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vet_ca
(@vet_ca)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Hi everyone. Hope I can get some direction here to aid my progress in "learning to play blues lead". So far I've memorized and am able to play 3 of the 5 blues pentatonic boxes in whatever key I need to. Problem now is that I need to learn some riffs, arpeggios, whatever to fill in between chords. Not having a lot of luck however because everything I try to "invent" pretty much sucks.

I've thought about recording some 12 bar blues chords in garage band on my ipad but just haven't done it yet. Is there some way other than trial and error (I seem to be finding all the errors) to play a blues chord, play a little riff, play another blues chord, etc, etc?.

I will add that I have not yet, nor had I in the past 40+ years, ever "mapped" the fretboard (know at the blink of an eye what note(s) I was playing at any given time. Is this really necessary.

Thank you for any and all help offered.

Sincerely,
vet_ca


   
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fleaaaaaa
(@fleaaaaaa)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 680
 

Learn as many licks from other people's solos as you can, chop and change them and use them in your own blues solos. This is why there are so many books and magazines out there showing you how to play other people's licks. :lol:

together we stand, divided we fall..........


   
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rsadler
(@rsadler)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 210
 

Learn as many licks from other people's solos as you can, chop and change them and use them in your own blues solos. This is why there are so many books and magazines out there showing you how to play other people's licks. :lol:

I've read that somewhere else. Is that kinda what most people that play Blues do?


   
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fleaaaaaa
(@fleaaaaaa)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 680
 

Partly.... that's how everyone starts I think - learning from what others have done. It's like strumming though, beginners learn what other people do then when they get further they can make up their own patterns for songs. Then apply it with lead guitar - you start by learning what others have done, you may use some of the stuff still but you can make it up as well as you go along using the feeling you get.

together we stand, divided we fall..........


   
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almann1979
(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1281
 

Don't underestimate the benefit of long period of improvisation over backing tracks as well. This will help you get used to linking the positions that you know and you will come up with little licks and tricks of your own doing this, which will evolve over time,

Also, if you don't know your fretboard notes, you will know your chord shapes. You should also try to deliberately target just the roots, then thirds, then fifths etc while you practice at improv, try this with the chord shapes you know for each chord, this will give you good fretboard coverage.

I believe knowing the notes is important, but when I play,I think in terms of intervals I.e. I will slide to the 9th for this chord etc. I find that method of thinking far quicker than thinking in terms of actual notes. That is the benefit of the guitar, you CAN think that way with this instrument.

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


   
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kc0bbq
(@kc0bbq)
Eminent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 21
 

If books are your thing, John Ganapes has a good blues riff book (companion to his blues method books) called "Blues Riffs You Can Use". It's not just a bunch of riffs, but has good explanations for how to drop them in to 12-bar blues. There are some riffs that he explains how to just use part of them, and example tunes where they're put together in part or whole. I have some of the books in the series, there's a chord theory book and a rhythm book. I think there's a R&B book due out soon. I like them. Sometimes I listen to the lesson CD in the car sometimes from the first method book because the songs are so catchy.

Otherwise, yeah, learn songs until you get the patterns that are the building blocks of the riffs. To add on to knowing where the chord tones are, one thing to do is just end the phrases you come up with on the root of the chord for the bar you're in. There are other options, but it will always make a riff seem complete, especially when you're trying to get a feel for it.

Just don't fight your own sound when you start to find it. That's how you can have 85 (or more) years of different versions of Sweet Home Chicago or Crossroads Blues and they're all similar but different.


   
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fleaaaaaa
(@fleaaaaaa)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 680
 

You might not like Paul Gilbert....... but I think this is a pretty good lesson about how to improvise which I feel is what you are trying to do. He suggests you take a rhythm...... something you can clap - think simple at first, then use the pentatonic scale - chose a few notes and see what you can come out with. A lot of what he does is pretty simple and it sounds very good. It is kind of how I work but no-one ever told me to do it.

together we stand, divided we fall..........


   
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guitarforlife
(@guitarforlife)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 17
 

Try starting with someone else's lick and change up the phrasing a little or pick your own notes and copy the phrasing from a different lick. That should get you started. You can also come up with a lick, and see how many different ways you can phrase.

My Blog
www.playing-the-guitar.net


   
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Cat
 Cat
(@cat)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1224
 

Truthfully...just tuck away those scales and wait for LIFE to kick you in the head. You'll get instantly better. Try marriage!

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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PEAVEYUSA
(@peaveyusa)
Estimable Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 75
 

I heard once that you can't learn the blues. You have to feel the blues. To play and understand them you have to be at some low point in your life and thats where the blues comes from. That being said, I picked my guitars back up when I was in a long term layoff (low point in my life) and I learned the tonics and then started imporvising with backing tracks. There are tons of backing tracks on youtube and there is a free backing track wesite that allows you to download the tracks. Well I started with the blues but thats progressed into some rock and now I'm working on metal. But the blues still holds a specail place for me. I love the blues.

Also in regards to that Gilbert video. Thats excelent advice. I saw a video of BB King thats focused on something like that. But BB says pretend the guitar is talking and you're having a conversation with it.

My advice to you, take those tonic scales you have learned and start playing with some blues tacks. One of my favorite ones is SAD MELODY in aminor


   
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awesomeguitarist
(@awesomeguitarist)
New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1
 

I totally agree about learning licks from other people's solos. this is a language after all and you shouldn't start from scratch every time. I also highly recommend this book, one-month guitar virtuoso that I found on lulu. totally cheap and worth it. got me out of my rut: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/grahamkeir1


   
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caliban4
(@caliban4)
Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 27
 

I guess everyone is different and has his own method of madness. I have been unsuccessful at learning and memorising licks. I also find them of little use for me personally because on top of trying to remember a ton of them I then have to insert them back into a piece and try to join them in with the rest of the fill notes I am playing and there is a tendency to just play a bunch of licks with no real purpose. What I find more useful for myself is to listen to players and music and form ideas of how things should sound mentally or by singing made up lines. Improvising over a backing track and following the sounds and the chord changes has been a more successful way for me than learning 50 specific hot blues licks, etc though I can see the utility perhaps of this by having the mechanical utility and finger/muscle memory of the licks.


   
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