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Thread: Lesson 101 - How to play "Black Sheep" (from the Deeper Blues Album : "Dig the Hole")

  1. #1

    Default Lesson 101 - How to play "Black Sheep" (from the Deeper Blues Album : "Dig the Hole")

    NOTE : The PDF Sheet Music was edited on 01/22/2013 if you downloaded it before this revision, please download again to make sure you have the most recent and correct version.

    Here is lesson 1 of what we hope will be a long range of monthly bass lessons.

    How to Play Black Sheep :

    Greetings and welcome to a new lesson series - Teach Me Blues Bass.

    I’m thrilled to work with Thunder Row and the fine folks at The Learning Dock, publishers of Roy Vogt's Teach Me Bass Guitar, to create this new lesson series and I hope you’re excited, too. (Read my review of TMBG here.)

    This first lesson is on my song Black Sheep, from my 2008 CD Dig the Hole, with my old band Deeper Blues.
    If you aren't familiar with the song, check out the first video below. Also, if you'd like to download an MP3 for easy reference/listening, you can get it on CD Baby and iTunes.

    Black Sheep original music video :

    Now that you're familiar with the song, skip to the bottom of the lesson to download and print the chart so you can refer to it as we move forward.

    Once that's completed, check out the lesson video below.
    Lesson Video

    Here are the main points to remember:
    1. Swing the Eighth Notes - Although the chart is written in straight eighth notes, they should be swung in a shuffle rhythm. This is a standard notation trick I learned from Jazz charts. It's just easier to read the notes this way. So, whenever you see eighth notes, remember to shuffle them.
    2. Watch for 2/4 Bars - While the main parts of the song are 12 bars each (verses, solos), the bridge is a ten bar phrase that ends with a bar of 2/4. This is not uncommon in Blues. Writers often used only as many bars (or beats in a bar) necessary to get their point across. Sometimes, adding the extra bars just to make it fit a certain count would leave a gaping hole in the lyrics. Therefore, many writers would just omit those extra bars. I've gotten a lot of mail asking for help on this, so take special note - it will help a LOT!
    3. Quarter Note Triplets - Those 2/4 bars I mentioned are comprised of a quarter note triplet. Simply put, this is three notes across two beats. Watch the lesson video to see what I mean.
    4. It's a Downtown Blues Shuffle - I learned the basic riff as under this name, although I'm sure there are others. (If you know it by a different name, leave a comment, OK?) I explain this in the lesson video, and show you the notes for the riff.
    5. Start With The Basics - Beginners may find it easier to first play the basic Downtown Shuffle straight throughout the song, ignoring the fills and turn-arounds. That way, you get a good, strong feel for the song, and for the basic riff on which it's based, before tackling the frills and fills that flesh out the bass part.
    6. The Flourishes - Watch the lesson video for explanation of the flourishes and fills that complete the bass line.
    7. Start Slowly - If you have difficulty staying on tempo, s l o w d o w n ! Make sure that you aren't playing a lot of mistakes, because if you do, you'll will actually teach yourself to play the song incorrectly. Instead, slow down enough that you can play the part accurately, then speed up a few beats at a time until you reach the correct tempo.
    After you have studied the chart and become familiar with it, watch the play-along video below to see how the part is played - at least by me!

    Play-along video

    Above all, have fun with this!

    Playing bass is fun, right?
    And learning should be fun as well. So enjoy the process, and remember to slow down if you need to. Speed will come, I promise you!
    If you have any questions or other comments, please leave them below and I'll do my best to answer all of them in a timely manner.

    Until next time, God Bless and...

    Keep Thumpin'!


    Black Sheep Chart PDF
    Download here

    Black Sheep Cart PDF (With TABS)
    Download Here

    Note: Lane did not completely check this version, he checked an older one and told me what to fix so I cannot guarantee that the tabs are 100% accurate but I'm sure Lane will inform me as soon as he has time to check the TABS.

    About Lane – Lane Baldwin is an internationally acclaimed bassist, singer and songwriter with over 40 years of touring and recording to his credit. Dig the Hole, his 2008 CD with Deeper Blues has been called some of the best new Blues in decades. Bass icon Johnny B. Gayden (Albert Collins, et al) calls Lane “one of the best bassists in the world of Blues today, and a gifted storyteller.” In 2013, he will release his first solo CD, The View From Here, a major leap forward in Lane’s career. The Blues veteran has been teaching the fine are of the groove for more than thirty years, and continues to do so on A close friend of Roy Vogt for twenty-five years, Lane was instrumental in the launch of Teach Me Bass Guitar. For more on Lane’s career, visit

    (C)Copyright 2013 Lane Baldwin
    Last edited by Patrick; 02-25-2013 at 04:23 AM. Reason: Updated Sheet Music
    Fender 2012 American Standard Precision Bass (Left-handed)
    Fender '59 Bassman LTD.

  2. #2


    This is a great resource. Thanks Lane, Patrick, and TMBG.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Alberta, Canada


    Eggselent stuff Lane!!!!

    Lookin' forward to this series.
    Steinberger NXT5 EUB, MTD 535 Fretless, Tobias Killer B6, 72 Fender Precision
    Eden WT500, WTX1000N & WP100, QSC PL230
    Eden D410XLT, D410XST, 215, Fender Bassman 10

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    The Peg
    Blog Entries


    Lane Thank You, I'm not ready for these lessons , but the album Dig the Hole is really good. So I bought it. Love the Blues.
    Last edited by T Bucket; 01-07-2013 at 02:00 PM.
    Boogie on

  5. #5


    Great stuff, Lane and Patrick! Love the blues! Love the tune! I'm going to play the fool out of this!

  6. Default

    Any chance we can get a tab version?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Elk Grove California


    Videos are not working for me?
    Nothing like a Great Bottom end!

  8. Default

    Great lesson! Excellent presentation and great tips. Thanks for Lane & Patrick for taking the time to put this together!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Lacombe, La.
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by bassischill View Post
    Any chance we can get a tab version?
    I was going to ask that question but I'm glad you asked it first!! Not that I would need it for sure but for some around here it might be

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by bassischill View Post
    Any chance we can get a tab version?
    Well Lane told me he is not a big fan of Sheet Music in general so I don't know how he feels about TABS but I'll shoot him a mail and ask about a TAB version.
    Fender 2012 American Standard Precision Bass (Left-handed)
    Fender '59 Bassman LTD.


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