How to Play Cannonball Rag by Mitch Reed (Guitar Lesson)

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Mitch Reed

Cannonball Rag

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists with a great introduction to ragtime.

Taught by Mitch Reed in Song Lessons With Mitch Reed seriesLength: 15:36Difficulty: 2.5 of 5


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Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


shiftdriver1shiftdriver1 replied

Great stuff Mitch, I wanted to learn Cannon Ball Rag for years. I see you have only 3 tunes going now...Could I suggest...Back to that old smoky mountain....Birth of the Blues.....Winter Walkin...Sandman.... Thanks

eduardovillaeduardovilla replied

Great song! Everything is great but i just cant get the last part of the intro. Little help?

dallendouglasdallendouglas replied

Hi Mitch, Graet Lesson and I'am forceing myself to go slowly. It would help me when you say "Move up Here" you say what fret it is. A little hard for me to see the video.

merischinomerischino replied

Wow. Now I have a serious goal staked in the ground. I'm a rank beginner at the moment. But now I want to learn this song by the time my mom's 70th birthday comes 'round, so I can surprise her. (Never learned to play ragtime like her on the piano when I was young. Surprise her, maybe, doing it on the guitar?)

ripper123ripper123 replied

Hi Mitch... Thank you very much for this lesson. It snapped me out of my doldrums by making guitar practices fun again! Can't wait to see more lessons. Could you possibly provide a breakdown of the rolls you do at the end of the piece? I love that sound!

akman1akman1 replied

This is why this site is so awesome. New stuff! I like Merle Travis' sound and here it is with cannonball rag. Keep 'em coming Mitch. Funny thing tho Merle only used his thumb and index finger, what freedom when you learn with the other three!!

sean.egansean.egan replied

This is the best lesson on JamPlay--great camerawork and explanation--a lot like the videos on iVideosongs.com. Now if you could do a lesson on Doc Watson's Deep River Blues in this same way, it would make my annual membership worthwhile with one song!

jessehjesseh replied

thanks for this lesson very cool to play

mattbrownmattbrown replied

Hey Mitch! I really dug this lesson! That's a great arrangement.

rarsenrarsen replied

Hi Mitch, Great rag time intro song. I picked it up pretty quickly from your teaching skills but need to keep goin' slow to get it cleaner and then up to speed. I noticed that you only use your 2nd finger for the melody. Any problem with using my 1st and 2nd finger alternately? Thanks, Uncle Joe

MitchVReedMitchVReed replied

Hi Joe, no problem at all using alternating fingers. Merle Travis would only use one, but that doesn't mean you have to! Glad you enjoyed the lesson.

Song Lessons With Mitch Reed

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Ragtime and Slide



The Sunday BluesLesson 1

The Sunday Blues

Mitch teaches an original ragtime song.

Length: 18:20 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Cannonball RagLesson 2

Cannonball Rag

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag."

Length: 15:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Blake-ish RagLesson 3

The Blake-ish Rag

Mitch Reed teaches an original that is heavily influenced by "Blind Blake," the legendary blind guitarist.

Length: 16:55 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mitch Reed

About Mitch Reed View Full Biography Mitch Reed lives in the college town of Kent, Ohio, and performs regularly throughout the northeast Ohio area. When he was 16, he got his first paying gig as a bass player, in a 50's music show at a now-defunct amusement park.

He is at home on acoustic and electric, and primarily focuses on solo performances. Depending on his mood for the evening, he might decide to bring an acoustic, electric, 12 string, or resonator guitar to the gig.

He is not a blues man, folk guitarist, or a singer/songwriter (what he considers to be an overused and meaningless term). He just calls himself a "guy with guitar", and particularly enjoys fingerpicking in the styles of Leo Kottke, Bob Brozman, Merle Travis, and countless others.

Mitch spent an inordinate amount of time as a teenager trying to play like one his main guitar influences, Greg Ginn.

Mitch has taught students face-to-face for several years, and has a pragmatic approach to teaching; if it sounds good, it IS good. He believes that your time practicing is best spent on techniques and approaches to playing, rather than repeating someone else's work note-for-note.

Although he enjoys teaching and playing ragtime, country blues, and slide guitar, he has been known to relive his youth by creating cover versions of his favorite 80's punk songs for solo guitar. He's no music snob.

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