5 female blues artists, Mule Resophonic Guitars’ new model, and Jason Momoa playing guitar? All this and more is coming your way on this episode of Acoustic Tuesday!
Before I get started though, I just need to reinforce how important studying the blues is for guitar.
In fact, learning the blues is so important I’m launching my 5-day blues challenge on January 27th. So, if you’re ready to propel yourself further into 2020 with a better guitar practice habit, mark your calendar!
In today’s episode, I’ll give you a sneak peek of that 5-day blues challenge. In addition, I’m going over the top 5 female blues guitarists that (mostly) played acoustic guitars.
Last but not least, you’ll also get a preview of Mule Resonator Guitars‘ Mavis model, a unique hybrid — and you’ll see Jason Momoa playing a Mule guitar!
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
This Week on Acoustic Tuesday
When you think about the blues, most people imagine a bunch of dudes playing guitar. In reality, women have made just as large a contribution to the blues.
Today, I’m honoring the legacy of 5 female blues guitarists. Whether through their lyricism, songwriting, or technique, each of the female blues guitarists on my list are inspirational and a joy to listen to.
If you have any other female blues guitarists you’d like to share, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to check them out!
The 5 Female Blues Guitarists You NEED to Know
5. Elizabeth Cotton
Known for playing the guitar upside-down, Elizabeth Cotton is an INSPIRATION to all guitarists — be sure to check out her full discovery.
Born in 1893, in North Carolina, Elizabeth Cotton has to be one of the most iconic female blues guitarists out there.
Any bass walks and lines you hear on her songs are played with her index and middle finger — instead of the traditional thumb.
If you want to get a little perspective on Elizabeth Cotton’s unique tone, try flipping your guitar upside-down and playing it for a day!
4. Etta Baker
Etta Baker was born in 1913. Known for her acoustic blues guitar music, Etta Baker has a beautifully delicate style that is so effective at conveying the tone of her music.
In addition, Etta Baker seems to always play with a smile on her face. I have yet to find a video where she isn’t smiling!
Etta Baker learned guitar from her father and her grandfather, and it’s fascinating to see a skill passed on from older generations to newer ones.
Her fingerpicking style is especially cool to watch since she’s only using her thumb and index finger!
If you’re ever having a tough day and need some of the “happy blues,” be sure to check out Etta Baker.
3. Memphis Minnie
Born June 3rd, 1897, Memphis Minnie is a songwriting force to be reckoned with in the world of blues guitarists.
Her voice is signature and memorable, conveying the subject matter of her music so well.
If you dig into her catalog, you’ll find some funny and raunchy songs that you should listen to on your own time. Don’t miss out on Memphis Minnie!
2. Algia Mae Hinton
Born August 29th, 1929 (yes, we share a birthday — although I wasn’t born in 1929!), Algia Mae Hinton has a fascinating style and technique that has captivated me since I first started watching her.
Even the phrasing in her singing is incredibly rhythm and natural.
If you keep watching the video above, someone passes an electric guitar to Algia Mae Hinton. The guitar is so out of tune, but she seems to be unphased because she is just so in the moment!
1. Jessie Mae Hemphill
If you want to talk about mojo, Jessie Mae Hemphill has it — 100%.
I know this list is solely for female blues guitarists who played acoustic guitars…but I just had to make an exception for Jessie Mae Hemphill.
Besides the fearsome looks and attitude (one of her album covers features her sitting cross-legged with a cigarette in one hand and a pistol in the other), Jessie Mae Hemphill is incredibly fun to listen to.
From the hill country of Mississippi, Jessie Mae Hemphill plays a style of blues called North Mississippi Hill Country Blues.
North Mississippi Hill Country Blues features strong themes and riffs on the guitar compared to the fingerpicking nuances of the delta blues.
Again, if you know of more female acoustic blues guitarists, please let me know your top five!
Upcoming 5-Day Blues Challenge!
Starting January 27th, you’re going on a 5-day blues challenge.
But, what exactly does that mean?
Here’s the thing…
- The 5-day blues challenge will be one video a day for the week of the 27th.
- Each video will teach you a different blues progression in the key of A.
- Each progression focuses on a different aspect of blues technique, including
- Movable chord shapes
- How to make a bass line into a guitar riff
- Fingerpicking patterns that are effective, yet simple
The 5-day blues challenge is designed to help you start/continue a new year of guitar practice with sustained energy, positivity, and commitment!
While you’ll be learning new techniques, you’ll also expand your vision of how your guitar journey can move forward with sustainable progress.
There are two ways you can participate in the 5-day blues challenge:
- As a Tony’s Acoustic Challenge member, simply login to start your 5-day challenge.
- As a non-member, head to www.weplayeveryday.com to see the videos in the 5-day challenge.
Again, you don’t have to be a Tony’s Acoustic Challenge member to take part in the 5-day blues challenge! Just go to www.weplayeveryday.com to join!
Mule Resphonic Guitars’ Mavis
The brand-new Mule Mavis is a unique guitar from Michigan-based Mule Resphonic Guitars.
The Mavis is a semi-hollow guitar made with all-roasted Michigan Maple. The “roasting” effect is designed to make new wood sound older than it actually is.
While this guitar is thin, it’s part arch-top, part resonator guitar. It’s not fully acoustic but plugged in it truly sings.
The Mavis has a ton of bluesy tones, especially when you plug it in and run some overdrive or distortion on it.
To see more of the creations Matt Eiche makes, be sure to visit Mule’s website.
Jason Momoa: Guitar Geek Confirmed
So, if you’ve ever watched Aquaman or a little TV show called GAME OF THRONES, you might be familiar with Jason Momoa.
An actor by day, guitar geek by night, Jason Momoa has some incredible guitars in his collection…and a connection with Matt Eiche from Mule Resophonic Guitars.
Matt made a custom, Dirty Pink Mule Resophonic Guitar for Jason Momoa — you know…since pink is Jason’s favorite color!
Be sure to watch the whole video!
Jessie Mae Hemphill’s guitar – I THINK it’s a Gibson L-48. The pickguard is so big because the pots for the volume & tone controls are mounted under the pickguard, not inside the guitar body. Same was doe for the (fancier) Johnny Smith model Gibson. He liked to play straight acoustic and didn’t want the electronics to interfere with the guitar’s sound.
Great episode Tony! Check out this modern blues mama – she is amazing! Sarah Rogo.
Hi Tony, I have an overlooked female blues guitar, Rory Block. This lady hits those blues right between the eyes. Here is a link to her live concert. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eEK4M61y10
After further review, I’m even less sure about the model. It’s definitely an ‘L-something’. If not L-48, maybe L-50. I saw L-5s, L4s and L-50s w/ that same configuration (i.e. controls mounted under pickguard – looks like they & pickup were added to already existing guitar models).
One of my favorite female blues players is Susan Tedeschi. Cheating I know. Mostly Electric. But….
Ruthie Foster https://youtu.be/ZsZEvbPCvQY
Hi Tony…..Love the show. However, I must say that I miss Noah. Especially loved the banter between you guys. I look forward to each Tuesday to see what interesting topics will be discussed. Today’s show was great. Good Blues can really be played quite simply.
Jessie Mae is playing a 60’s Gibson ES-125 hollow body, not a semi hollow body guitar.
Just saw show #126 loved it I love the 5 female blues players.very inspiring.wonderful.loved Matt’s mule resonator guitar.i want to know what the picaso guitar bow is ? What is it anyway thanks see you at show#127.thank you.👍🌟😁🎸🎤☕
For 5 Day Blues—-would love to learn more on how to do “sitting on the Porch” kind of playing, where I could use like an Em scale, and associated chords, (open, bar, moveable, etc) and with the right kind of rhythm/counting, just be able to get creative for as long as I feel like it. That would be my short term goal from this class. Other Female Acoustic Blues players worthy of mention?—a bit more modern, but Rory Block is pretty cool…thanks from Chicago.
Enjoyed the female blues guitarists. I enjoy my creative time experimenting with what almost sounds like blues. Thanks,
super show. I recently jointed TAC and have to say I am “LOVING LIFE”. Thanks for all you do for the community. Are you planning to do a show on strings? How often to change, etc…