Blues Guitar Lesson - How Long Blues Tab - Leroy Carr

Blues Legend Leroy Carr

One Of The First Early Pop Stars

Leroy Carr (March 27, 1905 – April 29, 1935) was a blues performer and piano player, who had a relaxed, laid back technique and was very popular in his heyday. He was most famous for "How Long Blues" recorded in 1928.

Carr is usually associated with his musical partner Scrapper Blackwell. They recorded many sides throughout their collaboration and toured extensively all over the U.S.

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How Long Blues Lessons Preamble

Scrapper Blackwell's blues guitar style was a cross between delta and ragtime sounds, often with an asynchronous bass which didn't hold a true monotonic bass, or a true alternating bass pattern either. This is one of the marks of a true master - the picking thumb is truly independent and moves anywhere over the strings in order to to produce a rich variety of guitar sounds.

The song is another example of the 'woe is me, my woman is gone' style of blues, which was a very common theme. In the context of those times, material for blues was all around - black men living as second class citizens, scraping a living, traveling everywhere to play music, drinking too much and having failed romantic relationships due to all of the preceding!

I decided to retain the attractive melody for the lyrics, and the basic chord structure and simplifying the delivery. The appeal of this version is created by a strong monotonic bass, which occasionally breaks out into single string bass runs, heavily repeated treble string phrasing and a short instrumental break providing variations around the verse structure, which is basically the same each time it's sung.

This can be played with or without picks, and I tend to use picks for public performance, as I like to 'throw' the picking thumb down onto the bass strings, immediately damping with my right hand palm - this produces an percussive effect which accentuates that phrase and builds tension towards the end of the verse.

Learn Blues Guitar - How Long Blues by Leroy Carr

Blues Guitar Lessons


Learn to play it how it was played.

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Anybody Out There? 2 comments

SpoB profile image

SpoB 5 years ago from LA

Very interesting! Thanks! I love guitar very much!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

A good lesson for playing blues. Consider me a fan! Rated up. vocalcoach :)

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