Play Guitar Blues 01
Suggestions: Use the A Blues Scale. Below is the tab for the A blues scale starting at the 5th position. '5th position' simply means your index finger is at your 5th fret. We are starting on the Root note, the A, and playing 2 octaves of the blues scale as well as adding the flat third or b3 when we play the 8th fret on the high E or 1st string. This is the most common patter for the blues scale.
The A Blues Scale, 5th position.
You'll soon discover as I put up blues scales in more keys that we are using the same patterns just in different positions on the guitar neck. You really don't need to learn a lot of theory or scales to be able to play reasonably well. If you focus on learning the basic patterns you'll find you will be able to play along with a lot of music in a relatively short space of time.
Blues Licks for Slow Blues in A
Here are 4 simple blues licks that use only the notes from the A Blues Scale shown above. Try playing each lick over the entire progression. Notice that when you play the same notes over the different chords the licks sound very different. You can work out different rhythms to play for each lick and vary the notes used to make up your own blues licks.
That's what improvising is all about. Listening to others to get ideas, listening to the music you can sing in your head, emulating those ideas and sounds and then just playing around with them to come up with your own ideas. This is how you build your own sound. It's not a hard process to go through, you just need to spend time on it and be patient. Don't try and rush to get to the next level. Play, play more and play some more. Getting good will happen with practice. If you need to keep your hands on the neck getting good will take care of itself.
...nuff said, it's time to jam!
Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan In Session - Matchbox Blues
02 A Shuffle mp3 wma
03 E Straight mp3 wma
04 Eb Slow Blues (E if you play guitar and tune down 1/2 a step) mp3 wma
05 Ab Shuffle (A if you play gutar and tune down 1/2 a step) mp3 wma
06 G Medium Blues mp3 wma
07 E Fast Shuffle mp3 wma
08 A Medium Blues Shuffle mp3 wma
A Medium Blues Shuffle Guitar Tab
Below is the guitar tab for the rhythm guitar that is playing for Medium Blues Shuffle. It's fairly straight forward, 2 note chords that shuffle using the Root + 5, Root + 6 and Root + b7 chords.
At the end of each mini-section I'm playing open strings very lightly. I've put specific strings that I'm playing but the fact is I'm just lifting my left hand off the fretboard so it can move to the next chord. While my left hand off the fretboard I'm lightly playing any of the open strings I happen to hit, or brush past, with my pick or fingers. It's more for the rhythmic effect than the notes.
The notes that are being played don't make sense at all - in theory. But in the context of the music it fits a lot better than having a break as I change positions.
This technique keeps the pulse and groove going. I learnt it from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lightnin' Hopkins. They were absolute masters of it but everyone uses is. Lightnin' Hopkins would use it in a more open dramatic way. Stevie did that too but he was more percussive and rhythmic the way he played it. It's a big part of why his grooves are so definite.
You need to play this really laid back if you want to capture the groove of it. And that non-chord at the end I'm taking about where I take my left hand off the neck is vital if you want to get the whole thing happening. It's all about the feel. Play it laid back but with a solid groove.
It took me a long time to be able to play this type of thing where I was happy with the sound and feel of it. Too many players think it's simple and don't spend time on really getting it down. They seem to think that because they are using basic two-note chords they don't need to work on it. But there is so much more about it than the simplicity of the chords.
It's all about feel. You can't beat feel and groove. It has to come from within and it takes time and soul to get it happening.
Bars 3-4 (same as above)
Gregg Allman - Come And Go Blues
09 A Medium Blues Shuffle Quick Change mp3 wma
10 Eb Straight Ahead Blues (E if you play guitar and tune down 1/2 a step) mp3 wma
11 B Slow Blues (C if you play guitar and tune down 1/2 a step) mp3 wma
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Interview with Rude Mood Played Solo and More
Rude Mood was recorded on Stevie's album Texas Flood. If you haven't really got into Stevie Ray Vaughan then go get a copy of Texas Flood, it will blow you away! The entire album is incredible, but Rude Mood take the cake. Note so much for the speed that it's being played, but the technique behind it that maintains soul, groove and feel. And then there is the track Lenny, which is an instrumental at the end of the album that uses beautifully 6th and 9th chords that SRV learned to play from listening to Hendrix. If you want to know what the blues is about then you need to listen to SRV and then find out who his influences were. Then you'll really start to delve deep into the spirit of blues guitar. Stevie Rave On!
Play Blues Guitar
The jam tracks on play guitar blues page are mostly made up of straight forward blues progressions in the more common blues keys. Some of the backing tracks have been recorded in Eb and Ab, mainly because so many blues guitar players tune their guitars down half a step. If you don't tune your guitar down half a step then just play them in the keys they are in. i.e. Eb and Ab.
When you are learning to play guitar you should play in as many different key signatures as possible. Even if you are an experienced guitar player, playing in keys you aren't familiar with will get you out of your comfort zone and make you play in different places on the neck. This will help you come up with new riffs and licks and will help make learning guitar fresh.
With each of the blues guitar tracks below you can start playing along with the standard blues scale for each key.
Over the coming weeks I'm going to start adding some tab to go along with the suggestions below and expand on each track with some guitar licks and some music theory.
Most importantly of all - this is the blues, it's about feeling. Listen to the music you can hear in your head and try and play that on the guitar. The real deal is to play the blues from your heart and soul.
...nuff said - it's time to jam!
More Guitar Jam Tracks
Below are the links to jam tracks in 7 different styles of music along with music theory, scales and more along the way.
There are also links to over 30 more jam tracks on the free jam tracks home page under the headings:
Solo Acoustic Jam Tracks