It’s odd how things come in to your life at times when you aren’t ready…
Now, I’m not some zen master with some mystery of the universe unsolved, not by any means.
But when I learned what I’m going to share with you today, I was actually at a weekend-long guitar clinic back in the early 1990s. It was put on by some guy from MI (musicians institute in Los Angeles) and I’m sorry to say I don’t even remember his name.
At that time in my life I wasn’t playing blues very much. Like a lot of people from the late 70’s and 80’s, I was playing as fast and loud as possible. It was the “shredder” era and I was spending 2 hours with a metronome and my scale books every day. I was so engrossed in that culture that I completely ignored the instructor’s advice on jazz and blues soloing.
Fast forward about 3 years and I was teaching 5 days a week steadily. Things were going okay when one of my friends offered me his gig in a local blues and classic rock cover band. I really hadn’t considered the idea of playing in a “bar band” but it seemed like a good way to play more and make some money so I had him set up and audition for me.
The audition went “ok.” It was between me and one other guy, and they chose me. Not because I was really better, mostly because I didn’t have much else going on at the time. They gave me a list of 50 songs to learn for the gig in 2 weeks… that was it.
Learning the tunes turned out to be the easy part. The hard part was the soloing… I stunk – badly. I always figured if I could play a blues scale I could play blues, right? WRONG AGAIN!
That’s when I remember the clinic a few years earlier, and believe it or not I was able to find my notes from that weekend. I went over them again searching for that little secret I couldn’t remember.
Finally I found it – I looked it over and worked out a couple of licks using it. Then I started playing over the tunes again… but it was all different this time.
Instead of sounding cold and stale, my licks made sense. And not only that, I found myself playing the same thing as the original artists without even trying to copy them! It was awesome. I had figured out how they were thinking, and since I was thinking the same way, I was playing the same sounds automatically.
The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve toured the world and made several recordings over the past 18 years or so. I’ve had a great career so far, and it’s just getting started. Obviously I’ve tried to continue to learn and grow as a musician, but what I’ll share with you today will take you very far indeed.
So, why go through this whole story? Simple, so you’ll pay attention. My hope is that by reading of my mistake, and how powerful this little trick is, you won’t ignore it, thinking it is too simple to be effective.
Now if you really are not at the point where you are doing a lot of solos yet, don’t worry. This idea applies to rhythm as well. A lot of times the only difference between rhythm and lead guitar is where you stand 🙂
If you don’t yet know the 5 boxes of the blues scale, you can download them in a .pdf format here. These are available all over the internet, and a quick Google search will yield hundreds of them, if not more.
Of course, if learning the patterns was all you needed, there would be no such thing as rock stars now would there? You have to learn what to do with them, and that’s what this is all about.
You’ll need to be familiar with the first 2 box patterns for this to completely make sense. Once you are, enjoy…
Now if you remember back to the 4 Note Solo lesson, I utilized this whole major/minor thing all over the place with only a few notes. Imagine what can be done with all these additional notes at your fingertips!
In the Blues Guitar Unleashed course there are actually 3 complete solos that utilize this concept and demonstrate how it can be used. I can’t possibly begin to put all that here. But If you already have a lot of licks down and can solo pretty well, you’ll be well on your way with the video here.
Or if you feel like that may be a little over your head, start with Beginning Blues Guitar to get started, and you’ll be ready for Blues Guitar Unleashed before you know it.