Sligo River Blues - John Fahey

Hello nice people of the internet!

Here is a recording of me playing the beautiful Sligo river blues. I think I took like a gazillion takes, but keeping the thump steady and getting the e-string always ringing our clear while using the thumb to play the F is absolutely impossible to do :smiley:

I can play the song since months, but playing it clear is a different story. i think I still have to play it a couple of hundred times, then it’ll flow :smiling_face_with_tear::crazy_face:

If somebody has a tip about the thumb-over stuff I would appreciate it, I think my hand is just way to small…


Well done Kevin. I’ve found myself listening recently to a lot of fingerstyle blues. It something that I’m looking forward to exploring in the coming months. I thought you did a really good job with that one. It was a really nice blues piece to listen to. As for your question regarding tips on thumb over playing the bass note. If you haven’t already seen this video from Justin giving tips then it’s worth checking out Use your thumb to play the bass notes of chords |

Awesome thanks!
I didn’t knew Justin had a video for this, I am sure there are some great tips for me :slight_smile:

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That was great Kevin - sounded extremely smooth to me. I have no experience at fingerstyle playing - I always thought it looked too difficult!

Really nice take there Kevin, well played. I enjoyed that tune and a really nice pattern to the fingertyle. I guess the gazillion+1 take was the sweet spot :wink:

I’ve been finding using my thumb for both muting and fretting bass note quite challenging to get used to but that lesson that James has linked is a terrific start point.

Hi Kevin,
Nice and relaxed,… :sunglasses: :clap:
And your hands are certainly not too small for the thumb over thing, … sometimes it takes people 2 years +, and sometimes people succeed within a month, … but practice offers a solution about your time that it costs :wink:

Nicely played. I know what you mean about learning a song and then it taking time to really learn it, feels like that period lasts years for me! I’m learning the thumb over too, I find it helps to rotate the hand so that neck really feels like you are gripping it really securely.

Hi Kev you did really good, never heard of this song and it didn’t strike me as a blues piece at all, more like a mellow Damien Rice type of song :grinning: you did great job, nicely played steady rhythm and your thumb placement was very good. Overall you should be happy about your progress and feel free to try something new, I am in the process of learning a song last few months so I know the pain :laughing: all the best

I love it! The only finger picking I can do now has something to do with the nose. Keep up the great work.

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Sounds great. Keep it up. Not sure what your concern is about your thumb over technique, it looked like you were able to bring it around to fret the big E string just fine. Perhaps just more time at it to feel more comfortable? I remember how weird it felt at first for me and how normal it is now.

That sounded really good Kevin. Very chilled and smooth! Thanks for sharing!

Hello Kevin, really nice piece of music. To me, it sounded very relaxed and smooth :blush: . Great Job, and definitely worth all your time and effort put into it :smiley:.

Hi guys,

That is so nice of you :slight_smile:
As always, this forum full of nice people motivates me to get going

That, as always, is true. Could probably put that as a poster above my guitars :smile:

Thanks, will try!

Yeah, I think that is true. Seeing the video I could see that my arm was in a weird position. It just doesn’t feel right, but as said before practice always helps. Hoping that it feels comfy someday :wink:

@GreenRider : That sounded really nice and I enjoyed your recording a lot, thanks for sharing! It’s definitely a song I’ll try out myself.

Regarding your thumb problem I know exactly what you mean. I have also rather small hands and when I first tried to use the thumb to press down the string, I had massive problems. I actually squeezed some nerve I belief and my thumb felt numb for a few days…

What helped me a lot was using a capo and playing the same thing a bit up the neck (e.g. capo on 5th fred). The neck was small enough there to actually get it working and over time the muscles/technique improved to eventually remove the capo. Maybe it works for you as well…

That was delightful, Kevin. Seems to me you are doing the impossible as I heard the F bass note. It all seemed pretty fluent, just one or two small wobbles. As @adi_mrok says, sometimes it is good to work on something else for a while and come back again to this, especially if you feel like you are on a plateau. That all said, it already sounds pretty darn good to me. Bravo!

That’s true… it’s pretty weird to me, that the wobbles are always on a different place, I cannot really make any sense of it :smiling_face_with_tear:

I’ll leave it there for some some time now… right now I’ll spend some months in another country and couldn’t take my guitars :guitar::sob:

My mother in law said that she has a nylon string lying around, and generally the neck of nylons is way too big for doing thumb over stuff, so I’ll see what happens if I’ll just leave the piece for some time…

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That was really wonderful Kevin. I loved the groove and your fingerpicking was excellent.

I can’t advise on the thumb over bit as I struggle with it too as I only have small thumbs.