I've read a bit about the call-and-response approach to Blues guitar soloing. There was a UG article that recommended playing a short lick, letting it hang on a tense note and to reply to it with another lick.

Could someone give an example/s please of what might be termed:

-- a "call" lick
-- what is meant by ending on a "tense note"
-- a "reply" lick

I'm mostly conversant with the A minor Pentatonic Blues scale... Many thanks.
Last edited by geetarmanic at May 26, 2008,
Call and response is best described as a conversation. In the case of Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters, Muddy's singing is making a statement this is the call, and then there's a guitar lick or riff in reply, this is the response.

A lick is a riff, usually improvised. So for example, you might say "On Black Magic Woman, Peter Green plays some sweet licks." Which would be true!

I've actually never heard of the term tense note, but I'm guessing it's a note that you really emphasise! Usually a bend I suppose?

I think the way to explain this tense note thing would be to play the riff in Mannish Boy or Hoochie Coochie Man, and then play a lick (in the E Minor Pentatonic found here - http://www.freeguitarvideos.com/LJ_R1/LJ10c.html) for one round of call and response (we'll call it CnR for short ) with the lick ending on the 14th fret of the G string being bent up to the 16th fret, then a call of

E|0-5-0-3-0 (just an easy example) -----if you wanna do this in A, just capo the 5th fret and move it all up 5 frets. Or of course, play it on the A string.

Then a response again from that bend with a lick leading to the root note.

The CnR is a very simple way to write a blues song, and done effectively it is great. It's one of the best ways of telling a story, used to great effect by Muddy Waters, unlike his friend and rival Howlin' Wolf who's songs (even though both's music was mainly written by Willie Dixon) were usually based around a more complicated lead riff rather than the droning riffs of Muddy Waters' numbers.

I hope it makes sense. Excuse any mistake.

Last edited by ze monsta at May 28, 2008,
Call and Response isn't limited to blues.

John S. By Sonny Rollins is a good example of the technique used in Jazz.

Essentially, it is self explanatory. A musical statement is made, and it is answered. It can either be in a solo context or an ensemble context. John Lee Hooker is a prime example of this. In his song It Serves Me Right To Suffer, after every spoken line, he put a nice little lick at the end.

Oh, and a lick is an individual musical phrase, while a riff is a lick repeated over several measures, usually for the duration of the song. A hook, if you will. For example, the riff in Howlin Wolf's song Smokestack Lightning. It's one simple riff based off of 4 notes, played for the whole duration of the song.

Other than that, gus answered pretty well.