Up Mud Creek - A riff reminiscent of Muddy Water's "I'm a man".
Up Mud Creek - The lesson explained.
Here's a fairly straight forward slide in Dropped D tuning riff reminiscent of Muddy Water's "I'm a man". I'm sure you'll hear that's it's a familiar sounding blues sound. I called mine "Up Mud Creek".
This one takes full advantage of the three bass strings in Dropped D. They are tuned to what we call a 'power chord', namely two roots and a fifth, so no third to give it a major/minor quality.
The piece is in G, even though we're in Dropped D. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to play tunes in the key of D when in this tuning. G is good, A is fine ... in fact any key will do.
This is another one of those pieces that use the open strings intermingled with slide moves. It starts on a D (power chord) and does a little slide move up to the F power chord, back down to D and then up to a plucked G which is played by simply grabbing those three open strings, the D-G-B set. They, together, are a G chord. They're a 'second inversion' triad of G.
I then play a G power chord on the bass strings, then another on the treble strings. So, G, G and G, all in different positions. You'll notice that I really do attack those chunks of G. The bass strings are strummed (for lack of a better word) with my thumb -- hard -- and the treble strings are struck hard with the back of my three fingers.
The next bit is a slide move up to a momentary C triad at the fifth fret down to what amounts to a Gm7. Remember that the Blues lives between major and minor. I actually do a tiny little vibrato-ish move on that Gm7 and it's a move up in pitch, which hints at the major third. It's extremely subtle but very effective.
Toward the end, I head up to the twelfth fret where another G triad lives and basically play that same D to F to G up there, in a more compact form. I did that just to keep the listener interested.
Back down to the original riff, then a pretty standard ending turnaround, ending with a lick that may or may not take you a while to get. (It took me the best part of my adult life!)
Have fun and stay tuned for lots more of these.
Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange
As well as putting together these free 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.