Corey Harris

Lesson >

Kindhearted Woman Blues

Intro & Chords

Corey Harris Lesson >

Kindhearted Woman Blues > Intro & Chords

This week we will begin learning Rober Johnson's classic, 'Kindhearted Woman Blues'. I play the tune and demonstrate a few of the major riffs. This is a simple song and covers some riffs that we may have talked about in previous lessons. Take your time and have fun. Thanks!

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Delta Blues
Corey Harris
Acoustic Blues
Kindhearted Woman Blues
Robert Johnson

Print Print Chords & Tab

Kindhearted Woman Blues background listening: Robert Johnson

loop @ 1:04 run-through

loop @ 3:57 walkdown / intro

%X/X.X/X.5/3.X/X.2/1.5/4 %X/X.X/X.4/2.X/X.3/1.5/4 %X/X.X/X.3/1.X/X.4/3.5/4 %X/X.X/X.2/1.X/X.5/4.5/4
$3.h1 $6.0.$1.0 $2.3 $6.0 $1.0 $6.0 |

loop @ 4:31 chords

%X/X.X/X.X/X.9/2.8/1.9/3[A7] / / / %X/X.X/X.X/X.8/2.7/1.8/3[Ab7] / / /
%X/X.X/X.X/X.9/2.8/1.9/3[A7] / / %X/X.X/X.X/X.8/2.7/1.8/3[Ab7] %X/X.X/X.X/X.9/2.8/1.9/3[A7] / /
%2/2.X/X.X/X.2/3.1/1.2/4[D7] / / / / / / /
%X/X.0.2/1.2/1.2/1.3/3[A7] / %X/X.2/2.2/3.1/1.3/4.X/X[E7] / %X/X.0.2/1.2/1.2/1.3/3[A7] / /
%X/X.2/2.2/3.1/1.3/4.X/X[E7] / / / %2/2.X/X.X/X.2/3.1/1.2/4[D7] / / /

Turnaround is the same as the intro above

%X/X.0.2/1.2/1.2/1.3/3[A7] %X/X.X/X.5/3.X/X.2/1.5/4 %X/X.X/X.4/2.X/X.3/1.5/4 %X/X.X/X.3/1.X/X.4/3.5/4
%X/X.X/X.2/1.X/X.5/4.5/4 %X/X.2/2.2/3.1/1.3/4.X/X[E7] / /

loop @ 6:08 additional riffs




Log in to leave a comment Jan 23, 2017

Thanks for this lesson Corey. Here is my attempt after lesson 1. 

Bob Piscura
Bob Piscura Oct 01, 2015

Hi , I have a guitarist that has never played acoustic blues but wants to accompany me ( I play harp and sing) on c.c.. rider, kind hearted woman, and and other blues songs . I need a simple lesson I can turn him on to so he can succeed right away. Do you have any recommendations. If it gets to complex I'm afraid he will give up . Thanks 

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Oct 01, 2015

Hi Bob --- you may want to try Corey's lesson on Running and Hiding.  Great simple groove and catchy vocals.

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Dec 07, 2016

Try Catfish blues or Running and HIding...

Albert Spohn
Albert Spohn Aug 29, 2013

Sounds like a plan, thanks Mike!

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Aug 28, 2013

Hi Albert ... welcome to Sonic Junction.  We don't have tab for the walkdown.  That said, the chords with fingering are shown above.  As much as possible, we try to focus the learning by ear / watching Corey and use tab / chords as a back-up.  

Try looping the video 10 times while watching Corey play.  Continue doing this until you can hear the walkdown in your mind what he is playing.  Review the chord fingerings and get comfortable with them.  Play the video once more to refresh the walkdown in your mind.  Then try and play it on the guitar very slowly.  

You will find this way of learning a bit slower at first (for the first week or so), but immensely powerful once you get comfortable with it.

Albert Spohn
Albert Spohn Aug 21, 2013

Is there tablature to  indicate the specifics of the walk down?  Thanks!

JD Krooks Crouhy
JD Krooks Crouhy Feb 01, 2013

@ Corey thanks for your response. As watching your video i see that your hand is not so close to the saddle when you mute strings. Your thumb is near the fingerboard. So i guess you always mute after the stroke. But thank for this advise i'll try to do it !


@ Alex Well thanks for compliments. You're right it's hard to sing in englsih for us ;) And it's harder for french because of our accent is on the last syllable;) Italien are more on the middle Syllable so it's more a singing language than french. But Corey in another lesson said me to have confidence in our voice like it's possible to make good song with bad guitar it's possible to put feeling in every voice. So i get more confident. I'm taking singing lesson but i sing in french because i just began. Your voice is good too and sound confident. Just like i don't plan to be a internationnal blue star but just want to sing alone with my guitar in bars or street for fun. i'm tired to just being a soloist or comp singers. It was cool too but i need change and blues call me for a long time ;)

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 30, 2013

@ Peter...thanks for checking.  Looking forward to seeing you here later.  

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 30, 2013

@Jd thanks....improve my singing skill is my challenge too as I always focused my attention on the guitar..I don't really like the way I sing and my pronunciation is not that good....I think I should take some lessons...I've started singin because it was necessary...I used to play solo in the gigs...

anyway I like your voice...I think it's already good expecially because we are not singing in our mother language as you're french and me italian!! :))

JD Krooks Crouhy
JD Krooks Crouhy Jan 29, 2013

Nice Job Alex :) ! And very peacefull voice that sound good here. Even in this first try i can hear Corey's Lick on the D and E for example. Sometimes I can hear that in my playing too and say where i got that :). i'll try to post something on this lesson if i can. I'm workin old songs of Corey's lesson but i'm stuck with singin too... But i keep working the guitar of course. But my challenge is too have the guitar and the voice if i can ;)

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 29, 2013

@Corey here's my usual for the first video is a first really general try...This is the way I use to play till nowdays. I'm startin to play with only two fingers...I feel a little more comfortable now than couple of weeks ago. 

@Ray you're not adding any confusion :))....For me is always a pleasure to talk about Robert Johnson and everything related to him....;)

daddyray (robbie)
daddyray (robbie) Jan 28, 2013

hmmm, Lonnie Johnson has early stuff with double Drop (that what I call it anyway where the A string is also dropped a whle step)...Dropped D is just the low string down a whole step...I just listened to Malted Milk and I do not hear RJ going onto his sixth string at all. I guess I have just played it that way since I learned a lot of the D blues moves via Sleepy John Estes playing in Dropped D and I think that is where I caught that sort of turn is really hard to think back through how I learned to do what I do. I am sorry if I am adding confusion to any of this. 

Peter Wolf
Peter Wolf Jan 28, 2013

Hi Corey,

I've been over in Duke's area for a while, but I just wanted to compliment you on your performance here.  You really nailed it :-D

CU when the weather gets warmer, the humidity goes back up, and I can take by acoustic out of its case.


Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 28, 2013

@Corey me it's not important to know exacly the way Robert Johnson played the tune per se (I'd really like but you know...), but to open another window in the many different ways to approach to the guitar...sometime ago I used to play Kindhearted woman in open A and it didn't sound that bad.... it's interesting for me now to study "me and the devil startin" from an open d tuning position which is unusual as the tune is a blues in A capoed or whatever..I'll try to post both versions of Kindhearted woman played in open A and soon as I'll have my mac back..

@Ray...I think I made confusion...drop d tuning is the way Lonnie Johnson used to play, isn't it? it's DGDGBD?!?!?!

daddyray (robbie)
daddyray (robbie) Jan 28, 2013

Isn't Malted Milk a Dropped D tune....maybe that is just the way I learned it way back. It is hard to keep how they did straight from how I first learned it somehow....


Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 27, 2013

@JD - I try to mute the bass slightly, meaning that I let it sound out but don't let it ring out.  I choke it off with my palm (lightly) as soon as it makes a sound.  As for my thumb, when I am playing the bass part I am trying to push the string down with my thumb instead of picking it upwards, using the tension in the string to make the sound.  You can always feel free to vary the level of muting depending on what is going on in a song; sometimes you might want more if you are singing, which would draw more attention to your vocals.  When I mute I use my palm near the saddle but if you find another way that works for you, then go for it.  I try to slap vary sparingly, maybe only once per song and sometimes never on certain songs, but when used this way it can be very effective.  So yes, pay attention to dynamics.  I am sure you will find a way that works for you.

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 27, 2013

@Alex - Thanks for your question.  I think Robert Johnson played this tune in open A and capoed it up to B.  I think Me and the Devil is in open D tuning.  I think Robert Johnson also played in open A as well as standard.  I don't know if he played in drop D tuning, but I never heard a recording of him playing in this tuning.

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 26, 2013

@Ray...thanks!!!'s true..people are making a lot of miths about Robert Johnson in general...not only tunings :DD...anyway..I'm not sure who said it but there was someone, in one of those Rj doc who said that he used to play also in other different tunings which for me maybe it does some kind of sense...I mean he used to play in many different places wirh only one guitar because he was a rambler so it could be hard to switch continuosly from a tuning to Rory Block, who's not exacly the last in terms of blues experience, claims in her video method about robert johnson tecnique that he plays Rambling on my mind not in the usual open d tuning with capo etc but in an alternate tunig which is some kind of open c...and I don't remember what else..And I trust her because she, as a great fan of RobertJohnson , really made a kind of research on his way of playin the guitar...tryin to reproduce exacly the way he used to play..note by note...not because it's necessary but as a kind of's different...

but's nothing really important....I really like to talk about robert johnson because he is one of my heroes :)


JD Krooks Crouhy
JD Krooks Crouhy Jan 26, 2013

Well, i wont try to sing this one ;)

Corey could you help me with the bass ? It seemed that you don't mute every time ? And you seems too play strongly not slapping but almost ? Am i wrong ?

I know you play with a lot of dynamic maybe it's the answer : Sometimes mute, sometimes no, then slap or not...

I really don't know where to mute. When i start blues i muted only on the saddle, know i'm more on the middle of the string but it's very muted (but i like it too) and i only slap the firts beat of the fifth measure..


Thanks for help Corey and for your lesson too !






daddyray (robbie)
daddyray (robbie) Jan 26, 2013

Alex.....people are making myths about Rj's tunings. All his stuff in there with the main blues tunings.I mean standard , Dropped D, open A/G and Open E/D.. Woody Mann and others have tabbed it out fairly nicely.



Bo Carter is the one that is really hard to figure out. that stuff is very tricky with the double drops etc. 

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 26, 2013

@Corey..Thanks for teachin us Kindhearted woman.It's the first time I hear you playin Robert Johnson except for that Sweet home Chicago with Keb Mo :))...As you already know, I like a lot Robert Johnson, the way he plays the guitar, the myth and his lyrics. He with Skip James are my favourite Delta Blues players....:))

I have a question for you and anybody else who can help me. There's a lot of speculation about the way he used to tune his guitar....Do you think he actually play this tune, (me and the devil too) in standard tuning or some kind of open g tuning as many claim...There's also a man called Gene Roebuck who sell a book where he claims to have found the right way RJ used to tune his guitar...he call it the Devil tuning. When I tried to study his tunes I've alway found extremely difficoult to find the bass standard tune seems to be really close to the original but it feels like something very little is missing....So I tried to switch in drop d tuning....

I'll upload a video as soon as possible. :))



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