5 – Blues in A

Subjects Covered

  • Chords
    • Country blues progression and chords (A7, D, E7)
  • Scale
    • The A blues scale on the 5th fret
  • Musicality
    • Basic blues playing
  • Exercises
    • Alternate picking the blues scale

The main points for this whole course are

  • keep your hands relaxed
  • keep your guitar in tune
  • play in time, with the rhythm
  • musicality always beats technicality
  • practice too slow instead of too fast
  • play along to records whenever you can
  • play with other people whenever you can

Chords – Blues progression in A

Remember rhythm

  • keeping the rhythm is more important than playing all the notes
  • play in time

Blues = 12 bars

A blues is usually 12 bars (or measures) long. There are many different ways to play a blues progression. Here’s the one that is on the recording (recording in progress).

| A7 | A7 | A7 | A7 |

| D7 | D7 | A7 | A7 |

| E7 | D7 | A7 | E7 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The A blues scale

It’s a pentatonic scale with one added the note – the ‘blue’ note. Play it along to the recorded track.

Musicality

Blues is about feel

Learning the blues early is a good way to start, if you want to play American music. Rock and roll and jazz both come from the blues. Countless other styles are heavily influenced by it as well. With blues, it is how you say it. It is about feel. All music is about feel but blues is really all about feel.

When you play blues, just make sure you put your heart into it. Send out what you are feeling from your heart, out through the guitar and into the air.

Good, simple blues solo

Solos need only a few notes to convey an emotional intensity. Solos only need a few notes to create clear, simple melodies. Until someone has been playing awhile, it is better to keep to a simple, melodic solo that uses dynamics, rhythm, note bends, and other elements.

Exercises

With a metronome

  1. Play each note of the blues scale twice. Go up and down the scale.
  2. Play each note of the blues scale twice but skip notes.

Play with the track

  1. Make up a melody along with the recorded track.
  2. This time pick 3 or 4 notes and try to make a solo with that. Then try to bend a few notes. Withthe blues a strong sense of time when you solo is important. Try to convey some musical ideas through your solo.

Listen to some blues

Jimi Hendrix plays the blues – Jimi plays the blues his way.

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