Blues-Rock Lick

Another blues-rock lick for your guitar repertoire.

Below is the tab for this lick, divided into sections. You’ll notice that Fig 1 is repeated in bar 3. I’m playing this at 100bpm, so I’d recommend playing slower than this at first, (it’s fine to play at any speed to begin with, no matter how slow, then work your way up to 100bpm, maybe even up to 130bpm.)

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Here’s a backing track for this exercise, but a bit faster than I’m playing it in the vid.

Intermediate String Bends

This is a staple blues / rock / metal trick that you will have heard at some point as a listener. If you need to, refresh your memory on the Bm scale and the ideas outlined in my first String Bending lesson.

For the first bend you’ll want your first finger fretting the target pitch, which is at the 9th fret of the B string. Your second or third finger will start on the 7th fret of the G string.

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In the example below, notice that the letter “b” is used to indicate a string bend, and the number that appears in brackets next to it is the location of the pitch you’re aiming for. This is what we call a Full-Tone Bend.

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Here you’ll want your first finger fretting the target pitch again, which is the 9th fret of the E string. This time your third or fourth finger will start on the 8th fret of the B string.

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This is the same deal as the previous bend, it’s just taking place on a different fret. You can also apply some vibrato once you’ve hit your target pitch, as indicated by the “v”.

tumblr_mx1q7ykHDY1rvyc2jo3_400 Remember, when you bend a note, usually the listener will hear the target pitch as the one that’s been affected rather than the starting note, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’re experiencing as the performer. It’s important to get around this idea early on as it can hold you back later.

That being the case, you shouldn’t worry too much about the starting pitch of your bend – provided the target pitch is solid and you’ve got good intonation, no one will really mind where the note started.

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Once you’ve got solid intonation and your fingers are getting used to the idea of doing a silly amount of bending work, try playing around with slackening-off the bend here and there, or really slowing it down you to get a very tense pitch raise. Add vibrato here and there as well for a bit more flavour.

The next step would be the advanced bending techniques of Over Bending and Pre-Bending.

The Natural Minor Scale

As mentioned in the video here are 2 different methods for playing this scale. They both contain the same notes, but have different methods of reaching a particularly troublesome one.

This first tab, which is my preferred one, requires you change the hand position for the first note on the G string.
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This next tab requires a stretch to hit that same note, but it now appear as the last note you play on the D string.
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Awesome Slide-Legato Lick #1

This is an awesome, visually impressive and cool sounding, lick which relies on solid slide and legato techniques.

Legato phrases, as you should know, rely on fretting hand techniques such as slide, hammer-ons and pull-offs. In this lick we are using a slide technique in-between picking a note’s 5th on the adjacent string. Sound complicated, right? It also looks kickass.

Performance directions available in the video below.

Here’s the warm-up tab, start practising at around 80bpm, with 100bpm as your target.

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Here is the entire lick tab. Again, start slow and work up to 100bpm. Faster is obviously cooler, but only if you’re playing cleanly and clearly.

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The Blues: Mixing-Up Lead & Rhythm Ideas

This post is going to focus on the basics of tastefully making use of lead phrases in-between rhythm playing in a blues situation. Although this exercise is arguably quite sterile, it’s going to be an invaluable first step to get you more comfortable with the concept. Once you’re familiar with it you’ll be allowed much more freedom with your playing.

Below is the structure for what we’ll be playing. This relies on a good knowledge of the 12-bar blues in E, (here’s a link to that lesson), the difference, as you can see below, is that every alternate bar is room for you to solo. In the final bar, however, we’re not going to solo because the turnaround is quite interesting already.imageThe placeholder lick I’m going to demonstrate this with is the following. There’s no reason you have to learn this phrase, if you have your own arsenal of blues or blues-rock licks in the key of E they will do the job just fine.
I would suggest, however, if you’re not going to use this to try and use something in the open position, as it will be easier to play that rather than jumping up to the 12th fret for a bar.image

Here we go! The backing tracks below are longer versions of what I played over in the video, with a piano as well so it’s a little more obvious when the chord changes happen.

Start off with the slower backing here:

Then work your way up to the target speed of 120bpm like the track below:

So now what?

If you have your own blues licks, use them. Even better, move them around the fretboard to accommodate for each chord. As in, when the rhythm is playing an E, play the lick in E, when they move to A, move the lick to A as well. This is called chord-tone soloing and is the secret weapon of many blues greats, (it’s a pretty big deal in jazz too).

If you want to learn some blues new blues licks the implement, you can go here:
L Taylor Guitar’s Blues-Rock Licks #1

Arpeggios 1 – Maj, Min & Dim Triad Arpeggios

Arpeggios form a neat middle-ground between chords and scales – you’ll be voicing chords in a manner similar to playing a scale. Today we’re going to cover the three different triads that appear in the Major Scale. A Tonic Triad, as you should know, is built by stacking thirds in your given scale, so the formula for each is as follows:
Major:              R          3        5
Minor:              R        m3      5
Diminished:     R        m3      b5
In each of these we start with our root note, (the 5th fret on the E string), and then play the third. In the case of A Maj this is the 4th fret on the A string, but the 8th fret of the E string for the other two. Our fifths are on the 7th fret of the A string, but flattened to the 6th fret for A Dim. All our Octaves are on the 7th fret of the D string.
We’re playing all of these arpeggios in A, which should allow you to see the differences between each triad. As with scales, it’s important to keep to the one-finger-per-fret rule.

           Well, now what? I’d suggest trying out each of these in various positions on the neck, remembering that they are moveable shapes, (you can play them rooted on the A string as well).
Once you’re happy you can move them around a bit, try applying them to the Nashville Numbering System and see if you can play arpeggios for every chord within a given key using both the E and A string as roots.