Open G Tuning has been a favorite of guitar players going back to Robert Johnson and the early bluesmen, and still popular today thanks to people like John Fahey and Keith Richards. It is also one of the most common Slack Key tunings among Hawaiian guitar players where it is known as Taro Patch Tuning. This set of lessons includes mostly Neil's arrangements of intermediate-level songs.
Lesson 1: Slack Key: Here Comes The Sun (Open G)
This lesson has some history, with Neil traveling to Hawaii spending time with Keola Beamer and eventually doing a concert here in California with Keola.. This arrangement of Here Comes The Sun is done slack key style in Taro Patch Tuning, that would be Open G in other cultures- D G D G B D. It features an alternating bass line and just a few chord shapes.
Lesson 2: Slack Key: Hula Blues (Open G)
This arrangement of Hula Blues was mostly done by Neil's friend Hal Kinnaman, who teaches guitar on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. It is in Taro Patch (Open G) Tuning and is done with an alternating bass accompaniment.
Lesson 3: Take Me Out To The Ball Game (Open G)
Open G Tuning presents the opportunity to make fairly simple arrangements out of many traditional tunes. Neil has arranged *Take Me Out To The Ball Game *as an example of this. The song is in 3/4 time, using a modified alternating bass pattern, which makes it a little different and somewhat challenging at first.
Lesson 4: Give Me Cornbread When I’m Hungry Guitar Lesson - John Fahey
John Fahey was once of the most influential American guitarists from the time he entered the music scene in the late 1950s. He played in many open tunings, generally with fairly simple chord shapes but complex picking patterns, and heavily inspired the next generation of players, notably Leo Kottke, among others. In this lesson we look at Give Me Cornbread When I’m Hungry.It is played in Open G and features a few sections revolving around different chords in the key of G. The main point of this lesson is to take some of his ideas and change them around, really improvising and recreating the song every time you play it.
Lesson 5: Buffalo Gals (Open G)
This fingerpicking instrumental, *Buffalo Gals*is an American folk song from the mid-19th century. Neil’s arrangement is done in Open G Tuning, which makes for pretty simple chords and left hand moves. The right has one section using standard alternating bass technique but another using what he calls an eighth note roll, where there are only three bass notes in each measure, played in a syncopated pattern. Overall not too difficult, as long as you start very slowly and get it smooth before speeding it up.
Lesson 6: Sleep Walk - Lap Steel Arrangement
Sleep walk became a huge hit for the brothers Santo & Johnny in 1959. Santo played the melody on his steel guitar while Johnny strummed the chords on his electric guitar. The song has been covered by dozens of artists, including Jeff Beck, Brian Setzer, The Ventures, and The Shadows, to name a few.
This lesson was inspired by Bob McAlpine's solo guitar arrangement that we have here at TG, but is done on the lap steel in Open G Tuning, similar to a few recent lessons by John Fahey.
It can also be done on any guitar in Open G, on the lap or upright with a bottleneck, and should be a lot of fun in the interest of expanding your horizons.
Lesson 7: The Sailor's Grave On The Prairie - Open G Slide Guitar
Leo Kottke's album 6 & 12 String Guitar was a huge influence on multiple generations of guitar players. The Sailor's Grave On The Prairie was a big part of the recording for many of us. It is a fairly basic slide guitar piece in Open G Tuning, but that does not mean it is easy.
This lesson goes over essential slide techniques and then works through the two sections.
Lesson 8: Water Song - Jorma Kaukonen - Guitar Lesson
Water Song has been one of the most popular songs among my fingerpicking students for about 40 years now. It first appeared in 1972 on Burgers, Hot Tuna’s first studio album after releasing two live ones.
Nowadays Jorma plays it a bit more restrained compared to in the Hot Tuna days, frequently playing with just Jack Casady on bass. The song is played in Open G Tuning and has a few very distinct sections.
There are many measures that need to be played with improvised strumming, although almost all measures need small variations.