Welcome to the 'guitar workshop'! here you can learn the basics of some different 'fingerpicking' guitar styles that I have picked up during my travels. There are short movie files of each song, whereby my left and right hand are filmed separately. For orientation purposes, I have included some simple tabs for the positions. Good Luck!


Burnside style...


 

R.L. Burnside - "Poor Black Mattie"
I learned this song, Poor Black Mattie, from Burnside. This 'traditional' used to be his opener at concerts, and is played in the typical "Mississippi Hill" style, that is played in the Northern part of the state. The guitar is tuned in open A, also known as 'Spanish' tuning among blues guitarists. The tuning is as follows: E-A-E-A-C flat-E, in other words the D,G and B string are tuned up two positions. This is also the tuning in which Keith Richards plays a lot of his guitar parts.
 

Foto: Els Offermans

 

LEFT HAND

RIGHT HAND

TOTAL SHOT

E

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cis

1

\3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

 

0

 

 

E

 

 

 

0

 

0

 

 

0

 

 

0

A

 

0

 

 

0

 

3

 

 

 

0

 

E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

 


Skip James - "Devil"


 

This song is probably played for over a hundred years in the small village called Bentonia, which lies close to Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. I learned this version from Jimmy Holmes, the last living guitarist who plays in the Bentonia style. However, this song is more known in the version of Skip James, while Jack Owens recorded it too for several times. The guitar is tuned in E-minor, or: E-B-E-G-B-E. The A and D string are tuned up two positions. This tuning is typical for this village, and is used nowhere else as a blues tuning.
 

 

LEFT HAND

RIGHT HAND

TOTAL SHOT

E

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

 

0

 

B

 

 

 

 

 

0

 

2

 

 

G

2\4

2

0-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E

 

 

 

0

 

 

0

 

 

 

B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

E

 

0

 

 

0

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

 


Ali Farka Touré - "Djimbala"


 

Djimbala is a music style in Mali that is used to sing about spirits and demons. On behalf of Farka himself I would like to stress that it is not wise to play this style after midnight, for you will run the risk of being visited by evil spirits. The guitar is tuned in the typical Songhai tuning, a people that live in the Northern part of Mali, and of which Farka himself is part. The tuning is as follows: G-A-D-G-B-E, in other words the thick E string is tuned up three positions. It is important to play this style in a subtle fashion, Malian guitarists rarely bang away on their guitars.
 

 

LEFT HAND

RIGHT HAND

TOTAL SHOT

E

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

B

1

3

 

 

 

 

 

G

 

 

 

3-4-3-0

 

0

 

D

 

 

 

 

4\5

 

5

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G

0

 

 

0

 

0