Folklorist, ethnomusicologist and musician Alan Lomax once said, "You can't kill off a culture until you kill the last person who carries it." That statement resonates deep within Tom Feldmann as for nearly half his life he has carried on the traditions of the acoustic country blues and gospel music recorded in the 1920's and 30's.
Minnesota native Tom Feldmann taught himself to play guitar at age 17 after hearing the recordings of the pioneers of acoustic country blues and states, "Mississippi John Hurt taught me to pick, Fred McDowell taught me to play slide and the mighty Son House taught me to sing." His debut solo album was released in 1999 and Tom has since spent the years writing, touring and recording his own original gospel compositions as well as carrying on the tradition of solo acoustic country blues.
Over the last few years, Tom has shifted the focus of his attention from his own writing to the music of the many legendary bluesmen that inspired him to pick up the guitar all those years ago. This journey has resulted in a series of CD's, starting with Tribute (2010) and now continues with Lone Wolf Blues (2012). It also resulted in a string of instructional DVD's for Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop that have received rave reviews and distribution around the world.
There is nothing like the feel of a bottleneck sliding across your strings nor the sound that comes forth as it screams, growls and moans. What other tool can create the sweat or raw emotion of the human voice? But some believe that there is a sort of mystery behind the use of a bottleneck slide, but the reality is, anyone can learn to do it.
In this lesson Tom Feldmann teaches you the very basics of how to play with a bottleneck slide. Starting with the most important step, producing a single note, Tom then takes you through many simple exercises getting you comfortable sliding on single, double and multiple strings.
Starting in Open D (Vestapol) tuning, Tom uses Bukka White's Jitterbug Swing for the single string slide exercise, Robert Wilkins' I Wished I Was In Heaven for double string exercise, an Elmore James style shuffle for a multiple string exercise and closes with Guitar Rag by Sylvester Weaver which brings together all of the elements in one wonderful instrumental.
Since the basics were covered in Open D, the lesson closes with two songs in Open G (Spanish) tuning; Charley Patton's I'm Going Home and Bobby Grant's Nappy Headed Blues. These two songs will give you a solid foundation for single, double and multiple string slide in Open G tuning.
Vibrato, left and right hand dampening, as well as alternating and monotonic bass are discussed in detail and used throughout the lesson. A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD. In addition the original recordings of all the tunes are included.
115 minutes • Level 1/2 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: The cool mystique of slide guitar is as old as the amazing sleight-of-hand itself. Ever since uncredited inventors discovered that mundane household objects (jackknives, glass bottlenecks, steel bars, beef bones, you name it) possess the magical power to summon otherworldly utterances when raked over strings, spectators have thrilled at the sound. And have wanted to make guitars mystically speak in those strange tongues with their own hands. Anyone similarly spellbound-but unsure how and where to begin - meet Tom Feldmann, your personal revelator.
Vanquishing technical mysteries, his easygoing but comprehensive Bottleneck Slide Guitar For Beginners is the perfect how-to encyclopedia for early-starters as well as nonstarters who've never taken a slide for a glide before. Issues with making those first moves all get addressed, from choosing slides and strings to conquering subtle-yet befuddling-nuances like correct bottleneck placement, adjusting pressure and angles of attack, achieving clean single notes, then mastering vibrato. Even those unwanted squeaks and rattles get diagnosed. But, wisely, the walkaway goal of this DVDs two hours of step-by-step instruction isn't being able to ape an isolated song or two. Instead, Robert Wilkins' s “I Wished I Was In Heaven” and other vintage masterpieces get patiently dissected on split-screen (simultaneously viewing right and left hands) to illustrate techniques that build a foundation. Knowing your way around both Vestapol and Spanish tunings confers versatility. Combined with knowing single, double and multi-string sliding - now that's powerful independence. (Pocketing buzzing chunks of Bukka White's “Jitterbug Swing,” a cold shot of Charley Patton and Elmore's killer broom dusting in the process is just plain cool. – Bluesrag/Dennis Rozanski
Review: Here's a teaching DVD for those just wanting to get started on bottleneck style guitar. Feldmann starts out by talking about his equipment, including an acoustic and a resonator guitar, different types of slides, fingerpicks, and then he introduces the open D tuning he uses for the first few lessons. He talks quite slowly, and teaches very simple pieces – first playing the piece, then breaking down each part of the song, and at the end playing it through slowly in split screen, with a different camera on each hand on the guitar. In open D you'll learn Bukka White's “Jitterbug Swing,,” Robert Wilkins' “I Wished I Was In Heaven Sitting Down,” and Sylvester Weaver's “Guitar Rag” (same song known as “Steel Guitar Rag” in Western Swing). Charley Patton's “I'm Going Home” and Bobby Grant's “Nappy Headed Blues” are taught in open G, which is of course explained first. The latter is a little more advanced. The DVD also has a PDF file with the tablature for what is taught, and the original recordings of the songs are featured as well. The video portion of the program ends with a clip of Son House playing “Levee Camp Blues” from what looks like one of the American Folk Blues tours to England and Europe. – Marc Bristol/Blue Suede News