#1
I'm a relatively noobish guitarist, and lately I've come across a sudden love for the blues. Thing is, I don't get it at all. I mean, I've been playing for a while, and I've done my share of jamming to backing tracks with the blues and pentatonic scales, but I could never figure out exactly how to play like Clapton, the Allmans, BB King, and all those other guys.

I've been around my share of the internet as well, and I've discovered that there's a bunch of notes that aren't written in the blues scale, like some quarter tones and whatnot, but I still don't really understand the phrasing of blues.

I'm sure there's loads of blues players out there; can any of you share anything with me? Notes, licks, improv tips, I want'em all.


Also, I've seen a bunch of guys play rhythm for themselves, play a lead phrase, then go back to a rhythm part, then play lead again. Other than the typical twelvebar progression, what kind of chord progressions are commonly used in these situations?
#2
1) Be black
2) Have very horrible things happen to you
3) pick up a guitar
4) ???
5) Play blues
#3
Quote by SGen
1) Be black
2) Have very horrible things happen to you
3) pick up a guitar
4) ???
5) Play blues


I saw that coming.

Also, Eric Clapton questions your logic.
#4
Quote by Apples on Cacti
I saw that coming.

Also, Eric Clapton questions your logic.
Not really, he just copies from people who are black, and have had horrible things happen to them, then he picked up a guitar.
#6
"Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel." Hendrix

Just have fun is what I'm trying to say, just start off by listening to some classic 12 bar blues tracks, listen to some of the licks they play, copy what they do(not exactly, you want to add your own feel to it)

As for scales, pentatonic/blues is all you really need to begin with. When you get confident enough, start looking into harmonic major/minor scales. Basically the notes inbetween the pentatonic

Take this first solo for example, great phrasing and all that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPM6ni4bQzc

Oh and don't forget the bottleneck. eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMevQtK8S6c

I hope I helped.

Edit: And if you like the blues, you'll like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_udH4kZRDk
R.I.P Jon Lord, Rory Gallagher and Jimi!
Last edited by stef123 at Oct 17, 2011,
#7
Quote by stef123
Oh and don't forget the bottleneck
Indeed, one of the "horrible things" an aspiring blues player can have happen to him, (or her), is to have an acoustic guitar with action so high it's unplayable.....Then it's "bottleneck to the rescue".

Then you write a song about your miserable warped geetar. It helps to create your own vocabulary. A starting choice in this case might be, "unplayably high". It's even a double entendre.

"Oh lordy, I'm unplayably high"! (See)?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 17, 2011,
#8
Quote by Apples on Cacti
I've discovered that there's a bunch of notes that aren't written in the blues scale

Well it's a bit of a myth that only Jazz players follow the changes. To find notes not in the Blues scale, target chord tones.
but I still don't really understand the phrasing of blues.

There's lot's of different ways to phrase, but Q&A phrasing is a good place to start as this naturally develops your sense of leaving space.
#9
Quote by Captaincranky
Not really, he just copies from people who are black, and have had horrible things happen to them, then he picked up a guitar.


^^
#12
Quote by SGen
1) Be black
2) Have very horrible things happen to you
3) pick up a guitar
4) ???
5) Play blues


I'm going to have to sig this sir, my conscience tells me to do so.
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
#13
12 bar blues is always helpful but im pretty sure youve already took care of that end. look at different ways bands utilize it though. like how ACDC does. not all scales are genre specific
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#14
Well if you know the 12 bar blues you would know one progression already being the I IV V. I would look at some of your favourite blues artists and see what progressions they are using and try and come up with some of your own. Also there are plenty of blues dvd's/online lessons out there that cover all the other blues type progressions, I can't remember them all but there's quite a few to play with.

One of the most common types of phrasing in blues soloing is the call and response. Which looks like someone has already mentioned above. This is where you play a piece and give yourself some space and create a response. There are different ways of doing this just look at your favourite players and see where and when they give their playing some air.

Joe Bonamasssa in an interview I watched said he found he could do all these blues scales and play them really fast but still couldn't get the kind of blues style he wanted. It wasn't until he learn't to give his playing some breathing spaces. He mentioned just how much it helped and defined his playing a lot more. Anyways my 2 cents :-) hope this helps.
Last edited by ibanart300 at Oct 17, 2011,
#16
Of course Clapton copied stuff from black blues players. Stevie-Ray Vaughan also copied stuff form black blues players. Those black blues players copied licks form other black blues players. That's what happens when you only have 6 notes in the blues scale! They've all been used before somewhere, at sometime by somebody else.

That is missing the point though. Blues isn't about originality, it's about emotion. The blues wouldn't be the blues without it's cliches. What blues lovers want to hear more than anything is honesty. So when Clapton sung Have You Ever Loved a Woman, of course it became one of his big hits, as it was about his tangled, unrequieted love for Pattie Boyd, who was then married to George Harrision. That the solo is blues licks done a thousand times before is neither here nor there. It's the truthfulness of it that shines through.

That's also why improvisation is such a big deal in blues, because it allows for free expression of emotions that would be hard to express verbally.

To play blues licks is easy, to play the blues is terribly hard.
#18
Learn the Blues Scale.
The Pentatonic will give you a more rock and rollish oriented sound.
Last edited by Slashiepie at Oct 18, 2011,
#19
Im going to follow mdc and suggest looking into the chord tone approach as applied to blues. This is where you'll start to find that blues is often actually not particularly dependent on pentatonics or the blues scale. And there can actually be quite a lot of chromaticism in it - which one of my recent lessons here was about.

With the chords of a simple, barebones 12 bar format, you're actually playing in a major key with some chromaticism. For precisely this reason, if we were playing a 12 bar in E, the first thing that comes to my ear is not an E minor pentatonic scale, but the notes of the key (E major) functioning as or otherwise dancing around target notes from the chords, being altered chromatically as necessary, and lots of little cliches that aren't scalar at all.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with an E minor pentatonic scale, but you're limiting the possibilities of your blues playing drastically by just thinking of the whole 12 bar format as something to play a single pentatonic scale over.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Oct 18, 2011,
#20
Whenever you play blues make certain you close your eyes and make guitar faces on each bend and vibrato.

Only then will you be a true blues player
#21
I can't remember, but I think it was Peter Green who said that he "hates the idea of licks, but rather you should think in phrases. That way you'll be making musical sense."

And he's a great blues player.
#22
Quote by mdc
I can't remember, but I think it was Peter Green who said that he "hates the idea of licks, but rather you should think in phrases. That way you'll be making musical sense."

And he's a great blues player.



haha, that's an easy step. I've been too lazy to learn licks xD.
#23
Quote by deano_l
Those black blues players copied licks form other black blues players. That's what happens when you only have 6 notes in the blues scale! They've all been used before somewhere, at sometime by somebody else.

That's also why improvisation is such a big deal in blues, because it allows for free expression of emotions that would be hard to express verbally.

To play blues licks is easy, to play the blues is terribly hard.


Yeah, I've actually tried to avoid "copying" things that I've heard, but sometimes they end up sounding similar to something I've heard before. :P

And yeah, that point on improvisation, that's the whole reason that explains my new love for the blues.
#24
Quote by deano_l
Of course Clapton copied stuff from black blues players. Stevie-Ray Vaughan also copied stuff form black blues players. Those black blues players copied licks form other black blues players. That's what happens when you only have 6 notes in the blues scale! They've all been used before somewhere, at sometime by somebody else.

Yeah. Must be a black thing.
Quote by Apples on Cacti
haha, that's an easy step. I've been too lazy to learn licks xD.

Well that's all good then.