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I'm A Man: Introduction

 

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I'm A Man

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In this tutorial I'm gonna teach you how to play the classic blues song "I'm A Man", as made famous by Bo Diddley. This song is a simple one chord blues, and on first listen, an inexperienced blues player could think that there isn't much to be learned from it apart from that one riff.

But once you dive into it you find the essence of what this style of music is about! It's not about showing how many licks or chords you know or always playing ripping guitar solos. It's about conveying emotion, and repeating the same one chord riff for a whole song can put you in a trance-like state that's really cool and really puts the lyrics in focus! It's more challenging to do than you'd think.

First we're gonna breakdown the open E tuning that's used for this song, and then I'll show you how to play the main riff with and without a capo. I’m also gonna break it down in standard tuning.

On the record you hear a harmonica solo, but in case you play this song live and someone asks you to solo, I'm also gonna show you some simple licks that you can play in the open E tuning with the capo.

We're gonna talk about what gear, tone and attitude to use and much more. This song is in 4/4 at a tempo of 83 bpm, so let's get to it!