Nobody knows you when you're down and out - A Guitar Lesson.
Nobody knows you when you're down and out - The Lesson explained.
Here's one that has been requested a few times over the years: Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, a great old blues classic written by Jimmy Cox way back in the 1920s. It's been covered dozens (at least!) of times and here is my finger style arrangement for it.
There's nothing too tricky about any of the moves -- they're all chords and grips that you would have found in many of my lessons, but the feel is the bit that may need some work. 'Feel' is that hard-to-put-into-words element that makes a piece of music musical. The best way to describe it is to say what it is not, and to hear what it is not, just play the Guitar Pro file and you'll know it instantly. No vibe, no dynamics, no blues, no shuffle, no swing. No feel. Feel is the bit that can't be programmed into any computer because feel is really the human element. So once you work out all the positions and grips and have it set in your muscle memory, work on the feel.
It's in G, our favorite, and I've played three repeats of what is the verse and the chorus. There's no difference musically between the two in this tune. The lyrics are the only way to know which is which. I have (without realizing it) played each pass a little differently, so don't feel that you must play exactly what I played. I always encourage you to take my arrangement and adapt it to your own level/taste/ability. Nothing is set in stone when it comes to music and this is especially true in the Blues genre.
The chord progression is a great example of how you can 'majorize' some of those related chords. In the key of G, the E, B and A chords are normally minors. That's the way they work out according to the rules of keys and chord construction (check this lesson out if you don't what I mean), but rules are never meant to be followed and Jimmy Cox, I guess, just like the sound of these 'majorized' minors and the way they automatically lead to other chords ... which can also be majorized. This is not at all uncommon in the blues jazz realm and these are changes that you begin to 'hear' after a while. By that I mean that you know in advance what the chord is without seeing it written down. The longer you play, the more changes you get to recognize simply by hearing them and the easier it becomes to play along. You also begin to learn that there really aren't that many changes out there, which is a good thing.
For the curious, here is the progression in Roman numerals:
| I - III7 - | VI7 - - - | ii - VI7 - | ii VI7 ii - | IV - #IVdim - | I - VI7 - - - | II7 - - - | V7 - - - |
Notice that the "two chord" shows up as both minor and major.
Have a good time with this one. As I say, nothing very complicated about the fingerings, but the feel needs to sound authentic and it needs to shuffle along and have that swing. I tabbed it out in 12/8 only because I'm not very good at working out those 'dotted crochets' in 4/4 time.
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
As well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.