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More Song Examples

In the book Flatpicking the Blues, Brad Davis provided examples of blues songs played in the flatpick style (and flatpick tunes played in the blues style). On this page we will periodically post new examples so that you can continually learn from both improvised blues solos based on the blues scales and blues inspired solos to familiar tunes.

Here is a list of tunes that you can work with. We will add more as time goes on. Click on the song title to access the tab.

1) Opening Improv: This tune is the blues improvisation that Brad plays at the very beginning of the DVD. We did not transcribe this improvisation in the book, but we thought it would be nice to add it to the website so that you can have another example of how Brad jams on the blues. Brad plays this tune in the key of E, so it might give you some ideas about improvising in E when you are working on the homework problem on page 85 of the book.

2) Rocky Road Blues: This is a transcription of a solo that Charles Sawtelle played on the tune "Rocky Road Blues" on the Hot Rize CD Take It Home. (If you don't have the CD, you can download the tune at the itunes website). It is a great bluesy bluegrass solo. Notice the use of the blues scale and double stops in the first several measures. Also note the lick in measures 15 to 18. Charles said that he got this lick from the playing of Chuck Berry. Charles was a player who put a lot of blues into his bluegrass. If you would like to learn more about the playing style of Charles Sawtelle a great source is the book The Bluegrass Guitar Style of Charles Sawtelle.

3) Kicking off Salt Creek: In one of the homework problems in the book you were asked to start working to add a blues influence to some of the tunes that you already know how to play. Brad provided a complete version of the tune "Salt Creek" in the book (page 76) and on the DVD. Here we provide you with a couple of simple variations of how you might play the first four measures of "Salt Creek" with a blues feel. You will notice that these examples come directly from the G blues scale that you studied in the book.

4) Nine Pound Hammer: In the book (and on the DVD) Brad Davis plays through several examples of the song "Nine Pound Hammer." On page 35 he plays a version which is based on major scales. Then, on page 36 he plays a version based more on blues scales. In the song example section (page 72) Brad runs through two more blues inspired variations. All this leads to the homework assignment on page 73 where you are asked to come up with your own version of the tune based on the blues scales, licks, and examples that you have been given thus far in the course. In order to provide one more example to those of you who may be struggling with this assignment, I (Dan Miller) have posted what I came up with when I was working on this homework problem.

5) Blue Night: Here is another example from Charles Sawtelle. This solo comes from Hot Rize's first CD, titled Hot Rize. On the blues licks page, we talk about the use of the E minor pentatonic blues scale and its use over the G chord in the key of G. This solo is a great example of that. Charles was one of the bluesiest bluegrass guitar players in the business. If you would like to learn more about the playing style of Charles Sawtelle a great source is the book The Bluegrass Guitar Style of Charles Sawtelle. Click <here> to find out more about this book.

6) Here we provide a lesson on arrangement using Nine Pound Hammer as an example. On page 73 of Flatpicking the Blues you were asked to come up with your own blues style arrangement of "Nine Pound Hammer." If you are new to arranging your own solos, this homework task may overwhelming. In order to help you with the process we have provided a short lesson on song arrangement starting with the simple melody and then gradually adding elements that lead up to the arrangement of an interesting solo. Click <here> to view this lesson.