A Great Tip For Rock and Blues Guitar Improvisation

Rock And Blues Guitar Improvisation

Have you ever wanted to go to a music store and get a book that had the best information on how to play rock and blues guitar solos, explained in ways that were easy to understand and made sense, and not know which book to buy? Ever go out and get that book, only to discover that it had a bunch of information that you didn’t need and didn’t make a good deal of sense after all? Ever wonder whether the get chops quick guitar methods so prevalent on the Internet today are really ripoffs? Well, no need for further frustration, help is here.

I’ve been playing guitar for quite some time and understand these situations because I’ve been there. I used to wonder how the great rock and jazz guitarists learned what they learned in order to play the way they play. I was curious to know: What was their secret? What is the key that unlocked all that great playing and all that musicianship, and what is the easiest and most painless way for me to begin to approach that level? It is my goal in this article to begin to provide answers to these questions. That way, you won’t have to navigate the same musical maze that I did. These answers should, in effect, help make your musical experience that much more enjoyable. Incidentally, in spite of all the struggles, I still play music fervently and havenít quit playing even when it became difficult, a testimony to the power of music.

Blues Guitar Improvisation


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As many of you have, I have gone into music stores and on the Web looking for the best and most helpful books and methods to buy for the musical arenas I wanted to pursue. This is important of course because these books and methods are expensive (especially these days) and a budding guitar player shouldn’t have to go out and buy every book on guitar that’s out there. I’ve also noticed that there are quite a few guitar books that start off by throwing tons of scales at the student without ever even explaining clearly why all these scales need to be learned in the first place, or worse, how the scales should be used for blues guitar improvisation or which chords to play the scales over and why the scales sound good over a particular chord or series of chord changes (as opposed to sounding terrible). In contrast, we will begin the subject of learning to improvise lead guitar for rock and blues (while including concepts applicable to all guitar styles) with a very simple approach

Step 1: Learning The Names of The Individual Notes On The Fretboard

This is vital because in the art of improvisation, one has to know where one is on the fretboard at all times, regardless of what type of music is being played or improvised. Without knowing all the notes on the fretboard, it becomes easy to get lost and fall behind on the tune (while the chord changes the other musicians in the band are playing just roll on by). The natural shortcut, or the easy way out, is to only learn some of the notes on the fretboard. This approach will have at least two undesirable results: (A) the limited ability of only being able to improvise in certain keys (like A and E), and/or, (B) the limited ability of only being able to improvise on certain areas of the guitar neck. Jamming with other musicians and having these types of situations arise tends to lead to a good deal of embarrassment.

blues guitar improvisation

For beginners, there are three types of notes in music: Natural, Sharp, and Flat. So for example, the note G on the 6th string 3rd fret is also called G Natural. A note that is sharp is always one fret or one half-step higher; a note that is flat is always one fret or one half-step lower. Thus, G Sharp would be on the 6th string 4th fret; G Flat would be on the 6th string 2nd fret. Since A is the next natural note up from G, this means that G Sharp and A Flat are exactly the same note. This can be confusing at the start until an understanding of keys and key structure comes into focus later on.

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I realise that the prospect of having to learn every note on the guitar neck can cause feelings of dread and uneasiness; indeed, it may take some time to learn blues guitar improvisation. Learning the notes on the guitar academically is one thing, but getting that knowledge to work instantaneously under your fingers while improvising is something else. Easy and instinctive methods of learning the notes on guitar do exist, however. One method to begin with is to learn the basic open string chords common in every chord book (like A Major, E Major, and D Major) and take these movable chord forms (often called bar chords) up the guitar neck, simultaneously being conscious of the roots in those chord forms. Another helpful tip is to realise that any note played on the guitar twelve frets higher is going to have exactly the same name. So for example, the note on the 1st string 1st fret and the note on the 1st string 13th fret are both going to have the same name (in this case, the note F). Thus, all the guitarist has to do is to learn the notes of the open strings and the first eleven frets and then practice playing simple chords and note patterns in both the lower area (open to 11th fret) and the upper area (12th fret and above) of the guitar neck.

This simple approach outlined here is conceptually simple, but not easy. It can take some time to become good at blues guitar improvisation. It takes a few more words and a bit more effort to explain concepts clearly. My hope is that the information in this article will help make your musical experience less mysterious and more enjoyable, and that the next time you go into a music store or on the Web looking for guitar books and methods, you’ll know exactly what to look for.

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Have A Great Day

Claude Corry – TheBluesGuitarist.net

Playing Blues Guitar In Open Tunings

Playing Blues Guitar With Open Tunings

Guitar tunings assign pitches to the open strings of guitars, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars and classical guitars, among others. Playing blues guitar tunings can be described by the particular pitches that are denoted by notes in Western music and are used in a lot of blues music. By convention, the notes are ordered from lowest-pitched string (i.e., the deepest bass note) to the highest-pitched (thickest string to the thinnest).
The phrase “guitar tuning” also refers to the adjusting of the string-pitches to their desired tuning to a reference pitch–often a note from a piano or Hammond organ and/or tuning the guitar strings so that the strings are in tune relative to each other. Tuning is described in how-to manuals for guitarists.

Playing Blues Guitar With Open Tunings

Playing blues guitar in standard tuning defines the string pitches as E, A, D, G, B, and E, from lowest (low E2) to highest (high E4). Standard tuning is used by most guitarists, and frequently used tunings can be understood as variations on standard tuning. “Nonstandard” tunings are also called “alternative” or “alternate”. Some tunings are used for particular songs by professional musicians, and may be called after the song’s title. There are hundreds of such tunings, which are often minor variants of established tunings. Communities of guitarists who share a musical tradition often use the same or similar tunings.

Playing Blues Guitar Learning Guitar Online

The hundreds of alternative tunings of playing blues guitar have been classified into a smaller number of categories: “open”, both major and minor (“crossnote”), and “modal”; “dropped” (in which the pitch of one or more strings is lowered); “instrumental” (based on other stringed instruments); and “regular”. Modal, dropped, and many other tunings are mentioned in the supplementary list of guitar tunings.
Joni Mitchell developed a shorthand descriptive method of noting guitar tuning wherein the first letter documents the note of the lowest string and is followed by the relative fret (half step) offsets required to obtain the pitch of the next [higher] string This scheme highlights pitch relationships and simplifies the process of comparing different tuning schemes.

TrueFire.com has everything in the way of guitar lessons online like Blues Rock, Jazz Blues and Acoustic Blues courses and also gives ideas about different open tunings for whatever you want to learn. In all they have around 180 guitar courses with the best teachers on the planet like Robben Ford, Jason Loughlin and Corey Congilo just to name a few. Heres just a few blues guitar lessons online courses. Follow this link here TrueFire.com

Heres Some Great Guides On Open Tunings From Amazon


12 Free Texas Blues Rhythm Guitar Lessons

Texas Blues With Corey

Texas Blues

Grab your guitar and step inside the factory with Corey; for some Texas blues playing where  you’ll find yourself in good company — inspiration from Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lightin’ Hopkins, Doyle Bramhall II, Jimmie Vaughan, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Billy Gibbons, Chris Duarte, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and many other giants of Texas guitar style are found within. Corey…



Texas guitar playing is a style of blues music. It usually has more jazz– or swing-influences than other blues styles.

Texas blues began to appear in the early 1900s among African Americans who worked in oilfields, ranches and lumber camps. In the 1920s, Blind Lemon Jefferson innovated the style by using jazz-like improvisation and single string accompaniment on a guitar; Jefferson’s influence defined the field and inspired later performers. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, many bluesmen moved to cities including Galveston, Houston and Dallas. It was from these urban centers that a new wave of popular performers appeared, including slide guitarist and gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson. Future bluesmen, such as, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lil’ Son Jackson, and T-Bone Walker were influenced by these developments.[1]

T-Bone Walker relocated to Los Angeles to record his most influential work in the 1940s.[1] His swing-influenced backing and lead guitar sound became an influential part of the electric blues.[1] It was T-Bone Walker, B.B. King once said, who “really started me to want to play the blues. I can still hear T-Bone in my mind today, from that first record I heard, ‘Stormy Monday.’ He was the first electric guitar player I heard on record. He made me so that I knew I just had to go out and get an electric guitar.” He also influenced Goree Carter, whose “Rock Awhile” (1949) featured an over-driven electric guitar style and has been cited as a strong contender for the “first rock and roll record” title.[2]

The state’s R&B recording industry was based in Houston with labels such as Duke/Peacock, which in the 1950s provided a base for artists who would later pursue the electric Texas blues sound, including Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins.[1]Freddie King, a major influence on electric blues, was born in Texas, but moved to Chicago as a teenager.[1] His instrumental number “Hide Away” (1961), was emulated by British blues artists including Eric Clapton.[3]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Texas electric blues scene began to flourish, influenced by country music and blues rock, particularly in the clubs of Austin. The diverse style often featured instruments such as keyboards and horns with emphasis on guitar soloing.[1] The most prominent artists to emerge in this era were the brothers Johnny and Edgar Winter, who combined traditional and southern styles.[1] In the 1970s, Jimmie Vaughan formed The Fabulous Thunderbirds and in the 1980s his brother Stevie Ray Vaughan broke through to mainstream success with his virtuoso guitar playing, as did ZZ Top with their brand of Southern rock.[4]

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8 Carl Verheyen Blues Guitar Playing

Blues Guitar Playing and Blues Music In General Go A Long Way Back In Time

If you dig playing the blues guitar, these great weapons and tactics’ will inspire, excite, transform and invigorate your riffs way beyond your wildest expectations. Blues guitar playing is an art form that has evolved over many many years and goes back to the Classical era and beyond. The 1, 4, 5 progression was actually popular in the Baroque period because it was such a strong and powerful chord progression which created tension (the 5 chord or dominant 7 chord) before resolving back to the 1 chord. In many modern blues tunes there are multiple 7th chords used and even using sevenths in the entire blues progression E7, A7,B7. This particular blues guitar playing technique creates even more tension in the progression due to using out of key dominant 7ths.

Whatever your level of blues guitar soloing, you will love how Verheyen steps you through his curriculum. This series of lessons will fire up your bag. Check out the full S.W.A.T. Blues…

blues guitar playing


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Enhancing Blues Progressions with 7th and “Jimi Hendrix” Chords

Blues Progressions And Jimi Hendrix

Blues Progressions On Guitar

Kenny “Blue” Ray is a life-long blues musician who has played with blues legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan. Kenny also is a JamPlay instructor who teaches lives and pre-recorded class on blues progressions on guitar.

In this lesson, Kenny discusses 7th chords and how they can be used to enhance any off-colors progression.

He likewise describes short forms of the chords that can be used for a softer feel. While discussing the 7th chords, he also talks about some of Jimi Hendrix’s favourites.

Check out the Jimi Hendrix video below — using blues progressions. For more JamPlay tasks on GuitarWorld.com, check out Andy James’ “Three Pentatonic Hybrid-Picked Runs to Increase Speed and Dexterity” and Glen Drover’s Mysterious Harmonic Minor Walk Down .