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6. The Happy Blues - Ragtime Guitar

Various Ragtime Guitar Masters

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Jim Bruce is an excellent teacher. I have experience of a large number of guitarists who supply teaching videos. Many are very good, but Jim really concentrates on the teaching. You're left in no doubt that he is really concerned that he gives you what you need to learn the pieces he presents. Absolutely first class. You won't find better.

Peter Roberts

Alternating Bass And Ragtime Blues Guitar

Ragtime piano became popular in the early 1900s and some blues guitar players realized that the characteristic bass signature could be played in a simplified way on the guitar. To accomplish this, it was necessary to strike two or three bass strings with the picking thumb, alternating between the strings, producing a bum-chick sound. When this technique was combined with the picking sounds of the fingers, a very complex sound is produced which sounds like two guitars!

Many guitarists, such as Mississippi John Hurt, used this technique exclusively and recorded some fine work - he is one of the artists we take a look at in this course.The dexterity needed to play this style is far above that required to play monotonic, delta style blues. Blind Blake was probably the foremost ragtime blues guitar player between 1920 and 1930. He achieved this by taking the thumb control to a new, extraordinary level.

In many of his songs, Blake doubled up on the alternating thumb beats, making two notes instead of one. Blake's work is covered in another of my courses.

I've presented 8 video lessons demonstrating the techniques of some great guitar players who were experts at playing ragtime style syncopated guitar songs - John Hurt, Pink Anderson, Willie Walker, Blind Boy Fuller and Blind Willie McTell. These guys laid the foundations of the style and provided the foundation for later master guitar pickers such as Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins and Tommy Emmanuel.

Modern players took hold of this early ragtime sound and quickly extended the chords and techniques, exploring new areas. Many of the original Scott Joplin rags have been faithfully transcribed, and other ways of playing appeared constantly. In the U.S., many notable musicians extended these picking styles and gave the music a country flavor.


Course Curriculum


  Blind Willie McTell
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  Blind Boy Fuller
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  Blind Willie Walker
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  Mississippi John Hurt
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  Pink Anderson
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If you wish to learn the blues and feel the dust, the hunger and the hard life, the blues songs from the real life, and if you are looking for someone who are able to introduce you to the "real thing", then you should let Jim Bruce guide you. You will not regret if you are buying the entire course at once.
Robert George

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.