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David Bromberg’s ‘Magical Thumb’ Bass Lines on "I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning"

Hi all! It’s Shane Speal, Guitar World’s cigar box guitar-playing, crazy uncle in the attic. Next month, I will be performing at the first annual Susquehanna Folk Festival alongside acoustic guitar icons Rory Block and David Bromberg. (In case you missed it, Guitar World debuted Rory Block’s cover of Bessie Smith’s “Sugar in My Bowl” last week.)

In preparation for my performance, I have been obsessing over Block and Bromberg’s styles, dialing up as many YouTube videos as I can. In my search, I found this gem of Bromberg performing “I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning,” a David Blue cover that Bromberg originally recorded on his 1975 release, Midnight on the Water. This 2014 performance has the video camera close enough to showcase his mastery of left hand thumb bass lines.

Several awesome things happen in this video:

  • Notice how that thumb scales the neck alongside his fingers, keeping a fluid walking bass line going while the rest of his fingers pick out melody and chords.
  • See his face as the audience takes over the chorus at the 1 minute mark.
  • Bromberg stretches out the end of the song for an entire minute, weaving as many turnarounds and false endings in as possible.

You can find many David Bromberg videos and even lessons on YouTube. Check 'em out.

The Susquehanna Folk Festival is July 28 & 29 at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Lewisberry PA. See the full lineup and get tickets at www.JulyFolkFest.org.