....where to begin....

I started off just learning what a 12 bar progression looked like, then I learned the blues scale, then I learned how to play other scales on the 12 bar. Dorian, IMO, sounds sweet with it. I digress, though, while showing my musical ignorance haha.
1. practice blues scale to a backing track, usualy easiest around Am-Bm (i love slowly moving down around the 12th and hangin out for a bit).
2. start remembering root and sweet spots for moving around the scale
3. steal all your favorite blues guitarists licks, youtube tutorial licks and licks of your own that you felt sounded funky. blues is all about the lick bag of tricks once u feel comfy with moving around the scale.
4. start adding more double stops and cheat bluesy chords in between your runs

... i found this addictive and a fun way to relax into my own style
Last edited by SidKain at Mar 17, 2013,
I was in the same situation as you man. I was playing metal/punk for 3 solid years until I heard blues that I connected too. It hard at first to switch from sweeping, tapping, and speed picking type shit to slow, or moderately fast, blues. The best way to learn how to improvise is PRACTICE that 5 note pentatonic scale (w/ the blues note) until you know it inside and out. Your playing will sound like shit for a few months, but stick with it man and it will improve. Its all about the feel like Hendrix said, "Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel."
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I guess you should head straight for Matt Thorpe's blues jam solo. Watch and listen to it in slow motion / transcribe it and keep on practicing it as if it was a recital piece.

When I was still a beginner, I still remember my guitar teacher and he gave me Van Halen's Eruption as a first solo right away. My fingers were still stiff at that time and I was a bit "shocked" but I guess he was right.
Get a blues tone with mild distortion, plenty of compression
Then play the minor pentatonic scale with the added blues note "flat 5th"
Then add plenty sad emotion
Blues is about playing what you feel inside of you. So play what you feel, ie play what you hear. If you hear sweeping and play that... Well... I think then you play what you feel and that's blues.

But really, blues isn't about speed. Play slowly and use bends. On the other hand there's no right or wrong way to play the blues.

What bothers me on that video is that he doesn't have any breaks. His phrases are too long. And I feel that it starts repeating itself a bit. Have breaks in your playing, it adds the "meaning" to your solo. And also use different rhythms. Seems like the guy in the video almost only uses triplets. It wasn't a bad video but the playing could have had a bit more variety. I liked the first two minutes or so but then it kind of started repeating itself. He used exactly the same note choices almost all the time and the same rhythms. By no means a bad solo but could be better.

So if you want to learn to play like the guy on the video, you could really do it better. Have shorter phrases and have a bit longer breaks between the phrases, use variety of rhythms and techniques. Sometimes play slowly, long notes are cool and have a lot of "emotion" if you use bend and vibrato. The problem with guitar is that your phrases might get too long without even noticing it because you don't have to breathe in between the phrases. On wind instruments you need to breathe and it automatically shortens the phrases. As I said, too long phrases make it sound like it doesn't have any meaning. It kind of sounds like you are just wanking.
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Take his lead.

Transcribe it.

Superimpose each lick over the chord that is in the progression...leave the chord static, don't change it.

Analyze it. Knowing chord thory and the function of intervals, is a handy skill set at this stage.

For example, I'd focus on the notes that stand out and then figure out WHY they stood out. Where did they resolve to? Do they add tension or release? What deviated from my stock "blues scale" in the lick? Ok, now WHY did it sound cool?

For example, he might have played a 9th. Great. Do YOU know why he'd play the 9th? Did it add tension or feel "right"?

I can tell you that this isn't haphazard playing. He's experienced, intuitive and very aware of the notes that bring the results he wants over chords. He's not playing and then listening to what he played to discover its weight. He knows what he's going to sound like. Lots of exposure to blues music and lick vocabulary along with a deft ear to put it all together. In my opinion, its a bit cliche'y and guitar licky, and the tone is self indulgent.

It's going to take you time. Knowing theory and having analytical skill sets, will teach you why things work. Knowledge is power.


Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 17, 2013,

How can i achieve this level of improvisation? where should i start looking?

I've been playing for bout 4 years, mostly metal and stuff but i have gotten to a point where i want to play more of this kind of music and i would like to now how

Stick to metal. You know you want to...
Start off simple. Listen to albert king, freddie king and bb. king. Buy a book on amazon on the blues. Learn the licks by transcribing or by the book. Learn the scale inside and out. Stick to one key though. Piece it all together and play by "feel". You will sound bad and repetitive at first, but after a few months you will start learning how to "speak" the blues - i.e. knowing what works and what doesn't work. You really got to use your ears and singing with the guitar at some point instead of running over the patterns with your fingers. That slowly comes with time.