Blues Guitar Lessons: Course content summary
- Blues soloing
- Improvising and creating melodies
- Improvising and thinking rhythmically
- Minor blues
- Creating melodic variations
- Solo length and creating climax
- Playing chord tones
- Chord scale soloing
- Chromatic approach shapes that help define chordal movement
The blues sound is a major influence in contemporary styles of music. This sound is defined both by chord progressions and by specific scales. These chords and scales can be taken out of a blues context and incorporated into other styles of music in order to add the blues touch we might require. In my blues guitar lessons, students will learn to understand what makes the blues sound, how to create blues melodies and how to play chords in a very unique and special manner that only blues players master.
The joy of playing blues guitar
I love my blues and I adore playing blues on the guitar, as the feel it produces, will make my day.
When I started playing blues, my guitar teachers introduced me directly to contemporary blues, with a lot of chord changes, and did not focus on the origin of the blues.
Therefore, due to my thirst for the true feel, I started listening to the classics as Muddy Waters, and asked myself how these original artists were able to achieve such clarity in the blues feel.
This way of approaching melody and chords has inspired and laid foundation for most contemporary music. In Level 2, all Creative Guitar students start mastering the beauty of blues and the joy it produces, as part of our daily playing. Blues guitar lessons are incorporated in level 2, 3 and 4 courses.
The secret of blues
The blues sound is a non diatonic cloud of sound that we force over a group chords. In simple terms we make major chords sound minor and the more we move away from the tonal centre the more we have to define the blues to keep the sound present.
The first step we must take, to feel this sound cloud, is to understand what key we are in, or the tonal center of our song. The first chord of our blues will define our tonal center. If our first chord is a G, then we can assume that we are playing blues in G.
Note: I assume you are aware of the blues progressions and the blues scale.
Have you ever felt that the blues cloud, the blues feel, disappears as you play other chords?
If you do not have this feeling, then I must assume you are playing the blues correctly. However, if you do, then consider that the more you move away from the tonal center, the more you will need to play the blues sound, and the less you will need to play the other chords completely.
How do we keep the feel
Let’s assume you are playing a blues in G , and you lose the G blues sound when you play the C chord. In order to keep the bluesy sound do not play the C chord, nor define it, play only its root and add a lot of G blues sound to your playing and then, you will hear the blues sound come back to life. In the same manner, when you play the D chord, avoid playing the full chord and add more blues sound to it.
In all blues styles, you will hear that the magic occurs when we contrast the sound of the chord with the tonal center blues scale.
At the Creative Guitar School, in your blues guitar lessons, I will guide you through the different blues styles and how the relationship of harmony- melody and blues scales, interact to achieve the desired sound.
Can I play the blues sound over any chord progression?
Yes. For example; if your song is in , you can play the C blues scale over any chord, and if done right, it will work.
As I mentioned, blues does form part of most contemporary music, we enjoy in our daily lives. In your guitar lessons, I would strongly suggest learning more of this style, as it will give you a natural advantage in achieving a unique sound in your playing. Blues is a colour that creates a special contrast, that can add harmonic and melodic richness to your playing.
What will you learn?
In terms of knowledge, in your blues guitar lessons, you will learn how to define the rhythm guitar or the lead guitar, in various keys, 8 or 12 bar progressions, and styles.
- You will also learn where to find the notes that sound blues all over the guitar neck; in various keys. And, how to play a solo that creates contrast between the chords and the blues.
- You will learn to create phrases, based upon logical melodic questions and answers; call and response.
- You will learn to talk with authentic blues phrases; by acquiring vocabulary used by the classics.
- You will learn the major pentatonic scales of all chords, the mixolydian scale, major- minor arpeggios, and all harmonic- melodic tensions available.
In summary, a whole set of musical tools to tap into , to give you unlimited resources for all your creative needs.
Your ideas will not stop popping up, and soon you will be able to find them and play them on the guitar.
As a professional session guitarist, I also heavily rely on these skills, so to be able to develop diversity and quickly tap into the different musical genres I am asked to play on .
I do not recommend, a beginner guitarist, should start off with blues guitar lessons. All guitar students need to have developed a sense of rhythm, harmony, melody and technique, before immersing themselves in this beautiful language.
That is why, at the Creative Guitar School, students must complete level one of their learning, before moving into this style. Because, you need a good sense of rhyth , melody and harmony to enjoy the beauty of blues.
B. B. King The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.
More on how to improvise over the blues
We will approach basic improvisation by applying to the twelve bar blues riffs that we will memorize and transcribe from master blues players. We will also create our own riffs and melodies.
You will specifically learn:
- to vary riffs both rhythmically and melodically.
- how to structure solos in relation to the form of the blues and to create tension and release.
- to create solos with chordal tones.
- how to combine chordal sounds with pentatonic major and minor sounds.
We will have a lot of fun.
These are some of my favourite blues players I listen to. The list will take you through a variety of styles in this musical language.
- Magic Sam
- Muddy Waters,
- John Lee Hooker St
- Elizabeth Cotton,
- Tampa Red
- Robert Johnson
- Blind Blake
- Big Bill Broonzy
- Eric Clapton
- Taj Mahal
- Corey Harris
- Mississippi Fred McDowell
- Lightnin Hopkins
- Tommy Johnson
- Tampa Red
- Blind Lemon Jefferson
- BB King.
Play at our School concert
Get ready to perform at our frequent concerts. I also enjoy to see how students work together, play together, and develop their musical expertise socially. It is fun, engaging and above all very satisfying.
Practice and practice
Music requires discipline in our learning. All my guitar courses are based on structured learning. Therefore, in order to complete the guitar courses, to your own satisfaction, please allocate 20 minutes every day, during the 10 weeks, for all your guitar exercises.
Get together with your group
I strongly encourage all groups to get together outside of class hours, to help each other in their musical adventure and to prepare for the concerts.