Archive | Folk Blues RSS feed for this section

What is Fingerstyle Guitar Anyway?

A discussion of fingerstyle techniques, categorization, and the advent of modern fingerstyle, percussive guitar. The music of Vicki Genfan.

Read full story Comments { 0 }

What the Hell are the Piedmont Blues?

I had been playing fingerstyle blues for many years before I ever heard the term ‘piedmont blues.’ I had gravitated towards a group of players that included Blind Blake, the Reverend Gary Davis, and Brownie McGee, looking for songs that I felt comfortable singing, without knowing they were all from the same region. There’s certain vulnerability to piedmont blues, and an inspired joy within the piedmont guitar rags. Later I became aware of the geographical significance of the ‘Piedmont’, the eastern seaboard between Richmond, VA and Atlanta, GA. I was drawn particularly to the playing of Blind Blake, who had a disarming quality to his singing.

Read full story Comments { 2 }

The Difference Between Country Blues & Folk Blues

The Blues, and roots acoustic blues in particular, covers a lot of ground. With so many regional styles and so much history, its a complex landscape to describe. If someone were to ask me ‘what’s the difference between Country Blues and Folk Blues?‘ I’d say ‘Woah, don’t let classifying the music be a distraction from […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }

The Best Guitar for Fingerstyle

Discussions of guitars and guitar styles have gone on for so long they’ve probably contributed to global warming. But for guitarists, this is just the kind of discussion we’ll never finish.Lets go over a few of the other factors that distinguish a good fingerstyle guitar. Number one is a harder wood for the back and sides, mahogany being the frequent choice, often on a smaller body guitar. Some harder rosewoods are touted, but here, it starts being like trying to tell the difference between five different zinfandels. The same goes for distinguishing the effect of a harder spruce for the top. For me it comes down to a guitar that rings out, but doesn’t resonate to where the overtones are washing over each other and drowning out the overtones of the next notes. And mahogany does that well. This means that comparing the fingerstyle guitar you’re interested in with a mahogany guitar is a good idea.

Read full story Comments { 4 }

Dave Van Ronk, the Real Folk Blues

In my early teens, a friend gave me a Dave Van Ronk album. Seeing that I was into guitar, this young wiseman wanted to assure himself I understood what the combination of Acoustic Guitar and Voice was really capable of. Through Van Ronk I quickly found Blind Lemon Jefferson, Reverend Gary Davis and Leadbelly. My idea of what singing with the guitar meant was permanently pegged to the soulful funkiness etched on those recordings.

Read full story Comments { 1 }