Blind Blake was a complete master of ragtime blues guitar - so how do we define that?
First of all, his performances had a joyful quality typical of the ragtime piano feel of the likes of Scott Joplin which the style emulated. Secondly, Blake introduced some techniques that gave the music a syncopation that almost defies belief. Although his playing inspired many artists since his passing, very few can capture the feel of his picking patterns. He picked with his bare thumb and probably two fingers. A great many legendary blues men used just one finger for picking acoustic blues, but the triplets you can hear in much of Blake's music makes this just about impossible. His fingers were indeed fast and very, very accurate.
He would vary his techniques within a song to make it more interesting and exciting, singing along with an alternating bass picking pattern and regularly throwing in fast single string runs picked with his thumb and forefinger. He could also reverse his bass picking pattern seemingly at will, also changing from a two string pattern to a three string variation. He might double up on the timing in the middle of a song and then seamlessly return without missing a beat (for example, Tootie Blues). When he combined all of these techniques in one song, it was formidable.
Blake's most famous technique is also the one most difficult to copy. He would slip or roll his thumb from one bass string to another, so instead of hearing one bass note per beat, we hear two! Your thumb needs to be super disciplined to do this correctly, as your fingers will be picking the treble strings at the same time! Now it's time to sing as well - wow, this is great fun! Good Luck.
Jim Bruce was voted N°2 Internet Guitar Instructor by Truefire in 2013.
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SEO Expert, Marketer, Author, and Teacher
The scope of Jim's divers courses reflect his interest and proficiency in many subject areas. Earning a living online for 10 years now, his interests span topics such as on page SEO, to creating blues guitar lessons, to writing novels and movie scripts, to Wordpress Tutorials.
Writing primarily in the science fiction genre, Jim Bruce, is fascinated with the possibilities that this type of fiction brings, but also in the actual craft of screenwriting.
Jim devoured his dad's collection of science fiction books at an early age, often reading collections of short fiction collected together under titles such as 'Fantastic Stories', or 'Look To The Stars' under his bed covers way into the night.
The possibilities, the 'what ifs' of sci-fi provide Jim with the enthusiasm to live life to the full - anything is possible, and there are more things in the great out-there than we can possibly write about. Curiosity is the spur that drives him on to create, not just fiction, but political comment, music and poetry.
Born in the North of UK in 1950, where he attended schools in Creswell, Nottinghamshire and Shirebrook. He has had more jobs than he can remember, including working in the coal mines, teacher, electrician, mechanic, circus laborer, farm hand, channel tunnel engineer, industrial robot programmer, website builder and professional blues guitar player/teacher.
He has been resident in UK, USA, Germany, France and Portugal, where he currently lives and writes.
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