Online Blues Guitar Lessons – Reverend Gary Davis


Online Blues Guitar Lessons from Jim Bruce

Online Blues Guitar Lessons In The Classic Style

When I learned to play blues guitar in the 60s, vinyl records and tabs were the norm, but now online blues guitar lessons make the learning process much easier. The first tabs I ever saw for acoustic guitar came with a book and a record produced by Stefan Grossman. At that time there was a huge interest in the old country blues guitar styles, but the old way of learning, which was basically with a real live teacher, was too long, too expensive and the real player who created the styles back in the 30s were dying out fast. A lucky few, like Grossman, took regular guitar lessons with Reverend Gary Davis and had contact with Skip James, Son House and Mississippi John Hurt, to name a few great blues guitarists.


If you didn’t have access to accurate blues guitar tabs (and they weren’t always that accurate) then the only way to learn a guitar piece that appealed was to transfer the vinyl music to tape and play a phrase again and again until you decided where the fingers of both hands should go. After writing this down in guitar tab form, it remained to start to play it very slowly and gradually building up speed until it was fluent. This is the way I learned to play West coast Blues on guitar (Blind Blake), because I saw that the existing tabs didn’t reflect what was actually happening when I listened to the original Biograph recording. Online blues guitar lessons accelerated this process enormously, but care should be taken in choosing the right ones.

All in all, free is good! But it brings it’s own problems. With so many free online blues guitar lessons, the not-so-good sneaks in with the excellent, and when you’re learning how do you know the difference?This is difficult for me to say, as I don’t want to criticize anyone, but it’s a fact that some guitarists don’t have enough the blues roots in their veins to really teach it. There’s a certain something missing. It’s not enough to teach the theory, or fancy blues riffs, if the feeling isn’t there. Many guitar teachers profess to teach many different styles – look for the guy who plays only acoustic blues, and who has held learning the blues guitar as a lifelong passion and you won’t go far wrong.



Probably the most interesting songs by Davis are the Gospel variety that he created and were a huge achievement in blues fingerpicking guitar. Many blues men weave intricate treble runs into their songs to great effect, but mostly in between the verses and lines in the verses, to fit in with the lyrics. Listen to songs like ’12 Gates To The City’ and ‘When The Train Comes Along’ to hear Davis sing along while playing intricate single strings runs all the way through the verse – it’s really amazing to hear and realize what he is doing. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean!