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Beyond Classic Blues
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Blues Guitar Lessons: Intro To Fundamental

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Fundamentals, Introduction.
Well, welcome to blues electric
guitar fundamentals.
In this section of the curriculum,
we're gonna talk about some of
the most important basic
concepts of playing the blues.
And it's a little deceptive
sometimes to talk about
fundamentals and
advanced and all that stuff.
In my mind it's all deep, you know,
it's as deep as you wanna take it.
And the fundamentals themselves that
we're gonna go over in the next
series of lessons are kinda the essence,
the foundation of a blues style.
And you can trickier and
more sophisticated and so forth, but
this is really the heart
of what it's all about.
So we're gonna cover some really
important concepts, starting with rhythm.
What is the basic rhythm of blues?
Well, since the earliest days and
throughout the history of
blues as a commercial style,
when people were dancing to it, in bars
and at concerts, it was the shuffle.
It's that kinda cool,
rolling quality.
There's a way to play it that's
dynamic and it just pops.
It feels good, you know?
So we'll learn different aspects
of playing that shuffle rhythm,
that boogie shuffle there.
We'll apply that to the 12-bar
blues progression, which is kind of
the fundamental structure that blues
composers have used throughout the years.
It's a marvelous vehicle for
And you can also write very sophisticated
stuff if you so desire, but
you can pick stuff out of the air and
kind of freestyle your way through it.
That structure has some
typical variations.
You can
change the chords, more or less quickly,
and kinda add some flavor to it.
We're gonna play it at different parts of
the neck.
And we come up on stuff
like the turnaround.
so forth.
How do you transition from one
chorus of a blues to another?
How do you end the thing when
you finally get to the end?
Yeah, you bring it home in a dynamic way.
When we talk about rhythm we're
talking about layers of rhythm.
This is probably the most familiar
rhythm sound for most guitar players.
You've probably played this I would
imagine, if you played any blues at all.
This dates back at least
to Robert Johnson.
A well known father figure for
blues guitar players.
But we have many other ways to express
the rhythm that we'll look
at including playing.
Just on the upbeats or
thinking like a horn section.
And that's just the rhythm.
I mean, come on, you know, we're covering
a lot of ground there, and you start to
feel that groove, and it sounds like it's
a complete piece of music even though we
haven't really separated out any notes and
played any particular melodies.
So when we get to melodic playing, then
it's just sort of a natural transition
from playing that sort of phrasing.
Those two bar phrases that are intuitive.
That's how you breathe,
that's how you sing.
And we turn those into melodic phrases.
From rhythmic phrases to melodic phrases.
Learn the basic vocabulary
of blues soloing.
Which is starting with the.
The minor pentatonic scale.
Using different techniques.
For kind of moving around the scale, and
making it sound smooth.
Legato technique.
Hammer-ons and pull ups.
Dynamics so important.
Your picking style.
The flat pick.
Bare fingers, combination of pick and
fingers, or so called hybrid picking.
All different ways of bringing
color out in the same phrase.
Just a simple melody suddenly has depth.
You slide.
You bend.
You add vibrato [SOUND] right?
You make that note sing.
These are all ways of taking
the fundamental melodic
ingredients of a blues solo and
expanding them.
Adding the shading,
the color that makes it come alive.
So you can see right there, and
this is just the fundamentals keep in
mind, you've got all the basic ingredients
that you hear on most of the recordings
of blues guitar players.
And what they add to it beyond that is
they add more range, covering different
parts of the neck, going higher using
different techniques, going lower, etc.
Different ways of building
a solo over time, etc.
But when you learn
the fundamentals in this section,
you'll have the foundation to go in just
about any direction you wanna go, so
I look forward to working with you.
And I look forward especially to hearing
back from you as I show you stuff.
Send me your videos and
let me see what you're doing, and
let me get a sense of who you are.
We'll start that conversation.
All right, let's get going.