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Blues Guitar Lessons: Phrasing With The 6th

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So, let's meet a new
member of the family, the sixth.
Let's put it in the key of G here.
I like to keep moving, if you do
everything in A you get stuck in that
little, sort of, corner of the neck there.
So, we're in the key of G now.
And I wanna see,
where do I find the sixth,
and how do I use the sixth?
I remember actually,
I probably first heard the sixth,
I think it was probably BB King, you know?
And, some lick like this.
And I said, man, that sounds really sweet.
At the time I wasn't
into that stuff at all.
I was into hard, hard,
heavy intense music.
So I heard that sweet sound,
I don't know man,
that sounds kinda old to me.
I don't get it.
But as [LAUGH] the years go by,
well you know,
kinda feel like I can relate to it now.
So, yes,
It's the heart of sweetness right there.
Now in terms of technique of locating
the sixth in our pattern here,
we've got our core blues sound.
So where's
the sixth?
Well, it's a step above the fifth.
And a half step below the seventh.
So in terms of the line, the succession of
notes that we might use in
a melody It fills in that gap.
We've had a half step between
that's built into the pentatonic scale.
It's one of the, sort of,
missing notes that makes a five note
scale instead of a seven note scale.
So now, we're gonna create
the affect of a seven note scale,
ultimately the diatonic scale,
but in a blues way.
So I've got.
Now I can play melodies that have a little
bit more of that linear quality to them.
I can also, for example.
I can bend from
the sixth to the seventh.
That was a favorite move of T-Bone Walker.
And T-Bone Walker wrote
the book on electric
guitar phrasing that every player
studied for years and years,
even after he was no longer that popular,
Everybody still lived and
died by the sound of T-Bone Walker.
now what T-Bone had was a blues style that
was influenced by saxophone.
And saxophone players tend to have
a jazz influence in their playing,
traditionally, because that's where they
came up, was learning how to play jazz.
And so learning to use all the colors in
the melody was natural for a sax player.
Whereas down home blues players
stuck with that pentatonic sound.
So T-Bone integrated the sixth into his
phrasing When you combine the major sixth
with the third
as I said that's the heart of sweetness.
That's where we get the BB King sound.
Now we're gonna explore that exact
location on the neck And
those exact phrases in
just a few lessons down the road here,
[SOUND] but
even in our home position.
Let's do this.
I'd like to do a little call and response.
It'll be just you and me,
we don't need a rhythm track for this.
I'm gonna play you a lick that
incorporates the sixth and work it into
a type of phrase we've been using already
and see can you pick up on it and
sorta get your fingers to wrap
themselves around that shape.
If you're using your third
finger on the second string,
and we also added to,
he note on the fourth string below
the root there is G.
That's a very common phrase that
you hear in a little bit
more uptown styles of blues.
The fifth, the sixth,
and the octave, okay?
So we'll go back and forth.
I'll play you a little lick, and
you play it back to me in tempo.
Just so you get a feel for
how this sixth sounds.
One, two, one, two three.
Now, answer me.
You have
to stretch
a little
bit to
get that
Again, just reach down
that extra fret to get the sixth.
one more.
Right, now that's covering some ground.
That's actually a pretty elaborate phrase.
Up the major sound,
down the scale,
using the sixth to tie
those notes together.
Typical blues phrase.
There's the sixth again, and
finally ending on the seventh, cuz I'm
kind of wrapping up the end of the phrase.
So those are samples of typical
phrases that use the sixth.
What I want you to practice now
is take the 12 bar progression in
G And integrate the six into your phrases,
and just see how it sounds when
you play it in a 12 bar context.
So I'll give you a sample of that.
Just so you can kinda hear.
This is very, very standard,
typical stuff.
That you'll hear in lots of blues solo,
lot of different players.
So I'll give you a sample and
then we'll move on to the next lesson
where you can meet our other friend.
So that had a little bit
of everything in there.
Very typical types of phrases,
I use the B.B. King turnaround.
Remember we learned that
a little while back.
[COUGH] And then, I wasn't trying to say
I'm gonna use the sixth every single bar,
and I'm gonna use it 12 times.
I'm just using it where it
feels like it wants to be.
And otherwise, I can go ahead and
still be down home.
And then use that sixth to sorta
lighten the coloring a little bit.
After a while,
you start to hear it more as this feeling.
Rather than as such a technical thing.
Excuse me.
And when I want to say
something a little sweeter,
blues could be very romantic
if you make it that way.
Then the sixth is the way
to kinda get to that sound.
The sixth combined with the major third,
very sweet sound.
And we're gonna work with
that a lot more to come.
All right, mess with that track,
play around with it.
And then we're gonna introduce another
buddy of mine called the ninth.
And we'll put those two together.
All right, see you then.