The Grey Area

A very special gift for three men with a gift for the blues. Don’t panic. It’ll be fun. NB: try and use a guitar with strings on, unlike the geezer in the picture.

Pete Madsen, a blues guitar player and teacher who lives in California, has sold me three hour-long zoom sessions in the rudiments of slide guitar for three of my best men to enjoy together. Pete is an excellent player and teacher and very nice guy. We worked on a book together and have kept in touch.


You will need to speak to each other to arrange a suitable time for the sessions. Pete is on Pacific Time, and has agreed that he will teach you in the morning so that you can learn in the early evening. They are eight hours behind us, currently.

Here is Pete’s email:

Here is his phone number, although I haven’t tried that for a while: 001 (510) 708-8874

Here’s his teaching website:

Here’s his website as an artist:

You will need to liaise, you will need each other’s contact details. I have them. I’ll send them by email, which the cyber expert Ed had erroneously declared more secure than putting them on this site. Presumably he’s never asked how ‘free’ email works. lol.


I’ve no idea exactly what Pete is going to do with you, but I suspect he will start off teaching you his Ry Cooder pastiche, The Pass.

You can use electric or acoustic guitars. Use the bottleneck slides I have given you. Wrap some rag or tape around your fingers to make them fit snugly.

To play the tune you will need to tune your guitars to Open D. There are plenty of tutorials online to show you how to do that.

This is him playing it:

And here’s the sheet music as an illustration and a downloadable PDF. That won’t work on a phone or tablet.

You might also want to have a go at retuning to Open G in case you move on to that in session 2, but you can talk to him about that.


Here’s a zip file to download if you want. It includes all the words and audio for a complete course in Slide Guitar that I did with Pete some years ago. It doesn’t include the page layouts and illustrations because they are in a file format I can no longer access. But you can read about it and listen to the music.