This is a concept that I hear a lot in playing by modern blues players like Matt Schofield, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, and others.

It involves using a bit of music theory to “borrow” the arpeggios from other chords within the key, not the chord that is being played.

What that does is create a situation where you are tending to focus on the “colorful” chord tones, and not so much on the traditional ones.

Used with purpose, and resolving this correctly, yields a really cool sound – doing it wrong, tends to sound wrong 🙁

This is just one of the topics in my new “Modern Blues Soloing” course, which is here:


You can download the TAB to these licks here

    7 replies to "Borrowing Arpeggios…"

    • Bob Curtis

      How about covering some of the techniques of Luther Allison & Buddy Guy ? Great job! Thanks for all of your great lessons!

    • Don Hall

      What can I say say except, “This is the sound I’ve been looking for!” I can’t wait to dig into it, but I need to finish the BGU course first. That could take a little while, so I may have to pay full price for the new course. Oh well. Still, as complicated as these lines sound, I know Griff can lay it all out so even a doofus like me can play them.

    • Chris G

      You mentioned Lonnie Johnson and T-Bone Walker when talking about the “early” players of modern blues. Just a little call-out to one of my all-time favourite players – Charlie Christian. I think Charlie was using this kind of thing back in ’39-’41 in his own small groups and with Benny Goodman.

    • Chris G

      Hi Griff, I love Robben too!! I’ve got several of his CDs and a couple of DVDs. This is a cool concept that I will definitely try to learn.
      Hate to be a nit-picker, but when I opened the PDF the first thing I noticed is that you (or your software) have neglected to put the Natural sign on the first C note on the third string of the second bar. The key is A, the key signature designates C#, the TAB shows Fret 5 on the third string and that’s definitely C Natural; you’ve nominated the A Minor pentatonic scale so that also calls for C Natural. But the music says the C is Sharp. I think you better fix that. It’s correct in the next bar, and the second line is OK too, so there’s obviously a mistake in that particular bar.
      Cheers from Australia.
      Chris G.

    • RogerL

      This looks like playing A dorian, adding the 2nd and 6th to the A minor pentatonic scale.

    • john lodyga

      Can you leave a jam track for use poor guitar players that can not afford a looper ?

    • Bruce

      So are you reading my mind? Yesterday you made me like a goof because I had just ordered a Blues Junior IV from Sweetwater which I don’t really need and today you’re talking about the exact stuff I’m listening to right now. LOL. I was trying to play along with Robben on Start It Up yesterday. Killer song. Guess I’ll have to check out your course. Like Roseann’s daddy used to say, “it’s always somthin. “

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