Warford here, Editorial Manager for Guitar Tips.
to our Guitar Tips newsletter and thank you for taking the time
to tune in. Join us as we examine the joys of blues guitar and the
influence it has had on modern day music.
hard to believe how quickly a few months pass by. We are nearing
the end of our series on various genres and styles. While it's extremely
hard to cover all of them, we have picked out some of the most prevalent
styles and players in today's society. Today we will dive into blues
how to make your guitar play what you're feeling. Check out our
section dealing with blues rhythm and try out some new chords and
also have our Severe Gear Premiere up and running again. Hear about
the latest gear and find out what the best fit is for you.
site review this week is Mike's Guitar Site. See what resources
you can read up on and how you can become more connected with the
rest of the web.
always, you can see what your fellow subscribers are saying in our
Feedback Booth. Hear some suggestions and ideas that have poured
in over the last two weeks and take a look at how we are going to
all of that in mind, let's get started!
from the inside out.
guitar is one of the most intriguing and interesting genres that
is out there. It has a rich history, interesting people and a way
of expressing emotion unlike any other style of music. Essentially,
blues tells a story of one's life experiences and has various themes
ranging from travel to current events.
isn't as frilly as other genres of music. It is raw and uncensored
and as far as the guitar is concerned, one of the best venues to
let your creativity soar. You won't be criticized for your technique
here, rather, you'll be praised for your ingenuity.
the realm of blues guitar, there are many different subspecialties.
There is delta blues,
guitarists fail to realize is that legendary players such as Eric
Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn were all blues players. Many of their
songs were inspired by blues and created a whole new generation
of pumped up guitarists.
many people fail to make that connection and blues is often underestimated
by aspiring guitarists. The reality is that blues is only what you
I respect those who choose not to play blues, I have little tolerance
for ignorance. You have heard it said time and time again throughout
this newsletter that blues has been the foundation for many of your
favorite styles that you enjoy today.
lead uses a multifaceted approach that is based upon smooth bends,
hammer on's, pull off's and many other classic techniques. The way
they are delivered is what sets blues apart. First off, blues rarely,
if ever, follows one set rule.
there are numerous patterns that have made blues famous. You can
branch off of these patterns into your own unique style. Here are
some riffs that are usually played by bass guitar but will give
you an idea of the shuffle feel that blues can take on:
Now we can introduce some other skills that we have learned in previous
articles. Let's take improvisation for example. The above two riffs
offer plenty of opportunity to come up with some inventive licks.
you add on some hammer on's, pull off's and a bit of attitude to
the second example, you can come up with this riff:
you can make anything sound bluesy with some simple scales. Here
are some of the most used scale patterns in blues guitar:
are various kinds of blues scales. Many are derived from the pentatonic
scale. However, a true blues scale has what is known as a blue note.
A blues note means a drop in pitch located on the 3rd, 5th, or 7th
tone of the scale. If this flatted note isn't included in the key
signature, an accidental will be used to tell you to play that note
as a flat.
you're not familiar with this terminology, please refer back to
our previous lessons on scales located in the archive.
scratches the tip of blues scales and there are many other variations.
I encourage you to buy a scale book to hone your skills and see
the other blues scales available.
scales are commonly used in blues as well, such as the mixolydian
scale. While we won't be discussing it today, this scale can open
up new doors into the world of blues. Here's an example:
chords and rhythm.
favorite chords are blues chords. While some of them may be a little
more complicated, you can really get a groove going with them. Here
are five common blues chords:
Don't play string.
may have noticed that all of them have the same name tag of seven.
These are known as dominant seventh chords. They sound great when
played together and give you plenty of possibilities.
can also play a G7 chord by moving your finger from the third fret
to the first fret on the high E string. It will require you to change
patterns for blues are usually fast paced. In order to do this,
we keep things simple and rhythmic. Here is a great strumming pattern
Down Up Up Down
things up a bit and try switching the up and down strums in the
above example. Keep practicing them and you'll be well on your way.
Here's an example of it in action:
I am using E7, A Major, and A7. I simply hammer onto the 3rd fret
on the high E string to make the A7 chord.
find that I used a lot of rest in-between chords. These little pauses
can be done by moving your fingers slightly off the fretboard and
discontinue strumming at the same time. You can stop strumming for
that brief moment and pick right back up again without breaking
will be challenging at first but you will soon grow into it. In
musical language, it can be described as a "shuffle" feel.
It Into Practice
playing blues, you may encounter a problem where everything you
play begins to sound the same. You may find that you continually
revert back to what you know. In other words, you're playing in
a box. Here are some helpful hints to help you avoid this problem.
start off with playing short bursts of music that last for roughly
10 seconds. These short "Bursts" should sound like a solo. Vary
the tempo and the pause time in between these short rests.
try key changes. Move into a new key and incorporate the techniques
that you are already familiar with. Use dynamics. Going from
something soft to something hard really has a great effect and
will train your mind to think outside of the box.
also suggest that you learn how to play 16th notes and 32nd
notes in rapid succession so you will be as equally equipped
to play the fast notes as you are the slow notes.
in on your right hand and insure that you give it a good work
out everyday by using alternative picking and rapid picking
urge you to focus in on that last tip. Stop looking at your left
and right hand as two separate entities. Rather, look at them as
one. You may notice that when you strum hard with your right hand,
your left hand becomes tense even though it's just holding a simple
problem like that can lead to serious health problems in the future
such as carpal tunnel syndrome. To avoid that, practice playing
with your left hand relaxed while your right hand strums. This will
also increase speed and help you to add texture to your blues solos.
our last gear review, a lot has happened in the world of guitar.
In late January, Anaheim had the pleasure of playing host to the
annual NAMM show. The acronym NAMM stands for the National Association
of Music and this organization has one of the biggest and baddest
music expos in the world.
annual show is where all of your favorite guitar manufacturers such
as Fender, Gibson, Taylor, etc tend to release their latest products.
Many manufacturers give the public their first glimpse of their
products at the NAMM show. Hundreds of companies send in their troops
and it truly is a feast for the eyes.
year, Eric Denton, owner of Guitar Trader, was on the spot checking
out the best deals on gear for people like yourself. He managed
to track down some rare amps and get some great deals on some other
products. Here's some of what he came up with:
Limited Edition Hot Rod Deluxe Jensons Only 200 Made
amp is quite impressive, not to mention rare. Fender is one of the
finest amp manufactures around and they knew exactly what they were
doing when they designed this amp. It has looks to kill and enough
pristine tone to make your head spin.
has 40 Watts of power, which is a respectable amount of power for
anyone ranging from amateur to professional. This amp is a tube
amp, which adds a creamy tone with a nice touch of what I like to
makes up for the middle of the road power is the ability to hook
this puppy up to a larger speaker system, which leaves the amp as
your personal monitor (most amps have this "direct out"
feature). Provided your venue has a decent sound system, your tone
won't be sacrificed.
addition to the above, it has an original speaker design that is
unique to this amp. You will enjoy some great built in effects such
as the Fender spring reverb. The amp also includes a foot switch
so you can cycle through the amps options, which saves time and
is a great thing to have.
I recognize the steep price tag on this amp, I want to point out
that you will get what you pay for. Fender amps are built to last
a lifetime and keep their tone and quality.
I started to play guitar, I played on an amp that was quite similar
to this one. It never failed me once and it is extremely reliable.
it may be small, it is mighty. It comes loaded with effects and
has enough power to satisfy most beginner guitarists. The Fender
Bullet has all of the buttons and knobs that are needed to shape
an excellent tone to suit any beginner guitar.
I fully recognize that it is impossible to reproduce the great tones
and options seen on more expensive amps, the Bullet gives you a
small taste at a fraction of the cost.
plus to this amp is its portability. You can easily take it wherever
you desire without any problems. Great for practices and travel.
saved one of my personal favorites for last. All too often, lefty
guitarists are left(no pun intended) out of the picture. This guitar
solves those problems. It offers exceptional quality at an affordable
price, which is rare for the majority of lefty guitars.
can look forward to years of enjoyment coupled with all of the fine
details that you would expect from much more expensive instruments.
Fishmen electronics duplicate every slight detail that is produced
by your guitar. The body shape, bridge, and wood offer great resonance
and matchless response for the money. With a binded fretboard and
a very cool head stock, it is a combination that you cannot beat.
you're a lefty in need of a great quality acoustic guitar, this
may be the perfect fit for you. Click
here to check it out.
you go to shop for an amp, there are a few things that you should
keep in mind. Here are some tips to get you started:
the size of the amp into consideration. Do you really need an
amp sitting in your bedroom that has the possibility of breaking
windows? Do you plan to gig and need something that can fill
the room? Ask yourself these questions because in the end, the
more watts you want, the more money you need.
genre of music do you like to play? As you have seen in our
previous issues leading up to this point, different genres usually
requires different setups. Some amps come loaded with effects
that you will never need or use. Those cost you extra money
as well, so it's best to get an amp with effects that suite
you best. If you can't find the perfect one, get the most simplistic.
your ears tell you the best choice. If you're new at this thing,
take a more experienced musician along to help you select the
best amp for you.
always love surfing sites that offer me valuable resources and great
information. Mike's Guitar Site encompasses all of those things
and quenches that thirst for more interesting information about
guitar. What is the purpose of Mike's Guitar site? It is to provide
you with links and resources to help you develop as a player.
can also enjoy learning about your favorite players, get inside
information on the best educational sites and hear various audio
clips from guitarists such as Joe Satriani. If your interested in
getting merchandise from your favorite band, you will be happy to
know that there are links to all of these establishments as well.
may not be as flashy as many of the sites out there on the web,
but there is care put in to insure that the content you see is correct
and well researched. I recommend it for getting the resources you
need and reading up on some of the hottest guitarists in the industry.
you want to check out Mike's Guitar Site, simply click
very excited this week as we have a huge selection of wonderful
emails to share with you that have piled in since our last newsletter.
Please, keep telling us your suggestions, thoughts, and comments
about our newsletters. Here is a sampling of what you have written
in to us with. Enjoy!
Musa of Nigeria writes to us with this interesting question:
Jordan, It's really amazing that I keeping learning so much in a
very short time from your newsletter. You have inspired me in a
very special way and my love and deep respect for the guitar has
grown tremendously. I can't thank you enough. Lately, I have been
wondering what's the principle behind revolutionizing the guitar
into seven strings(for Rhythm and Lead guitar) and five or six strings
for the bass. How do you tune them? What notes are being replicated?
What value are they intended to add to music? I will greatly appreciate
your help in putting me through. Keep the good work up. All the
best, Michael Musa (Nigeria, West Africa)"
Jeff Rice wanted to share his words of encouragement. Thank you!
Jordan, It is always good to read your impressive library of facts
in the guitar world. Keep it up mate, it's a great tool for learning
the guitar or improving your playing."
every statement I make in this newsletter always makes a great impression.
Like you, I am human and sometimes neglect to cover certain areas
or include certain information. Mike Hinton wanted to share his
opinion on the most recent article and the frustration he is facing:
you might want to consider renaming your newsletters ELECTRIC Guitar
Tips, because that's what nearly all of the publications are about.
We are living in the new golden age of acoustics, with many high
quality acoustic guitars available at reasonable prices, and there
are legions of acoustic players you could reach.
might also find that these players are often (demographically) at
a stage in life where they have more disposable income than ever
before. Reading the most recent newsletter, I'm not convinced there's
a lot of knowledge about acoustics in your organization. For instance,
it was stated that Gibson made it's first guitar in 1936-try about
70 years prior to that.
has produced some of the greatest acoustic guitars ever played (I
own a wonderful J-200 and I'll never part with it), such as the
J-45, J-185, Hummingbird, Dove, J-200-the king of the flattops,
amplifiers have revolutionized the acoustic sound, with brands such
as SWR and Crate. There's a whole world of great acoustic sound
to be explored, and it would serve your organization well to take
advantage of it. Sincerely, Mike Hinton"
off, my apologies for not stating that I was referring to production
electric guitars. I am quite aware of Gibson's long lasting acoustic
history and will cover it in a future newsletter. I can assure all
of you that we will be tackling the acoustic world very shortly.
am a huge acoustic fan (just ask my family). Personally, I admire
the music you can produce with these fine instruments and agree
with Mike on many of his very valid points. Patience is key, so
sit tight and you will not be disappointed.
is the email the inspired us to share some of the NAMM show room
amps with you. Here's what Brian had to say:
Jordan, for all the information that you have put together in the
last bunch of newsletters. They are indeed very helpful. I wonder
if you could steer me in the direction of a good sounding amp to
plug in my fender strat. We play country and rock and a good mixture
of other music as well. I have been using a Peavey Bandit 112 but
I am not impressed with the overall sound. Any help would be appreciated
highly recommend many of the higher end Fender amps for your amplification
purposes. Trayner also has some great versatile amps. Considering
you are looking for a nice clean tone and a warm crunch, I recommend
the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Happy hunting!
wraps up yet another edition of our Guitar Tips newsletter. We hope
that you took something out of it that you will be able to apply
to your own unique style.
has been in the forefront of our culture for decades and continues
to spill over into many other styles of music. Perhaps this is the
aspect of blues that I find to be the most intriguing. When you
look at it from a technique perspective, blues doesn't use any "trick"
that is different from what you would use in any other genre.
simply uses what you have, some light distortion to get the right
tone and a lot of heart. The perfect combination for a lot of fun.
the coming weeks you can look forward to more "How to"
lessons. We'll be diving into the world of acoustic guitar, looking
at simple do it yourself guitar maintenance, and even tackle effects
and how you can use them properly.
week will be the last article in our series covering genres. If
your favorite type of music wasn't covered, don't fret as we will
look at them in a few months.
next time, keep on picking!
BY GUITAR TIPS
If you've always wanted to learn to play the guitar but
never had the chance, give me 17 minutes a day for 90 days
and I'll show you how to play virtually any song you want!