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Blues Guitar Lessons: Boogie Shuffle in Open Position

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Now we've learned the Boogie Shuffle,
the Robert Johnson shuffle
in every key on the neck.
I'm sure you've been practicing
up down and sideways and
we're gonna continue the discussion of
the Boogie Shuffle with a little bit of
a specialized approach and
that Involves using the open position.
Now the first chords that I showed
you were open E [SOUND] and open A.
when we started learning rhythm patterns,
I will showing you the moveable chords or
the bar chords and
how to play with the root on the fifth
string, sixth string and so forth.
So we know how to play the 12 bar and
all the keys using those chord shape,
but there's a sound in blues
that's extremely popular.
Its the down home blues,
it going back down to the roots of blues.
When you pick up guitar you don't learn
bar chords, you play open strings and
those keys happen to be good keys for
most people to sing in.
So, open E and open A are very
popular keys in down home blues.
And we know how to play in E and
how to play in A, but
using open strings requires
slightly different technique.
I want to talk about that now.
All right.
Here's what's going on.
We play the A in fifth position.
The picking hand is free of the strings,
we are using the threading
hand to mute and so forth.
Now if I play that A boogie
pattern in open position,
I use my first finger [SOUND] and I am
gonna play the same [SOUND] extra note,
that's the [SOUND] sixth, but
now it's on the fourth string.
So far so good.
Now I'm gonna let my thumb
hang over the top and
that's gonna have the effect of muting,
[SOUND] the sixth string and there's one
other very important difference here,
which is instead of keeping my right hand
completely free, I'm going to mute with
the pick and what I mean by that is this.
[SOUND] Now what I'm
doing is I hit the note,
[SOUND] I bring my hand
back down into position and
rest the pick on the open fifth string.
[SOUND] That has the same effect as
muting by releasing the pressure,
if I was playing that bar chord.
Now you can hear that in the open
position the chord rings
a little bit more.
Naturally, has a sort
of a more open sound,
because of the resonance
of the open strings.
One reason why this open
position sound is so popular.
So let's learn how to play
the 12 bar boogie Shuffle in
the key of A in open position and in
order to finish the job here, I've got A.
[SOUND] That's all good.
Now when I go to the floor chord, D.
[SOUND] Normally in moveable chords, I'd
go to the fifth fret on the fifth string.
The sound is different though.
So to keep the sounds more consistent,
I'm gonna use an open D chord as well.
[SOUND] And that requires
a slightly different fingering.
I play the open fourth string.
[SOUND] First finger.
[SOUND] Second finger.
I'm going to use the same picking
technique, which is [SOUND] pick and mute.
Now notice I'm taking a big bite out
of the strings, that's part of the sound.
It's aggressive, has energy.
So one cord to four cord,
just to hear how it sounds.
Three, four and A.
Now I did a couple of things in there,
that I just, is a habit.
I'm gonna show you how to do all
that stuff, don't worry about it.
But first things first, we're gonna
get this little pattern down here.
So we got A, we got D and then E.
E is the same fingering as A,
working off the sixth string.
Just a simple bar chord,
power chord shape.
Now to play the turnaround in the key of
A, where does the turnaround go again?
The five chord.
I'm in the key of A and I want to go to E.
Now this is a style thing, the rules
don't always apply in the same way.
We're playing blues the way
people play blues and
sometimes it doesn't fit the most
efficient model, lets say.
You think I'm down here,
I'm gonna play my E chord down here.
No, when I do my turnaround
in the key of A.
I go up the neck and use the same dominant
chord, I was using when
I was in fifth position.
You just get used to it, okay?
Now when I end it, however,
again, a style thing.
A down home blues thing.
I'm going to end it by going.
[SOUND] Now I'm playing A7,
we played A major.
[SOUND] When I play A7,
[SOUND] I show you a different fingering.
Now we're gonna take that A major
shape with the first finger,
put the second finger on the high string.
[SOUND] Another voicing of A7.
[SOUND] A real down home voicing,
you hear this on all those old records.
And to make it simple for my ending,
[SOUND] just come up into that
note from a half step below.
Very easy.
Now, let's play the 12 bar
blues in the key of A,
turn around, ending in open
position with the rhythm chart.
See how it sounds.
Come on.
[SOUND] One, two, three.
Here comes
the turn
gonna end
it now.
That's the down home blues.
You're gonna hear that on records by
guys like Jimmy Reed, for example,
one of the kings of the shuffle.
I give you recommendations for what to
listen to in links, so that you can go and
check it out.
It's magic when you hear this
done well with a full band,
its really beautiful stuff.
All right.
So we got the key of A,
now lets take a look at the companion
key in open position as the key of E.
[SOUND] and
the same basic technique applies.
Now we've got the open E chord,
we've already used that as a five chord.
Now we're gonna put it in
the key of E as the one chord.
Now A,
which was the one chord
becomes the four chord.
And all that's left is B, the five chord.
[SOUND] Okay?
Now here's where things get
interesting [LAUGH] or weird,
depending on how you wanna look at it.
Play that B chord.
We know how to play the power
chord boogie shape, right?
That's a stretch, right?
You've gotta get your fingers stretched
out quite a distance there and
depending on the size of your hands and
the fret distance,
it can be a challenge to get that chord
to settle down and feel comfortable.
So this is a little solution that some of
the guys way back in the day came up with.
They said, well, forget that bar chord.
Just put that open A in the bottom.
And play the boogie part, but
add that note, but
don't bother with that B.
Just [SOUND] now you say, no way.
That just sounds too weird.
But trust me,
[LAUGH] you hear that on these records and
you hear it and it sounds so cool.
You can't quite put your finger on it,
but when you listen back,
that's what's going on.
Now, it's an acquired taste, perhaps.
But I'm not gonna dwell on it,
I would prefer that you first learn how
to use that standard bar cord shape and
get the stretch under your fingers and
then think of that other one as
the icing on the cake,
a little bit of extra flavor there.
Now we're in the key of E.
We go to the four chord, the five chord.
Now we're gonna play the turnaround.
How do I play the turnaround
in the key of E?
Well, I'm going into the five chord,
which is B [SOUND] from
a half step above [SOUND] and
I'm going to use a new version,
it's actually a relative of the five
chord [SOUND] that we learned here,
but in open position, B7.
[SOUND] Involves five
strings there with the open
B string [SOUND] and
I go a half step [SOUND] and
even that [SOUND] weirdness there,
that's okay.
Part of the sound.
So this is actually a C to a B and
then when I play my ending.
I'll end with that seventh chord voicing
up there [SOUND] root on the fifth
string that we learned already.
I'm set to play the 12 bar blues
in the key of E, open position.
I'll use that bar chord shape on B,
just to keep things compact.
Here we go.
From the 1, 12 bar blues in E.
See if you can grab a hold of this one.
[SOUND] One, two, three.
mercy, mercy.
[SOUND] So here's our 12 bar blues in E,
using open position chords.
We've got the 12 bar blues in A.
So we pretty much got the neck wire,
as far as that Boogie Shuffle pattern
is concerned and
that's gonna take some practice.
I know that playing at that tempo and
getting the changes clean and
clear is a challenge.
So you work up to that,
set your metronome a little bit lower.
Now you're just in those two keys, so
that you can take advantage of the open
strings, but that's the idea of it.
So what we're gonna do now is start
to build other layers on top of that
And so
once we have that consistent bottom,
we can make a sound all kinds of cool
ways by adding other textures on top.
So we'll start with that
in the next lesson.