Acoustic Jazz & Swing: Jug & String Band 101
September 5, 2003 2:06 PM   Subscribe

How To Be A Jug or String Band MVP - starting with guitar: It's all in tablature, by the way, something easy enough to understand. Three finger fingerpicking guitar is easy to learn--start with Mississippi John Hurt: Payday was the first song I ever learned. Of course, it's a cinch, being in Open D--but open tunings are a cinch, too. With open tunings, how about learning some slide guitar? Beyond John Hurt, slide or not, open or standard, , there are the ever expanding Fahey Tablatures at John, where Melissa keeps the flame burning ever brightly.
There's Much More Within...
posted by y2karl (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Harmony Central has archives of its Guitar Lesson of the Week and Acoustic Guitar Magazine has archived its Online Lessons as well. Blues tabs of note can be found here and there--here's three by Muddy Waters and here's the Online Guitar Archives Robert Johnson tabs. Johnson lyrics and all things Robert Johnson can be found at the Robert Johnson Notebooks and do check out the Robert Johnson Papers when you're there.

If pick with a pick you must, John's Bluegrass Guitar Page has links to various pages of flat pickin' tabs, and Bluegrass Guitar.Com has a tablature page full of PDFs. At the Guitar Swamp, it's a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll with the Chicken Pickin' Rock Guitar Tablature and Instruction and if you really want to get serious, try Steve J. McWilliam's Acoustic Guitar Downloads. Most ambitous of all is Matthieu Brandt's Swing Blues And Jump Blues Guitar.

Then, there's Banjo Tablatures at Bluegrass Banjo.Org and more at Free Banjo Lessons with Geoff Hohwald. Jim Bottorff's Banjo Page has more tabs.

As for mandolin, at, you got your Tabledit tablatures for Bluegrass; Dawg/New Grass; Blues and Jigs--oh, man, they've got the categories and the tabs: 2,200 to date. But be a sport and join the list. Mandozine is an allied site, now in weblog from. And then there's another Mandolin Tablature Archive from the Mandolin Cafe. John Baldry's Bluegrass Mandolin Homepage has even more tabs. By the way, the one blues mandolin tab I've found is Johnny Young's Shuffle, courtesy Co-Mando and Rich Del Grosso, a fine blues mandolinist who studied with the master: Yank Rachell.

If you wish to take a bow fretless, Fiddle Guru has some introductory fiddle lessons in tab.

Now amazingly enough, there are harp--as in harmonica--tabs online: Harmonica Lessons.Com, while a commercial site, has a couple of pages of Blues Riffs and Basic Blues Improv. Jeffrey's Blues Harp Page has some more tabs and instruction. Glenn Weiser's massive Celtic Guitar Page has some some harp tab, too--including Little Walter's Juke, which was to blues harmonica as Coleman Hawkin's Body and Soul was to saxophone. megasite

For the cajun and zydeco inclined, there's Big Nick's Cajun Button Box Seminar and another cajun/zydeco resource is Accordion Man's MIDI Cajun Page. Garry Kaluzny's Cajun/Zydeco Accordion Tunes w/ Tablature is at Yahoo Group's Cajun Zydeco Unmoderated but you will have to join to see it. Then there is Tee Don's Key of Z Rubboards Online Instructional Videos.

Rubboards=Washboards. That's putting us into the Jug Band homestretch, so here's How To Play The Jug by Curbside Jimmy of the Curbside Jug Band, Skiffle Bands And All That Jazz, How To Play A Washtub Bass, the Washtub Bass Page and, simply enough, Washtub Bass.

For some lyrics, try Blues Lyrics On Line Blues Lyrics by Artist--it's rich with swing and ragtime--and Franz and Helmut's Blues Inside - Lyrics. By the way, their chorus of the month is All Your Love by Luther Allison.

And with that, I believe you're good to go.
posted by y2karl at 2:08 PM on September 5, 2003

Fuck's sake man!
posted by xmutex at 2:21 PM on September 5, 2003

ok. awesomest. post. EVAR.

also, the most useful. I will be a guitar star within a month. But sheeesh.
posted by sodalinda at 2:30 PM on September 5, 2003

John Fahey is great.
posted by drobot at 2:45 PM on September 5, 2003

y2karl, I'm giving you my first born's penis.
posted by bingbangbong at 2:46 PM on September 5, 2003

What, no Leo Kottke?
posted by jonson at 2:51 PM on September 5, 2003

As a banjo player, I will have to point out one HUGE source for everything banjo. BanjoHangout.

Also, I mess around with a washtub bass as well. Here are two of my favorite designs. ( I have built one similiar to the second photo, and it plays like a champ.)
posted by bradth27 at 3:01 PM on September 5, 2003

Thanks, y2karl. This is great stuff.
posted by attackthetaxi at 4:03 PM on September 5, 2003

"We're not birds, we're a jug band..."

And I'd just like to say, I Called him first, damn good work Karl.
posted by Blake at 4:05 PM on September 5, 2003

y2karl is my personal link god now.

I start guitar lessons Tuesday. Whee!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:10 PM on September 5, 2003

Great post!

Two of my favorites for guitar lessons/tabs:

GuitarNoise and PowerTabs.
posted by kmartino at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2003

If you are interested in the mandolin, or musical genius in general, check out this section of
posted by transient at 8:02 PM on September 5, 2003

one of these days im gonna wake up boozy
gonna grab my gun gonna kill ol suzy
nobody's business but mine
posted by Satapher at 9:44 PM on September 5, 2003

Thanks, Karl. One of the first songs I ever learned was Fahey's "Sligo River Blues" back in high school on my grandfather's guitar. Don't ever try to play that song anymore these days, though--it's just makes me so goddamned sad.
posted by dhoyt at 10:55 PM on September 5, 2003

Aw, I was out of town when this thread started. But this site really helped me start to decipher Django Reinhardt's style. Particularly all his three-finger chord shapes which are all movable and have a totally different feel and texture than barre chords.
posted by bendybendy at 3:41 AM on September 10, 2003 [1 favorite]

The y2Karl guitar thread: only 15 people commented, but every one of those 15 people started a band.
posted by luser at 7:58 AM on September 10, 2003

Jeez, bendybendy--what a find! Thanks.
posted by y2karl at 8:51 AM on September 10, 2003

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