Six String Fingerpicking Courses and Lessons

Deep River Blues Guitar Lesson

Doc Watson







E major

This is the full guitar lesson for Doc Watson’s version of Deep River Blues.

Deep River Blues was originally recorded in 1933 by The Delmore Brothers and was then titled ‘I’ve Got The Big River Blues’. Doc Watson really popularised the song with his version of it which can be found on his self-titled 1964 album.

Quite a tricky song to play at times but a great one nonetheless. The chords are pretty fast moving and there’s a lot of small nuances going on throughout the song.

I’d recommend watching a few covers of Deep River Blues before learning it yourself, that way you’ll really get a good feel for it and you’ll notice that pretty much everybody plays it slightly differently.

Let’s start learning this traditional country classic!

Learn To Play Deep River Blues


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In this first lesson we learn how to play the intro of Deep River Blues. I’d recommend learning the chord progression off by heart before having a go at all the fancy fingerpicking parts. The chord progression is 16 bars long and is repeated throughout the entire song.


As mentioned above, the chords for the verse are identical to the intro. With that in mind the verse is therefore very similar, just toned down a little and somewhat simplified. So do bear this in mind as you learn to play it and feel free to change certain parts if you desire.

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The Bridge

There’s just the bridge to learn now for Deep River Blues. Remember you can add or take away as much as you want to suit your playing here.

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