a line of verse, or chorus, the whole team would push on the end of a long steel lever and the rail would move over an inch or two.

For many years, slaves were simply not allowed to own or even touch a musical instrument such as a guitar or a drum. Apart from spending 12 to 14 hours a day doing gut-busting hard work, the masters simply didn’t want their workers to engage in any activity that raised their spirits and fostered thoughts of freedom. This is why drums in particular were banned. Drums were a powerful feature of African life and played a big role in maintaining the social fabric. However, it seems that some slave owners did allow some musicians to play at their private parties and no doubt the natural interest in music just can’t be stifled like that.

After the end of slavery, the negro was in general extremely poor and couldn’t afford to buy guitars or fiddles, so they made their own. Lightnin’ Hopkins recalls making a one string fiddle with a broom handle, cigar box and length of wire pulled from the screen door! Most of these rudimentary guitars and fiddles had between one and four strings, and must have been incredibly hard to tune and keep in tune. Obviously, they wouldn’t have frets and there wasn’t a lot of finesse about the blues music that emanated from these home made efforts. Often they were played with a bow or a bottleneck. Bottleneck or slide (sometimes they were fretted with a knife) Delta blues guitar is perhaps the sound we most think of when thinking of those times in the Southern States in general and the Delta in particular.

Stella Harmony Blues Guitar
Stella Guitar

A huge event in the history of blues guitar was purely commercial, as it often is. The Sears company began a sales project that would become a modern phenomenon by offering sales of products at a distance using catalogs that were distributed far and wide across the United States. For many people living out in the country areas, it was  Godsend as they could buy things without trekking 100 miles to the nearest big store.

The range of things to buy was indeed broad, and growing monthly it seemed. One of the items on sale a basic steel strung Stella Harmony Guitar, which was priced at just one dollar. Elizabeth Cotton bought here first guitar by saving for many weeks from her earning as a maid and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s part of folk legend that she didn’t realize it was for right handed players, and so she played it upside down as a leftie, having no access to anyone able to give here guitar lessons! (Stella Image Src: Wiki Commons )

It isn’t known how many budding blues men and women were created because of the availability of mass produced cheap instruments like the Stella, but it was probably a deciding factor in how the blues evolved in those early days. It’s also probable that a guitarist ‘chanced his arm’ by buying what he could afford and hoping that the guitar that arrived played well! The specifications for such mass produced instruments must have allowed for a lot leeway in tolerances, for example. If you bought a bad one, you didn’t complain but just learn how to play it, simple as that. A legend like Muddy Waters was quite scornful about guitar quality ‘Just give me any guitar and I’ll make you cry’, he was reported to have said.


The following article was taken from Britannica.com and gives a basic history of Delta Blues:


The Mississippi Delta style of blues—or, simply, Delta blues—emphasized solo performances by singers accompanying themselves on guitar and relying on a host of distinctive techniques, such as the sliding of a bottleneck or metal object (such as a knife) along the fingerboard to bend notes, the use of melodic phrases on the guitar to respond to the voice in an improvised call-and-response pattern, and a reliance on vamps (repeated chord progressions that precede the entrance of the voice) and melodic and rhythmic figures that often deviated from the typical chord progressions and formal 12-bar (measure) structure found in most blues performances.

Son House - Delta Blues Guitar PlayerAbove all, Delta blues music was marked by a particular intensity of vision that was both projected through the lyrics of the songs and underscored by the players’ often aggressive attack on the guitar strings. Song topics encompassed familiar laments of failed romance, stories of sexual escapades (often described in double-entendre references), and tales of rambling and life on the road, as well as apocalyptic musings on salvation and damnation.Performance venues were often informal and happenstance. W.C. Handy, composer of the classic “”St. Louis Blues”” (1914), recalled an early encounter with blues music about 1903 at a train station in Tutwiler, Mississippi, where he heard a man dressed in rags singing while playing the guitar with a knife.

Performances also took place at juke joints (informal roadside taverns for drinking and dancing) on plantations and street corners. Folk music scholars John and Alan Lomax, meanwhile, documented Delta blues music in field recordings made at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, colloquially known as “Parchman Farm,” in Sunflower county, Mississippi.Scattered accounts by travelers and researchers indicate the prevalence of blues music in the Delta region since at least the turn of the 20th century, although no commercial recordings were made until the late 1920s. Associated primarily with male singer-guitarists, the Delta sound stood in marked contrast to earlier recordings of the “classic” blues singers, such as Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, which had emphasized female vocalists working with small combo accompaniment.

The Paramount record label enjoyed great success with the Delta blues recordings of Charley Patton, who had been a farmworker on Dockery Farms cotton plantation in Sunflower county, especially his “”Pony Blues,”” which was released in 1929. The following year, Paramount made a series of recordings by Eddie (“Son”) House, whose music failed to find a large audience at the time but exerted a powerful influence on later blues performers, notably Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Tommy Johnson, who recorded for both the Victor and Paramount labels, also contributed to the Delta legacy with his widely emulated guitar style; his “”Big Road Blues”” (1928) inspired the Mississippi Sheiks’ “”Stop and Listen Blues”” (1930) as well as the 1968 rock hit “”On the Road Again”” by the band Canned Heat.

Check out the Youtube videos below featuring 4 major Delta blues men:

  • Tommy Johnson - Big Road Blues
    • Tommy Johnson - Big Road Blues

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  • Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Workin'
    • Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Workin'

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  • Skip James - Devil Got My Woman
    • Skip James - Devil Got My Woman

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  • Robert Johnson - Terraplane Blues
    • Robert Johnson - Terraplane Blues

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The recording of blues music was sharply curtailed during the Great Depression, yet a few traditional blues musicians from Mississippi continued to find opportunities to record. Skip James developed a deeply personal blues style on guitar—often using an unconventional tuning—as well as on piano. Although his 1931 recordings for Paramount sold poorly at the time, songs such as “”Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,”” “”Devil Got My Woman,”” and “”I’m So Glad”” later gained recognition as blues classics; the latter song was featured on a 1966 hit album by the rock-music trio Cream. Booker (“Bukka”) White, another prominent Mississippi guitarist, enjoyed commercial success with his 1937 recording “”Shake ’Em on Down,”” and in 1940 he recorded an especially influential group of songs, including “”Parchman Farm Blues”” and “”District Attorney Blues,”” both of which addressed issues of social justice that were typically avoided in traditional blues music.

Robert Johnson, born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi, in 1911, was the most important Delta musician of the era, although his recorded legacy is limited to 29 songs—the output of sessions held in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, during the last few years of his life. Drawing on the work of earlier Mississippi blues artists, notably Son House and Skip James, as well as on techniques learned from various recordings, Johnson crafted a polished, fluid guitar style that was widely emulated by later blues and rock musicians.

Only his “”Terraplane Blues”” sold well during his lifetime, but in later decades, many musicians recorded Johnson’s other compositions, such as “”Sweet Home Chicago,”” “”Love in Vain,”” “”I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom,”” and “”Come On in My Kitchen.”” Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings, released by Columbia in 1990, became a surprise crossover hit, ultimately selling more than a million copies and earning a Grammy Award for best historical album.

Article Src: http://www.britannica.com/art/Mississippi-Delta-blues


Characteristics Of The Delta Blues Guitar Playing Style.


The drum was an important part of the African slave heritage. That and the strong rhythm were the foundations of this new music. The guitar was the perfect instrument,  as it was light and easily carried anywhere for parties or gigs, and was becoming at the same time cheaper buy also better quality. Fingerpicking appeared very early on and there is evidence that this style of playing stringed instruments existed in Africa for a long time before. However the new acoustic blues rhythm wasn’t as complicated and leaned heavily on simple verse structures. The thumb very often played in the monotonic bass style, where one or more bass string was plucked with the picking thumb and then damped heavily with the palm of the hand.

The sound was more of a ‘thud’ or ‘thrum’ than a musical note and it probably replaced the drum within this musical form. At the same time, the fingers played a separate melody on the treble strings. It could be very basic or quite complex, à la Skip James. Other blues men, like Son house, only had one basic style of playing and only in one tuning, open G. Listen to Death Letter Blues video from Youtube below:




By far the biggest component of the classic blues is the emotional feel of the music. When Son House is playing his National Steel Guitar in that wild thrashing style, he closes hi eyes while singing and he has simply gone to another place! You can’t fake it, or try to sound ‘bluesy’, it’s either in your soul or it’s not. Incidentally, Son House was so nervous after being re-discovered in the 60s, after 30 years of obscurity, on his first gig he had to play facing a corner while on stage – he couldn’t face the audience! Incredible for such a genius.

The monotonic style of playing wasn’t limited to the Southern States by any means. Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscombe perfected the style and in particular Big Bill Broonzy in Chicago (who was also from the South by the way) adapted the technique to produce an exciting swing style fingerpicking style which is incredibly difficult to copy.

Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203

guitar teacher Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203

Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203

Street Singer Teaches Blues Guitar To Over 6000 Students A Year

Guitar students from all corners of the globe learn the music of the American deep South from an Englishman born in Sheffield, UK.

acoustic-blues-guitar-lessons-jim-bruce-Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203— Jim Bruce – a skilled and exceptionally creative guitar singer born and bred in the UK, is excited to announce the launch, release and availability of his comprehensive learning guide that is dedicated towards helping everyone out there who wants to study acoustic blues guitar in the old style.

Dubbed as ‘Real Acoustic Blues Guitar Lessons – From Texas to the Delta,’ – this innovative acoustic blues guitar course (over 750 minutes of instruction) teaches how to play exactly like the legendary blues men.

With many years of broad experience as a blues guitar singer, nothing but the very best is expected of Jim. Suffice it to say that very few players have perfected finger picking blues guitar like Jim Bruce.

Renowned as an expert guitar player who is additionally a gifted teacher, Bruce said; “My journey from being a street blues guitar singer to becoming a top internet guitar instructor has brought everything I know about playing the blues into focus.”

Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203

Back in the old days, Jim used to play guitar on the streets for a living. He only started making waves on the internet in 2010, when he began creating guitar lessons for download and streaming online.

It is noteworthy to mention that he was voted ‘Top Acoustic Blues Guitar Instructor 2013’ by users of Truefire.com, a major teaching web site which promotes lessons from greats such as Tommy Emmanuel and Frank Vignola. This was a great achievement considering the standard of the competition which was attracted from around the globe.

Speaking about his course, Jim continued; “I give students exactly what they need to be able to play great acoustic blues guitar in the old style. I don’t think you should have to pay a lot of money to get the best acoustic blues guitar lessons – these video lessons show anyone how to apply everything learned over the past 40 years by a working blues man – everything you need learn to play old style blues guitar is here.”

Normal Knodel, a ‘working blues man’ said; “I’ve been an acoustic blues hound for well over 40 years…take it from me: Jim Bruce’s studies of the old masters have been so diligent and his transcriptions, with all their nuances, are so accurately rendered that the man should be awarded a PHD in Musicology! …plus, he’s just such a down to earth, nice guy.

To quote the man: “Keep it real”…..What a resource!! Thanks Jim.”

Article Source: http://marketersmedia.com/street-singer-teaches-blues-guitar-to-over-6000-students-a-year/109022

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blues guitar teacher near me Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203

Learn To Play Guitar Birmingham AL 35203

blues guitar

Blues Music – The Source Of Rock And Roll

Music has actually always reflected the sensations of the typical people and their times,whatever period they lived in. In today day, theproblems we come across are extremelydifferent from those suffered by the descendants of the Negro slavesin the Mississippi Delta, for example. It’s typically recognizedthat the Delta was the melting pot that formed the originalblues music, generating such blues males as KidHouse, Leadbelly and the famous Robert Johnson.

Even before guitars were commonly utilizedto develop basic tunes, employees in the Deep South would sing ‘field hollers’, a type of song without music that used a strong rhythm to helpthe associated work, which was typically really repeated, such as digging, chopping or cutting . A team of males would all pressat the same time to maximize their force and the tune offered the exact timing for this kind of work.

Although a normal blues song followed the 12 or 8 bar format,very frequently in the key of E or A,another form of the blues appeared that revealed the spiritual elements of individuals’s lives, and the Spiritual design of roots music was born. Generally, such a song took the type of call and response, where the singer would either be responded to by other vocalists, or by his guitar in later years. The roadway to modern blues music is paved with lots of various stylesfrom various guiarists from nearly every state in America.

The acousticsound of a wooden guitar was becoming overcome by the other instruments, so the all metal building and construction of the National Steel type of guitar was preferred. Specific blues artists such as Huge Bill Broonzy were extremely active in developing a brand-new amazing method of playing, newbies like Muddy Waters rapidly saw the hugepossibilities in playing a more amplified noise, with the additional tone impacts that electronic devicesbrought to the total noise.

It could be stated that this was the time that rock-and-roll was born, when the brand-new blues males adjusted the old design standard music that had it’s roots in the African custom and generated a brand-new interesting sound that still included all the power of the traditional music.

The Simple Blues In The Secret Of E – The A lot of Effective Sound There Is

{ It appears that the Holy Grail for the majority of contemporary I too, was guilty of this, and it was my habit to play exciting complex ragtime blues pieces, often while I talked at the very same time! To my way of thinking, I considered a tunewith just three chords, like the majority of blues tune shave, was simply to easy for me and didn’t bother with them.

It wasn’t up until I paid attention to Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album that it unexpectedly occurred to me. I had been sadly mistaken in thinking that the old blues music was too simple. I’m not a big Clapton fan, the album demonstrated various styles of playing that I simplyhadn’t come throughout in the past. It set me off on a Youtube look for the old roots blues music, with it’s associated Africaninfluences. I found artists like Huge CostsBroonzy, Robert Johnson and Son Home. Obviously, I also found other people that played the ragtime blues variety, which still satisfied my need for intricacy should I ever require it!

One specific time, I came across a video including Lightnin’ Hopkins, the famous Texas guitar player. It was called ‘The Blues According To Lightnin’ Hopkins’ and about half method through he was sat on a sofa in his house gently playing a tune in E. Although he only played a couple of notes, the noise sent a tingle up my spine and I was figured out to discover these effective finger pickingtechniques. Of course, the only way to do this nowadays is by paying attention to the old so-called ‘race records’again and once again, studying the notes and guessingwhich string was being plucked.

It was apparent that the thumb was massively crucial to the fingerstyle methods of these men. Generally, it keeps the speed and isoften heavily damped with the selecting hand palm, so that it sounds more like a ‘thud’ than a musical note. It can likewise alternate and make the music more like ragtime, called the Piedmontstyle. Other times, the thumb moves over to the treble strings to assist produce single string musical runs and increase syncopation. This latter method is totally opposite to the classicalway of mentor guitar, where the thumb adheres to the basses and one, 2 or more fingers choose the treble strings.

What Are The Various Types Of Blues Guitar Music?

Historians believe that the very first music that might rightly be called blues appeared in the Mississippi Delta in the Deep South of America in the late 1890s. African slaves would sing or chant so-called’field shrieks’, which were often in the call and response format and these tunes assistedthe work circulation. This type of tune was closelylinked to spirituals sang in the Churches at that time and were rarely accompanied by any kind of instrument.

The first guitars and fiddles were housemade and not really high quality. This fact, and thehumid climate condition weremajor elements in the development of traffic jam blues, where the guitar was might be tuned down to open G or D, for instance. This type of tune was typically extremely standard, with simply 4 lines of verse and no chorus. Really frequently, the first 3 lines of the verse equaled, and the 4th brought ina small variation.

In typical guitar tuning, aparticular fingerpicking design developed called’monotonic bass’ and was common throughout all regions. The string was damped or silenced heavily simply after sounding, so that it ended up being more of a ‘thwack’ than a musical note.

In the early part of the century piano music ended up being popular however was certainly limited as pianos aremuch more costly than guitars. A young brothel pianist called Scott Joplin produced highlysyncopated piano instrumentals and called it Ragtime, probably after thetype of dance popular amongst the Negro neighborhood at that time. A particular feature of ragtime piano music is the bum-chicksound of the left hand bass patterns. Some guitarists realized that this might be simulated using the thumb rotating between the bass strings of a guitar and ragtime blues or Piedmont design was born.

The really best guitarists took both of these designs and integrated them, developing some very interesting music. Such players would alternated their thumb across the basses, but might change to monotonic bass whenrequired to produce the desired musical result. Many took the style even further and utilizedthe thumb to choose any string at all. The thumb is reallyking when it concerns fingerpicking the blues, whatever design is played.
It’s typically acknowledged that the Delta was the crucible that formed the initial blues music, generating such blues guys as Child House, Leadbelly and the legendaryRobert Johnson.

A typical blues song adhered to the 12 or 8 bar format, very typically in the secret of E or A, another kind of the blues emerged that expressed the spiritual elements of people’s lives, and the Spiritual style of roots music was given birth. The roadway to contemporary blues music is paved with lotsof different designs from numerous guitarists from practically every single state in America.

It set me off on a Youtube quest for the old roots blues music, with it’s connected African influences. Historians believe that the first music that could appropriately be named blues appeared in the Mississippi Delta in the Deep South of America in the late 1890s.

Delta Blues Guitar Essentials

It might be saidthat the Mississippi Delta is the house of blues guitar in it‘s purest type. Gandy Dancers was the name provided to the teams ofrailroad employees that would generallyuse tune to control their work tempo.

Any sort of work that needed collaboration orwas repeated like sawing or hammering wasa great contender for this kind of early unaccompanied bluessong. It isn’t really too clear when the very first instrumentsbegan to appear because there are no precise records from that time, but anecdotal evidence suggest that lots of people made their own guitars and fiddles from whatever materials werelaying around at the time. Lightnin Hopkins recalls making his veryfirst guitar from an old cigar box, a broom handle and alength of wire pulled from his patio screen door!

As one may picture, these crude guitarsand fiddles were really tough to tune as well as to keep in tune, so it would not haveactually been possible to create great music with any type of finesse. It simply wasn’t possible to use an selection of the guitar chords essential to produce intricate songs. The first guitars had anywhere between one and 5strings and were frequently played with a bow or a traffic jam (slide). For a number of us, Mississippi Delta Traffic jam Guitar is still the genuine noise of theblues.

In some cases a knife was used to worry thesehome made guitars, but mostly the neck of a damaged bottle was merely laid throughout the neck at numerous angles and went up and down to hit the appropriate note. It was a hit and miss out on affair, and so the slide was vibrated a little prior to discovering the ideal note, at the exact same time assisting in discovering the note however also producing an psychological and eerie noise when done correctly. Another factorfor this design of playing was that the weather was damp and typicallyhot , which was not a good mix for woodeninstruments, which headed out of tune really quickly.

Guitar Strings Utilized For Acoustic Blues Guitar

Musical instrument strings appeared in the accepted type method back inthe 7th century, when it was discovered that a dried length of sheep gut wouldsound a note at various tensions. If the string was secured across a box made of wood, and a hole was presented, then the first lute was taking shape.Various parts ofanimals were used for centuries for making the fore-runners of the contemporary guitar and it wasn’t until the startof the 18th century that metal began to appear, when instrumentmakers were also searching for additional variety and tonality from their strings.

The guitar in it‘s modern-day kind first appeared in the 13thcentury and up till the 18th century was kind of per formed with 8 sets of strings which weer typically different determines and tuned an octave apart. Later on, new techniques of producing metal strings offeredway to a six string version.

The significant determines of acousticblues guitar strings are heavy, medium and light, although each group is further separated into medium-light, extra-light, and so on. It depends onthe style of playing and the music which strings are used n which kindof guitar.

Finger design players who use plastic or steel finger picks may also use medium gauge, due to thefact that their fingers do not have to suffer so much when they call the strings.On the other hand, a bare finger picker has the tendency to use light gauge phosphor bronze variations, so that they can play complex arrangements with a delicate touch. On of the problems with bare fingerplaying is that the soft pointers of the finger don’tmake a great deal of noise when they pluck the strings, so amplificationis often required to make enough sound for the audience without playing so hard that the strings buzz.

The very first guitars had anywhere between one and 5 strings andwere most often played with a bow or a bottleneck (slide). The guitar in it‘s contemporary kind first appeared in the 13th century and up until the 18th century was kind of per shaped with 8 sets of strings which weer frequently different gauges and tuned an octave apart. The major determines of acoustic blues guitar strings are heavy, medium and light, although each group is more separated into medium-light, extra-light, etc. It depends on the style of playing and the music which strings are used n which kind of guitar. With this thickness of string, the guitar can be played rather hard without any fear of buzzing or other unusual noises.