The Blues Guitar Handbook: A Complete Course in Techniques & Styles by Adam St. James is the latest entry in Backbeat's bestselling handbook series.
It starts by exploring the humble beginnings of blues guitar through the early decades of the 20th century, including profiles of such players as Robert Johnson, Charley Patton and Son House. As the story moves into the '40s and '50s, and blues players migrate to major urban centers, St. James follows the evolution of the music at the hands of such electric blues kingpins as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King.
Then it's the blues-rockers of the '60s, '70s, and '80s (including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan) before the story comes up to date, with blues flame-keepers such as Keb Mo' or Duke Robillard, and some not-quite-traditionalists, such as Robben Ford or Derek Trucks.
A comprehensive section for mastering electric and acoustic blues follows this historic overview. Starting from the very basics, it leads you into more advanced rhythm and lead techniques before examining four key styles: acoustic blues, classic electric blues, blues rock and jazz blues.
The many exercises in the book are supported by specially recorded audio tracks on the accompanying CD.