Playing in the Key of A (Guitar Lesson)


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Mary Flower

Playing in the Key of A

In this lesson, Mary plays in the key of A major in drop D tuning.

Taught by Mary Flower in Fingerstyle Blues seriesLength: 8:36Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

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mpiechowiczmpiechowicz replied on August 5th, 2016

I agree with a few others here, I would love to see this broken down and explained better as I love this music but as it's new to me to try and play it I need explaining better. Thanks.

rosmiarosmia replied on February 6th, 2014

Mary, please take some time and break down that intro for us. The intro is very important. Or is the intro perhaps somewhere else in your lessons?

raynobleraynoble replied on December 2nd, 2013

Print option does not work on supplementary content

bobbyovedbobbyoved replied on April 7th, 2012

I have a question about the first part of Hard DAy Blues. Mary says she is going to start on the 5 chord and does a few notes and a chord which she does not break down and explain. It's the very beginning part of the tune, and its not in the tab. Does anyone know enough about what she is doing at the very beggining to be able to break it down and explain it step by step??

bobbyovedbobbyoved replied on April 7th, 2012

Enter your comment here.

scott sscott s replied on March 26th, 2012

Great song...does anyone know if Mary details the intro she uses in the play through somewhere?

stabilostabilo replied on December 17th, 2011

mary is a great teacher. i have been a strummer for most of my life so i m goin try hard at finger picking.just awsome.love the blues.

nash24nash24 replied on December 1st, 2010

Another great lesson!

tony1489tony1489 replied on January 21st, 2010

What type of fingerpicks (brass) is she using?

acousticnookacousticnook replied on January 24th, 2010

I think they're Dunlop Propics. I've never used fingerpicks before. I like using them except that they numb my fingers a little. I'm going to grow my nails again and play that way. I have pretty strong nails, we'll see how it sounds as I move forward with this.

den9355den9355 replied on August 6th, 2009

Great lessons!!! Keep them coming.

skaterstuskaterstu replied on June 12th, 2009

More Mary, Great! I am addicted to Mazza's lessons!

rayza4drayza4d replied on June 28th, 2009

enjoying your lesson sets very much. Even experimented by raising that 2 string up to a C from B. I can still get that slight bend by reaching up over the top of the nut and it makes that looong D with the F# way easier.(only needs two fingers now) I've struggled a bit with the main A riff. I think it's because of the syncopation but i'll get it.

kathykathy replied on June 20th, 2009

I'm working on that really nice-sounding but wide D7 chord everytime I practice Hard Day with my small left hand, but I admit I go through the song at least once using a different D7 fingering that doesn't sound completely awful so thought I would share in case others are struggling w/it, too: 6th and 1st strings are open, first finger/2nd string/third fret . . . second finger/4th string/4th fret...third finger/5th string/5th fret....pinky/3rd string/5th fret. It's a C7 shape moved up a whole step, basically. There are three D notes are in it AND Mary's favorite F#. ;)

indischgelbindischgelb replied on June 19th, 2009

I really like your style and your lessons come just at the right moment for me. I hope there are gonna be lots more!

jamciclonjamciclon replied on June 15th, 2009

I can see that all supplemental material is written in Guitar Pro. Is there any chance to get the .gp5 file... I ´d love to practice reading and timing that way. THANKS!

kathykathy replied on June 15th, 2009

Don't know if the Lesson 1 Exercise is malfunctioning or just not up yet? Exercise 2 opens up fine. I am thrilled that Mary's sharing her knowledge and blues style here. For me, it feels like Christmas has come early. ;D

cdawsoncdawson replied on June 15th, 2009

Just updated the supplemental, mainly, page 1. Should be working now.

skaterstuskaterstu replied on June 13th, 2009

Wow, Mary is an awsome guitarist... I am falling in love!! Just watched the tutorial in its entirety and I love it, especially the solo-style blues she plays. Is Mary gonna be a permanent member of JamPlay churning out these lessons regularly? This style is really really cool, and I cannot wait to be playing this.

gone workingone workin replied on June 12th, 2009

I've avoided alternate tunings until I get regular tuning down. But this sounds so awesome I'll have to now take that side trip and see where it goes. Jumbling chords about-- must be a joke or two about that.

Fingerstyle Blues

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

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.



Lesson 1

Series Introduction

In this lesson, Mary Flower introduces herself and her playing style. She also discusses essential blues listening.

Length: 11:14 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Blues in Drop D

In this lesson, Mary Flower talks about playing the blues in drop D tuning. She teaches two amazing song examples to get you started.

Length: 21:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Playing in the Key of A

In this lesson, Mary plays in the key of A major in drop D tuning.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Eight Bar Blues

In this lesson, Mary Flower talks about the eight bar blues. She demonstrates it in a couple different keys.

Length: 14:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

8 Bar Blues Progressions

Mary Flower shows several songs that demonstrate the 8 bar blues.

Length: 11:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

How Long and Statesboro Blues

Mary Flower demonstrates two classic songs that feature an 8 bar blues structure. The songs are "How Long" and "Statesboro Blues."

Length: 14:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Sounding Like a Piano

Mary Flower discusses various blues guitar techniques that can give your guitar a wonderful piano sound.

Length: 13:41 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Twelve Bar Blues

Mary uses the songs "CC Rider" and "When I Lost My Baby" as examples in her discussion of the 12 bar blues.

Length: 16:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Blues Duet

In this lesson, you will learn a blues duet that you can play with someone else. Or, you can record yourself playing one part and play the second part over it.

Length: 16:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Blues in the Key of E

Mary is back with another lesson filled with tips on playing the blues in the key of E.

Length: 6:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Midnight Hour Blues

Mary talks about the song "Midnight Hour Blues" and gives some great tips on how to play this beautiful tune.

Length: 9:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Movable Chord in the Key of E

Mary Flower dives into more blues in the key of E by teaching a movable chord.

Length: 4:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Arranging Songs

Mary talks a little bit about arranging songs and uses the song "John Henry" as an example.

Length: 9:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Spike Driver Blues

Mary teaches and discusses the history behind Mississippi John Hurt's song "Spike Driver Blues."

Length: 15:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Diminished Chords

Mary talks about diminished chords and looks at various different shapes. You will learn the song "Walking Across the Country" as an example.

Length: 16:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Buck Rag

Mary teaches the classic song "Rag Time" by Rev. Gary Davis in this fun Blues lesson.

Length: 23:16 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Mississippi Blues

Mary teaches a song called "Mississippi Blues" by Willie Brown.

Length: 32:03 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Saturday Night Rub

Mary Flower teaches the fun and catchy song "Saturday Night Rub" by Big Bill Broonzy.

Length: 25:52 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Key of F

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

Length: 8:20 Difficulty: 3.0 FREE
Lesson 20

South Carolina Rag

Mary teaches the song "South Carolina Rag" by Willie Walker.

Length: 12:35 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Open D Tuning

Mary Flower talks about the advantages of open D tuning.

Length: 12:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Boogie Woogie Dance

Mary Flower shares her interpretation of a classic blues slide tune called "Boogie Woogie Dance."

Length: 16:44 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Alabama Bound

Mary Flower shares some thoughts on the bass notes found within the song "Alabama Bound" in this lesson.

Length: 6:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Blues in A

Mary Flower talks about improvising a blues in A.

Length: 13:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Sugar Babe

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "Sugar Babe," a Mance Lipscomb tune.

Length: 9:49 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Michigan Water

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "Michigan Water," a Jelly Roll Morton tune.

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Bye Bye Baby Blues

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "Bye Bye Baby Blues" by Little Hat Jones.

Length: 12:47 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Mary Flower shares her rendition of the spiritual song "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" in this lesson.

Length: 10:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

River of Joy

Mary Flower shares an original song called "River of Joy."

Length: 16:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Open D Tuning Song Exercise

Mary Flower shares a song played in open D tuning that features alternating bass and syncopation.

Length: 12:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

M & O Blues

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "M & O Blues," a Willie Brown song.

Length: 15:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Colored Aristocracy

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of the song "Colored Aristocracy."

Length: 13:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Turkey in the Straw

Mary Flower shares her modern rendition of "Turkey in the Straw."

Length: 10:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Trouble in Mind

Mary Flower shares her rendition of the catchy blues tune "Trouble in Mind."

Length: 8:22 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Crow Jane

Mary Flower demonstrates Carl Martin's arrangement of the song "Crow Jane."

Length: 15:52 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of the song "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie" by Elizabeth Cotten.

Length: 11:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Mary Flower View Full Biography Working in both the intricately syncopated Piedmont fingerpicking style and her own deeply bluesy lap-slide guitar, Mary has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike for her springwater-clear vocals and mastery of multiple guitar styles as well as her own compositions. Though she can create prewar blues and ragtime with the best of them, Mary draws on traditional, contemporary and original material to create something new: a sound uniquely her own that remains true to the timeless power of the blues.

Flower's elegant, funky and inventive playing on vintage guitars makes her one of a mere handful of women guitarists admired for their instrumental prowess. In 2000 and 2003 respectively, Mary placed in the top three at the National Fingerpicking Championship. Her career as an internationally known performer and teacher has spanned more than three decades.

A recent transplant to the Northwest, Mary cut her teeth on the Colorado music scene where she played with the likes of Katy Moffatt, Pat Donohue, the Mother Folkers and more. Mary took a detour in the 80s to raise a family, all the time woodshedding and performing locally.

Mary's CD Bywater Dance, recorded pre-Katrina in New Orleans for Yellow Dog Records, has garnered widespread acclaim. An award-winning player with seven solo cds and 5 instructional DVDs to her credit, Flower is in demand for festivals, concerts and guitar workshops on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Unassuming blues heroine Mary Flower proves one again that she's one of the nation's premier fingerstyle blues guitarists-- her technique is exceptional throughout, and in the end, serves the highest purpose, the music--unfailingly sweet, hot and sassy--every track on this album has something about it that will give you the shivers... This is one of the most satisfying albums of the year."
  - All Music Guide to Blues

"Her crisp, fluid fingerpicking sounds deceptively effortless, with flawlessly executed syncopation, the hallmark of a bouncing, upbeat Piedmont style. From casual listeners to devoted blues fans, Flower's music is accessible to everyone"
  - Blues Review

"With her immaculate guitar playing and warm contralto, Mary Flower finds the sweet spot between modern and rootsy in twelve tunes bred of back porches, parlors, street corners, juke joints and country churches...one of the best blues based singer songwriters working today."
  - Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Mary is one of those rare artists who manages to create a tincture of the aged authentic with the freshly original."
  - Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine

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