The majority of blues solos I have heard makes use of the minor pentatonic as well as the blues scale. Occasionally The Major pentatonic is used...but this tends to give it a more southern rock/country sound. I have been listening to a local public radio station that plays alot of blues and I hear the players emphasizing the IV and V chord changes. The main lick I know to play over these changes is the opening lick SRV uses in Honey Bee. He also uses that lick in many of his solos including Im Cryin' and Scuttle Buttin to name a few. From my analysis, it is using notes from the minor pentatonic as well as notes from the chord changes, particularly the major third. I was wondering what other licks do ya'll play to emphasize these changes. Most blues transcriptions I have seen tend to stay in the box(position 1) of the minor pentatonic. The phrasing of the solo will emphasize the chord changes as well as playing the respective chord tones within that box position. However I would appreciate if someone could recommend me some blues that deviates from the typical box form as well as licks that emphasize the IV and V changes. Thank You!
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I like using licks like the opening riff of this which utilize a #2 (or a b3 depending on how you look at it) and a 3 right next to each other. I think it's a cool bluesy sound.

If you consider the respective minor pentatonics of the IV and V, that gives you some interesting note combinations.

For example, the minor pentatonic of the IV contains 4 b6 b7 1 b3, and the minor pentatonic of the V contains 5 b7 1 2 4.

I guess this essentially gives you the whole natural minor scale, but in a way it's a little different. You might use the natural 3 and the natural 6 over the I chord where you wouldn't necessarily over the IV or the V. The natural 6 might be useful over the IV (since it's a chord tone) though. Just mess around with different combinations of that. I also like doing the Hendrix thing where you strum a chord and then do hammer-ons and pull-offs on top of that. It can give you something to work off of.
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Last edited by food1010 at Aug 29, 2010,
Rather than using specific licks over the IV and V you may use arpeggios over the chords to imprpovise. Both chords are dominant chords so a 1-3-5-b7 arpeggio will suit over each one of the chords. Try to play a slow blues and play dominant arpeggios over every chord and whenever it changes to the next chord, change the arpeggio. Then you can mix that with a Major Blues Scale over the I and a Minor Blues Scale over the I. You need to listen a lot blues soloing and look at licks but analyze them so you can build up your own style.
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You can get outside of the box by learning the extended positions of the pentatonic scale, minor, and dorian scales all up and down the neck.

Try to emphasize the minor 3rd and the major 6th when you are playing over the IV chord, and the 2nd or 9th and 7th when you are playing the V chord.

Also make sure you aren't relying on other people's licks when you are practicing by yourself.you should always be expanding your playing vocabulary during practice time. I do recommend sticking with what you are comfortable with when you play live, so that's a good time to throw in your SRV licks.
Last edited by Four-Sticks at Aug 30, 2010,
Good ideas ^^^^

The b3 implies a b7 in the IV, implying a Dom7 tonality

The Maj 6 is the 3rd of the IV chord

The 2nd/9th is the 5th of the V, not the strongest tone; the Maj 7th is better because its the 3rd of the V. A 4th is good here also, implying b7 of the V chord


Last edited by Sean0913 at Aug 31, 2010,