The Blues Guitar of Brownie McGhee

Happy Traum

Songs and Techniques Passed Down from a Master Bluesman

Two Videos, Total time: Two Hours and 30 Minutes
Includes music and tab on pdf file
  • Code:DLHAPBR29
  • Skill Level:Early Intermediate (3)

"Brownie McGhee had been a legend to me when, in the spring of 1958, I decided to call him. I had never seen him play, but one 10-inch Folkways LP called "Brownie McGhee Blues" had been worn thin on my record player, and I knew all the songs by heart. I was astounded by the brilliance and complexity of his blues guitar style.

"For the next three years, on and off, I made the trip to Brownie's apartment on East 125thStreet and learned a lot more than guitar playing." - From "Brownie McGhee Blues Guitar" by Brownie McGhee and Happy Traum (Oak Publications)

Brownie McGhee's rhythmic fingerpicking style, rich accompaniments, intricate lead playing and wide-ranging repertoire influenced generations of guitarists around the world. Happy Traum learned to play directly from this master bluesman, and he knows how to make Brownie's songs and techniques accessible to all aspiring acoustic blues players.

Happy starts with the basics so that even novice blues players will be able to get off to a solid start. Concentrating on the keys of E and A, his detailed lesson covers all the musical components that made Brownie's playing distinctive. Happy provides numerous playing tips and advice along with first-hand insights into Brownie's life and music.

You'll learn to play classic songs from Brownie's repertoire, including I'm Gonna Tell God How You Treat Me, Move to Kansas City, Betty and Dupree, Me and My Dog, Sporting Life, Living with the Blues, Key to the Highway, Blood Red River, Careless Love and Pawnshop Blues.

BONUS TRACKS: Listen to Brownie McGhee as he demonstrates eleven songs and techniques that are taught on this DVD. These never-heard audio recordings were recently discovered in Happy's personal archives.


david hing 1 year, 2 months ago

I have taken many workshops with Happy at Fur Peace Ranch, including one that was focused on Brownie McGhee a few years ago, and then recently in August, ’21. In this double DVD set the songs are carefully chosen, so the technique ideas reinforce themselves as you progress through each of the songs. The different chord inversions of A, D, and E and E, A, and B are demonstrated along with the partial chord inversions up and down the neck. He also shows the improvisational notes off of the full chords and partial inversions to add to your own arrangements. There are times when he takes a break from the songs and spends time explaining the way the chords originate from the CAGED system. Because Brownie McGhee played many songs in the keys of A and E, this double DVD is a great way to learn the fingerpicking rhythms/syncopations, double stops, and improvisational “boxes” at different parts of the neck in these keys. For learning in the key of D, I would recommend his Dropped “D” tuning DVD. His Jamming the Blues DVD with his brother Artie is another way to nail down these ideas in the keys of A and E, while playing with a friend. I would also recommend Mary Flower’s “Eight Bar Blues” DVD with more arrangements in E and A, too. Happy’s teaching is thorough, thoughtful, and accessible. He is having another virtual workshop at Fur Peace Ranch in August ’22. There are still open slots. This is a very worthwhile addition to your DVD learning materials for finger style guitar.

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