Guitar Lesson: Let’s Make A Blues

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Guitar Lesson: Let’s Make A Blues

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Figure A shows the basic progression in the key of E Major. Hopefully you’ll know at least one chord shape/voicing for E, A and B7. And for those of you that are a little more advanced feel free to try different voicings (barre chords etc.) all over the neck.


Let’s now create a lead line or set of licks that t over these chords. Don’t worry, we’ll start fairly simple this month and then build it up over the next few lessons. Figure B takes the first 4 bars of the progression and uses a repeated 2-bar phrase. A combination of crotchets and quavers, you can try playing it straight or swung (as we discussed last month). All of these notes come from the E Minor Pentatonic Scale.


Figure C fits over bars 5 to 9 and incorporates both the A and E chords. Notice the C# on beat 3 of the first bar. This is the 3rd  from the A Major chord and is a great way of outlining its sound. The last two bars revert to more of an E sound that then work over E Major (E7 to be more specific but don’t worry about that for now).


Figure D handles the last four bars of the 12-Bar Blues and contains the most movement chord-wise. Bar 1 uses a D# and F# (the 3rd  and 5th  respectively of a B Major chord) and Bar 2 plays the same pattern over an A Major chord (with A, C# and E). Bar 3 is back to the opening theme from Figure B and the last bar then uses notes from the B7 chord.


As mentioned earlier the rhythms and note values are quite easy as a starting point. But, this 12-bar lead line/lick/solo fits the chord progression and starts to point you in the direction of learning and hopefully creating your own ideas. We’ll discuss the note and scale choices a little more next month and ramp up the difficulty a touch!