Freddie King: Ain’t Nobody’s Business

Known as one of the “Three Kings of Blues Guitar”, along with BB King and Albert King, Freddie emerged from Texas as one of the most influential and powerful blues guitarists. A dynamic stage performer, Freddie had a command on both vocals and guitar. A move to Chicago in 1950 allowed him to see blues legends such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. These electric players would prove to be very inspirational to Freddie, who grew up listening to country blues players: such as Lightnin’ Hopkins … [Read more...]

Robben Ford: Burnable

Robben Ford is without a doubt one the most tasteful fusion guitarists. One of Robben’s strongest abilities is to creatively blend his blues foundation with jazz influence in a modern context. He has worked with a diverse range of major artists such as Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, and Miles Davis. Beginning at a young age Robben had a keen interest in both blues and jazz. He began as a blues player and through the 1970’s he started a jazz fusion band called the Yellowjackets. He has also … [Read more...]

Billy Gibbons: La Grange

Billy Gibbons is best known as the lead guitar player and vocalist in the Texas based blues-rock band ZZ Top. Formed in 1967 the band has played together for 40 years while still maintaining the original lineup. Known for their long beards and southern style, the band is heavily steeped in the blues and rock and roll. ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15th 2004. Billy is an extremely tasteful guitar player and is known as a blues-rock guitar great. His … [Read more...]

Lesson 2: 12 Bar Variations – The Texas Shuffle

There are many variations of the 12 Bar Blues. These variations are found in the chords and rhythm. The previous lesson showed a standard 12 Bar Blues with a shuffle feel. A variation on that is the “Texas Shuffle”. This uses the same chord progression with a shuffle feel but a few more notes added. The major difference with this blues is what we will be playing rhythmically. Once your left hand is comfortable with the riff, try strumming through it - Down Up, Down Up, Down Up, Down Up. Try … [Read more...]

Lesson 1: The Blues In A

The guitar is a highly expressive and powerful instrument. It’s capability of endless tones is astounding. No matter what style of music you choose to play it’s all found within the 12 notes on the guitar. The fundamental elements such as scales, chords and especially rhythms are really what define a style. However, through my hours of practicing the most important aspect has been feel. Without emotion the guitar is simply chords and scales. A few simple notes played a certain way can be very … [Read more...]

Jeff Beck: Brush With The Blues

Jeff Beck is regarded as one of the most innovative guitar players of all time. Known for his “hands on” approach, Jeff uses the entire guitar to produce a unique vocal style. His limited use of a pick and mastery of the whammy bar, volume, and tone controls allow for true sonic creation. Reinventing himself throughout his career, Jeff has released records in genres such as blues rock, jazz fusion, rock, and electronic music. Through these recordings he has been a four time Grammy Award … [Read more...]

A Promenade With Your Muse

Have you ever had a dry spell? You know, where you can't get motivated or inspired to play your instrument? If you're like me, you might even put a few of your guitars out on stands and leave them where you will always see them hoping that the sight of them will encourage you to play. When you pick up your guitar and start playing, you feel as if you've played these chords a million times and there is no creative spark to continue. It's like driving on a road you have traveled many times and … [Read more...]

Improvisation Blues in A (Swing Feel)

This is standard blues progression with a jazzy feel to it that is great to solo over. Work with the A Minor Pentatonic scale over this progression. Try to play it in all 5 positions mentioned in the A Minor Pentatonic lesson. The chords for this progression can be found in the page of all the chords used at this site. For the Bb13, play the A13 chord block shown on that page but play it on the 6th fret. For the E9, play the D9 chord block shown on that … [Read more...]

Scales: Looking for patterns and the A Minor Pentatonic Box Scale

If you took all the notes from all the 5 positions shown in the A Minor Pentatonic lesson and placed them into one block, this is what you would end up with. This is a great exercise to do with any of the scales we (or anybody else)  show you in multiple positions. By doing this, you can now see all of the notes of that scale across the neck. Often, when learning a new scale, I will do this. I sit with my guitar in front of this scale block and play the … [Read more...]

Finger Picking: Comping to a walking bass line

This lesson will show you how to play a walking bass line accompanied by little chords. This is a 12 bar blues progression in Bb with a swing feel to it. To play this, you will use your thumb (P) to play the bass line and your index (I) and middle (M) fingers to pluck the chords. Work on this slowly. Once you have learned it, work on speed and also try to interpret it differently. The fingerings indicated above and below the tab represents how I feel most … [Read more...]

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