Learn blues guitar hi there the clip you just wtached was a portion of spike driver driver blues by mississippi john hurt it’s quite a hypnotic piece and the syncopation on the thumb work is is quite appealing . Incredibly while i was uh… putting this thing down on tablature, I realized that John Hurt made this whole song with just one chord Now he changes the basic G chord into a G7 chord and also he uses fingers on the the middle strings to change the flavor but basically he just keeps one chord. He uses a basic G chord, sometimes he uses G7 He uses this chord and he moves his ring finger across at various times in this shape. Normally I make the G chord in this way in this way, which is something i’ve done for many
years. When you play it in this configuration you
can make a G7 shape and free up your little finger to mve around Inevitably when I’m playing a song such as this I use the shape I always do, that I always know and I change over to the G7 shape and move my fingers but it would be much easier if you could keep this configuration. One of the things you’ll notice from the previous clip is how flexible johnhrt’s fingers were He uses two fingers and the thumb without any fnger picks, which is not unusual for rag-time pickers, people like Blind Blake Willie Walker, They used two figures and this is necessary to make those
fast triplets. Now John Hurt doesn’t play too quickly but he uses those two fingers to great effect. But you’ll notice that he stabilizes his hand by holding his finger on the sound board. The incredible thing is that he doesn’t move these fingers at all and his two picking fingers move quite independently – they’re very
flexible Now this presents quite a problem for
some modern-day guitarists and me in particular because my two fingers are not flexible, they don’t like to work
independently. When I use the second finger, it generally follows on quickly from
my first finger, so i need to control it. My problem is that I have to lift my hand from the soundboard. Now if you have to do the same thing to
use two fingers, then you’ll that it gives you a stability problem What I do in this case is to hold the heel of my hand on the bridge, so that most of the time i can hold my finger on
the soundboard when I’m just picking with one finger, and when I use two I inevitably lift my hand away but I have the heel of my palm on
the bridge which helps to stabilize the feel. Nevertheless, when you’re using this
technique and you don’t have that flexibility, you have to be very careful with the
timing, so that you don’t change the flavor. This is what my style looks like in
closup. Take a look at my right hand I normally keep the palm of my hand very close to the strings anyway and you can see I anchor my hand on the soundboard but when I use the second finger the hand does lift off. If you have the same technique, that just take care with your damping and timing. You ntice that John Hurt uses two structures in his alternating bass pattern. Sometimes he alternates in this way … Then sometimes he’ll alternate between
three bass notes … We need to take this at quite a slow pace so that we can try and keep this rhythm going. You can hear, because I have to lift my hand away and concentrate on the timing for my finger work, that
sometimes my thumb is a little heavy on the bass notes. It helps if you tiy to damp with the heel of your palm to try and lessen that effect. Now let’s take a look at the detailed
tablature, you’ll see my right hand and left and in close up. Take it easy, nice and slow. Good luck. Here’s the first section … We’ve learned how to play the basic form of Spike Driver Blues but if you listen closely as is often the case you can hear something a little bit
different, it sounds a little bit different from when John Hurt plays it, because he’s putting some exra syncopation in the bass notes that we haven’t done yet. So let’s explore this and I’ll show what I think John Hurt does now with his forefinger so instead of playing an alternating bass in this way He’ll use his forfinger to make that a double beat now and again So let’s take a look at the tablature again, starting on the third phrase, the third section of the tablature we’ll start to introduce this finger stroke so watch out for that. This will increase the syncopation
and make the song more authentic and interesting Let’s take a look …