Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Premier Clinic - Fingerstyle

We''re sorry, but this video lesson is no longer available. You can still download the accompanying tab: Tab 1: PDF - PTB Tab 2: PDF - PTB Tab 3: PDF

We''re sorry, but this video lesson is no longer available.

You can still download the accompanying tab:
Tab 1: PDF - PTB

Tab 2: PDF - PTB

Tab 3: PDF - PTB

Or view the digital version of the article by clicking the "DIGITAL" link above


Rag for Ry
from Acoustic Guitar Workshop’s Fingerstyle Fusion

This tune is dedicated to Ry Cooder due to its use of one of his famous turnarounds as the backbone of the piece. Although primarily known as a slide player, Ry is also a phenomenal country blues picker, making it a shame that more of his material in this vein isn’t readily available.

To get a handle on the feel of the tune, pay close attention to the note values and keep the tune to a medium to slow pace until it feels comfortable. The song is deceptive – it looks simple, but nailing the feel requires practice.

The theme is sketched out in the first four bars – a bluesy, melodic motif against a classic boogie bassline providing movement underneath. The melody relies on hammer-ons and pull-offs, and proper fingering helps things flow smoothly. Try using your pinky for the 4th fret pull-off on the high E while using your first and ring finger to cope with the bassline. Also, even though this is a bluesy tune in E, keeping the left hand centered around the second fret will help sort out fingering issues.

Measure 9 starts off like the two previous cycles, but adds in an abbreviated, heavily syncopated bassline, accentuating the tune’s country-blues roots. Again, proper fingering is integral to not only keep the tune’s rhythm intact but to set up for the famous turnaround coming up in measure 14. Bar 14 starts the turnaround and the 3rd and 6th string harmonies lend the turnaround a deep richness. To really get it together, play around with syncopation to give it the proper feel.

After the turnaround, measure 18 moves to the IV chord and features a double-stop walk up before repeating the main theme at the move back to the I at measure 22. The move to the B in measure 30 underscores the mobility of the passage – it helps to visualize the A and B phrases as mini-barre chords to understand their relationship to their respective chords as well as to each other. After a series of repeats, “Rag for Ry” ends on the turnaround established earlier in the piece.

Once you are comfortable with this tune, pick up the tempo and try muting the bass lines to lend it an air of authenticity. We hope you’ve had fun with this month’s “Fingerstyle Fusion” and our look into Ry Cooder’s famous turnaround.
Check out TrueFire''s Interactive Video CD-ROM Library
Learn more about subscribing to TrueFire''s All-Access - over 3,500 video lessons online

The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview
The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview on Johnny’s New Songwriter Album

The Man in Black returns with the unreleased Songwriter album. John Carter Cash tells us the story.

Read MoreShow less
Full Slash Interview
Full Slash Interview on New Blues Album, S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival, Guitar Gear, Pedal Steel & More

The guitar icon shares what went into making his chart-topping blues album and what gear fans can expect to see at the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour.

This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

Read MoreShow less

Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

4
4
4.5
4

Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

Read MoreShow less