The Joy of Playing Blues Guitar
I love muy blues. 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.
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
I believe that there is more than a secret in blues guitar playing; there is a realm of delicate harmonic tension balance that we must caress to keep the magic flowing.
Blues is like a cloud of sound that floats on top of our chords. Blues comes alive when we create the contrast between the blues sound and the harmony of our tune.
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 a major blues in G.
Note: I assume you are aware of the blues progressions and the blues scale.
Have you ever felt that when you move away from the G chord, you need to play something else that you cannot find?
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 G chord, 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
If you are loosing the G blues sound, when you play the C chord, then only play the root and add more G blues sound to your playing. In the same manner, when you play the D chord, avoid playing the full chord and add more blues sound to it. ( the G Blues )
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 styes 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 C , 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 to learn ?
In terms of knowledge, in your blues guitar lessons, you will learn how to define the rhythm guitar or the lead solo guitar, in various keys, 8 or 12 bar progressions, and styles.
You will also learn, in your blues guitar lessons, 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 only 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. You need a good sense of rhythm , melody and harmony to enjoy the beauty of blues.
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 Style Blues Son House, Muddy Waters, and and John Lee Hooker Styles
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
Students love 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.
Music requires discipline in our learning. All my guitar courses are based on structured learning. There fore, in order to complete the guitar courses, to your own satisfaction, please allocate 20 minutes every day, during 10 weeks, for all your guitar exercises.
All guitar courses, that develop the basic level of learning, require that the student commits to a daily practice routine so as to keep up with the rest of the group courses,
Groups also get together outside class hours ,to help each other in their musical adventure and to prepare for the concerts.
I hope to see you at one of our next Guitar Concerts . Sign up to get the latest news on all our events , courses and my specialized Melbourne Concerts.