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The Guitar Of Lightnin' Hopkins (2005)

Ernie Hawkins , Ernie Hawkins  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ernie Hawkins
  • Directors: Ernie Hawkins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Grossman Guitar Workshop
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002KPIGY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,339 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When you hear someone say "Texas Blues Guitar" you may immediately think of Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughn or maybe Freddie King. The invisible presence, buried deep in every one of their guitar riffs, is the true king of Texas blues, Lightnin' Hopkins. Lightnin', who knew Blind Lemon Jefferson as a child, is Jimmie Vaughn's favorite guitarist. Offered here are all the basics, many of the secrets and tricks of Lightnin's deeply accomplished, deceptively simple acoustic Texas boogie guitar style. This lesson features rare video footage of Lightnin from the 1950's and 1960's. Lightnin plays the tune and then Ernie analyzes it lick by lick. This video presents a wonderful opportunity to go the source of Texas blues and learn from the master who inspired generations of guitar heroes. Titles include: Pull A Party, Goin Down Slow, Shining Moon, Baby Please Don t Go and Take Me Back 93-min video / Level 2 / 32 page tab/music booklet

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely NOT for the beginner! March 3, 2006
Of the 40 odd 'How to Play Guitar' videos I own, this is my favorite and the one I go back to every month. I've worked with this video now for about four years and have been making real headway with it for about 18 months. I'm still a ways from improvising blues lines the way Lightnin' does. Like all of Ernie Hawkins' videos, this is not for someone who does not really play guitar. If you are an advanced jazz player, rock player or blues player you will likely get a lot out of this video quickly. I bought it shortly after I took up the instrument with the idea that this was the style I wanted to specialize in. It won't work like that. Lightnin' Hopkins was a very idiosyncratic player. He had a bag full of tricks, which he strung together in different recipes, which enabled him to create his own arrangement of most any song on the spot. He was also adept at playing what he called 'air songs,' songs that he could make up on the spur of the moment. His guitar style is much more formidable than it appears to the untrained guitar player. Lightnin' Hopkins might easily be seen as the father of Rock and Roll guitar playing. It's easy to hear that players like Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, and Scotty Moore owe a considerable debt to Lightnin' Hopkins' style which is what attracted me to this video in the first place. Apart from being a blues guitar virtuoso, Ernie Hawkins is the foremost guitar style imitator of all the blues giants. His two volume expose on Mance Lipscomb is the natural next step after mastering Lightnin' but I have to confess, I'm still working hard on Lightnin' and hope I advance enough to tackle Mance before the end of 2006. Read more ›
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Ernie Hawkins does a fantastic job of breaking down the style of Lightnin' Hopkins in a clear and concise style that makes it easy for a relative beginner to understand. I have purchased a few teach yourself books in the past and have had minimal success in picking up the material and didn't have time for lessons. Ernie's DVD puts the instructor right in front of you and walks you through Lightnin's trademark shuffle beats, turn arounds and runs and will have you playing it in no time. Ernie intuitively understands which parts may be more difficult and repeats the instruction as necessary helping you avoid the rewind button. The video quality is excellent and the split screen feature which allows you to see both fret hand and picking hand is invaluable. Also included are some excellent videos of Lightnin' playing the songs himself. I am a huge Lighnin' Hopkins fan and would love to see more of his songs broken down like this in DVD format. (Ernie, are you listening?) :)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By the-ian
If you're really serious about trying to learn Lightnin' Hopkins style of guitar, this is your video bible. 100% agree with the other review that this is in no way intended for anybody who could be considered a beginner; it actually humbled me a bit in that i found myself having to go back and learn more elementary things from other sources just to be able to keep up with the dvd. Uninformed listeners might hear Lightnin's music and think "he's recycling the same three riffs" but that's missing the entire subtle genius of it; it's almost always similar but it's never, ever the same. Ernie Hawkins does a fantastic job teaching this principle and teaches you many subtle variations so you can tweak the 5 songs you learn here to sound like other Lightnin' tunes pretty easily. You will likely have to develop your hand strength just to physically be able to do some of the bending and sliding that happens here, and forget everything you know about bass rhythm because Lightnin's thumb had a mind of its own. This will be hard, and this will be frustrating, but if you stick with it you'll learn a rich and rewarding style of Texas blues guitar that sounds great and is a blast to play.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pricey, but an Excellent Instructional Video August 24, 2011
By Fiskoni
Verified Purchase
It would not seem appropriate to spend too much time on Lightnin' Hopkins here. The review is really about Hawkins' teaching method, the recording, the materials, etc.

That said, If you're interested in getting into playing acoustic style blues, this DVD and Lightnin' more generally strike at the heart of that characteristic blues sound. If you listen to Lightnin's music, you'll find there's really a handful of basic forms that he draws from to write his music. As a result, this is a great video for someone who has a little bit of playing under their belt, knows root position chords, and maybe has a little experience fingerpicking (at least enough to know how to find the strings) but really wants to dive headfirst into a "blues" sound.

When I first got this video, I was turned onto it by a selection of it that was placed on YouTube -- with Hightnin's "Shinin' Moon." It's a good sampling (it's still there), and it gives you an idea of how Ernie Hawkins breaks these songs apart. He gets down to basic little quirks or moves that are characteristic Lightnin' signatures. He also doesn't belabor or unduly repeat technique/mechanically oriented material. That said, you should have your basics -- slides, vibrato, bends, hammer-ons, pull-offs -- down, because he's not going to give you much there by way of fundamentals. But he will walk you step by step through these songs, and it will give you insight on how to get some really gritty sounds out of your guitar.

I have hundreds of instructional videos to compare this to, and the recording quality is top notch. The format is -- (1) footage of Lightnin' performing the song, (2) Ernie breaking it down, and (3) slow split-screen walk through. The written materials help reinforce when you need to work on specific passages or just don't get something. If you're looking for a way to learn this sound, this video (though a little pricey) is a good selection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Instruction, But Is It Necessary?
Ernie Hawkins does a great job of instructing beginners in learning how to play Lightning style. No question about that. Read more
Published 9 months ago by reading man
5.0 out of 5 stars All content in these "Blues Guitar" sets is top notch and the...
All content in these "Blues Guitar" sets is top notch and the instruction is concise and well thought out. A++
Published 11 months ago by John Michaud
1.0 out of 5 stars no sheet music
this dvd is supposed to come with the music written out on paper and it did off! the last time i bought this same dvd it did.
Published 11 months ago by Shaair A H Hector
4.0 out of 5 stars great learning hopkins licks
hawkins goes over some of the stuff to fast....doesnt really clearly show you how and what notes to play on the fret board
but if your in the intermediate level of guitar you... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Christian Paley
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Lesson
Overall, this is a great lesson. Ernie Hawkins is a wonderful teacher. Everything is clearly demonstrated. Read more
Published 22 months ago by jas
5.0 out of 5 stars The Guitar Of Lightnin' Hopkins
Good guitar instruction, and great footage of Lightnin' actually playing the songs for live audiances. Read more
Published 24 months ago by jmatt
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
The DVD is Excellent but I can't say the same for the printed material.
The booklet is tiny, I need glasses to read it. Read more
Published on May 31, 2011 by James E. Pitts
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the better instructional dvd's i've seen
i haven't seen too many, however, of the ones i have, Ernie Hawkins does an excellent job of explaining how to play the guitar. Read more
Published on March 11, 2011 by John Donkersloot
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD but Only for the Advanced...
I absolutely love Lightnin' Hopkins. My grandfather could play many of his songs very well, and since my grandfather is no longer living, I bought this DVD to help me learn the... Read more
Published on February 8, 2011 by Amanda Spurlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Lightnin's Guitar
Really liked this DVD. Includes footage of Lightnin' in action with really well broken down explanations of some key songs. Tab included.
Published on January 24, 2010 by Mr. R. J. Burton
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