Corey Harris

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Catfish Blues


Main Riff

Corey Harris Lesson >

Catfish Blues > Main Riff

This week we will start working on Catfish Blues (written by Robert Petway, made famous by Muddy Waters), in the key of E.  Check out my version and learn the main lick.  We will get deeper into the song in the next lesson.  Many of the licks can be used in other songs you may know in the key of E.  As always, please send any questions, comments or videos so I can see your progress.  Bless!

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Delta Blues
Corey Harris
Muddy Waters
Catfish Blues
Robert Petway
Delta Blues

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:15 Run-Through of Catfish Blues

 

Download the Sheet Music PDF

 

Loop 5:10 Breakdown of Main Riff

Loop 7:30 Bass and Rhythm of Catfish Blues

Loop 8:30 Review and Preview for Next Week

Loop 9:42 Closing Thoughts

 

 

 

Comments

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Bill Stritzinger
Bill Stritzinger Nov 12, 2018

Just joined the site and very excited to learn songs from you Corey I have always enjoyed your performances. I going to try my hand on your leeson Catfish Blues.

 

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Dec 04, 2018

Welcome and thank you so much. Please post a video when you are ready.

doch910tl@gmail.com
doch910tl@gmail.com Jan 23, 2017

And another Corey:  thank you!

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Dec 04, 2018

Sounds great!

Joe McGlynn
Joe McGlynn Sep 24, 2016

Glad to see the full tab added to this lesson, I want to start learning this...but the tab doesn't match what Corey is playing (at least for the main lick), and doesn't match what is shows in the second lesson as the main lick.  The new tab shows a 1/2 step bend on the 3rd string/seconf fret, but Corey plays a slide up to 4 and back to 2 (which is what the original tab in the lesson shows).  Confusing, also very difficult to bend a wound 3nd string at the second fret.

The new tab also shows the open 6th being played in the first bar -- I'll have to watch the video again more carefully, but I don't think that's what is being played.

 

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Sep 24, 2016

Hi Joe --- thanks for the feedback.  If you watch the video from 0:20 to 0:40 you will see that Corey is bending the 3rd string for the main lick.  He likely also plays the lick like you suggest with a slide.  It's very common for roots Artists to do this as they are typically "speaking" through their instrument --- and the exact phrasing varies.  The variations also tends to make the music more interesting.

Corey often utilizes "brushes" of varying intensity to give the song breath --- i.e. make it alive.  The 6th string being played is a "brush" and it's best to loop it to get the sonic feel of it --- and then work on it via your ear.  To say it another way --- the brush is more about the touch and feel than the notes.

I hope that helps.

Dan
Dan Aug 02, 2016

Hi Corey, I really like your style of Catfish Blues and thank you for the awesome lesson series for it.  I've been trying to learn/practice Catfish for a couple months and this is about as well as I can play it right now.  Would love to have it sounding smoother one of these days, any tips?

 

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 10, 2016

Greetings and thanks.  Well your guitar playing is solid here.  You play comfortably and  your tone is good.  I would only say you could slow downt he tempo just a little bit and see how that feels to you.  Also some parts of your singing sounds like you are straining so it maybe better to try and do it in another key if that is problem.  Thanks for posting a video and for coming to soninc junction.  Honor.

Dan
Dan Aug 11, 2016

Hi Corey, you're right I was definitely straining when singing a few parts of the tune.  It's generally challenging for me to sing in E while playing guitar at the same time.  I will try slowing it down a bit and experiement with some other keys.  Thanks so much for the listen, feedback and tips!

Tony
Tony May 07, 2016

Hi there Corey! It's been a long time I'm practicing the guitar part of this masterpiece. Now it is time to put together the vocals!) And here I face the problem - I can't find the lyrics.. Actualy I do understand almost all the lines, but some are missing. Can you please post the lyrics?! Thanks a lot! It's a big pleasure to learn from you!!

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jun 22, 2016

Well I wish I was a catfish / swimmingin the deep blue sea / I would have all you good looking woman fishing after me

I went to my baby's house / and I sit down on her step / she said come on in now young man / my husband just now left

Well there's two trains running / and they aint never going my way / one run at midnight the other run just before day

Tony
Tony Jun 23, 2016

Oh, Thank you, Corey! There is one more line "Well my mama told my father on the day I was born.." Can't get the further part of verse) Sorry.. This is from Muddy Waters version?! Thanks in advance!

Patrick
Patrick Apr 13, 2016

Hi. Just wondering if it is possible to get the full tab for this? Only a small part of it is displayed above. Many thanks and best wishes. Patrick, Scotland. UK.

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Apr 25, 2016

Ask Mike Caren (admin) about that...I don't think that would be a problem to do.

frost.joseph@gmail.com
frost.joseph@gmail.com Mar 03, 2016

Corey~  Man, you play so smooth.  It's truly an honor to watch/listen to you. Thanks for sharing your gift!

With the drones, I don't think I have fat fingers, but I have a hard time not muting the open string of the drone.  My guitar's neck is kind of thin, so maybe that's the problem?  I've played with trying to use my pinky (it's on the second riff intro slide), but that seems like a tedious trick to get that string to ring.  Thoughts?

Again, what an honor.  You're the reason I got on this site.  Thank you!

frost.joseph@gmail.com
frost.joseph@gmail.com Mar 03, 2016

I'll prove I don't have fat fingers with picture if need be:)

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Mar 07, 2016

Thanks for coming to the site.  Yes could be the guitar neck or maybe just the way you are arching your wrist.  It would be easier for me to say if I could see it live.  Keep working on it and you will get there.  Maybe try posting a video so I could see and hear your progress.  Honor.

helmut
helmut Jan 22, 2016
Hi Corey, I live far from a city, in the countryside, so we have very slow Internet connection. To watch a film is very, very time consuming. As I can only read standard musical notation, I try to catch the feeling that comes from your music
Corey Harris
Corey Harris Feb 03, 2016

I see...well thanks for following the lessons and I hope that you learn something new.  Let me know how it is going for you.....honor.

helmut
helmut Jan 17, 2016

Hi Corey, I hope that's the correct form of address. My name is Helmut, I live in Germany. I just looked around at Sonic Junction for a few days. Now I think I've found the right place for me.

Hello to everyone here at Sonic Junction. As I read, it is best to start at Catfish Blues. I'm looking forward to give it a try.

 
Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 21, 2016

Welcome Helmut and thank you.  Keep us posted about your progress and send a video when you feel ready (no pressure).

Honor

eddie saliba
eddie saliba Nov 05, 2015

hey corey lovin the blues trying to teach myself how to play the guitar not eas man.Ifind myself getting to much info on the internet.But i will keep pluggin away I'm retired so i'm not in a hurry but someday would love to reach for a guitar and be able to play.If you can guide me that would be cool.I really love you style finger pickin is so awesome love that style but I don't know where to start.I really love how you did catfish blues bro I'm impressed got to get it down with your help i would be indebted to you

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Nov 17, 2015

greetings Eddie and thanks for joining us here.   I think as song in E such as catfish is best for learning the guitar, since it is an easy chord to play and there are no chord changes, really.  I can understand that it is challenging to decide where to start.  I would say learn three chords first: E, A and B.  Learn them well enough so that you dont have to look at your fingers to play them.  Once you have done that you  can begin to practice playing the bass note (6th string, open) with you thumb in time/rhythm.  This is where a metronome can be useful to regulate your rhythm if you are unsure.  Once you have done that you will be ready to alternate betwee playing the bass note with your thumb while picking the other notes in the E chord.  Remember that you will be holding only the E chord position when you do this....   Please let me know if this ie helpful to you.  Thanks.

James
James Jul 20, 2015

Hi Alex

Thanks for the encouragement, I try to keep it groovy and always clean! But if the truth be known (and I think its no great secret) that wasn't me interpreting Corey it was me doing my best to sound like him!! LOL...but if I have any talent, I would call it persistant, so it ain't over until the fat lady sings!!! 

Keep going brothers thank goodness it aint a race.

cheers

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 29, 2015

You have a great attitude for learning.  

James
James Jul 16, 2015

Hi Corey

Just trying to slow it down and sit on that groove, once you start breaking things down it ain't so simple! Repitition is the key and my wife has me up dancing trying to lock that rhythm into the DNA.... Rome wasn't bulit iina day and neither was Catfish blues learnt in a day

 

Cheers

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 29, 2015

very true James you are right about that...keep on!

James
James Jul 16, 2015

 

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jul 19, 2015

Hy James! You sound groovy and clean...I like your reinterpretation of Corey's version :)

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 29, 2015

Sonds good James.  I would suggest that you try not letting the strings ring out as much but experiment with muting and damping the strings also.  That will give the riffs more punch as well.  Sounds good tho....Honor

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 29, 2015

Sonds good James.  I would suggest that you try not letting the strings ring out as much but experiment with muting and damping the strings also.  That will give the riffs more punch as well.  Sounds good tho....Honor

James
James Jul 15, 2015

Hi Corey

The story so far, just trying to hang in on that groove and keep a look at for that "1".... going to give the singin a whirl.

 

Cheers

James
James Jul 15, 2015

 

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Jul 16, 2015

Nice!!  Love the riffs around 0:50.  

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Aug 29, 2015

sounds great James and the spirit you have for the music comes thru clearly.  I also like ho whave put some of your own licks into it.  I would only suggest to slow down the tempo a little bit.  Bravo.

James
James Jul 09, 2015

Hi corey

Gettin it!

Cheers

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 14, 2015

keep on pushing James...honor!

James
James Jul 01, 2015

Hi Corey

Hangin in there feelin like its starting to flow, for some reason still find that 3rd beat and then that 1/2 beat  breathe a bit of a challnge, its like I want to hurry up and get to that 4th beat bass riff, just sitting on it and it starts to feel right. Repetition, keep it going....and going.. been practicisin just the foundation 1,2,3 4 and.. its great

Cheers

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 04, 2015

James that's it....repetition.  I'm glad that you are getting it. Honor!

James
James Jun 25, 2015

Hey

This seems tune for me evokes the whole feel and groove of JImi Hendrix. Once you start movng the grove around, and de tuning the guitar.... far out

 

Cheers

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 04, 2015

Wow thanks.  Yes I love Hendrix.  

James
James Jun 25, 2015

Hi Corey

Interesting. how difficult it can be just to let the music breathe, I'm just working on that 2nd measure, keeping that groove locked in, too much of  a whitey trying to cram my whole life in one bar!  But I'm getting it! and watch out!!! I am a rockin.

I know I should be out with the other kids playing in the park, but damn this is blues heaven!

 

Cheers

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 04, 2015

Greetings James you are getting it.  Just setttle in and enjoy the ride.  When you get it how you want it. bless us with a post of your efforts.  Thanks

James
James Jun 24, 2015

Hey Corey

Just stumbled onto you and man I do not know where I've been but I'm so glad I'm here now! This is such a beauiful groove, seems to have just tied together so much for me, absolutely love the lead break, been getting into a lot of Lightin Hopkins and your lesson has really helped me lock that bass, solid as brother!

I'm a believer and this is soul food

Thank You

 

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 04, 2015

Wow many thanks.  I am happy that you are here on sonic junction.  Yes Lightnin Hopkins was one of my first inspirations in blues for sure.  Al the best to you.

 
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