Blues Guitar - Truckin' Little Baby by Blind Boy Fuller - Blues Guitar

Jim Bruce, Blues Guitar Teacher and Author

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2 Videos (18m)
    • Truckin' Little Baby Lesson Preview

      2:18
    • Ragtime Blues Guitar - Truckin' <Little Baby by Blind Boy Fuller

      15:38

About This Class

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Blind Boy Fuller was an expert in the fingerpicking guitar style known as Pidemont or Ragtime Blues. It's a difficult style to master, as the thumb and fingers operate tend to operate independently of each other. That alternating bass performed by the thumb is crucial to the technique.

Learning how to play acoustic blues guitar is a two pronged battle. First, we have to train our motor skills to technically make the right sounds. 

Once we know where to put the fingers of both hands, its just a case of practicing for many hours a week. It is that a professional guitarist has about 10 000 hours of practice time under his belt. 

Tommy Emmanuel once guessed that he had practiced around one hundred thousand hours in his life time, which comes in at about 5 hours a day, every single day! 

Guitar players will tell you that improvement comes in levels - you stick at one level of competence for a lengthy period, and then it seems as though you jump to the next. Of course, the progress is because of regular practice.

 

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We have all watched excellent guitarists perform and been totally bored after 5 minutes, just because there is no feeling - it just doesn't mean anything. From time to time, technical skill and feeling will come together in a certain guitarist, and then we hear magic. 

Naturally, everything is relative, and playing the guitar is the same. Although Clapton is considered a legend, his acoustic blues picking technique appears quite basic when compared to Tommy Emmanuel, who can literally play any style of music.

Truckin' is played in the key of C and follows a standard ragtime chord progression using the chords C, C7, F and G/G7 and using a standard 'turnaround' between verses.

Fuller's playing doesn't have quite the complexity of Blind Blake or the diversity of Reverend Gary Davis, who taught him for a while, but his technique is rock solid. Combined with his slurring manner of singing, the appeal was enormous and he was a pop star of those days, producing around 120 records.

A common mistake is to try and play it too fast. It seems faster than it actually is due to the effect of the syncopation, but it's quite leisurely (I almost always play it faster than the original.) If you want complete authenticity, play it on a National Steel guitar - I play most things on a small bodied Martin, which works fine. The resonator style of guitar tend to have loud treble string - great if you have a gentle touch (which you should really try to develop) but not so good for heavy-handed people like me!

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Jim Bruce

Blues Guitar Teacher and Author

After making a living out of playing acoustic blues guitar in Europe for many years, I became interested in teaching online about 15 years ago, and began creating lessons. In 2103 I was voted N?2 top blues guitar teacher by users of Truefire.com.

While blues guitar remains dear to my heart, the last year I've been concentrating on novel writing and future classes will reflect this. It's all about creating and being the best we can possibly be!

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