Author: David Hamburger
Style: Fingerstyle Blues
Level: Beginner / Late Beginner
Features: Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files
Lessons: 32 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 134 Minutes
Lick 1 – Going Down
Lick 2 – Are You With Me?
Lick 3 – Hammerhead
Lick 4 – The Pickup
Lick 5 – The Long and Short of It
Lick 6 – Flat Five
Lick 7 – Triple Lightnin’
Lick 8 – After the Fact
Lick 9 – Pull Yourself Together
Lick 10 – Train Vamp
Lick 11 – Brush Up Your Hopkins
Lick 12 – The Long Hello
Lick 13 – Half Stepping
Lick 14 – Whole Lotta Bob
Lick 15 – Barrelhouse
Lick 16 – The Third is the Word
Lick 17 – The Ninth Circuit
Lick 18 – Big Anticipation
Lick 19 – Delta D
Lick 20 – Little Root
Lick 21 – Chromatic Walkup
Lick 22 – Purple Phrase
Lick 23 – Extra Five
Lick 24 – Old School
Lick 25 – Ornamental
Lick 26 – Train Licks and Triplets
Lick 27 – Walkin’
Lick 28 – Dirty Rivers
Lick 29 – One Size Fits All
Lick 30 – Unknown Richard
David Hamburger is one of the predominant figures on Truefire.com who is associated with Fingerstyle Blues. No wonder, with him being an award-winning author for Acoustic Guitar Methods “Beginning Blues Guitar” as well as “The Acoustic Guitar Method” and an experienced teacher and player! I first came across David’s courses on Truefire when I was wondering on how to best pick up Fingerstyle Blues. I’ve always been a fan of playing all together, being in control of everything that happens in a musical context and Fingerstyle just suited me the most. The first course from David that I had encountered had been “Fingerstyle Blues Factory” one that I can highly recommend as well and that will be part of a future review for sure. What hooked me about David was his highly didactic teaching style, not only explaining the quintessence of what he is supposed to teach in a particular course but also embellishing it with his vast knowledge of music in general, the general historical side of it as well as his own experience but in particular about the Blues. To me, David Hamburger seems to be a man that has lived the Blues his entire life! If you’ve also got infected by it, then read on.
“30 Beginner Fingerstyle Blues Licks you MUST know” is part of a series focusing on essentials of a particular style, packed within licks with the aim to both, increase your musical vocabulary on the instrument and sparking your inspiration by giving you something along the way that you can work on and use in your everyday practice.
30 selected licks that suit the beginning fingerstyle or beginning Blues player in such, as they incorporate various basics that are essential to playing this very style. The great thing about this course is, that it accompanies smoothly David’s other courses on Truefire.com that are dedicated to beginning fingerstyle Blues players. You can see it as an etude course that gives you even more material to practice the concepts that are taught in the other courses (Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 1 and Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 2).
Going through all those 30 licks would consume too much space and would probably take the excitement out of it so I am going to stick to some personal preferences that I found particularly interesting for beginners that would both enhance the motivation to keep digging into Fingerstyle Blues by providing easy-to-accomplish building blocks that are immediately usable in your own music.
Starting with basic techniques, you can’t but to start from simple to more complex. In Fingerstyle, the thumb independence is crucial and that’s why the first lick Going Down includes a steady bass line while descending an Em pentatonic scale. That way you are able to keep a constant motion of your thumb going over a contrasting movement of the melody lines in form of the pentatonic scale, one that is often used as the very first scale that beginners learn in order to learn the basics of soloing. Of course, the pentatonic scale offers more than is included in this lick but it’s a very good starter to teach you how to build up muscle memory and grow from there on.
In Hammerhead you learn a lick that focuses on the typical bluesy hammer-on. That’s actually an interesting one because you’ll have to focus on the correct feeling and groove while performing the hammer-on to make it sound bluesy. Once performed right you’re packed with a lick that is as characteristic as a Blues lick can possibly be.
The great thing about this course and David Hamburger is that you are not only learning the techniques, but as I’ve already mentioned beforehand, learning about the important stuff that goes along with it and that surrounds the technical knowledge that you’re about to get taught. If we put lick #7 – Triple Lightnin’ – into perspective this does mean learning a typical triplet pattern that, paired with a minor pentatonic scale, let’s you be immediately associated with blues. However, it isn’t just about the lick, here you also get introduced to the style of Lightnin’ Hopkins, something whom you, should you not have already listened to him, should definitely check out!
As a beginner, it can sometimes be quite difficult to produce and get the tone that you really want in order to sound like a Blues player. However, in Train Vamp you’re about to get a lick that will serve you as a good study at the same time in order to master the quarter-tone or quarter-step bend that actually “is a band that raises a note only half as far as a half-step or one-fret-band” (David Hamburger). This does mean that it’s in between two frets and something that, without any other aids, isn’t manageable without a bend. The tricky thing here lies within the quality of the tone. You want to play it as smoothly as possible, not marking any transitioning within the bend. This may take some time but once accomplished, is going to give you something to work with for the rest of your career.
To sum this review up I really have to give credits to David for his, one again, great course that is clear-cut, well-defined and explained but also packed with all the information and little hints that boosts the motivation of an aspiring guitar player. I really enjoyed going through those 30 licks and it took me quite some time to decide which licks to choose for this review that suit the audience of this course as well as more experienced players who want to delve deeper into the blues, be it electrical or fingerstyle.
In typical Truefire fashion, this course comes with the notation being tabbed out and Guitar Pro files. The total rundown of this course is a bit more than two hours but what you get drag out of it is most likely going to last for way longer than just these hours. I hope this course is going to inspire you as much as it did inspire me and that you are going to have fun with these 30 beginner fingerstyle blues licks you really MUST know.
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