How Long Blues

Happy Traum

Building a Solid Arrangement in A

A Homespun Single-Song Lesson, includes TAB
  • Code:DLHAPHL21
  • Skill Level:Early Intermediate (3)

Leroy Carr’s How Long Blues is one of the most famous songs in the tradition, a go-to number in just about every blues artist’s repertoire. It has been covered by musical luminaries as varied as Big Bill Broonzy, Ray Charles, T-Bone Walker, Ella Fitzgerald, Eric Clapton, Doc Watson, and hundreds more. 

Happy shows early-intermediate guitarists some great ideas on how to play this enduring classic. Playing out of the key of A, he takes this fairly simple 8-bar blues form and explores variations that include bass runs, hammer-ons, slides, turnarounds, and alternate positions up the guitar neck. As you learn this song, you’ll gain the tools to build your own blues arrangements in other songs as well. 

This single-song lesson is a great opportunity to expand your blues chops while learning a blues standard. Play it by yourself or jam with other players. Either way, you’ll have a lot of fun with it.


Daniel Lubetsky 7 months ago

It was back in the 70's. Artie gave a solo show at Stony Brook where I was a student. Someone in the audience yelled out, "How Long Blues." Someone else called out5 "Police Dog Blues." He said I'll do both and started to sing, How long, how long has this police dog been on my trail" I have never forgotten that. I miss his playing and sense of humor.

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