…..one night I was laying down, I heard momma and poppa talking…..”

This site is a resource for acoustic finger style blues.

I’ve always loved the blues, and I’ve been whacking away at the guitar for years and I got ok at it. In October 2014 I got a new resonator and decided that I was going to make a real effort to get better. So a mission was born:

Learn a new song every week for a year.

There isn’t a lot of sites for finger style acoustic, and I learn better by having tabs in front of me, so I’m going to try to tab out all the songs that I learn in the next year. Some of it is going to be straight from the delta, some of it more country-style, some of it is going to be more rocky. Some of it will be harder, some weeks I won’t have enough time so I’ll put up something a bit less complex.

But it’s all going to be about the blues.

….what it’s all about….

The song pages will have a brief introduction to the artist, and a brief run down on the history of the songs. There’ll be an audio file at the top of the page, just under the song title. A lot of the songs will be old, so the quality of the recordings might be a bit dodgy.

The tabs will be broken into sections -. the intro, the progression, then any solos, outros, bridges etc. I suggest you get the progression down first – just strum along to the chords to get the feel and pace of the song – then focus on the intro and solos. .

I’ll be doing most of it by ear – some weeks I’ll probably cheat if I run out of time and search for existing tabs, and I’ll give credit when I do – so the accuracy of the tabs might be a bit questionable. I’ve got a pretty good ear, but I’m just some guy doing this for fun, so cut me some slack! Please post any corrections in the comments and I’ll fix the tabs up as soon as possible.

The site is built in wordpress, using an original child theme based on the great Adamos Theme made by Template Express. The tabs are generated by jtab , a javascript/JQuery library created by Paul Gallagher, and made available in the “Guitar Chords and Tabs” plugin built by
Jerome Bourdais.

Any questions? Interested in creating your own 52 weeks site? Make a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

97 thoughts on “About

    • What got me interewsted in learning blues was R.L. Burnside “poor black mattie”.jumper on the line,Blind willie johnson,Skip james unique style “progression?”,i dont know the techy term,hes another significant favorite.Like all have mentioned.Thankyou so much for having the time to tab these out for us who either dont know how to or maybe dont have the time.One thing that i love to do when i print these out is to go through them forward,and then see how they sound backwards.I forget which ones, since ive printed out so many that i stick to my walls,but some of them reminded me of the way lightnin hopkins plays.another favorite.Thankyou again may you have a blessed Christmas.

  1. This is one of the most generous things I’ve seen on the Web! It’s beautifully presented, ideal for my own learning tastes, and to my ear dead on accurate. I’ll be around every week. Thanks so much!

  2. I’m at a loss for words, thank you so much for putting this site up. I’ve really been getting into the blues and this stuff is solid gold.

  3. This is great. The combination of audio, tabs and your clear explanations make for really quick learning.

    Just 2 questions: so far, you’ve stuck to standard tuning (with an excursion into dropped D). Do you play open D or open G as well?
    And does having my hero Robert Belfour up there in the header picture mean you play his stuff too? I have ‘sort-of, close enough’ ways of playing most of his songs, but I would love to see someone else’s interpretations!

    Good luck with your blog. You have been bookmarked 🙂

    Bouke

    • Hi Bourke, glad you are getting something out of this site!

      I do play in open tunings a fair bit, but I’ve been trying to keep the tabs as accessible as possible for most people. In my early days I would hear a song, find tabs for it but a lot were in alternate tunings and it made it a bit of a hassle retuning the guitar from one song to the next. So I decided I’d try to make it as friendly as possible for beginners and experienced players alike. I play on doing some alt tuning songs in the future, because the range of emotion you can get out of non-standard tunings is something that every guitarist should experiment with. It can really open doors to your creativity and makes you think about the potential of the guitar in a different way.

      I’m a huge fan of Robert Belfour, and we lost a true legend when he passed on earlier this year. I’m planning to do ‘Hill Stomp’ sometime in the future, but with those Hill Country guys it’s pretty hard working out exactly what tunings they are in and what they are doing. The sounds they can get are amazing. The image in the banner is actually Junior Kimbrough, who played with Belfour a fair bit when they were learning the trade. Both are first class bluesmen.

      Thanks!

      • Oh man, i didn’t even know Belfour had died. What a loss.

        i get your point about open tunings and it’s a good thing because, after several years in open G, I decided to learn some more standard tuning songs.

        And yeah, those Hill Country players sure make it hard. I usually just sort of get a groove going and sing the lyrics…

        (Did you get the image at fanart.tv? I think they made a mistake naming that image, because I am pretty sure it is from the same shoot as these: http://www.bluesartstudio.at/Komponenten/12LBWo02.jpg http://www.bluesartstudio.at/Komponenten/12LBWo03.jpg and Belfour pasted his initials on the guitar using fake gems – sorry for being an online trolling know-it-all)

        Anyway, keep up the good work!

        Bouke

        • I’m not sure where I got the image from – but the image you provided is undeniable! It’s definitely Robert Belfour and I’m pretty sure you are right about the photo being taken in the same shoot. The clothes are identical.

          Thanks for pointing out the mistake! I honestly would have gone my whole life getting it wrong. There’s such little info out there about some of these guys that I need all the help I can get, so please point out any other mistakes I’ve made – I’m sure there’ll be a few of them. I want this site to be more of an appreciation of these guys and girls lives and stories than anything else, so correcting any mistakes I’ve made is very important to me.

          Thanks again.

  4. This is a great web site. I’m so stone cold in love with blues in the raw that this will be a regular stop for me.

  5. Hello,
    unfortunatly my following question has got nothing to do with the blues directly, but:
    I am a german writer currently working on an essay about Lightnin Hopkins, which will be published at the end of the year in an edition by TBOOKS COLOGNE in germany. We wanna use the image of Lightnin (for the cover of the book) which you posted on your website, so do you know who took the photo or owns its rights, or wether there are any copyrights at all?
    Sorry to bother you, but you might be of great help.
    Cheers,
    Dennis

    • Hi Dennis,

      Unfortunately I don’t know who has the copyright for the image. I first came across it as the cover for a 7 CD collection titled “Lightnin’ Hopkins ‎– The Complete Prestige / Bluesville Recordings”. Blueville was a short lived label from the 60s that was owned by Prestige, Prestige itself was bought by another label 30 or 40 years ago. If you caould track down a copy of that collection it might have the info on the photo in the liner notes.

      Good Luck!

  6. Hi there,
    great site by the way, love it!
    Been trying to play the following tunes, any chance you can Tab them?
    Slippin til my gal comes in partner, Rev Gary Davis
    Catfish Blues, Skip James
    I wanna do something for you, Mance Lipscomb.
    I looked for ages but can’t find anything accurate.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ben.

    • Hey Ben,

      Glad you are getting something out of the site!

      I’m doing a Frank Stokes song this week, but I’ll have a crack at the songs you mentioned in the next few weeks. Watch this space!

      Cheers.

  7. i love this site also.as an older blues guitar learner i commend your time and effort for your broad range of blues players,being older i have seen in person a lot of the guitarist that was still around from the sixtys to present thanks again,great job with soo many free lessons

    • Thanks Ernest!

      I was lucky enough to see John Lee Hooker before he passed on, but he’s the only guy who was playing country blues before the Second World War that I’ve seen. Would love to have seen John Hurt or Bill Broonzy live! Who have you seen?

  8. I really enjoy this site. I’ve been playing this style of guitar for years, but hadn’t heard of many of these artists on your site. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this. Any chance you can post “Sunday Street” by Dave Van Ronk? I’ve got portions of the song figured out, but could use some help.

    • Hi Mark, part of the idea for this project was to ‘discover’ new music for myself, some of the forgotten players who were doing awesome things but for whatever reason never got the recognition they deserve. Half the guys I hadn’t heard of either, but are now on regular rotation. I’ve been meaning to learn some of Dave’s songs, so I’ll try to work out Sunday Street for the week after next. The guy is pretty good though – he seems to have an extra finger on each hand! – and his ‘touch’ is as good as anyone I’ve ever heard. But I’ll see what I can do.

      hanks for checking out the site!

      • There’s a video on Youtube of him playing Sunday Street, but I agree with you. He’s so fast and fluid, its hard to see what he’s doing. If you don’t get to it, I’ll understand and I’m sure I’ll enjoy whatever songs you post. Thanks again for such a cool site!

        • No worries, I made a bit of a start and couldn’t work it out in standard tuning – half the notes I were right, but the other half were just nowhere to be found. It was a real wtf is going on here situation.

          Then I found the video I think you are talking about – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVTiDhOR35g – and saw he was playing in dropped D with a capo on the second to bring the low string back up to E. So it’s a 12 bar in E – E, A and B chords – but played with D, G and A chord shapes! It explains the very familiar but very different sound he gets.

          Hopefully I’ll have it by next Monday, but if not, it won’t be too far away. There’s some really great stuff going on in there, and I’m determined to learn what he’s doing.

          Thanks for introducing me to a fantastic song and a seriously good musician!

          • By the way, what kind of resonator guitar did you get. I just picked up a Paul Beard GRS last year, but I’m already wanting to upgrade. The Taj Mahal songs sound particularly sweet on a resonator.

          • Hey Mark,

            I got a Gretsch Honey Dipper about a year ago. Good, solid instrument for the price. Those Paul Beard GRS’s look very, very nice.

            Taj is actually the reason I got into blues, his “De Old Folks at Home” record made me sell all my electric guitars and just stick with the acoustic!

          • I have a bunch of electric guitars, but rarely pick them up. Lightnin’ was the one that first inspired me to get into this style of music. I think Fishin’ Blues was the first song that I learned.

  9. A labour of love for sure and within minutes of having stumbled across this site, my guitar was out and I began enjoying the results of the effort that has gone into this project. Thank you so much.

  10. Many thanks for putting up authentic acoustic blues n tab form. I’ve been trying to learn some of these songs for years. Your efforts are really appreciated!

    • No worries! Glad you are getting something out of it. I’m nearly at the end of the 52 weeks, but I’ll still be putting stuff up though not nearly as regularly. If you ave any requests don’t hesitate to ask!

      • Again tremendous job sorting out these old tunes, and I’ve left other comments lauding your efforts, but how can I print a hard copy of the tabs? My printer spits out a bunch of black swirls. What’s the secret?
        Keep it up Brother,
        Jim

        • Hi Jim!

          Unfortunately the plug in I use converts the content into tabs after the page has rendered, and all the PDF converters I’ve tried reads the code and not the output of the code, so you end up with a bunch of numbers and dollar signs! The only thing I can suggest is to take a screen shot (or screen shots) and cut and paste the pieces of tab together in simple editor like MS Paint or even Word. If anyone out there has a good WordPress plug in for PDFs that reproduces the actual content you see please let me know about it.

  11. Absolutely magnificent resource, the Kindhearted Woman Blues tab is one of the most accurate Johnson transcriptions I’ve come across. Whenever I grow cynical about the internet I seem to stumble across tremendous acts of generosity, diligence and passion such as this that wash away any doubts. Would love to see your take on Scrapper Blackwell’s Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out or any of Rory Gallagher’s acoustic blues. I detect an interest in points of technique throughout your work, Gallagher’s strangely kinetic hybrid style is worth a look for an enthusiast.

  12. Wow! This site is going to be fun … just stumbled on it today, looking for Tommy McClennan tab! Thank you for your dedication to roots blues music!!!

  13. Great stuff. Wonderful idea. Keep up the good work. We all enjoy this tremendously. It keeps it all alive these good old blues songs.

  14. My congratulations on finally tabbing out the old acoustic blues. I’ve searched far and wide and your accomplishment is stunning and much appreciated. One question, can the tabs be printed and if so how? I can’t seem to make a hard copy. Again many thanks and I hope you can answer my copy question.
    Yours in the Blues,
    Jim

  15. Hey Dude, again I can’t thank you enough for the effort you put into this project. The only site with Wiley and Thompson! I don’t know how often you check your mail but my question still stands. How do I print a hard copy of the tab? Meanwhile keep up the good work!
    Jim

  16. I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  17. Amazing website! I’m a starting blues guitar player and for many old blues songs it’s hard to find any decent tabs online, so when I saw your collection of songs, I was pumped. Thanks dude!

  18. Hi,
    First off, fantastic job with this site. It’s a great addition to what the web can offer about the blues.
    Secondly, I was wondering if I could get in touch with you. I ‘m working on a thesis that focuses on the use of alternate tunings in Texas blues music. Your entry on “Bring Me My Shotgun” was helpful.

    Your input would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

    • Sure, I donöt know that much about Texan blues, but happy to help if I can. Shoot me an email at 52weeksofblues@gmail.com. You might also want to check out weeniecampbell.com, the community there is full of guys and girls who know just about anything you could ever wish to know about the blues.

  19. How about “Keep It Clean” by Charley Jordan? It’s been covered a bunch of times, but his version is my favorite recording of the song.

  20. Thanks so much for this great site! One Dime Blues, Etta Baker – just love it, if only there were more tabs like it! Love of acoustic blues renewed – poor old Gibson is in for a hard time….

  21. Hey dude I’ve just come across your website and you are a godsend! Thankyou for your time and effort.

    However I’ve encountered that since yesterday your tabs have been showing up like this;

    $3.2/4 4.$2.3 $3.4.$2.3.$1.0 $3.4.$2.3.$1.0 $3.4.$2.3.$1.0 $3.4.$2.3.$1.0 $3.2.$6.0 $3.0h1 $4.2 | $6.0 $5.2 $6.0.$3./4 $2.3 $6.0.$3.4 $6.0.$3./4 $2.3 $6.0.$3.4 $6.0.$3.2 0h1 $4.2 | $6.0 $5.2 2 2 $6.0 0 0 0 |

    I cannot decipher this weird code to figure it out and yesterday I was learning Shotgun by Lightnin Hopkins just fine. I this just me or do other people have the same problem?

    Hopefully this gets fixed soon. Thanks again.
    Jono

    • Hi Jono,

      Yeah, that problem sucks! It’s caused because the plug in I use to generate the tab images renders after the page has loaded – ie it gets the raw symbols on the page like the $6.0, and maps them to a library of images and info about where to put the images – $6.0 is mapped to a 0 with a line through it, and placed on the lowest area so it becomes the open low E string. It uses Javascript to do this which Apple has a love/hate relationship with.

      The problem is the JS code is 4 or 5 years old, and it clashes with some versions of Apple’s operating system. It’s fine on my Windows desktop, it’s fine on my Macbook, it’s fine on an iPhone 6 (kind of, the layout is all screwed up), but it’s broken on my iPad and iPad mini. I’m not sure about non-Apple tablets. I had a crack last year about trying to build a new plug in to fix it, but it was well over my head.

      So unfortunately there’s not much I can do to fix it except say to try not to use a phone or tablet to look at the tabs – which is really shit nowdays. I’ve got a lot of feelers out trying to find another way to present the tabs, and hopefully someone will come up with a solution soon.

      Sorry for the inconvenience!

  22. I was looking for an accurate tab for Taj Mahal’s “Fishin’ Blues” today and stumbled accross your site. Thank you very much for the time and effort that you have invested in this work. This has been my favorite type of music for as long as I can remember. I picked up a guitar last year after a 37 year hiatus and decided that I was either going to learn how to finger pick it or I would get rid of it. 11 months in and I haven’t gotten rid of it. So… I guess old dogs really can learn new tricks! Thank you again.

    • Thanks Ed! I’ve been trying to play Fishing Blues on and off for years – it is the single reason why I’m into this kind of music. I heard it one day and it literally changed my life. I wanted to play Hendrix, heard that song and decided I wanted to be able to play like Taj!

  23. I have looked and looked for some type of tab on Songs by Taj Mahal. Really hard to find something
    And the I stumbled upon this site. OMG exactly the type of music I was looking for.
    Thank you for putting this together. Wish there were more sites that were this complete.

    Tim

    • No worries, thanks for having a look. Taj is the single reason I play this kind of music. I heard Fishing Blues way back in my misspent youth and had never heard music as good as what he was doing in my life.

      I’m neglecting the site a bit since the initial 52 weeks is over, but I’ve got a few more Taj songs I’m going to put up. If you have any requests, just ask though it’ll probably take a while to get them done.

      Thanks again!

      • Me too! I had a Kramer guitar, playing in metal bands and only listening to metal music in the mid-80’s. In 1987 my older brother talked me into going to see Taj Mahal. After hearing “Fishin’ Blues” all I wanted was a National Steel guitar!

  24. Love this s##t!!! I have picked up some good tunes from you. I just got one question. Can you transcribe “Going away” with Rev Gary Davis? I think you could do it properly. I have nowhere else to turn hehe…

    / André

    • Hi Andre,

      Thanks for taking a look at the site! I’m not updating it as often as I used to, but will try and do as many requests as I can. I can’t find a Gary Davis song called “Going Away”. Do you have a link to it?

      Thanks,

      rpc

  25. Hi! I found it on youtube. It was Ari Eisinger playing a song called “Going Away” and I fell in love with the tune. But it was written in the info that it was a Rev Gary Davis song, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I learned that the real name of the song is “I’m throwing up my arms”. So I’ve got the tabs and know how to play it now 🙂
    But now I’m looking for the tab for Rev Gary Davis “The great change in me”. Maybe you can transcribe it 🙂

    Thanks anyway for the good work!

  26. Hi. this is an absolutely amazin website. thank you so much for sharing your work and the blues with others in this great way!
    greetings from germany
    dan

  27. This is an amazing site! I’m really impressed. It’s beautiful and somehow you cash really teach via only writing. I loved the explanation of the shuffle feel. And great musical selections.

  28. When I was a student I was listening Sonny Terry et Brownie McGhee,
    Life flows
    Now I am retired ….. and I’ll get out my guitar …. Many thanks

  29. First I want to say that your site is absolutely amazing! I’m sure that everyone who is using it appreciates your work and time. I just was wanting to know if I could possibly use some of your work for a college project? If so please get back to me and I can give you more details if needed. Once again thank you so much for all of your time and work that has gone into the 52 Weeks of Blues website!

  30. Thank you very much from Spain. Your site is a proof of authentic generosity and love for the blues. The history (personally, love that part, I have a degree in History 🙂 ), the tabs, the pieces… a very good presente for everybody.

    As an amateur guitar player, I think that your path, is a very good challenge for the new year!

    Best Whishes.

    Mario Delgado.

    • Hi Tim, thanks for taking a look!

      I have given lessons in the past, but I don’t really have the time for it nowdays. I can recommend an English bloke named Jim Bruce – http://www.play-blues-guitar.eu/blues-guitar-jim-bruce-youtube-videos.php – crappy looking website but a hell of a great player, much better than I am, and he’s been a teacher for many years. I’ve never met him, but I’ve seen a lot of his lessons etc just from being interested in the same kind of thing.

      Another guy is John Miller – http://johnmillerguitar.com/teaching.html He’s helped me out with a few songs on this site and is just a super nice guy who knows just about everything a person can possibly know about this kind of music.

      Good luck, and thanks for looking at the site!

  31. What a fantastic website. I’m reeling from having heard Scrapper Blackwell for the first time – so’s my guitar, I think I heard it say, “You can’t be serious.”

    • Hi Findlay,

      Yeah scrapper is amazing! Relatively unknown and a real ‘solo’ type player – he’s always trying to inject a riff or a shift of momentum in his playing. I must admit I didn’t know anything about him when I started this project, and now he’s one of my favourites!

  32. It would be great if you made this available as PDF downloads, as individual songs and as a collection. The pages don’t print well.

    It’s a great collection of songs.

  33. Wow, this is by far the best finger style Blues resource on the Internet, thanks a lot for the amazing job!!

    • Thanks for having a look at the site, Don!

      Wow, what a great laid bck tune – I’ll definitely have a look at at, but as you can tell by the lateness of this reply I’m not updating the site as much as I would like. Life & a new kid have gotten in the way!

      I’ll send you an email when I’ve worked something out.

      Thanks again for looking at the site,

      rpc

  34. This is more than good, this is incredible, wonderful site, exactly the music what I am trying to play. Thank you so much.

  35. Big thumbs up on this work – I have been putting together a new Blues duo act in Austin TX and needed a few new fingerpicking tunes, and found a couple I was unaware of… with TABS! Talk about making my life easy! You made my set list a bit more interesting…it was very Lightnin Hopkins heavy 🙂 – come see me at Mojohand.com and check out Everything Blues™ !
    Grego

  36. Hello
    this site is nearly the best fingerblues, countryblues, early blues i have ever seen, it´s really well made and now i know it´s worth it for me to buy this continental resonator, which the guitarshop in my hometown offered me in a very good condition, i will learn one song in a week for the next 52 weeks, i also love the information about song and artist and i bought some great new vinyls for my early blues collection, greetings from germany and sorry for my bad english 🙂

    • Hi Frank,

      Thanks for the comment, its been a labour of love for me and I’m really happy you are getting something out of it!

      I’m not updating the site as much as I should nowdays, so apologies for the late reply.

      And your English is great!

      Thanks again for the lovely comment,

      Regards,

      rpc

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