So You Wanna Learn How to Play Guitar (pt.9)


Special thanks to Takelessons for gettin' this column started.  If you've been following along you may have learned a few things about theory, practice habits, approaches to new technique and more.  So now that you know everything I imagine you're ready to take the next step. 

The Blues:

The Blues is a formulated progression of three (sometimes four) chords that are commonly blocked into a 12 bar format.  The chord progression for blues chords in A is A (I) D(IV) and E(V) but not in that order. 

To start this one off let's kick off with our (I) chord.  First we'll rock out A, jam into a D shuffle, then head back into A…. this is you're A part.  Now sink into D mode and sit on that for a couple bars… swing if you like.  Go back into A hit that one out… now for appx. one bar a piece we're gunna switch up to E in 7th position, back to D in 5th, up to A again and we'll climb into a dominant 7 #9 E chord also known as "the Hendrix chord" as a finale.


The blues scale is played much like the pentatonic and if you wanted to jump right into a jam you can get away with playing an Am penatonic scale over an A blues progression.  The difference is going to be subtle, but what you're going to do is add the b5 note, or the Black Sabbath note as I would like to refer it.  The (b)lack 5abbth note is located one fret behind the ring finger in any "power chord" position and sounds remotely "evil" playing metal or "blue" if jammin' blues.  Now that you've located the note, add it to your common A penatonic scale.  Now you're ready to solo…

While soloing over this….DON'T climb it like a scale (unless you're playing ACDC's "Back in Black")  Instead, use a few unison bends… hammer-on A to G on the high E for a bit… vibrato the heck out of the D, rake the strings a few times while your fingers are down, hit your (b)lack 5abbath note while ascending or decending, and switch up the finger pattern a bit.  To remain unpredictable the "Tab" mind could think (7th fret fouth string, 7th fret third string barre with the ring finger, THEN back to third string 5th fret with the index finger already in place)  Now add a slide technique for flavor.

Alright, so that's not every trick and there's a ton of ways to do this but it should be enough to get you started… so experiment with it and let me know if you have any questions.  Now go work on your rhythm.


Jason Martin

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