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Michael Johnson >> Blues Legends II >>
Lesson Subject: Blues Legends II
What you learn: Albert King Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson is on the style of Albert King. Most might recognize this left-handed blues legend who played a right-handed Gibson Flying V reversed and the same string configuration, this allowed Albert to create a very unique blues sound. Albert's string bending style produced a tormented blues sound that heavily influenced guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Here's a sample of some of the licks you'll learn:

Michael: Our scale for this lesson is in the Db Minor Pentatonic scale Db, E, Gb, Ab, B, or you can consider it C# as well.

Michael: Here's a jam track to play over.

Michael: This has a moderate blues groove to it. Load up the jam track and try the scale over it a few times. You should always have scale patterns memorized, this is key to playing and making up your own guitar licks. Here's our first lick:

Lick 1

Michael: Notice you start with a whole step bend, make sure you use the 2nd and 3rd fingers together to make a proper blues bend.

Michael: The thumb helps anchor the bend, you can grab the neck on the top of the neck to get a better grip. Notice the last note slides downward. Try this over the jam track. Let's go to the next lick:

Lick 2

Michael: This scale pattern will help explain the extra note(s) used in the last lick.

Michael: Here's our next lick:

Lick 3

Teacher: Notice how the first bend is a half-step bend, instead of a whole -step, it comes alive when playing over the jam track.

Bill: What is that last 2 notes is it a 10 and pull off to a 9

Michael: 9 -> 12 -> 9, it's very quick! OK now we are going to move into the 2nd pattern of the Db min pentatonic scale, here's the scale:

Michael: Same notes as the last scale only moved up, the highlighted sections are what we're going to use for the licks, pretty common position for blues/rock players, here's the 4th lick:

Lick 4

Michael: Notice the bends in the 2nd measure. You build on the bending steps, 1st standard, 1/4 step, 1/2 step, whole step..... very cool lick and common with Albert King.

Bill: how can you tell the different sounds of the bends to know if you are doing a half or quarter bend

Michael: Good question, you can hear the slight bending each time, I'll show you:

Michael: See how they build?

John: yep

Michael: Notice how I use the thumb to grip, that is key to helping the bend. The next lick will use both scale patterns:

Lick 5

Michael: Notice how it starts in the 1st Db min pen scale pattern..... then shifts up to the next Db min pen pattern. It sounds very cool and adds dynamics to the lick. I can tell you are all playing when you're quite like this.

John: how do you mute strings around the note you are trying to play?

Michael: With either the palm of my picking hand John.

Michael: Or laying my fret fingers on top of the lower strings.

Michael: Here's lick number 6.

Lick 6

Michael: Notice how the last lick uses both minor pentatonic scale patterns:


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