Widely considered as one of the top acoustic guitarists in the world, masterful Woody Mann is a New York based musician and renowned teacher with deep roots in the blues. He has excellent credentials and has learned directly from the Rev. Gary Davis, played with Son House, Bukka White and John Fahey. Then, he ascended to ranks of the most celebrated and accomplished guitarists, regularly performing at the acoustic International Guitar Festival, an event that brings together the world’s finest players Woody represents the blues well among the small circle of the “virtuosos virtuosos.” But by no means singularly a blues player, he has one foot in the jazz realm. When he does play the blues, his repertoire is wide-ranging and unlimited. Be it ragtime, Piedmont, fingerpicking, slide, and laptop, whatever he touches is amazing and delightful.
Tablature/music is available as a PDF file for each lesson. Lessons are filmed with multiple cameras and consist of a performance, explanation, and conclude with a slow tempo split screen that follows the tab/music.
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Blind Blake recorded Black Dog Blues in 1927. It is played in the key of C using first position chords. He recorded quite a few blues in C and Black Dog
Blues It is a good example of how he approached this. Woody teaches three variations of Blake's playing note for note.
What in the world was Blind Blake thinking when he recorded this incredible meandering instrumental? He recorded this in 1929. It is played in the key of C and features so many variations that it is heard to keep track of them. In the true Blake fashion he uses first position chords but the "sound" is all in your right hand and the stumbling of the bass.
Woody takes you through verse by verse. Blind Blake's trademark licks and rhythmic phrasing is heard throughout the arrangement. You'll need to take your time putting all the pieces together. If you want a challenge then you've found it!
In 1925, Johnson entered and won a blues contest at the Booker T. Washington Theatre in St. Louis, the prize being a recording contract with Records. To his regret, he was then tagged as a blues artist and later found it difficult to be regarded as anything else. He later said, "I guess I would have done anything to get recorded - it just happened to be a blues contest, so I sang the blues." Between 1925 and 1932 he made about 130 recordings for Okeh, many of which sold well (making him one of the most popular OKeh artists). He was called to New York to record with the leading blues singers of the day, including Victoria Spivey and the country blues singer Alger "Texas" Alexander. He also toured with Bessie Smith, a top attraction of the Theater Owners Bookers Association.
Armenter Chatmon better known as Bo Carter, was an early American blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts and on a few of their recordings. He also managed that group, which included his brothers Lonnie Chatmon on fiddle and, occasionally, Sam Chatmon on bass and their friend Walter Vinson on guitar and lead vocals. Bo Carter has become best known for his bawdy songs, such as "Let Me Roll Your Lemon", "Banana in Your Fruit Basket", "Pin in Your Cushion", "Your Biscuits Are Big Enough for Me", "Please Warm My Wiener" and "My Pencil Won't Write No More". However, his output was not limited to dirty blues. In 1928, he recorded the original version of "Corrine, Corrina", which later became a hit for Big Joe Turner and has become a standard in various musical genres
In this lesson Woody combines the best licks and riffs of Lonnie and Bo in an instrumental. A great lesson to introduce the student to the guitar playing
of these two blues guitar giant.
In this lesson Woody discusses Big Bill Broonzy's blues playing in the key of E. Big Bill recorded this is the 1930s. He used the same arrangement for many of his other blues. In 1957 Pete Seeger filmed Big Bill playing this piece. The playing features the thumping Big Bill monotonic bass and his trademark end licks. An essential arrangement for you to have in your repertoire.
The original 1932 recording of Big Bill and Frank Brasswell features them jiving each other and Big Bill demonstrating his prowess and skills on guitar. Played in the key of C this arrangement's first section is a typical ragtime blues chord progression- C/E7/A7/D7/G7/C. You can hear the heavy influence of Blind Blake and his stumbling bass in Big Bill's playing. Woody has transcribed this note for note. This then goes in to a second section featuring another ragtime blues progression- G7/C/G7/C/F/C/A7/D7/G/C. Another fun Broonzy instrumental to get your hands on!
Blind Blake recorded Chump Man Blues in 1929. It is an unusual arrangement for him as it is played in a Dropped D tuning with a straight alternating bass. You don't hear Blake stumbling the bass. Woody has transcribed the verse and first and third breaks note for note. It is not a difficult arrangement. David Bromberg recorded this in 1978 on his My Own House album.
"There's a great big mystery, and it sure is worryin' me. This diddie wa diddie, this diddie wa diddie. I wish somebody would tell me what diddie wa diddie means." This is the first verse of Diddie Wa Diddie. It is a classic ragtime blues, with each break a masterpiece. Blake masterfully heightens the song's rhythmic intensity by rushing to the root of a new chord an eighth-note before the next downbeat- the "stumbling bass". Rev. Gary Davis said Blake had a "sportin' right hand". Combing this with light-hearted vocal style, and the humor, which is reflected in his songs, all add to the sophistication of his sound. Blake recorded Diddie Wa Diddie in 1929. A few years later he recorded Diddie Wa Diddie No.2.
Many, many musicians have tried to imitate Blake's playing on this song, i.e. Ry Cooder, Hot Tuna, John Jackson. It is played in the key of C using first position chords. The sound is in your right hand. Woody teaches the playing behind the verse and two guitar breaks.
Eric Clapton has cited Broonzy as a major inspiration, commenting that Broonzy "became like a role model for me, in terms of how to play the acoustic guitar." Eric featured Big Bill's song Hey Hey on his album Unplugged. Pete Seeger filmed Big Bill Broonzy playing Hey Hey at the Circle Pines Camp in Western Michigan during the summer of 1957. It is played in the key of E with the Big Bill thumping monotonic bass. Woody has transcribed Big Bill's playing note for note. The theme and break are transcribed.
Big Bill Broonzy recorded this in 1932. Although known to the world as a great blues singer, Big Bill was capable of playing anything for anybody. Bill was surely a great blues singer, with a laconic and sometimes ‘hollering’ singing style but with a skill in playing his guitar that leaves those of us that try to emulate him open mouthed at his dexterity and virtuosity.
Bill was also a great flatpicker. His 1930s picking partner Frank Brasswell, was well known as a flatpicker and probably influenced Big Bill’s playing in the style. How You Want It Done was recorded separately by both Bill and Frank. It is a driving arrangement on the key of G. Woody has transcribed the playing behind the vocal and the guitar break. Pete Seeger filmed Big Bill Broonzy playing How You Want It Done at the Circle Pines Camp in Western Michigan during the summer of 1957, just a year before Bill’s death.
Big Bill Broonzy's playing in the key of C is infectious, driving and a must for blues guitarists to play. The 1932 recording of Long Tall Mama is a masterpiece. The interplay between the guitar and vocal creates an exciting and very danceable recording. You need to always keep in mind that this music was meant as dance music. Translated to us guitar players, means you're playing must be strong and rhythmic.
This is the perfect arrangement to apply this to. Woody has transcribed Big Bill's playing note for note and includes two variations on the theme.
Big Bill Broonzy recorded this in 1934. The chord progression is the same as used in Crow Jane, Keys To The Highway and Blood: E/B7/A7/E/B7/E. It is an 8 bar blues played in the key of E and using first position chords.
“Yes, I got the mopper’s blues, but I’m the happiest man in town,” sings Big Bill Broonzy. I would be as well if I could play guitar like Big Bill! This is Big Bill’s blues in A. It uses trademark licks and phrases that he used in many of his arrangements. Woody explores all the ins and outs of the arrangement. Big Bill Broonzy’s guitar playing influenced so many musicians from rock n’ rollers like Eric Clapton, Ron Woods to folk guitarists like John Renbourn and Martin Carthy to blues players like Paul Geremia, Woody and Stefan.
Big Bill Broonzy recorded this in 1932. On the recording Big Bill is playing with Frank Brasswell. Woody has transcribed Big Bill�۪s part. It is played in the key of E with first position chords. The arrangement uses an alternating bass interspersed with bass runs. The guitar break is shown as well as several variations. All in all, a great blues workout in the key of E. Pig Meat Strut is not difficult and is a lot of fun to play.
“Blind Blake is a great player, a great musical figure. In the years where he was on top, he was fabulous. Blind Blake just had a good touch. He played quietly, and he didn’t hit the guitar too hard. He had a nice feeling for syncopation. He was a hell of a good player, and he had a lick that was great. And Blind Blake played all over the place, with all kinds of people, including Johnny Dodds, which is just way too much for me.” – Ry Cooder
Police Dog Blues is Blind Blake’s magnum opus in the Open D tuning. He recorded it in 1929. The Open D tuning was not one that Blake used very often on his recordings. But for Police Dog Blues he truly goes to town. Woody has transcribed his playing behind the vocals and all four breaks.
After arriving in Chicago, Big Bill Broonzy switched from fiddle to guitar. He learned to play the guitar from the veteran minstrel and medicine show performer Papa Charlie Jackson, who began recording for Paramount Records in 1924. Through the 1920s Big Bill worked at a string of odd jobs, including Pullman porter, cook, foundry worker and custodian, to supplement his income, but his main interest was music.
He played regularly at rent parties and social gatherings, steadily improving his guitar playing. During this time he wrote one of his signature tunes, a solo guitar piece called Saturday Night Rub. He recorded this rag in 1930. It is played in the key of G and uses an alternating bass. It is not difficult to play and will give you lots of enjoyment. A great tune to jam with other instruments .
John T. Smith aka Funny Papa Smith was an American Texas blues musician. He recorded for Vocalion Records. Little is known about his life, although
he was a busking street musician in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. He was believed to have been born sometime between 1880 and 1890. Smith played
at parties, juke joints, and fish fries. In a two-year period, from 1930 to 1931 he made close to twenty recordings. Among the songs he recorded
was his trademark song, "Howlin Wolf Blues". On occasion the recording company would call him "The Howlin Wolf". Smith's style of playing was reminiscent
to Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Woody has put together a lesson showing the trademark licks of Funny Papa Smith as well as other Texas blues guitar masters.
Blake’s 78s cast him as swinging jazzman or jive hipster, while others walked the long, lonely road to the gallows. The man with the “famous piano-sounding guitar” is still regarded as the unrivaled master of ragtime blues fingerpicking. In 1927 Blind Blake recorded That’ll Never Happen No More. This became a very popular tune to play in the folk revival of the 1960s. Dave Van Ronk was well known for including this in his performances. The guitar is playing in the key of G and using first position chords. An alternating bass is used throughout the playing.
Playing blues in the key of E is a very comfortable and satisfying setting. Woody takes playing ideas from Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Lemon Jefferson
and melds them into an instrumental. His teaching of this tribute will open doors to the playing of these two legendary blues guitarists.
Blind Boy Fuller recorded "Weeping Willow" in 1937 for Decca Records. He then recorded the same arrangement in the same year for Vocalion Records as
"Ain't No Getting Along". Fuller's playing is unique as it is a blues in A but goes to the minor fourth chord, Woody takes this idea and presents
variations on the theme.
Big Bill Broonzy's 1932 cover version of the Mississippi Sheiks' hit "Sitting On Top Of The World." The melody is the same but lyrics are different. Big Bill plays this in the key of E. The arrangement has trademark licks of Big Bill and combines a driving bass with treble licks and bass runs. Woody has transcribed note for note what Big Bill played on his recording.