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...]

Duane Allman: Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’

For passionate guitarists, developing their sound and technique is an experimental quest that lasts a lifetime. Some search and develop their sound for years, and others are never truly satisfied. There are also a select few who possess their musical voice early on. This can be said about Duane Allman. One of a small group of guitarists in rock history, Duane left a major impact over the span of only a few years. Known as a powerful slide guitarist and improviser, Duane also co-founded the … [Read more...]

Finger Picking Pattern 2: Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

Our second finger picking lesson is another example of pattern picking. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac uses a similar picking pattern to “Dust in the Wind”. However, the chord changes here require more movement. For your convenience, the chord shapes and fingerings are as follows: Click here if you’re not sure how to read the chord blocks.                         For the picking pattern, you will use your thumb (P), index … [Read more...]

Les Paul: How High the Moon

Les Paul June 9, 1915 - August 12, 2009 Les Paul was one of the most significant musical inventors and innovators of our time. Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915, Les began playing harmonica at the age of 8. His lifelong music career began soon thereafter. By age 13, Les was performing as a country western singer. A move to Chicago at age 19 sparked his interest in jazz. Soon after, Les formed the Les Paul Trio. By 1939 the group left for New York where Les began experimenting and altering … [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...]

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...]

Advanced Music Theory Lesson 1: The Modes

As we discussed in previous lessons, the Major scale is also know as Ionian and the Minor scale as Aeolian. We also know that the relative minor is the major scale starting from it's 6th degree. The scales starting from all of the other degrees will now be introduced. This group of scales is known as "the modes". Lets start in the key of C. If we re-spell the C Major scale (Ionian) starting from each subsequent degree in the scale, we end up with the following: Mode … [Read more...]

Technique: Proper Thumb Positioning

A question that always comes up is where should my thumb be? Over the neck or behind it? The answer depends on what you are playing. If you are playing scales, there is a great benefit to having your thumb behind the neck as it allows you a much greater stretch. Conversely, having the thumb over the neck is the only way to play some chords and a great help when bending strings. Have a look at the following 3 pictures for an example of where your thumb should be when playing … [Read more...]

Scales: Exercises 123 234 345

This exercise is aimed at improving your technique and offering you extended scale phrasings. The basic idea in this exercise is to play the first 3 notes in the scale, then, starting at the second note in the scale play 3 more, then, starting from the 3rd note in the scale play 3 more etc. If the scale was numbers, the pattern would be: 123 234 345 456 567 678 789 etc Remember that these exercises can be played anywhere on the neck using any scale. The … [Read more...]

Improvisation: Am7 FMaj9 Progression with MP3

This is a slow and moody groove that is wonderful to solo over. Start of by working with the A Minor Pentatonic scale over this progression. Try to play it in the 3 positions mentioned in the A Minor Pentatonic lesson. Then work in these scales: (Over the Am7) A (Jazz) Melodic Minor .. Same pattern as the G (Jazz) Melodic Minor scale shown in lesson but played 2 frets higher. (Over the Am7) A (Dorian) Minor .. Same pattern as the G (Dorian) Minor scale shown in … [Read more...]

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