Fingerstyle Blues

The blues is a distinctly American style of music. Many popular genres such as jazz, rock, and country music draw upon basic blues concepts. Consequently, it is advantageous for any guitarist to study the blues.

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Orville Johnson combines his amazing fingerstyle abilities with classic blues music. Orville will introduce you to the necessary concepts of fingerstyle and move on to teach classic blues tunes.

Lessons in this Series:

Lesson 1

Alternating Bass

In this lesson, Orville introduces one of the basic fingerstyle techniques - the alternating bass technique.

Length: 14:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 2

Winin' Boy Blues

Orville Johnson teaches his interpretation of the piano-based song "Winin' Boy Blues" by Jelly Roll Morton.

Length: 29:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 3

Blues Turnarounds

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

Length: 16:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Free Sample Lesson from this Series!
Lesson 4

Payday Blues

Orville Johnson teaches the fingerstyle blues song "Payday Blues."

Length: 19:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 5

Walking Bassline with Chords

Orville Johnson demonstrates how to play a walking bass line in conjunction with chordal accompaniment.

Length: 18:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 6

One Dime Blues

Orville Johnson teaches his take on a blues standard entitled "One Dime Blues."

Length: 13:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 7

I'll Fly Away - Piedmont Style

Orville Johnson teaches the classic gospel tune "I'll Fly Away" in the Piedmont style.

Length: 18:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 8

Beulah Land

Orville Johnson teaches the classic gospel song "Beulah Land."

Length: 12:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 9

Make Me a Pallet on the Floor

Orville Johnson teaches "Make Me a Pallet on the Floor" in the Piedmont style.

Length: 17:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 10

How Long, How Long Blues

Orville teaches the a fingerstyle version of the classic blues number "How Long, How Long."

Length: 23:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 11

Common Blues Melody

Orville Johnson teaches a common blues melody that has been used in several classic songs including "Louis Collins."

Length: 15:09 Difficulty: 0.0 Member Only
Lesson 12

St. Johnny

Orville Johnson reviews an original tune he calls "St. Johnny" in this lesson.

Length: 44:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 13

Blind Blake Style

In this lesson, Orville Johnson takes a look at the style of Blind Blake with some fun tips and tricks.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 14

Chord Substitutions: Major

In this Fingerstyle Blues lesson, Orville Johnson uses the 12 bar blues in C to talk about chord substitutions.

Length: 35:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 15

Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling

To demonstrate the relationship between gospel and blues, Orville Johnson teaches an arrangement of an old gospel tune called "Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling".

Length: 20:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 16

Chord Substitutions: Minor

Orville Johnson is back with another fantastic lesson on chord substitutions, this time in a minor key.

Length: 19:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 17

Mississippi John Hurt Style

Orville Johnson demonstrates Mississippi John Hurt's style using an old spiritual song called "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder".

Length: 10:18 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
Lesson 18

Skip James Style Part 1

Orville Johnson explores the style of Skip James in open G tuning.

Length: 19:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 19

Skip James Style Part 2

Orville Johnson takes another look at the style of Skip James, this time in cross-note (D Minor) tuning.

Length: 25:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 20

Bo Carter Style

Orville Johnson takes a look at the style of blues artist Bo Carter in this lesson.

Length: 15:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 21

Jelly Jelly

Orville Johnson walks through "Jelly Jelly," an original piano blues style song.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 22

Travis Picking Pt. 1

Welcome to part one of a two part lesson bundle where Orville breaks down Travis Picking, a fingerstyle pattern made famous by the great Merle Travis.

Length: 21:51 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 23

Travis Picking Pt. 2

This is part two in Orville's Travis Picking demonstration. Orville now teaches how to increase speed with the picking hand. Then, he explains how to improve synchronization between the picking and fretting hands.

Length: 23:10 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 24

Scrapper Blackwell Part 1

Welcome to part one of a two part mini series on the great guitarist known as Scrapper Blackwell! Orville tackles the unique techniques Scrapper utilized.

Length: 28:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 25

Scrapper Blackwell Part 2

Now that Orville has introduced Scrapper's style, he covers some more difficult techniques that he used.

Length: 17:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Member Only
Lesson 26

Mississippi John Hurt Style 2

Orville Johnson delves into the style of Mississippi once more. This time around he takes a look at a song that is inspired by "Frankie and Albert".

Length: 16:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 27

The Style of Elizabeth Cotten Part 1

Orville talks all about the style of Elizabeth Cotten, an acoustic fingerpicking legend. He uses a song called "I'm Going Downtown" to showcase her way of playing.

Length: 38:01 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 28

The Style of Elizabeth Cotten Part 2

Orville dives back into the world of Elizabeth Cotten. This time around he teaches a newsong called "Sugar" and introduces other common musical themes she was known for.

Length: 18:20 Difficulty: 3.0 Member Only
Lesson 29

Heavy-Time Bass

Orville Johnson likes to use a technique called "Heavy-time bass" when playing the bass notes on his guitar. In this lesson he teaches you how adding this trick to your arsenal can make you a more versatile player.

Length: 25:29 Difficulty: 3.5 Member Only