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Slide Guitar Basics, Part 2: Damping

This lesson is part of the course Fingerstyle Blues Guitar with Orville Johnson.
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Learn to play fingerstyle blues, with a bottleneck slide and without, through songs from blues legends Mississippi John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, Lightnin' Hopkins, Tampa Red, Blind Willie Johnson, and more.
 
 
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“Heavy Time” Fingerpicking
 
“Heavy time” is a style of blues fingerpicking that is more driving and forceful than the somewhat bouncy feel of alternating bass fingerpicking, as played by Mississippi John Hurt, Willie McTell, and others. In this lesson, Orville shows you a tune that illustrates the “heavy time” feel. Heavy time is all about what your thumb is doing—in this case, the thumb constantly pounds the beat, four beats per measure. Another thing that makes this style different is that the melody notes are played just with the index finger. Orville walks you through the piece phrase by phrase.
 
 
 
The Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Subscription Includes:
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  • 23 complete fingerstyle blues songs to play
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Slide Guitar Basics, Part 2: Damping  
 
Slide Guitar Basics, Part 2: Damping  
 
Slide Guitar Basics, Part 2: Damping
Slide Guitar Basics, Part 2: Damping
 
It should come as no surprise that when you rub a metal slide against metal strings, a lot of noise is produced. To control or reduce the noise, or at least get the notes louder than the noise, slide guitarists use a technique called damping, or blocking, which Orville explains and demonstrates in this lesson. There are three ways to do this. One involves laying the fingers of the fretting hand down on the strings behind the slide. Another is using the palm of your hand to damp the bass strings. And the third, a technique called pick blocking or pick guarding, is done by muting the notes you’ve just played with the fingers of your picking hand.

 
 
 
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