"The Open D Tuning (D A D F# A D), also referred to as the Vestapol tuning, is a powerful and evocative tuning that was widely used by guitarists in the 1920s to play country blues, ballads, rags and folk tunes. In this lesson I focus on arranging five of my favorite blues melodies in Vestapol plus an original instrumental.
The religious tune When I Lay My Burden Down was in the repertoire of both Black and White traditional guitarists. I have arranged it in an Elizabeth Cotten/Mississippi John Hurt style. The beautiful blues Goin' To Germany was recorded by the Cannon's Jug Stompers in the 1920s. I have always wanted to find the right setting for this melodic country blues and the Vestapol tuning gave me the feel and textures that I was looking for.
Sam McGee played guitar behind Uncle Dave Macon when he recorded, I've Got The Morning Blues in Vestapol. This is a fun tune to play and leads nicely in to Hesitation Blues, a song recorded by many artists. My arrangement tries to combine a sliding jug sound with some funky blues licks. Peg Leg Howell's Skin Game Blues is a rare example of an early blues song with three distinct sections. Peg Leg played this with a bottleneck but for our arrangement we will rely on our fingers to make the notes sing out.
We finish the lesson with Innocence Abroard. An original instrumental that ties together the right and left hand techniques we have studied.
A detailed tab/music booklet is included as a PDF file on the DVD. Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen. Bonus audio tracks of the original 1920s recordings are included. These are the records I first heard that influenced me to rearrange the melodies to the Vestapol tuning."