Corey Harris

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Catfish Blues

Lesson 4

Corey Harris Lesson >

Catfish Blues > Lesson 4

Here we will work on more licks to flesh out the tune.  I do a final run-through of the song to help you fill in anything that you might be missing.  Please leave any comments or questions so I will know your progress.  Thanks.

Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Delta Blues

Print Print Chords & Tab

loop @ 1:50 to practice the first riff

$3./4 $2.0 h3 $1.0 3 $2./5 | 3 $3.\2^
$3./4 $2.3 $3./4 $2.3 $3.4 \2 | $3./4 $2.3 $3.\2 0 $4.2 0h2p0h2 |
$3./4 $2.3 3 $3./4 $2.3 3 $3./4 $2.3 $3.4 \2 0 $4.2 | $3.1p0h1
$3./4 $2.3h5.$1.0 $2. 3h5.$1.0 $2. 3h5.$1.0 $2. 3h5.$1.0 $2. 3.$1.0 $3.4 /2 0 $4.2 | $3.1p0h1 $6.0.$5.2.$4.2.$3.1.$2.3.$1.0 / / |

loop @ 2:46 to practice the next riff

$6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $3.7.$2.5.$1.7 $6.0.$3.7.$2.5.$1.7 | $6.0.$2.8^.$1.0 $6.0.$2.8^.$1.0 $6.0.$2.8^.$1.0 $6.0.$2.8^.$1.0 $6.0.$2.\3.$1.0 |

loop @ 7:27 to practice the ending riff

$6.0.$5.2.$4.2.$3.1.$2.3.$1.0 / / / | / / / / | $2.0 2 0 $6.0.$5.2.$4.2.$3.1.$2.3.$1.0 |

loop @ 8:57 to practice with the final run through


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William DeRaymond
William DeRaymond Jan 10, 2016

Always great (and a learning experience) to see you perform this one!

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 11, 2016

Thank you.  We look forward to seeing you post a video one day!

James Jun 24, 2015

Hi Corey

Greetings from Down Under

I have been sitting here for hours with tune , once you start to surf this groove, it's like when do you stop! You just don't want to stop that's the problem. Riffs suddenly appear spontaneously like out of some quantum blues space somewhere!   I think before this lesson you need to put a warning" Danger this Groove is Addictive" and should be played with moderation! (or player should be supervised by a resposible adult at all times)

Its such a privelege to be able to sit here with you  (in virtual harmony) and just jam, experiment with the licks all over the fretboard.

Can't wait to check out the other lessons. Iv'e been right into Big Bill lately and absolutely love "Saturday Night Rub" completely different blues/rag groove but totally exhilerating once you get it happening. I'm also learnning 'Long Tall Mama" which is an opus!


Thanks Again






Jamie J
Jamie J Oct 31, 2014

Hey Corey,

I did some work on Catfish blues and I think I am ready for some feedback. Let me know what you think and I will be happy to hear it!

Thanks for your great lessons,   


Corey Harris
Corey Harris Nov 11, 2014

Greetings Jamie -- You have a good grasp of the riffs and where to place them.  Good job.  You have also applied the different techniques well, such as brushing the strings.  I would suggest that you move your right wrist much less because it is not necessary to pick your hand up so far off of the guitar.  Think about playing economically...that wrist motion is like wasted energy that you could use in other ways while playing.  Of course, sometimes we can hit the guitar a little to make a rhythm on it, but it should not be a habit...just reserved for certain songs where it is most effective.  Finally I am glad that you are not afraid to sing...many are.  Make sure you work on your singing as much as your guitar playing.  Take the time to find your voice (even if it takes years, be patient) and never stop looking to change and fine-tune it.  We are all a work in progress....  Thanks for posting and keep it up.

Jamie J
Jamie J Nov 11, 2014

Thanks Corey. Great feedback as usual! 

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 16, 2014

@ Tom M...It sounds like you have the basic riff down well.  I would suggest that you pay closer attention to the noise coming from the other strings and try to dampen or minimize that.  If you use your palm/heel of your hand/wrist while you play, using it to dampen the strings as needed that might help.  Also i think you should try using a little lighter touch, brushing the strings.  When you play the full E chord before the stop, make sure that you are brushing the strings here also and when you choke or stop use your whole hand and choke the sound on the rhythm all at once (if that makes sense).  As for loosing yourself fiddling around...just practice not doing that!  That is, develop discipline by playing the same thing in time over and over again and see how long you can go without making any changes or fiddling around.  After awhile I think you will see an improvement.  Thanks for posting the video and keep playing. 

Tom M.
Tom M. Jul 07, 2014

Hello mr Harris,

This is my first real lesson video. Allthough it seems simple I find it very difficult to stick to the main groove and not loose myself in fiddling around. Looking forward to your feedback.

Thank you





Kurtis Jan 04, 2014

Well, I don't play guitar. But I've tried to learn this song on uke by watching your videos. I can't do some

of the low riffs on the uke.  What do you think?


Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 16, 2014

@ Kurtis...thanks for posting this video.  Nice to see the ukelele here.  You have worked the tune out well to fit the uke and your tempo and rhythm is pretty solid.  I would suggest only that you work on your singing to go along with what you are playing.  It might be interesting to for you to play with a guitarist.  I like the sound of uke and guitar together.  Good luck!

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 29, 2013 you know I like to use my right palm in combination with my left hand to mute and dampen the strings....

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jul 29, 2013

@Alex...nice tone as always.  I would only say that when you are playing pay attention to ringing strings.  You don't want them ringing out too much because that takes away from the beat.

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jul 23, 2013

Corey...I reviewed this tune after a long time....even nice to go back and see the improvementes we all made here


Brian Kinder
Brian Kinder Mar 26, 2013

Hi Corey, you are a genius and I really enjoy your videos.  They are more valuable than you may even realize.  Great to be in 2013 and having the blues be so alive.  I went ahead and practiced the Catfish Blues and tried my own rendition to share with you.  My vocals are no where what yours are and I might have taken your structure and added my own stamp to it a little.  I just stretched a bit in my own way too.


So please listen and let me know how I am doing my friend of the blues!


skip mathews
skip mathews Dec 07, 2012

Corey, great video!

First post from the new guy :)

You've got some great stuff going on here!

I really like Catfish Blues! I think I can pick it up, lots of good teaching, lots of details.

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Mar 19, 2012

@Corey...could you take a look at this? :)))

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 16, 2012

@Forrest...don't forget to post a video so we can see how you're doing.



Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 14, 2012


Hy Mike,

Yes, It would be great if you could upload also something with your acoustic guitar!!! and It's great too to have blues mates...well this is the spirit of sonic junction, isn't it? :))

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 14, 2012

@Corey...Hy corey, thanks again for the feedback. As I was sayin to Mike I still don't feel very comfortable and I have to work a lot with the touch but it's a matter of time, isn't it?...for that second part...My idea was to find a kind of mix between your version and muddy waters version so that I could have as a result something that I can feel more personal instead of totally coverin what others has already done..your version is great, and I love it more when you play it 1 step down, but it's yours...I would like to find a way to put that second part coherently with the rest of the breakin' it and come into it again...A kinf of non sense which have a sense!!I don't know if I explained well myself...

I wish I could sing in Italian!!!You're totally right for many reason..One of this is also that people here could understand more what I want to say!!...I've posted some questions about it in another section of the forum and the problem is that here in Italy nobady, in my opinion and others too, still have had some good results doin blues in seems that the melody and our language doesn't fit well together while in reggae you can listen really good italian reggae..i wonder if you could help me doing this...I think it's a problem of finding the key!!!

Take a look at this...this great musician is Fabrizio De Andre. he's maybe the greatest songwriter we had...His lyrics were so deep and he was able to write song...take a look what he does with the blues...In italian it doesn't sound well

Corey Harris
Corey Harris Jan 13, 2012 are doing it.  You play very well here.  Only thing I would say is the middle section where you speed up takes away from the song.  I suggest taking that part out and creating a whole new song out of it.  And I think you should sing in Italian!

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Jan 13, 2012

@Alessandro .. yes, Corey's touch is great .. I want to try and pick up those dynamics over time as that is what makes the music emotionally strong.  I have an acoustic .. I will post with it next time.  Great to have a blues mates!

Alex Barbera
Alex Barbera Jan 12, 2012

Hy Mike and Bruno...thank you so much for your kind words!!! You're too generous,my blues mates!!! To be honest I've been working on this tune (corey's version) for some months but I can truly say that, thanks to Corey's lessons, only now I can see some kind of results...I've so much road to walk to get to the Jordan ;)))...when I play  I still don't feel comfortable, the touch with the string is really basic....You look at Corey, he touches the strings and make that vibrato sound which for me is honestly impossible at the moment...Also the pronunciation is really italian :DDD...Well I come from Sardinia, a beautifull island in the center of the mediterranean sea, and we like to have low profile....Mike, do you have an acoustic guitar? :))

bruno Jan 12, 2012

@alessandro: sounds awesome!

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Jan 12, 2012

Hey Alessandro .. AWESOME !!  

You got the groove, lead lines and singing together.  I'm still working on getting the groove and licks to flow.  Very cool to see how far you've gotten ... it makes me want to play and practice more.  I like the ragtime licks you threw in!

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