Deep River Blues Guitar Lesson – Deep River Blues Lesson With Jim Bruce

Deep River Blues Lesson let it rain let it pour
let it rain the whole are full cause I got them Deep River Blues let that old river rise and bow first of
all let’s take a look at the way that I play doc Watson’s deep river blues in
performance and on the street many more I I’m going to approach this tuition in a
slightly different way if you search on youtube you’ll find that there are two
videos Doc Watson playing deep river blues the first one when it was younger
is flash and slick and the second one is a little bit older it’s a little bit
more laid-back I’m going to show you how to play the introduction to the second
video when he was a little bit older the first thing to realize that Doc Watson
just use one finger it’s amazing how he got the complicated sound he didn’t just
want a finger but of course his thumb jumped around and helped out as well so
first of all take a look at how Doc Watson pleased with his one finger
you’ll see both my hands in a split screen and I’ll be playing slowly take a
look you you Oh you you you you you you that wasn’t too bad was it
in fact I missed out a couple of thumb jumps in Section two and in the last
section I just wanted to show how doc used his finger to get that nice effect
will introduce the phone jumps later in the video
let me show you what I mean by a thumb jump this is how we transcribed and
played the last section now see how Doc’s thumb jumped across to
the treble strings and the game at the right speed in the
video doc made when he was younger his star was a little little bit more
complicated and in fact when he starts at seven on the fifth fret he played
this you see his finger moved in this way so the end of this room doc pinches the
fourth string and the third string with his finger and thumb so we can
approximate this sound by hitting that four string with our thumb quite hard so
both strings sound like this also this quite tricky to get
the three strings with the single finger so we can do one of two things
we can either miss out the second string in this way or we can use two fingers in
this way let’s take a look at the well-known
introduction to deep river blues Here I am ready to go after I play it we look
at the instruction you you you you after posting that video I had some
comments and some questions by email about the thumb jumps and also what
happened at the end of the verse when dot plays so that’s we’re going to look
at today in the middle of the verse there’s a little section like this you with a thumb jumps across the strings
slightly out of time and makes the kind of a syncopated beat I’m going to take a
look at this first then after this we’re gonna look at the end section the in
section goes like this so we’re going to take a look at what’s
happening there first of all let’s look at the thumb jumps that we’re seeing
Doc’s playing in the middle of the verse first of all our played at something
like normal speed now let’s slow it down a little and take
a look at the right hand again with the tablature and now for the left hand as you can probably detect I didn’t miss
out some of the thumb jumps and I use two fingers instead sometimes we have to
do this because we can’t all play like Doc Watson but at least we can
appreciate what these guys did and try and incorporate some of the techniques
into our playing we can’t hope to copy all of the old Greek guitarists because
we don’t have enough lifetimes but at least we can appreciate their genius now
let’s take a look at the end thumb rolls you you you I’ll hope you enjoy that and I hope you
find it useful keep on picking I’ll see you again How to play Deep River Blues On Guitar

86 thoughts on “Deep River Blues Guitar Lesson – Deep River Blues Lesson With Jim Bruce

  1. very nice…..This will allow me to clean up an error or two in the way I (mis)play it.

  2. Merry xmas Jim.Your so right we can only hope to emulate in some manner these masters with the time given.Im sure this lesson will b valuable to people out there,tc sir.

  3. Sound a bit like Chris Smithers or should it be that Chris sounds like Doc Watson ūüôā

  4. Jim – you are amazing. Its about the closest I've heard to Doc's performances AND you do it with one finger! I just can't stop using all three fingers and you definitely lose something by deploying the extra digits. Still working through my Blind Blake DVD and strealing ideas off you for my performances. Keep em coming!

  5. For the last 30 years I marvelled at how Doc could make his solo songs seem like duets. Now you tell me he only used one finger…Thanks for the lesson. I never thought I could play a Doc song. Terrific video.

  6. I never get tired of watching this video lesson. I've learned so much from it and Jim's other lessons over the years. Can't thank him enough for gifting us this lesson. Thanks again, Jim (and again and again!!)

  7. Jim I have listened to this video until i hear it in my sleep ! but i just cant seem to get the rhythum down. it just doesnt " sound" right…….
    the challenge seems to be that there are six notes and it sounds like there are 5 when you play it? what in the world am i doing wrong?

  8. excellent layout of a lesson video, well executed and very understandable, this is the was guitar lesson should be. Nice work.

  9. The best guitar lesson i have seen so far on youtube. Thank you very much!

  10. you make the best guitar tutorial videos. thank you jim.
    greetings from Brooklyn!

  11. I'm learning a song I thought gonna be impossible for me to ever learn…BIG THANKS!

  12. After trying for 35 years, it sounds like doc …… Thank you ……. Got any more?

  13. hi jim i wonder if you could help me ive watched your vids and you seem like a very nice problem is im playing im a king bee in the style of robert d tuning with capo on third fret do you know which harmonica key goes with this would it be Bb.there is a vid of robert playing im a king bee on youtube.thanks for your help cool blues by the trying to learn your doc watson deep river blues as well.great lessons.thanks

  14. Hey, I would like to say thank you for taking your time to post this. This has really helped me a lot. I started learning this 2 years ago and gave up. I found your video and its a inspiration. Thank you!

  15. Sorry about this late reply – I know squat about harmonica keys I'm afraid, so cant' help you. Maybe pose the question ot one of the harmonica channels?

  16. Hi Danny – I'm really pleased it's been some use – thanks for taking the time to comment.


  17. ok jim thanks for your know i never realised that doc watson was blind.he is even more amazing than i thought.i would love to live my life like yours traveling around playing my must be great.

  18. re: traveling around – yes, I like it overall, but you only ever hear about the good stuff …


  19. tell us about the bad stuff too it would be interesting to know.i really want to start busking only in a small way im not good enough yet in my own oppinion ive been told im good enough but im just lacking the confidence i can play blues none stop round and round but it gets a bit samey.not sure id get away with that.ive watched alot of busking documentarys and i enjoyed yours the most it was good seeing what goes into your day.meeting people and helping the less fortunate.and the playing aswell

  20. Hi Jim, thanks for this wonderful lesson, it really helped me to match this fantastic Doc Watson piece. I had some difficulties learning this piece but I am trying everyday to better my approach under your guide. In my opinion yours are the best lessons on Youtube, I really like your teaching approach. Thanks a lot from Italy!

  21. Error in the tab section 8. No A note is played it is an E. Please tell me if im wrong.

  22. No, you're not wrong – well spotted!


  23. I really love this style. I want to upgrade my acoustic…Do you have any suggestions that are affordable?

  24. Yep – Vintage VE 300 (under $200) voted best Parlor under $1000 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Martin 000X1 (about $500) – that's what I play, being a poor musician and all … only the top is wood, the rest is man-made, but don't let that fool you. it's Martin through and through and a joy to play.

    I reckon guitars over $1000 aren't worth the bother for the 'nicer' sound you get. Take a look at Sam Chatmon and others playing old Stellas and Ekos.



  25. I have been wanting to learn this for awhile, but could not find a good tab or how – to video. Your presentation is very well done, and you have analyzed the piece in painstaking detail, which helps for clean, clear playing (if you don't get every note right, it becomes muddy). I played classical guitar for decades, by the way, and if any of them think this is easy, they should try learning to play it as well as you do.Thanks

  26. Thanks so much for leaving comments. Checkout my complete lessons pack here

  27. Thanks for sharing, so let me return the favor, if you don't already know it. I agree, Doc's playing has an elusive quality.The Smithsonian has issued a disc called "The Watson Family", which documents the rich Appalachian tradition, that gave us Doc. In one, video, he says that: "Folks in my church sang without vibrato, yet some of those mountain people had voices like you wouldn't believe," Maybe that elusive feeling embodies a long history. Check out Watson Family:"House Carpenter"

  28. Damn!, that¬īs harder that it looks. Your are a great teacher!.

  29. Wow Jim !!! ¬†that is what i have been searching for the right way to play it Doc style . ¬†I have a question i noticed he simplifies it while he's singing the verses and then goes back to tricky picking it , do you sell the entire TAB for the song from beginning to end ?? ¬†I would like to see on TAB what he's doing all the way thru if possible . ¬†Thanks a ton from Texas for giving me a reason to wear out another set of strings keep up the good work . ¬†Nice job ūüôā

  30. Real good job Jim.  Must have took forever to do this.  Thanks. I been pickin for 45 years.   It took me forever to learn finger rolls using 3 fingers and the thumb. It's hard to do only one!!!  HAHA.  Like you say.  Incorporate your own style.  Good thing about geetar is that you can always learn and practice. 
    Thanks for doing this.   Have a good 2014
    Jeff McDermott  

  31. Thanks for this video. I picked up a whole lot, I don't have the patience to get it note for note but its a very helpful tutorial.

  32. Thanks for this lesson… always loved Doc Watson…and figure playing the guitar without learning a song or two by him….is just an injustice to the man.¬†

  33. You have been most thorough in this video and I thank you for that. Perhaps it is just a bit silly to try and copy every last nuance that any of the greats actually play. Surely getting the flavour is just as important. Very intersting video. Thank you.

  34. Bonjour est Bonsoir a toutes et a tous :

    Tout d'abord. Sachez-que moi même..joue un peut de tout ( Guitare ) :
    alors juste un Grand Merci. D'avoir cr√©e..cette vid√©o musicale…sinc√®rement : ( Aime-Bien ) ūüôā

  35. Great lesson!! I love how you don't spend too much time on each section allowing us to just pause and the section we want or just let the video keep playing

  36. Wow.  That's the most amazing instruction video I've ever seen.  I hope I find more.  As it happens, I'm making a retirement project of going back to my folk/blues guitar work.  First song that emerged was Deep River Blues.  This time around there's all this great instruction on the web.  I thought I'd found everything.  Now I see that I'd missed the fine detail, and you've got every nuance right here.  You're a natural teacher, and the camera work is amazing.  I'm off to your website to see what other gold is there.

  37. My Goodness there was a lot time studying Docs style , and as Doc would ,,"and a fine job you done son" I Think Doc would be proud

  38. Hey Jim, I don't feel comfortable criticizing your arrangement, let alone Doc Watson's, so I'll just mention a minor change that works for me. Section 2, first bar, last note. You show it as an open 4th string. I know a D should fit in an E7, but I just find this note a clunker. And the more I hear it, the worse it gets. I prefer to play 3rd string, 1st fret (G#). It's the same note used in Section 6, first bar: 4th string 6th fret (G#).

    Anyhow, it works for me. You pickers out there can decide for yourselves.

  39. Fantastic! I thought it'd be impossible to decode doc's style but you nailed it.

  40. I can't believe it, but I just found SHEET MUSIC for Deep River Blues, with the full Guitar Part in TAB and Staff plus melody and words.  I haven't played it yet, but the Guitar arrangement looks like the real pickin' thing, and it's nearly identical to Jim's.   There's 8 pages, and it seems to have music for each verse, which I presume is the alternate parts and Variations Jim mentioned.  Only $1.99 US for instant PDF download.

  41. At some point, Doc started using different lyrics for the refrain line "Let the waves drive right on, let the waves just sweep along."  He sings "Let the River Rise and Fall, let the waves ???"  I can't quite make out that little bit.  Can anybody help?I never liked the original words, and Doc's seem much better..

  42. You've earned a new subscriber! You're a great player and these videos are very professional. Always wanted to play this song. Do you do any John Fahey stuff too?

  43. Could you please explain Deep River Blues using 3 finger style instead of Doc's 2. Thanks

  44. Jim I'm a Fan, I've been working on your lessons "From Texas to the Delta" (couldn't keep using your site without supporting) Thank You!~ this is Great, I'm 65 and keep challenging myself, now I'm finger pickin stuff I listen to back in the 70's. Who said an Old Dog can't learn New Tricks???

  45. Thanks so much for this one buddy, you are English right? I'm from Yorkshire and your accent sounds very familiar to me but I can't pinpoint it

  46. absolutely wonderful could i ask for some help in my instruction. I'm trained to read information biased on muscle movement. Any way i could get you to show me your left hands shapes without the guitar. I know i may be asking a lot but it would help accelerate my personal process

  47. This is great! This video is a huge help, better than guitar tabs online. Nice job thanks! this tune takes a while to learn.

  48. Hey Jim, great lesson, I've been wondering what he was playing, the tabs are straight on point. Thanks a lot. -Max

  49. Thank you very much for this soulful and very respectful lesson, so carefully crafted and presented. Cheers, mate, from the Great White North!!

  50. Hey Jim, I noticed you aren't using any palm mute.I believe Doc used it a lot. Comments?

  51. That was really great and well explained. I’m mainly a guitar player but I also play some 5 string banjo. I learned a banjo version first and now I’ll be working on this. Thank you so much!

  52. Your playing is exquisite, and the instructions that are here are great. I just wish it were a start to finish note for note thing because it seems there is a lot left out. Still the best I've found on this song, but I have to admit it is frustrating putting the pieces together in order, especially when some of them seem to be missing. Ah, well – at least I'm not having to do it from a record like you did way back when.

  53. Anyone know what kind of guitar he's playing here? I see it's a fender, was curious what kind

  54. This is the best, most concise lesson I have seen on Deep River Blues to date. Thank you Jim for sharing.

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