I love a screaming guitar solo as much as anyone, but some of my favorite music to listen to is that greasy, slow, electric fingerpicking blues guitar. Lightning Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and R.L. Burnside are some of my favorites in that style.
I’ve gotten several requests to cover the song “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” by Skip James. It’s a perfect slow blues song to perform as a solo 6-string arrangement, since it has such a killer vocal melody and baseline.
For this recording, I chose to pick on my vintage Harmony Monterey guitar. It’s got a clean and punchy acoustic tone, which I mic’ed with a WA-47 Tube mic from Warm Audio. I also plugged the guitar into a Fender Princeton Blackface (re-issue) with the vibrato intensity cranked to 11. The old Hershey bar pickup in the Harmony is in neck position, which also contributes to the warm, full-bodied electric tone. Watch the video above, for the complete details on the gear and settings I used.
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I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the techniques I used to help develop my fingerpicking style over the years. When I was just starting to learn guitar, and through each stage of development, I would often hit walls and feel like my progress was dragging along too slowly. Each time I progressed past one of those frustrating plateaus, it was because I learned a new technique that helped guide me in the right direction. In the following video lesson, I will share some of those plateau-busting techniques that allowed me to develop quicker and more freely.
As you work through the exercises in this video lesson, don’t forget that practice is key. You will only be able to easily master these techniques through repetition. Also, make sure you follow the tips on anchoring and hand position, as they will save you hours of frustration once you incorporate them into your playing style.
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