One simply cannot talk about people of importance to this genre without tipping the hat to the most masterful musician, teacher, musicologist, producer, folklorist and preservationist of the traditional blues. By now, Stefan Grossman is a venerated, iconoclastic and respected acoustic blues figure of mega-proportions. He came out of the vibrant Greenwich Village, New York, 1960s scene around Washington Square, where so many American folk and blues musicians launched their careers. His friend and occasional collaborator, Steve Katz, formerly of the Even Dozen Jug Band, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, once half jokingly told this writer: “There we were, all these New York Jews playing the black blues.” Indeed, the blues had a strong influence on young New Yorkers during the folk revival. These musicians, Stefan Grossman, Happy & Artie Traum, Danny Kalb, and many others, in turn had a powerful influence on the acceptance of the blues by the American baby boomer generation at large; and, they significantly helped to launch the folk, roots & blues revival, thereby reinvigorating the careers of many original blues musicians whose careers had waned.
Many people know Stefan Grossman as the paramount teacher and entrepreneur in what has become the world’s largest “blues school”, Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. He is one of the most skilled guitarists in the genre, having been a student of Rev. Gary Davis in New York City. He also picked up lessons directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others.
I don't believe in doing dry and boring guitar exercises. I like to practice different techniques and styles within the scope of a song arrangement. Fingerstyle blues and ragtime guitar offers the student many interesting and challenging ideas that can help build up your fretboard knowledge, control of your left and right hands as well as learning some hot licks and grooves. In this double DVD lesson we will study and explore:
• The Alternating Bass
• The Monotonic Bass
• Hammer-Ons & Pull-Offs
• The Cocaine Blues Exercise
• The Soldier's Drill Exercise
• Single String Runs
• Chord Fingerings
• The Syncopated Bass
• Stumble Bass Endings
• Rhythmic Licks
• Combining the Rhythmic Lick with Chordal Runs
• Counterpoint Lines and Melodies
• The Blues Vibrato in the Key of C
• Lonnie Johnson's Blues in the Key of D
• Mississippi John Hurt's Blues in the Key of E
• Delta Blues in the Key of E
• Lightnin' Hopkins' Blues in the Key of E
• Blues in the Key of A
Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen. A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on each DVD. The Bonus Audio sections include original recordings relating to the exercises.
225 minutes - Level 2/3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: These "Guitar Exercises & Hot Licks" go well beyond their 225 minutes of how-to education and you've-got-this motivation. For blues and ragtime guitarists, they'll last a lifetime of fingerpicking. Because Stefan Grossman is a one-man think tank diligently working to empower you as a better guitarist. His sworn goal here is to develop "your" sound. And he's entertainingly congenial doing so. (Hey, did he tell you the one about his one-hit wonder months rocking out with Chicago Loop, or how hanging with pre-Blind Faith Clapton reshaped his approach to vibrato?)