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.
In this series of lessons we will explore various fingerstyle blues guitar styles and techniques. This first lesson focuses on the Key of C. We will delve in to the alternating as well as monotonic bass techniques; blues slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs and blues slurred notes. The playing techniques of Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Blake are discussed. But more importantly the aim of this lesson is to give you a freedom to improvise playing a blues. The lesson finishes with Blues in C which brings together the many ideas and styles that have been taught. As a bonus feature, audio tracks are included featuring rare recordings of the songs and styles presented.
Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen. Detailed tab/music is included as a PDF file on the DVD. This includes lyrics to the songs as well as tab/music transcriptions of the guitar playing.
Titles include: Railroad Bill, Careless Love, I’m Satisfied, You Got The Pocketbook I Got The Key, Cocaine Blues, See See Rider, Save Up Your Money John D. Rockefeller Put the Panic On and Blues in C
85 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: The more you work with Stefan's lessons, the more you learn how good they really are. If you are going to teach yourself, then this is the way to go. My first lessons 35 years ago were from a Stefan Grossman LP and a tab book. It was much more difficult without a visual, but I did learn. I came away with s solid foundation playing an alternating bass. Video opened up a new world and Stefan made the most of it. Seeing is more then a thousand words could ever describe. I can tell you first hand, that over many years Stefan has also progressed as a teacher. While learning tunes in the easiest possible way you are also being “pushed” to learn the right things for the right reasons. This is not apparent at first, but you are learning from a “skilled instructor” who well understands what the next curve in the road is going to be and preps you for it. Believe me, as one who made many mistakes and learned the hard way, working with these videos is such a joy. Actually, I find Stefan's video instruction much better then face to face instruction with a so-so instructor. Picking up the guitar again after many years of having put it aside, using these videos the things that once stifled me became so clear. If you are not around good guitar players to “get the feel”, you need these videos. It just doesn't really come any other way. These aren't beginning beginner lessons but if you've fumbled with the guitar some and can hold and change a few chords, you have enough to get started. Be prepared to work and you will have plenty to do and enjoy! – Blasthoff/Amazon Customer Review
Review: Stefan Grossman's blues guitar instruction DVD (lesson 1) is excellent. He starts from the basics of tuning to clear examples of various finger styles and techniques with several songs. Each song is taught carefully and played slowly on a split screen - left and right hand. In my estimation it is like having a live teacher with you explaining these techniques. I highly recommend this and others in the series for guitarists on every level. – Jay R. Alexander/Amazon Customer Review