Fingerstyle Blues

Genre and Style Guitar Course from Mary Flower

The blues is a distinctly American style of music. Many popular genres such as jazz, rock, and country music draw upon basic blues concepts. Consequently, it is advantageous for any guitarist to study the blues.

36 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

90% Appoval

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Full Course Breakdown

Mary Flower combines the best of blues music with amazing fingerstyle arrangements. In this lesson series Mary will get you started in the world of fingerstyle blues.


Series Introduction

In this lesson, Mary Flower introduces herself and her playing style. She also discusses essential blues listening.

11:14 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Blues in Drop D

In this lesson, Mary Flower talks about playing the blues in drop D tuning. She teaches two amazing song examples to get you started.

21:50 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Playing in the Key of A

In this lesson, Mary plays in the key of A major in drop D tuning.

8:36 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Eight Bar Blues

In this lesson, Mary Flower talks about the eight bar blues. She demonstrates it in a couple different keys.

14:29 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


8 Bar Blues Progressions

Mary Flower shows several songs that demonstrate the 8 bar blues.

11:40 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


How Long and Statesboro Blues

Mary Flower demonstrates two classic songs that feature an 8 bar blues structure. The songs are "How Long" and "Statesboro Blues."

14:36 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Sounding Like a Piano

Mary Flower discusses various blues guitar techniques that can give your guitar a wonderful piano sound.

13:41 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Twelve Bar Blues

Mary uses the songs "CC Rider" and "When I Lost My Baby" as examples in her discussion of the 12 bar blues.

16:31 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blues Duet

In this lesson, you will learn a blues duet that you can play with someone else. Or, you can record yourself playing one part and play the second part over it.

16:53 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blues in the Key of E

Mary is back with another lesson filled with tips on playing the blues in the key of E.

6:07 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Midnight Hour Blues

Mary talks about the song "Midnight Hour Blues" and gives some great tips on how to play this beautiful tune.

9:36 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Movable Chord in the Key of E

Mary Flower dives into more blues in the key of E by teaching a movable chord.

4:30 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Arranging Songs

Mary talks a little bit about arranging songs and uses the song "John Henry" as an example.

9:00 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Spike Driver Blues

Mary teaches and discusses the history behind Mississippi John Hurt's song "Spike Driver Blues."

15:47 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Diminished Chords

Mary talks about diminished chords and looks at various different shapes. You will learn the song "Walking Across the Country" as an example.

16:35 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Buck Rag

Mary teaches the classic song "Rag Time" by Rev. Gary Davis in this fun Blues lesson.

23:16 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Mississippi Blues

Mary teaches a song called "Mississippi Blues" by Willie Brown.

32:03 Runtime

4.0 Difficulty


Saturday Night Rub

Mary Flower teaches the fun and catchy song "Saturday Night Rub" by Big Bill Broonzy.

25:52 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Key of F

Mary talks about the key of F in this fantastic lesson.

8:20 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


South Carolina Rag

Mary teaches the song "South Carolina Rag" by Willie Walker.

12:35 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Open D Tuning

Mary Flower talks about the advantages of open D tuning.

12:44 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Boogie Woogie Dance

Mary Flower shares her interpretation of a classic blues slide tune called "Boogie Woogie Dance."

16:44 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Alabama Bound

Mary Flower shares some thoughts on the bass notes found within the song "Alabama Bound" in this lesson.

6:31 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Blues in A

Mary Flower talks about improvising a blues in A.

13:05 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Sugar Babe

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "Sugar Babe," a Mance Lipscomb tune.

9:49 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Michigan Water

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "Michigan Water," a Jelly Roll Morton tune.

13:18 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Bye Bye Baby Blues

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "Bye Bye Baby Blues" by Little Hat Jones.

12:47 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Mary Flower shares her rendition of the spiritual song "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" in this lesson.

10:33 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


River of Joy

Mary Flower shares an original song called "River of Joy."

16:43 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Open D Tuning Song Exercise

Mary Flower shares a song played in open D tuning that features alternating bass and syncopation.

12:34 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


M & O Blues

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of "M & O Blues," a Willie Brown song.

15:44 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Colored Aristocracy

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of the song "Colored Aristocracy."

13:00 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Turkey in the Straw

Mary Flower shares her modern rendition of "Turkey in the Straw."

10:24 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Trouble in Mind

Mary Flower shares her rendition of the catchy blues tune "Trouble in Mind."

8:22 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Crow Jane

Mary Flower demonstrates Carl Martin's arrangement of the song "Crow Jane."

15:52 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie

Mary Flower teaches her rendition of the song "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie" by Elizabeth Cotten.

11:02 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

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  • Portland, Oregon
  • Playing since 1959
  • 41 lessons at JamPlay
Working in both the intricately syncopated Piedmont fingerpicking style and her own deeply bluesy lap-slide guitar, Mary has earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike for her springwater-clear vocals and mastery of multiple guitar styles as well as her own compositions. Though she can create prewar blues and ragtime with the best of them, Mary draws on traditional, contemporary and original material to create something new: a sound uniquely her own that remains true to the timeless power of the blues.

Flower's elegant, funky and inventive playing on vintage guitars makes her one of a mere handful of women guitarists admired for their instrumental prowess. In 2000 and 2003 respectively, Mary placed in the top three at the National Fingerpicking Championship. Her career as an internationally known performer and teacher has spanned more than three decades.

A recent transplant to the Northwest, Mary cut her teeth on the Colorado music scene where she played with the likes of Katy Moffatt, Pat Donohue, the Mother Folkers and more. Mary took a detour in the 80s to raise a family, all the time woodshedding and performing locally.

Mary's CD Bywater Dance, recorded pre-Katrina in New Orleans for Yellow Dog Records, has garnered widespread acclaim. An award-winning player with seven solo cds and 5 instructional DVDs to her credit, Flower is in demand for festivals, concerts and guitar workshops on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Unassuming blues heroine Mary Flower proves one again that she's one of the nation's premier fingerstyle blues guitarists-- her technique is exceptional throughout, and in the end, serves the highest purpose, the music--unfailingly sweet, hot and sassy--every track on this album has something about it that will give you the shivers... This is one of the most satisfying albums of the year."
  - All Music Guide to Blues

"Her crisp, fluid fingerpicking sounds deceptively effortless, with flawlessly executed syncopation, the hallmark of a bouncing, upbeat Piedmont style. From casual listeners to devoted blues fans, Flower's music is accessible to everyone"
  - Blues Review

"With her immaculate guitar playing and warm contralto, Mary Flower finds the sweet spot between modern and rootsy in twelve tunes bred of back porches, parlors, street corners, juke joints and country of the best blues based singer songwriters working today."
  - Acoustic Guitar Magazine

"Mary is one of those rare artists who manages to create a tincture of the aged authentic with the freshly original."
  - Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine
Reviews & Feedback 90/100 with 402 ratings

"Practice hard and have a good time"...what great advice! Nice being aware of other keys that can be used in drop D. Thanks Mary.


All 3 of the above. All of Ms. Flowers lessons are great. Easy to understand, thoroughly and quickly explained, and relatively easy to pick right up and play the songs after the lesson.


All of the above, thank you Mary and JPlay.


All of the above. She communicates very well. I really like her recordings, too.


Brilliant! A wealth of knowledge and a gifted instructor. I am honoured.


Enjoyed it ! Thanks. Guillermo


Gonna roll up my sleeves and start to learn this slowly...


Great lesson especially the turnarounds Thankyou


Great series!


Great stuff -- a bit more advanced than some of the other Phase 2 material - which is perfect.


Great teacher. Learning so much from her. She has excellent pacing and clear instructions.


I appreciate that she knows the history of the music.


I don't like when I go to full screen the A-B option is not there. I NEED THAT!!!!!


I have thoroughly enjoyed Miss Flowers videos and I love this style of playing the guitar. Gene


I Just like the teacher, something about her.


I like the pace and fullness of her lesson. Doesnt skip any corners, which is too common.


Would like to learn more of your finger picking style and will look into the artist you suggest listening too. Larry


I love Mary Flower and the way she teaches. I live Hawaii but is my goal one day to attend her guitar camp. Mahalo


I would like the tabs for what Mary plays as she sings - it's different from what she plays as an instrumental.


I'm going to get this one down before I go to the next one. Love it!


Love her easy, clear teaching, always wanted to learn piedmont style blues but a little frustrated with other instructors. For me she makes it easy and fun to pick this style up. Thanks Mary, you rock!


Mary's teaching is good. I liked this style of blues but couldn't find anyone who could teach me in my younger days. I wish Mary and Jamplay was around 30 years ago.A teacher like Mary,is hard to find.


Love Mary!


love this version thx


Lovely voice.

ct smith

Mary is a great guitarist and I loved learning from her.


Mary's lessons are almost always great.


More of the song needed in tab, last measures not in tabs (I don't think).


Nice arrangement


Really like the way the teacher explains the lessons


she has a nice sound..I always like good fingerpickers


She's a very good player and teacher. Because of her I am going to start working on Drop D stuff on my Drop D guitar sooner than I had planned.


Thank you for this marvellous lesson .


This is the best lesson on the internet!!!!


While it may not be a note for note lesson of the original, if feels much more rooted in classic blues than some lessons that are "in the style of."