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Learn How to Play 'Mannish Boy' by Muddy Waters

This standard is a perfect way to get your blues fix. Learn how with Fender Play.

When you think of blues standards, one of the first that should come to mind is "Mannish Boy" by the great Muddy Waters.

The song was first recorded in 1955, but the timeless riff lived on in Waters' later song, "Hoochie Coochie Man," George Thorogood's hit, "Bad to the Bone" and many other blues songs.


Embedded content: https://youtu.be/VzRB7YcmAvo


The Rolling Stones, who actually took their name from Waters' single, "Rollin' Stone Blues," even loved "Mannish Boy" so much that they often covered it in their early days as a band and released it on the 1977 album Love You Live.

For Waters himself, "Mannish Boy" was a staple throughout his career. He included it on 1968's Electric Mud, 1977's Hard Again and 1979's Muddy "Mississippi" Waters – Live. Waters can also be seen performing it on the iconic 1978 film The Last Waltz, which documents the Band's farewell show at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom.

"Mannish Boy" might just be Waters' biggest hit. It reached No. 5 on Billboard's R&B chart upon its release and was later inducted into the Blues Hall of Fam "Classics of Blues" wing, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll." In addition, Rolling Stone included it in their compilation of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

Not too bad for a simple repetitive guitar line and a catchy set of lyrics that bordered on raunchy.

Luckily for those looking to learn at the venerable feet of Waters, the punchy and powerful progression is fairly simple to pick up with Fender Play.

In this lesson, instructor Scott Goldbaum runs through the A5 and D5 chords with one-fingered power chords, quick changes and position playing that will help you hone your technique and get you playing the blues in no time.

If you'd like to learn "Mannish Boy," check out the video above and click here for a free trial of Fender Play for even more skills and songs.