The inestimable Roy Book Binder has given us another terrific look at his unique brand of fingerpicked blues guitar. This time around he covers the basics of open tunings and the use of the bottleneck, teaching the essential techniques in a way that will be easy even for newcomers to this style.
Roy starts his lesson with an exploration of open D, or "Vestapol" tuning, as some blues players call it. After showing you how to retune from the standard EADGBE, he launches into his original song, "Travelin’ Man Blues," based around traditional guitar licks in alternate bass fingerpicking style. This relatively easy piece introduces beginning players to the slide, and helps you discover how to find the notes along the first string that work with any blues song.
Once you have the fundamentals down it won’t be a big leap to play other pieces from Roy’s repertoire, including Willy Harris’ 1928 "Never Drive a Stranger from Your Door," Bo Carter’s raunchy "Cigarette Blues" and Jimmy Murphy’s dynamic country tune "Electricity." In each song you’ll learn accompaniment and lead parts, as well as pointers on style and ways to make the tune your own.
Roy then introduces you to Open G, or "Spanish," tuning, making use of Blind Willie McTell’s slide style in his original song "Palm Trees Shaking in the Night." Bukka White and Muddy Waters licks slip into the ragtime-like tune "She Did You a Favor," while Bo Carter’s "Baby Don’t You Do It No More" and Clifford Gibson’s "Tired of Being Mistreated" round out the lesson with some haunting blues sounds.
Between humorous stories and fascinating insights into blues style and history, Roy provides you with a wealth of songs, licks and techniques to add to your repertoire, and the means to explore the sounds of open tunings and slide guitar.