The best way to learn something complicated is to break it into smaller (bite-sized) pieces.
Since I view anything involving the coordination of all ten of my digits to be complicated, I like to approach finger picking the blues by stripping things down into their most basic elements. That’s exactly what we’re doing with our study of the Piedmont Blues Progression.
Why Learn Piedmont?
Before we get into the lesson. Let’s take a minute and answer the big question.
Why are we learning to finger pick the blues through Piedmont? Well, I have two answers:
- I’m in love with Piedmont Blues!
- This syncopated rhythm will give your fingers little minds of their own.
There’s a lot going on in most Piedmont songs on the guitar. Just listen to A Southern Rag or One Dime Blues for a glimpse. Piedmont gets your thumb moving and your fingers picking in between the beats like nothing else.
It sounds complicated and frankly, it is. But, I firmly believe that if you take this one step at a time, you can get there.
How to Play Bars 5 – 8
The thumb-pinch-pinch-thumb mantra from the video really helped me get my fingers together. I hope it helps you.
The next lessons will cover the remaining bars of the basic melody that we’ve started to unlock. But then, the fun begins. We’ll slowly layer a few stylistic elements to the basic progression. Toss in a few good licks and you’ve got yourself a sweet little blues song.
There’s quite a lot more to come, so practice up!
If you’re new to finger picking, don’t get discouraged when your fingers simply won’t do what you ask them to do. This stuff is complicated and difficult to be sure. But the rewards are sweet. Keep picking and you’ll nail it. I know it.
If you get stuck along the way though, leave me a comment or email me and we’ll work together to get you over the hump.
Best of luck to you.