The Fingerpicking Guitar of Kelly Joe Phelps

Kelly Joe Phelps
95-Minute video, Includes music and tab on pdf file
  • Code:DLKJPGT22
  • Skill Level:Early Intermediate (3)

Kelly Joe has chosen five originals and one traditional song to demonstrate how he uses fingerpicking techniques to communicate his musical vision, and he gives you the tools you need to bring out the best in your own arrangements.

Starting out in standard tuning with the relatively straightforward fingerpicking song Tommy and the off-beat Delta-style blues tune Sally Ruby, Kelly Joe teaches how to build arrangements and improvisations using textures, rhythmic devices, unusual chord forms, blues scales and a variety of guitar licks against a steady thumb bass.

One of the many revelations of this lesson is the in-depth look Kelly Joe gives us in how he takes a traditional song (Rev. Gary Davis' I Am the Light of This World in open G tuning) and infuses it with his unique energy and passion. He plays it in its traditional form, and then demonstrates how he adds his own touch by changing both the guitar part and his vocal approach. Kelly Joe shows how he uses chord forms and scales to improvise his arrangement based on how he sees the fingerboard, moving up the neck to play high notes against open bass strings.

Kelly Joe then moves further into alternate tunings, showing you how you can (as he puts it) "change the strings to whatever you want and then find musical magic in it." Capman Bootman is arranged in DADGCD, with its banjo-inspired modal sounds and African-like use of unison strings and harmony lines. For River Rat Jimmy and Beggar's Oil, Kelly Joe re-tunes to CGCGCF, once again detailing the chord forms and scale patterns that enable you to improvise melodically and create rich chord voicings for these riveting songs.


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