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East Tennessee Blues

Lesson ID: A0144

“East Tennessee Blues” is a traditional country rag that was first recorded in 1926 by Charlie Bowman with the Hill Billies. It was around prior to Bowman’s recording and has been also known as Hey Mr. Muskrat, Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle Rag, Huckleberry Blues, and Poca River Blues. This song’s bluesy melody has made it a favorite among several artists such as Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Jack Lawrence, Michael Daves, Sierra Hull, and more. In this guitar lesson, I’ll teach you how to play a flatpicking guitar arrangement for “East Tennessee Blues” that fits nicely over the rhythm chord progression. Practice it slowly at first and increase your speed in increments to develop the best flatpicking technique.

Lesson Overview

Playthrough with Tablature

Full Breakdown

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Overview and Listen to the Arrangement
01:31 min Measures 1 through 5
05:12 min Measures 6 through 9
09:53 min Measures 10 through 13
11:34 min Measures 14 through 17
12:54 min Measures 18 through 21
16:48 min Measures 22 through 25
18:20 min Measures 26 through 29
21:30 min Measures 30 through 33
If you like this lesson, check out our Bluegrass Lick Library.

Chord Progression

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Backing Track

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Cooper (@guest_1217)
6 years ago

Nice lesson Devin!! Love the sound of this one.

6 years ago

Devin, One of my favorite lessons! Nice arrangement and you break it down well as usual. I’d love more country-bluesier numbers like this. wishing you well in the new year 2018!

6 years ago

This will be a perfect song for my monthly jam with friends. Thanks again for all your fantastic lessons. I’ve learned more on your site than I have in the past 25 years. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts. Cheers and Happy New Year 2018 as well!

6 years ago

That’s a really great lesson Devin. Really sounds great. Thank you for all your lessons; I find them excellent.

6 years ago

Nice lesson Devin. I like the melody a lot. Pick direction (as usual) seems to be my biggest challenge.

6 years ago

Really nice sound Devin. I am still learning so much from your videos. For years I have tried to find solid teaching in this style and your lessons are the best I have found by far. Looking fforward to watching many more. Cheers ~

6 years ago

Wow! East Tennessee Blues. Great lesson! Took me awhile but worth the effort! Thanks!

5 years ago

What’s an appropriate thickness for a pick when you’re flatpicking? I’m using a 0.88MM Dunlop Tortex but maybe it’s too thin/flexible?

Devin (@guest_1010188)
5 years ago
Reply to  jonathan

I started out using the Dunlop Tortex picks. Nothing wrong with them for the price, but in my opinion, they can sometimes sound a bit thin for bluegrass flatpicking. The BlueChip TP60 that I use these days is about 1.5mm. It’s a thick one, but the right hand speed bevel makes it feel a lot thinner than it is. Sounds great for strumming and flatpicking lead stuff. I read on one of Bryan Sutton’s Facebook posts that he was liking the TP48 — same shape as the TP60 but just a little thinner. The TP48 is 1.22mm. The extra thickness… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Devin

Right on. Thanks for the info!

5 years ago

Another great lesson thanks man.

johnny S
johnny S(@jlselfincgmail-com)
3 years ago

This Lesson, (East Tennessee Blues) seems to be the easiest of the 4.5 Difficulty. Great lesson, enjoyed much! Thank you!

Bob Wheeler
Bob Wheeler(@bob)
3 years ago

I’m normal! Those last few measures took some time. Thanks Devin

3 years ago

Wait, I could play this through, right along with you? With the exception of the string bends, I did it! Amazing! Unbelievable! I may be getting better, or if not better, stronger!