by Davy Graham
“It was played on an unaccompanied acoustic guitar, but it sounded like an orchestra: a blues bass and a folk melody merged to suggest an eastern raga. It had an ancient quality.” This is Will Hodgkinson describing Anji in his book Guitar Man, a book in which Davy (sometimes spelled Davey) Graham’s tune and the legend and lore surrounding it feature heavily. There are many different versions of this piece, but my version is based on the Davy Graham recording below. I don’t claim to be able to play it as well as Graham does, but I hope I do the tune some kind of justice, and I hope you’ll be inspired to have a go at playing it yourself. Also notable are Bert Jansch and Paul Simon’s takes on the tune. Both are well worth checking out, but are quite different from Graham’s original.
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It is by no means an easy tune to play, but it’s certainly not as forbiddingly challenging as its reputation would bring you to believe. Like with anything else start slowly while you’re getting the coordination and technique down and the speed will come with time. Hold down chord shapes and let notes ring together where possible. And focus on keeping a solid, steady bass line going with your thumb, as this is what holds the whole thing together.