My name is MJ and I am a 24 year old member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
I’m an avid delta blues fan. Some of my favorite artists are Charley Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Lead Belly, Son House, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. I’ve always wanted to play guitar but the song that inspired me to start learning was Blind Willie Johnson’s “Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed.”
My goal is to get to a point where I’m playing my favorite songs by BWJ and Charley Patton. I’m finding it a little challenging to stay motivated because so much of what I want to play isn’t in standard tuning and I’m not a fan of a lot of beginner songs. Trying to find resources and connect my learning journey to my goal of playing delta blues.
But as I said, I don’t know if you can do better than Justin’s foundational grades, plus maybe the Practical Music Theory, to ensure you have that solid foundation as a guitarist upon which you can become a blues guitarist. I think this is a better approach than just diving into blues and learning a few songs. Of course nothing wrong with keeping it interesting by also learning some tunes in the style you aspire to play.
I’m quite a Delta Blues fan myself. If you can already recognise that stuff you want to play isn’t in standard tuning then you might already be at quite a developed stage. It is possible to transpose some of these songs into standard tuning (unless it’s slide guitar). For example, my version of “She Moved Through the Fair” on here is generally done in DADGAD (eg Davey Graham)
But I did it in standard tuning.
Alternatively you could start by looking at players such as Blind Boy Fuller who did a lot in standard tuning albeit with a capo.
Might be an idea if you could upload a video of you playing so we can see where you are at.
Welcome to the forum, great to hear from you. some of the blues tunings can be easier than standard tuning for beginners. in fact, a friend who teaches high school aged students often starts them off on open tunings. With the open tunings, you can use a slide to more easily play the I the IV and the V chords as in many blues songs. Enjoy
Rumble is great! Jimmy Hendrix as well as Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Howlin’ Wolf. So many Native people before me who had such an impact on American music. Blues is such an amalgamation of different cultures.
Interesting! I didn’t know Blind Boy Fuller played in standard tuning. I know Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy and Junior Kimbrough all have songs in standard tuning. Lots of good stuff to play before I move on to the alternate tunings.
Hi MJ, welcome. Justin has developed his courses in a way that can have his students playing what they want to play at least at a basic level in the shortest time possible but still there are some skills that are useful to get fluent with before concentrating in the desired genres. Maybe you can go parallel and attempt some shortcuts using whatever resource you have access to learn the songs you want to play while also doing Justin lessons. You’ll probably notice some aspects that you’re having difficulty with the songs that sooner or latter will be addressed with Justin lessons. Take those uninspiring for you songs as an exercise that will lead you to the inspiring for you ones.