Play the Blues Like...: Skip James

Play the Blues Like...: Skip James

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Skip James’ work is characterized by haunting themes, due in no small part to the use of open-D-minor tuning (low to high: D A D F A D). The guitarist picked up this tuning from a fellow Mississippi musician, Henry Stuckey, who had learned it from Caribbean soldiers while serving in France during World War I. James used open D minor to create insistently repeating musical motifs, often based on just one or two chords, for hypnotic effect.

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