Can anyone tell me the style of guitar playing on this track?
February 11, 2014 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone tell me the style of guitar playing on this track? Link. Thanks
posted by pilibeen to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That's basically a slow alternating-bass fingerpicked country blues.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:23 PM on February 11

This is very similar, but a little faster and more syncopated.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:31 PM on February 11

Oh, that's one of my favorite songs. The technique is American fingerstyle, and I agree that slow country blues is a good genre name.

I know this is from the recent movie loosely based on his life, but you gotta listen to one of the Dave van Ronk versions that popularized this song in the 60s.
posted by Miko at 7:32 PM on February 11

Is that technically Travis-picking?
posted by pilibeen at 10:22 PM on February 11

I've heard a very similar guitar part in a Ray Lamontagne song.

I thought it was tuned open and a few steps down, but turns out it's just Drop D.
posted by fonetik at 11:59 PM on February 11

Not to put too fine a point on it: Travis picking is a style that was named after Merle Travis. It's a three-finger style (played primarily with the thumb, index, and middle fingers) that's more melodic. Traditional "old-style" blues finger picking is more of a two-finger technique (thumb and index) and is more percussive, giving a backbeat to the vocals. There's no strict delineation between techniques, but I would call this song old-style picking.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:23 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

Benny has it. The alternating bass line played by the thumb is a common technique used by many acoustic fingerstyle players across country blues, country, and what is now called American Primitive (John Fahey, Leo Kottke as prime examples.)
posted by CincyBlues at 8:37 AM on February 12

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