Guitar great Doc Watson passed away earlier this week. I steal everything I do, and I have Watson to thank for the basic Piedmont-esque finger-picking style that I use when I use my fingers. This is a style I learned from Watson on an instructional VHS tape that I checked out from the Long Branch Public Library in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2002, and which I now see is a Smithsonian Folkways video still available on DVD called Doc’s Guitar: Fingerpicking & Flatpicking.
Specifically, I took the style from the first bit he teaches/plays on that video: “Deep River Blues.” Below, you can see me doing trying to do this bit — same key (E), same diminished chord (G dim), same neck position and everything — as The Viper and His Second String perform the Neil Young song “Vampire Blues” (shot and uploaded to YouTube by Sue Peacock earlier this year — that’s birthday boy John Peacock you’ll see taking the suitcase solo in the middle).
And now here’s Doc Watson doing the same thing but better on “Deep River Blues.”
Great stuff. And now follow this link to a clip from the Smithsonian video to have Doc Watson teach you how to do it too!