Have you always wanted to play blues solos but aren’t so interested in going through such a steep learning curve?

You might think you have to learn a bunch of scales or “boxes” or “patterns”… and then there’s the music theory and all these “licks” people keep talking about?

“Can’t you just play?”

Yes, you can… and if you start small, it’s actually pretty darn simple. (Oh, and if you’re a more seasoned blues soloist, do this anyway because it’s a good way for you to think that’s a little different from the standard “boxes” and scales you might already know.)

Download this video – MP4 | WMV

And you might want to check out Soloing Without Scales as well, it’s entirely based on this way of thinking.

    64 replies to "Beginning Blues Soloing Without Thinking About Scales…"

    • Alexander Aliganga

      I’ve seen this one and this is the video that got me to joining the BGU nation . Referring back to this always helps me out a lot 🤘. Thank you Griff.

    • Tosha Clifford

      Was not expecting this ! Love the break down ! Nuts and bolts ! Can’t wait to “test “ this out !

    • Greg


    • Lee

      I’ve been watching you for awhile now and never commented before, but this simple little lesson was eye-opening for me. Thank you Griff.

    • tony

      Yup been soloing w/o scales and opens the ideas for more and better things. You are right take some 4 or even a 5 note thing and just try to find another place or places on the guitar to play it. I believe it strongly that it helps to memorize notes. I found a thing yesterday and just blew my mind. It helps to experiment and open to new ideas. You just can`t escape theory . It`s a process to form music . I rarely go beyond the first 2 boxes . There is a lot of music there. 40 plus years of playing and the last 15 have been my best. I strongly think that the very first BGU course helped Me. Plus all the short lessons almost daily . Also do not overly concentrate may seem hard to do but eventually the notes just seem to come out of nowhere.

    • Ed

      Griff, as a newbie this really opens my eyes as to the “How and Why” of soloing
      !!! Thanks so much!

    • Eric Lehtonen

      Hi Griff, Great lesson. Saying we are gonna solo without scales by teaching a scale! lol… I have never understood why so many guitar players are so paranoid about learning scales and theory. It is the doorway to learning to play your instrument.


      great video. I feel better already

    • Steve

      Picked up another couple of really great tips in this video. Excellent as always.

    • Jim

      Excellent, again! Watching for the second time, I noticed the one thing you DIDN’T talk about was TIMING.
      Since I’ve been following your lessons for quite a while, I know you have said that WHEN we hit the notes can be more important than hitting the right note. And, your lessons are known for “making us count out loud.” Just an observation…see it’s working!

    • Eel1948

      Question to all, the root, 7th, and 3rd, are probably your most “usable” notes when soloing, the next most useable note to me would be the 5th. Any input as to why the 4th?. Especially over a I chord, always sounded weak to me, just curious what others think.

    • Paul Wilson- white from England

      Hi Griff.
      Great stuff as normal.
      I have all your courses and know what a great teacher you are.
      Anyway see you have come over to the PRS camp,and about time to,as there simple is not a better guitar on the market at this point of time.
      I own Gibson and fenders and rickenbackers the vintage ones are amazing but the new versions not so, but the prs guitars are all amazing I can not fault there build quality and workmanship.
      I am a collector hence why I have so many guitars.
      My 2017 rickenbacker is no where near my 1960 rickenbacker not even in build quality.
      Neither is my 2017 Gibson 335 Any where close to my 1964 Gibson 335 it is a shame,why chage what worked.
      So Griff keep doing what your doing as it works

    • DC

      Fantastic video, Griff. Just grab your first and do it folks. This was a real eye opener for me.

    • Jeff

      Great video. If you already know some of your “boxes” (Box 1, Box 2, etc), what this video will do for you is allow you to *connect* the boxes vertically, up and down the fret board.

      Typically if I’m playing in Box 1 and then I want to play my next lick in Box 3 I would just stop playing one lick/pattern in Box 1 then play the next lick in Box 3. In other words I’d be playing lower on the fret board (Box 1) then switch my hand to a position further up the fret board and start playing the next lick in Box 3.

      But wouldn’t it be cool to be able to *run* up the fret board starting in Box 1, playing notes right along the way going through Box 2, then arriving at your destination in Box 3 for the lick you’re really wanting to play next?

      It’s easy to do using what Griff teaches in this video, and it looks cool too. Time to *show off*. That is just one of the things you can do with this.

    • Michael Chappell

      Hey Griff,

      Great lesson & great looking guitar.. Cool lesson I have saved for later. I have your BGU Course Soloing Without Scales which is excellent.

      Michael- Sydney -Australia May 2017.

    • Paul

      Wow! Great lesson indeed! I will practice it until it is smooth and comes easy. That’s a fine guitar! I got my 2017 Zack Meyer PRS in February! Good to see ya playing it on the screen.

    • David Douglas


      Dave in the Adirondacks

    • Jay

      Very good delivery in this awesome video Griff, I am guilty of making soloing harder than it should,now I’m reinforced​ to make soloing simple,the way it should be, Thank you!

    • Joe Accardo

      Great video lesson, this just opened up a new dimension for me and new way of thinking.

    • KB

      Griff always beats me by teaching in an incredibly simple way everything I was struggling to figure out. This was something I was trying to patternize and make mine because I saw countless players play in this fretting shape and they *look* so cool when they play that way (I more mean “look” than “sound” here). So, after watching this video, I just grabbed my guitar and tried what was taught in the lesson and it seems to allow me to be able to play that cool way! Nice feeling!

    • Doug

      yeah, yeah, yeah..! More please..!

    • hafiz baksh

      Hey Griff, you are one fantastic guitar player. Wondering if you ever gone commercial with a record. You are great! I like that fat sound. Any advice to a novice on how to achieve this sound on small budget. Thanks

    • John Gardiner

      Thanks again Griff

    • KL

      Sweet PRS

    • Dave M

      This has got to be one of the best lessons out there. Period. Sure, it’s not for beginners, and one has to be a bit of the way along the their musical road to pick this up, but if the players’ education and listening ability are in the right place, BAM! It’s powerful.

    • Burt

      This is just what I needed – I’m moving house and my guitars are packed away but I had to get one out and try this. The perfect antidote to stress!

    • DaveyJoe

      Wow! Gotta try working with this one. Thanks!

    • Randal Rinvelt

      Great lesson. Just what I needed.

    • John Issitt

      Hey from York UK

      Great lesson – and i speak as a national teaching fellow.

      Nice neat sound, well paced and bang on

      Many thanks

    • david moon

      I need to have some theory as the foundation, but also see the merit in just noodling around in some patterns/positions and see what works.

    • MoreFreedom

      As someone who can play along with a lot of music, this was still useful to me. Thanks!

    • BV

      Great job!!!

    • jean dominique

      This video was a big deal for me.It helped to take me out of the box.In general, you advocate practice that is well structured. This is probably the way a lot of great musicians played. Again using their ears. Just hope the speed will get better with time.I really enjoyed it. Thanks

    • Johnny B

      great stuff Griff,, 4 note solo anyone? Whats that guitar Griff looks nice

      • Legoge47

        If it’s “no key” does that mean you start the engine by pressing a button?😄

        • Steve

          No, it means you hot wire the scale and take it for a joy ride…

    • Chris Babcock

      Spotlight moment!

    • Chris Babcock

      Spotlight comment!

    • Ian Robins

      Thanks Griff. I have sort of been doing this for years – figuring out the runs visually like that. The only difference now is I can start thinking in terms of what the notes are – flattened thirds etc. Many thanks.

    • Ron Gaouette

      Is there a way to down load these video’s. I fly about 50-60 flights a year and it would be great to watch these when I fly.

      • Griff

        You might notice the “Download this video” and the MP4 and WMV links – those are for you to download and take with you if you choose. The MP4 will work best on portable devices unless you use Windows and then you might prefer WMV. Right clicking those from your computer should give you an option to download.

      • Kim Wood

        You’re not the pilot…right?

    • Jim

      Great stuff, Griff! If it were only as easy to play as you make it look!

    • Terry Gillen

      If you cannot imagine how much my heart sinks when I hear a teacher telling me to learn a million scales/modes in all 12 keys, in all areas of the neck, you can probably imagine how wonderfully refreshing this video is. The idea of taking something simple and MAKING MUSIC with it is bang on the button. (You might also be interested to know that, according to a music professor at York University in the UK, it was the only way that music was taught during the classical period.) Many thanks Griff.

    • steve

      Hi Griff. I know rules are made to be broken. Is the goal to “always” position your third finger on the root?

      • Griff

        No, not in the long run. But it makes a good place to start.

        • david moon

          as you showed in your recent “BB box” video. The first finger on the root positions for a more “major” sound.

        • Kim Wood

          Hey Griff,
          Isn’t this basically box 2?

    • Mark Wales uk

      Cheers Griff
      For the lesson having loads of fun with this
      Playing around with the in between half step bends and pre bends 😎🎶

    • Rohn

      Another kewell tidbit of info. I could put together a course with all the emails I have from you I keep them all. keep them coming they serv as breaks from the harder stuff. That is the first Tele style guitar I have ever seen that I like and I have seen a lot of guitars in fact I have had a lot of guitars so don’t leave it laying around LOL.
      To me guitars are like women there beautiful and you want them all but you can have only one however you can have a more than one guitar. your courses are the best and your a great teacher thanks.

    • Freud M Voltaire

      As I said before, you are the epitome of what TEACHING is about; you could make nuclear physics simple and fun.

    • Zeke

      Thanks griff. Great course and enjoy daily tips

    • Tony L.

      Griff, Awesome video….For all new beginners – this is an awesome technique….I was at BGU Live 2017 – first time on stage, I had Griff right beside me, and met Tim (who became a really good friend) and we all did what Griff explained in this video…here is the link -https://youtu.be/FeP2nK3WP4s IT is about 9 minutes long but the cool thing is we all solo-ed and it was really cool!
      thanks, Tony

      • Tony L.

        To interested folks – you may need to copy and paste the link…

    • Doug

      Thanks Griff,

      Yep, thats me. Trying to drink out of a Fire Hose. I will spend some time on this exercise.

      • BignJames

        Me,too. Great analogy. Focus, focus, focus.

    • Mark d.

      Thanks Griff. Sending this to my brother who taught me to play. He also plays in a band. He says they need a lead solo player why NOT him?. I’m pushing him to your courses, he can do it. Just needs the right teacher! That be you Griff, thanks a million B-)!!

    • John D, Sydney

      Oooooh! Griff gets wound up! Well done. All this seems obvious (to you) because (to you) it IS obvious. So obvious you don’t have to say this, right? Wrong! This is an amazing lesson. Simple rule for the expert – if it’s so unbelievably fundamental to everything you do that you can’t imagine anyone not getting it by osmosis, you can bet your house that it’s opaque to your students – that’s the difference between the master and the novice. Love your work, Griff. More, please.

    • mike beigel

      changed my whole life,soo bogged down in theory. ready to rock and roll.

    • Terry

      Many thks. That was very interesting. Very helpful.

    • Gary Pate

      Great lesson – thanks so much. As I learn more, my understanding improves even if I’ve seen these before. Great stuff – easy to follow. Appreciate these “daily emails”.
      By the way is that a new McCarty 10 top? Too cool.

    • Terry

      Thanks griff for these blogs. I found you through the 4 note solo video and liked how you made playing a little less complicated. Have the bgu course and the soloing without scales. Since I have trouble staying focused playing rhythm, I focus on soloing to backing tracks as they give me more freedom and creativity. Your lessons have helped a lot. My wife actually enjoys my playing now, because of what I have learned from you. You once had a blog which had some comments from Steve vai on focusing on what you are good at and not to worry about the other stuff. That helped quite a bit. By the way nice prs, I believe it is the first time I have seen you with one. I have a prs singlecut 22 and love it. Thanks again

    • Stephen edwards

      Thanks for this one Griff. Great to wash away the theory, which is coming together for me and just play some music.

    • Allen

      Great Lesson

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