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Hey everyone! This is Brian from Activemelody.com. I’ve got a few emails from some different folks saying that the last couple of lessons were too complicated or at least parts of them are too complicated. So, what I thought I’d do is devote a few videos to some of the blues basics. So, if you’re interested in learning this style of electric blues, lead, these are licks that you absolutely have to add to your repertoire because you hear them all the time or you’ll hear variations of this.
So, this week, we’re not going to necessarily focus on an artist although, this is a very reminiscent of something Chuck Berry would do because I’m going to be doing a double string thing. If you’re a beginner, this is a perfect lesson for you. You can do this on an acoustic or an electric guitar. If you’re an advanced player, this may be a little slow for you. So, let me go ahead and play along with the jam track and show you what we’re going to learn.
So, let’s learn what I just showed you. I love a lot of these repetitive licks because you can just play the same lick over and over again and even though the chords behind it are changing, the lick will work because it’s the same scale. So, we’re in the key of A doing kind of a slow blues in A and I’m starting here on the fifth fret. What I’m doing is I’m barring the first and second string or the E and B string with my pointer finger here on the fifth fret and actually slide from the fourth fret in, that’s the first that happens.
You could play it straight without sliding but all those little subtleties are what makes good blues guitar. It makes it really sound like the human voice. So, that’s your first thing that you’re doing there. Notice, I’m just playing the first two strings with down strokes. So for that part, what I do is I come to the seventh fret and then bar the first three strings, the E, B and G strings but I’m only playing the second and third string or the B and the G string.
Now, go down to the fifth fret again barring those first three just exactly the same, playing the same two strings that are played here on the seventh fret, the B and G string. But this time, I give a little bit of a bend, subtle. I mean it’s very subtle before landing on the seventh fret here, fourth string. The reason that you give this a lot of times the bends, they’re not necessary. There are no hard and fast rules with it but the bends or subtle bends. It’s so subtle, you almost can't hear it specially when you’re doing it in real time but it gives it a little bit of character. This does little subtle bends. They really make your playing standout. So, practice that. If you’re on an acoustic that might be difficult but try and get a—that’s the first one.
Now, the second length is exactly the same except for one note. So it looks like this.
See where I hammer-on there? So, what I did there is when I come to this fifth fret, I’m hammering-on the third string, on the sixth fret there which is a C# note. So, what that’s doing is that’s making that a major chord starting as a minor without your middle finger there, it’s a minor chord but with it there, it’s a major. And so, the first time through its minor, the second through its major, the third time through its minor, the fourth time through its major, so you’re just alternating. Here’s the first, second, third and fourth time.
So, it’s really that simple and even the chords are changing behind you or underneath you, that same riff works which makes it nice. So then, we just come to this little part that goes:
And for that, all I’m doing is I’m playing the first two strings, the E and the B string. I’m pushing down on the seventh fret, first string here and then I’m pushing down on the ninth fret, second string like that. And I’m just playing those top two strings and I kind of slide into that too. I’m going to take my pinky here and I push down on the ninth fret, first string keeping these other two, right in place. So, you may also want to practice doing that until you got that motion down. That was the first one. The second one is exact same thing except its down two frets. It’s pretty easy, a lot of repetition. And then we go right back to:
And so, this time we go back to the one where the lick where we add that C# and we close it out by going to the seventh fret there, fourth string. And then the last note is on the fifth string, seventh fret with some vibrato and it happens really fast.
You got to really reach down. Where you run into trouble is letting go here because you’ve already hammered-on with your middle finger and then you’ve got to put down your ring finger here and then you got keep your ring finger there on the seventh fret and while it’s down, you’re going to release your middle finger, push down on the seventh fret just like that.
Hopefully those licks will be useful to you. I use them all the time and I think we can thank Chuck Berry for those really. They work really well whether you’re playing slow blues or fast. That’s all I’ve got for this lesson. I’ll see you on the next one.