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Play Blues Guitar 3: Tools & Techniques

Learn essential blues guitar techniques with this Blues Learning Path core course.
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Overview

Welcome to Play Blues Guitar 3: Tools & Techniques—the third milestone of your TrueFire Learning Path journey toward becoming a solid blues guitar player. This Blues Learning Path core course is presented by 3 top TrueFire educators: Jeff McErlain, Corey Congilio, and Jeff Scheetz. They'll guide your development of the essential skills and get up and running quickly—no reading music, no boring exercises, no tedious theory to struggle through. In fact, you'll play your way through the entire course.

In Play Blues Guitar 1 and 2, you built up your vocabulary of blues chords and blues licks, learned how to play several classic blues songs, and can now solo and improvise a little bit. Here in Play Blues Guitar 3, you'll learn a variety of killer blues licks, more sophisticated chords and songs, and more blues techniques to power your soloing and improvisations. For example, you'll learn how to play a 12 bar boogie that you can easily move to any key. You'll learn all 5 patterns of the minor pentatonic scale, so that you can solo all over the fretboard. You'll also learn how to play the major pentatonic scale to spice up your pallet of soloing options. You'll wrap up this course by learning how to play more turnarounds and 3 more blues songs.

The educators demonstrate all of the key examples over jam tracks (where and when applicable) to simulate a real-world application, in a musical context. Key examples are also tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. Take as much time as you need to work through each video guitar lesson before moving on to the next lesson. If you want to dig deeper or wider into any of the topics covered in this core course, check out the rest of the courses in the Blues Learning Path where you'll find more examples, techniques and insight from top TrueFire educators. Grab your guitar and let's get started!

About

Learn how to play guitar with free online guitar lessons and interactive video guitar courses at TrueFire, the world's most comprehensive library of guitar video lessons.
PLAY BLUES GUITAR 3 - Tools & Techniques

01: PLAY BLUES GUITAR 3 - Tools & Techniques

Welcome to Play Blues Guitar 3: Tools & Techniques - the third milestone of your TrueFire Learning Path journey towards becoming a solid blues guitar player. This Blues Learning Path core course is presented by 3 top TrueFire educators: Jeff McErlain, Corey Congilio, and Jeff Scheetz.

2 min
Movable Boogie Woogie - Lesson 1: Demonstration

02: Movable Boogie Woogie - Lesson 1: Demonstration

Being able to move blues progressions and riffs around to various places on the neck and into different keys is an important part of playing. In this lesson you will work on a movable boogie woogie shape and get more practice higher up on the neck.

4 min
Practice Session 1 - Playalong: Slow

03: Practice Session 1 - Playalong: Slow

This Practice Session starts out at 80 BPM. Play it at this tempo as many times as you need to before you move on.

2 min
Practice Session 2 - Playalong: Band

04: Practice Session 2 - Playalong: Band

Let's have some fun! In this Practice Session we jam with the band! Take your time, don't worry about doing it perfectly the first time, just keep going over it until you have it all down smooth. Then you are ready to move on.

2 min
Stormy Monday Changes - Lesson 2: Demonstration

05: Stormy Monday Changes - Lesson 2: Demonstration

The T-Bone Walker classic blues song "Stormy Monday" is imitated in many other songs. The changes in this song are familiar sounding and at the same time different from what you may be used to playing in a standard 12-bar blues.

4 min
Practice Session 3 - Playalong: Slow

06: Practice Session 3 - Playalong: Slow

In this Practice Session you will be playing along with the instructor. Take your time and don't rush through it. Practice this as many times as you need to before moving on.

2 min
Sliding 6ths - Lesson 3: Demonstration

07: Sliding 6ths - Lesson 3: Demonstration

In the Allman Brothers version of "Stormy Monday" one of the main "hooks" you hear is the sliding 6ths. This is a sound that is used in tons of different blues progressions so it is really important to be able to master it. Make sure you experiment on moving it around to different positions on the neck.

3 min
Practice Session 4 - Playalong: Slow

08: Practice Session 4 - Playalong: Slow

Your instructor will guide you through this Practice Session. Don't move on until you feel like you are locked in with the tempo and are playing it cleanly.

2 min
Practice Session 5 - Playalong: Band

09: Practice Session 5 - Playalong: Band

OK, let's bring the band in. Here is where all that practice pays off. In this Practice Session you just have to lock in with the other instruments and make sure you are staying in the groove.

2 min
Minor Pentatonic Shape 2 - Lesson 4: Demonstration

10: Minor Pentatonic Shape 2 - Lesson 4: Demonstration

The 5 notes of the minor pentatonic scale can be found in various places on the neck. The key to being able to access them quickly is to group them in "patterns". This gives us what is commonly referred to as the "box positions" of the minor pentatonic scale.

4 min
Practice Session 6 - Playalong: Slow

11: Practice Session 6 - Playalong: Slow

For this Practice Session really focus on trying to play exactly with the instructor. You can go over this as many times as you need in order to really get it down.

2 min
Connecting Blues Lick 1 - Lesson 5: Demonstration

12: Connecting Blues Lick 1 - Lesson 5: Demonstration

Once you know multiple patterns of the minor pentatonic scale, the next step is finding ways to connect them together. In this lesson you start to move up and down the neck instead of just across the neck.

2 min
Practice Session 7 - Playalong: Band

13: Practice Session 7 - Playalong: Band

Time to jam with the band! This Practice Session is all about feeling the rhythm. Make sure you do this as many times as you need until you have it down. Then you can move on.

2 min
Minor Pentatonic Shape 3 - Lesson 6: Demonstration

14: Minor Pentatonic Shape 3 - Lesson 6: Demonstration

Here you will learn the 3rd pattern of the minor pentatonic scale. These patterns will be used repeatedly throughout everything you learn as a blues guitarist so make sure you get them down.

2 min
Practice Session 8 - Playalong: Slow

15: Practice Session 8 - Playalong: Slow

The key to moving on is repeating this Practice Session until you really have it down.

2 min
Connecting Blues Lick 2 - Lesson 7: Demonstration

16: Connecting Blues Lick 2 - Lesson 7: Demonstration

Each time you find a little pathway to connect two or more patterns together, repeat it, and remember it. That way it will always be there for you to use in various songs.

3 min
Practice Session 9 - Playalong: Band

17: Practice Session 9 - Playalong: Band

Playing with a band is what the ultimate goal is. In this Practice Session you get to do just that! Work on syncing up with the other instruments, become one with the band. Play it as many times as you need and make sure you are in the pocket before you move on.

2 min
Minor Pentatonic Shape 4 - Lesson 8: Demonstration

18: Minor Pentatonic Shape 4 - Lesson 8: Demonstration

The 4th pattern of our minor pentatonic scale is very similar to the first pattern. This is helpful, but can also twist up your fingers as you will find yourself mixing them up if you don't have both properly in your muscle memory. So take your time, and use repetition to really get it under your fingers.

2 min
Practice Session 10 - Playalong: Slow

19: Practice Session 10 - Playalong: Slow

In this Practice Session you should focus on playing in time, playing it cleanly, and getting all of the movements smooth. Play through it as many times as you need before you move on.The key to moving on is repeating this Practice Session until you really have it down.

2 min
Connecting Blues Lick 3 - Lesson 9: Demonstration

20: Connecting Blues Lick 3 - Lesson 9: Demonstration

Try moving your connecting licks to different keys and different places on the neck. This will help you get used to playing everywhere!

2 min
Practice Session 11 - Playalong: Band

21: Practice Session 11 - Playalong: Band

Let's jam with the band! Stay in time with the groove, and don't forget to relax! Play through this Practice Session as many times as you need to in order to get comfortable with it and then you can move on.

2 min
Minor Pentatonic Shape 5 - Lesson 10: Demonstration

22: Minor Pentatonic Shape 5 - Lesson 10: Demonstration

The 5th and final pattern of the minor pentatonic scale will take you fill circle back to the octave and 1st pattern again. Remember you can always go up or down from whichever pattern you are on - this gives you access to the entire fretboard.

3 min
Practice Session 12 - Playalong: Slow

23: Practice Session 12 - Playalong: Slow

Really listen to how the instructor plays in this Practice Session. Don't worry if it takes you a few times, and if you need to go back, that is fine. The important thing is that you want to be able to play through this at this tempo several times without mistakes, and then you are ready to move on.

2 min
Connecting Blues Lick 4 - Lesson 11: Demonstration

24: Connecting Blues Lick 4 - Lesson 11: Demonstration

Connecting licks often use slides to go between patterns, but try using every technique as you play these licks, that way you are prepared for anything.

2 min
Practice Session 13 - Playalong: Band

25: Practice Session 13 - Playalong: Band

In this Practice Session we are going to play with the band! That is the goal, and here we get to put our playing to the test by keeping up with the band. Repeat this Practice Session as many times as you need to until you have it down.

2 min
Major Pentatonic Scale - Lesson 12: Demonstration

26: Major Pentatonic Scale - Lesson 12: Demonstration

If we have a minor pentatonic scale it stands to reason that there would be a Major pentatonic. There is, and it is another important scale for your blues playing. I till give you more of melodic sound and fits great over a Major or Dominant blues. You also hear the Major pentatonic scale in country and rock.

3 min
Major Pentatonic Lick - Lesson 13: Demonstration

27: Major Pentatonic Lick - Lesson 13: Demonstration

Here is a great lick using the Major pentatonic scale. Practice this one until you can get it up to speed with the jam track.

2 min
Practice Session 14 - Playalong: Band

28: Practice Session 14 - Playalong: Band

Let's play with the band in this Practice Session. Sync up with the other instruments to really lock into the groove!

1 min
Three New Turnarounds - Lesson 14: Demonstration

29: Three New Turnarounds - Lesson 14: Demonstration

As a blues guitarist having a bunch of turnarounds that you can call up whenever you need them is one of the essential tools you need. Turnarounds that you can use in any key are especially helpful and will serve you well over many blues songs.

5 min
Practice Session 15 - Playalong: Band

30: Practice Session 15 - Playalong: Band

Let's have some fun! In this Practice Session we jam with the band! Take your time, don't worry about doing it perfectly the first time, just keep going over it until you have it all down smooth. Then you are ready to move on.

4 min
Funky Shuffle Feel - Lesson 15: Demonstration

31: Funky Shuffle Feel - Lesson 15: Demonstration

There are a wide range of feels and grooves that can be played in a blues format. This is a great funky groove that will require you to focus on your right hand rhythmic motion. Take it slow - don't be afraid to play this one at halftime until you can get it down, and then gradually speed it up.

5 min
Practice Session 16 - Playalong: Slow

32: Practice Session 16 - Playalong: Slow

Don't be afraid to keep repeating this Practice Session as many times as you need to. There is no specific amount of times you need to do it - just do it until you feel comfortable.

2 min
Practice Session 17 - Playalong: Band

33: Practice Session 17 - Playalong: Band

OK, let's bring the band in. Here is where all that practice pays off. In this Practice Session you just have to lock in with the other instruments and make sure you are staying in the groove.

2 min
Minor Blues Feel - Lesson 16: Demonstration

34: Minor Blues Feel - Lesson 16: Demonstration

Not every blues song is in a Major key. So in this lesson you are going to explore playing a minor blues. Many of the same 12 bar rules can apply to most minor blues but things change harmonically so you really have to think about soloing choices over the chords.

4 min
Practice Session 18 - Playalong: Slow

35: Practice Session 18 - Playalong: Slow

Practice with precision. That is how you will get this down. Not rushing through it or losing your focus. Keep your focus on playing this perfectly and with the instructor.

2 min
Practice Session 19 - Playalong: Band

36: Practice Session 19 - Playalong: Band

Time to jam with the band! This Practice Session is all about feeling the rhythm. Make sure you do this as many times as you need until you have it down. Then you can move on.

2 min
Rhumba Blues Feel - Lesson 17: Demonstration

37: Rhumba Blues Feel - Lesson 17: Demonstration

A Rhumba blues feel is another one that you will come across often. Maybe the most popular one is Albert King's "Crosscut Saw". Get the feel of this one and you will be able to work with different chords and keys and become a Rhumba machine!

5 min
Practice Session 20 - Playalong: Slow

38: Practice Session 20 - Playalong: Slow

Remember, if you have trouble at this tempo - you can always go back to the previous Practice Session or Lesson to make sure you have it down.

3 min
Practice Session 21 - Playalong: Band

39: Practice Session 21 - Playalong: Band

Let's jam with the band! Stay in time with the groove, and don't forget to relax! Play through this Practice Session as many times as you need to in order to get comfortable with it and then you can move on.

2 min
PLAY BLUES GUITAR 3 - Wrap Up & Next Steps

40: PLAY BLUES GUITAR 3 - Wrap Up & Next Steps

Congratulations on completing this core course in your learning path! When you're ready to advance your skills further, dive into the next core course in your TrueFire learning path. Practice smart. Play hard!

0 min