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INTRODUCTION This series of books are for the student who desires to become a creative musician through the study of improvisation. Each book deals with a specific scale, or a specific chord progression. Scale application is at the heart of improvisation.

This book deals with the blues chord progression. Through the application of chord substitution and embellishment, it's posible to transform the blues from its basic three chord trick into a very sophisticated progression. So for you guys who are bored with a three chord blues, this is for you. Besides looking at the progression in its basic and advanced forms, there is an in depth discussion of scale application and general soloing aspects. There are many exercises that will develop your technique. There are licks which you can put into your own solos. There is an in depth discussion of scale applications to the blues. There are several solos which demonstrate use of scales. Audio files along with backing tracks for you to play along to are included. Tab is supplied along with music notation.

TUNING NOTES To be sure that you're in tune with the backing tracks, tune your guitar to the guitar tuning on track one. This text was written by Joe Willis, a professional session guitarist of many years experience at the cutting edge of the music business. He has played and worked with many of the biggest names in the world of music including, Tom Jones, Ray Charles, Cilla Black, Lulu, Dusty Springfield, Rick Wakeman, Englebert Humperdink, The Everly Bros, Irene Cara, and jazz icons, Kurt Edelhagen, Jan Luc Ponty, Attila Zoller, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Art Farmer, Michel Colombier to name just a few.

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CONTENTS

Page

Audio Track

Introduction and Tuning Notes ...................................................................2..................1 Chapter The 12 Bar Progression...................................................................................6 1 Example 1.1........................................................................................................6..................2 Examples 1.2 1.3...............................................................................................7..................2 Examples 1.4 1.5...............................................................................................8..................2 The Pentatonic scale.........................................................................................9 Example 1.6........................................................................................................9 Examples 1.7 1.8...............................................................................................10 Examples 1.9 1.10...........................................................................................11..................3 Minor Pentatonic Over The Blues............................................................12 Example 1.11.....................................................................................................12 Blues I...............................................................................................................13..................4 Blues 1 analysis................................................................................................14 Chapter 2

Examples 2.1 through 2.3................................................................................15 Blues 2...............................................................................................................16..................5 Blues 2 analysis................................................................................................17 Blues Rhythm Variations..............................................................................18 Example 2.4......................................................................................................18..................6 Example 2.5......................................................................................................19..................6 Example 2.6......................................................................................................20..................6 Chord embellishment........................................................................................21 Funk Blues One...............................................................................................22..................7 Funk Blues Two............................................................................................... 22..................7 Blues 3.............................................................................................................23..................8 Blues 3 analysis...............................................................................................25

Chapter 3 Superimposing Pentatonics.........................................................................26 Blues 4..............................................................................................................27..................9 Blues 4 analysis...............................................................................................28 Blues Soloing With The Major Scale.......................................................28 Major scale pentatonics....................................................................................29 Examples 3.1 3.2.............................................................................................29 Example 3.3......................................................................................................30 Pentatonics Over The Dominant Seventh Chord................................31 Examples 3.4 through 3.7.................................................................................32 Examples 3.8 3.9.............................................................................................33 Example 3.10...................................................................................................34..................10 Pentatonics Over The Blues........................................................................34 Example 3.11....................................................................................................35..................10

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Audio Track

Page Chapter 4 The Blues Scale.......................................................................................................35 Examples 4.1 4.2..............................................................................................35 Blues scale forms...............................................................................................36 Practising the blues scale..................................................................................38 Example 4.3........................................................................................................39................11 Blues Scale Application..........................................................................................42 Examples 4.4 4.5................................................................................................42 Blues scale and approach notes..........................................................................42 Examples 4.6 through 4.9..................................................................................43................12 Example 4.10......................................................................................................44 Blues scale application table..............................................................................44 A Minor Affair....................................................................................................46................13 A Minor Affair analysis......................................................................................51 You And I..........................................................................................................53................14 You And I anlysis...............................................................................................57 Chapter 5

Examples 5.1 through 5.3..................................................................................58 Example 5.4.......................................................................................................59................15 Example 5.5.......................................................................................................60................15 Example 5.6.......................................................................................................61................15 The Jazz Blues.........................................................................................................62 Example 5.7........................................................................................................63 Examples 5.8 through 5.10.................................................................................63 Examples 5.11 5.12...........................................................................................64................16 Example 5.13.....................................................................................................65................16 Example 5.14......................................................................................................66................16 Example 5.15.....................................................................................................67 Jazz Rhythm.............................................................................................................67 Example 5.16.....................................................................................................67 The jazz comp....................................................................................................68 Examples 5.17 5.18...........................................................................................68................16

Chapter 6 Jazz Blues Soloing...................................................................................................69 Scales for basic jazz blues.................................................................................69 Example 6.1........................................................................................................69 Scales for jazz blues with additional chords......................................................70 Examples 6.2 6.3...............................................................................................70 Example 6.4.......................................................................................................71 Scales for jazz blues with tritone substitution....................................................71 Example 6.5.......................................................................................................71 Scales for cycle blues.........................................................................................72 Example 6.6.......................................................................................................72 Example 6.7........................................................................................................73

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Page

Audio Track

Blues 5................................................................................................................74................17 Blues 6................................................................................................................75................17 Blues 7................................................................................................................76................17 Chapter 7 Additional Blues Variations................................................................................77 Examples 7.1 through 7.3...................................................................................77 Examples 7.4 through 7.6...................................................................................78 Examples 7.7 7.8...............................................................................................79 Half Step Connections...........................................................................................79 Example 7.9........................................................................................................79 Example 7.10.....................................................................................................80................18 Exqamples 7.11 7.12.........................................................................................81................19 Chord Patterns........................................................................................................83 Example 7.13.....................................................................................................83 Example 7.14.....................................................................................................84................20 Chapter 8 Blues Form Variations..........................................................................................85 Examples 8.1 8.2...............................................................................................85 Examples 8.3 8.4...............................................................................................86 Examples 8.5 8.6...............................................................................................87 The Minor Blues.....................................................................................................88 Example 8.7........................................................................................................88 Minor blues soloing............................................................................................88 Example 8.8.......................................................................................................89 Examples 8.9 8.10............................................................................................90 Blues 8...............................................................................................................91................21 Minor Blues Variations........................................................................................95 Examples 8.11 through 8.14..............................................................................95 Example 8.15.....................................................................................................96 Coda............................................................................................................................97

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CHAPTER ONE

THE 12 BAR PROGRESSION

The blues is one of the most popular and enduring forms of music ever to evolve. It can accommodate many styles of music. Rock, metal, fusion, blues and jazz players perform the blues according to their particular style of music. The basic structure of the blues is a I - IV - V chord progression, meaning that chords built on the 1st, 4th and 5th degrees of the major scale are the three primary chords contained in the blues progression. When rock, metal and blues players perform the blues they mostly stick to the basic I - IV - V progression. Jazz players however, use a more progressive set of chords. While still retaining the basic I - IV - V movement, other chords are inserted between the three primary chords. The jazz blues progression is covered later. The blues can be played as an 8, 12, 16, 24 or 44 bar progression. The 12 bar format is the most common. The blues can be played in both major and minor keys and in time signatures other than 4. Let us begin with the basic I - IV - V progression in the 12 bar format. Our first blues is in the 4 key of E major. Here are the I - IV - V chords. I

CHORD

E

IV CHORD

A

V CHORD

B

The following shows how the three chords are distributed across the 12 bar format. BARS BARS BARS BAR BAR BAR BAR

1 THROUGH 4 5 AND 6 7 AND 8 9 10 11 12

I IV I V IV I V

CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD CHORD

E A E B A E B

Play chords in the positions indicated above the bars. track 2

Ex1.1

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Chapter One One of the most popular methods of playing blues rhythm is to play the root of the chord on each quaver of the bar while alternating the 5th and 6th of the chord on the next string above. When playing the one chord the root E is the sixth string played open. Play the 5th B and 6th C # with the first and third fingers at the second and fourth frets on the fifth string. The root of the four chord is the fifth string A played open. Play the 5th E and 6th F # with the first and third fingers at the second and fourth frets on the fourth string. Play the root Bof the five chord with the first finger at the second fret on the fifth string. Play the 5th F # and 6th G # with the second and fourth fingers at the fourth and sixth frets on the fourth string. Play Ex1.2 in a straight eight feel using down strokes only. track 2

Ex1.2

Let's now add a little variation by introducing the b7th into the rhythm pattern. When playing the one chord its b7th D is played with the fourth finger at the fifth fret on the fifth string along with the 5th and 6th. Apply this fingering to the four chord. When playing the five chord its b7th A is played with the fourth finger at the seventh fret on the fourth string along with the 5th and 6th. Reaching for the b7th in the five chord is difficult, keep the wrist low down beneath the neck, this will improve your reach. track 2

Ex1.3

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Chapter One The muting effect is very often applied to this style of blues rhythm. Try it first with a clean sound, then through a distortion pedal for a heavier rock feel. Since the blues can be played in all keys, let us now transpose (change the key) our blues to the key of A. The three primary chords in the key of A major are I chord A

IV chord D

V chord E

Notice, the distribution of the I - IV - V chords is exactly the same as in the key of E major. The only difference is the key. This distribution will be the same in all keys.

Ex1.4

Bars Bars Bars Bar Bar Bar Bar

1 through 4 5 and 6 7 and 8 9 10 11 12

I IV I V IV I V

chord chord chord chord chord chord chord

A D A E D A E

track 2

n

Notice that Ex1.4 employs dominant seventh chords, they have a stronger blues tonality. Check the key of Ex1.5, all F, C and G notes are played sharp, except when is placed before the note. See page 7 for notes on the fingering. Ex1.5

track 2

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Chapter One When playing Ex1.5 you have the option of playing the piece in the open position or the fifth position. Let's discuss the fingering for the fifth. Play the one chord root A with the first finger at the fifth fret on the sixth string. Play the 5th E with the second finger at the seventh fret on the fifth string. Play the 6th F # and b7th G at the ninth and tenth frets respectivly on the fifth string with the fourth finger. Play the four chord D in the same position with the same fingering as the one chord except, the first finger is placed on the fifth string and the second finger on the fourth. The five chord is played exactly the same as the four chord, on the same strings just one tone (two frets) higher. Using the above fingering makes it is possible to play this type of blues rhythm in all keys by simply moving the whole fingering process to another location on the fingerboard. Let's move the fingering to the third position. We now have the blues in the key of G major. At the sixth position you're in the key of B b major. Because the guitar is an integral part of the rhythm section and produces harmony by way of chords, the guitarist is expected to know and be able to play the blues progression in all keys and in all the various types of rhythms. Up to this point we've played the blues in a straight eight using consecutive down strokes on the two relevant strings. Play the preceding blues examples again, this time in a triplet feel with alternate pick strokes.

THE PENTATONIC SCALE Mastering all types of scales is vital to the development of essential skills applied when playing improvised solos. The pentatonic scale is used extensively in rock, metal and blues guitar soloing, and to a lesser extent in jazz. The scale is less prevalent in jazz because jazz players use other scales more frequently than rock, metal or blues players. However, the scale is still very common in jazz. The scale can be constructed as a major or minor pentatonic, consisting of five notes within an octave. Scales are constructed upon their own unique set of fixed intervals. This arrangment of intervals is referred to as the "Intervalic Definition" of the scale. Since scales are named after their start note, this will define the following as C major and C minor pentatonics. MAJOR PENTATONIC

Intervalic definition

TONE

TONE

MINOR 3rd

Ex1.6

9

TONE

MINOR 3rd


Pentatonic scale cont'd

Chapter One

MINOR PENTATONIC Intervalic definition

MINOR 3rd

TONE

TONE

MINOR 3rd

TONE

Ex1.7

As stated, the scale consists of five notes. The first and last notes in the preceding examples are the same, only placed an octave apart. The scale contains five different note names. It is vital that you are able to construct all types of scales. This obviously entails memorising their intervalic definition. The easiest way for these two is to remember 1 2 3 5 6 for the major pentatonic and 1 b3 4 5 b7 for the minor pentatonic. Before you can start applying the scale to your solos, you must first learn to play it over two octaves. The scale can be played in seven different fingerings, meaning that any given pentatonic can be played seven different ways. Both the major and minor pentatonic scales reside in each of the seven fingerings. The following fingerboard diagram and Ex1.8 show the scales placed in the fifth position. Since this book is a study of the blues and not a study of the pentatonic scale, all seven fingerings and a complete discussion of the scale's theory and application cannot be covered here. For further study of fingerings and application see my book "Soloing With The Pentatonic Scale" from this series. Fingerboard diagram of the scale.

Ex1.8

5th position

The above scale is defined as A minor pentatonic because the first note is A, and the scale conforms to the intervalic definition of the minor pentatonic. Play the above scale and start on its second note C will result in C major pentatonic since C is now the first note and the scale now conforms to the intervalic definition of the major pentatonic. Although both scales are within the one fingering pattern, you can identify the minor pentatonic as playing from the first finger on the sixth string and the major pentatonic as playing from the fourth finger on the sixth string. 10


Chapter One

Pentatonic scale cont'd

Each of the seven fingering patterns of the pentatonic can be played in all positions on the fingerboard. Let us now move the above fingering pattern to a different position, by doing so the scale will change key and its name accordingly. Move the scale down one tone (two frets) to the third position, we now have G minor pentatonic, and if played from its second note B b major pentatonic.

Ex1.9

3rd position

Let us now put the minor pentatonic to work with the following exercise. Ex1.10 moves chromatically up the fingerboard. Be sure to get up to those high positions and then descend the same way. Be aware at all times of exactly which scale you are playing. Use alternate pick strokes. track 3

Ex1.10

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Chapter One

MINOR PENTATONIC OVER THE BLUES

Before you can apply the scale to the following blues progression, let's first establish which pentatonic is used over each chord of the blues. There are several options. 1) Over the I7 chord, play the minor pentatonic based on its root. Over the IV7 chord, play the minor pentatonic based on its fifth. Over the V7 chord, play the minor pentatonic based on its root. This option is used in Ex1.11. Option 2) play over each chord the minor pentatonic based on its root. The only difference between this option and option 1) is the minor pentatonic based on the root of the IV7 chord replaces the minor pentatonic based on its fifth. The b3 of the minor pentatonic based on the root of the IV7 chord tends to sound a little too dissonant and should be handled with care. Most players treat the b3 as an approach note resolving to the major third of the chord, in Ex1.11 this will be F resolving to F # over D7. Ex1.11

Option. 3) play the minor pentatonic based on the key over the entire twelve bars. Over a blues in the key of A use A minor pentatonic. With this option you'll have to be more selective with your choice of notes when playing over the V7 chord. The notes of the scale that are present in the V7 chord are the notes you should be targeting, chord notes create harmony. The remaining scale notes which aren't present in the chord function as extensions of the chord or approach notes.

Depending on their harmonic relationship to the chord, certain extensions can sustain while others must be of short duration and must resolve onto the nearest chord note.

The following blues solo incorporates techniques such as hammer-on, pull off, gliss etc. "Blues 1" is in the key of B b. Even though the solo moves around the fingerboard, it is for the most part just B b minor pentatonic. So that you can experience playing with more than just a rhythm section, this arrangement features brass and sax sections, as in a jazz orchestra. This will demand full concentration on what you're playing, don't let the orchestra distract you. The solo is played twice through, afterwhich the backing continues so that you can practise the solo.

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BLUES 1

Chapter One track 4

As can be seen, there's a four bar intro plus a guitar pick-up leading into the first bar of the twelve bar progression. Just in case you're not familiar with them, grace notes are small quavers with a diagonal slash passing through them. They have no time value attached to them, they're used to indicate (by their pitch) from where a string bend is executed. 13


BLUES 1 ANALYSIS

Chapter One

Blues 1, in the style of BB King, illustrates the use of the pentatonic scale with a couple of additional notes. The solo is based on B b minor pentatonic, the additional notes are C and G. The pick-up bar employs four techniques, played as follows. Place the third finger on C at the eighth fret on the first string, pick the string and bend the C up to D b, repeat the same bend on the second D b, after which, let down back to C and pull off onto B b. One pick stroke must be used for the first three quavers. The second B b, which is glissed onto, is played at the eleventh fret on the second string with the fourth finger. Since the tied over B b in bar 6 was played at the eleventh fret, the following G is played with the first finger and the B b with the fourth finger and glissed off. The gliss must occur on the second half of beat three. Bars 7 and 8 are played in the eighth position. Place the fourth finger on the E b and bend up to F. Use the fourth finger for the following E b and the second finger for D b. Use the fourth finger to pull off the B b down to G. The cut off D b is played with the second finger. Be sure not to apply the cut off too soon, it must occur on the third beat. Play bar 9 in the tenth position. Start the line with the third finger. Use fourth finger to first finger for the pull off F to D b in bar 10. The cut off occurs on the second beat. The lick in bar 11 is played in the eighth position starting with the fourth finger. The lick in bar 13 starts in the sixth position. Gliss up to the second B b with the fourth finger. The following A b is played with the second finger, F with the third and the glissed F with the first finger. Play bar 15 in the eighth position starting with the fourth finger. ==========================================

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The Blues From Basic to Advanced