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Michael Johnson >> Blues Legends II >>
Lesson Subject: Blues Legends II
What you learn: BB King Style Pt 1
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson will cover the style of B. B. King! B. B. King has to be one of the most influential blues guitarists of the century. Many assume B. B. uses the minor blues scale, but he actually achieves his signature sound by playing mostly in the major pentatonic scale. Sample the licks we will cover in this lesson:



Michael: There are a few secrets to playing like BB which we will cover later in this lesson, first here's a jam track in and the major pentatonic scale in D. Try playing the scale over the jam track a few times:





Michael: See the pattern, we'll use the 1st - 3rd strings, here's the first lick using this pattern.



Lick 1

Teacher: Do you see how it uses the scale pattern?

John: That full stop makes it sound really cool.

Michael: You bet John, the D Minor Pentatonic is in the same area, here's a comparison:



Michael: You can easily jump to that scale if you want to. Let's jump to the next lick, this lick takes you from the last pattern and descends into another major pentatonic scale. Here's the pattern using a b3.



Lick 2

Michael: This scale has the same notes as the first major pentatonic pattern.



Michael: You can add the b3 to the scale which gives it a major blues sound. Here's the scale with the b3.



Michael: It sounds very "bluesy," try playing the scale over the jam track. The beauty is when you can jump between the Major Blues and Minor Blues patterns. Are you starting to see where BB gets his sound?

John: You can always do that? Jump between them?

Michael: In most blues and rock you can.

Scott: Is it still called a blues scale, although we're in major?

Michael: It's called the major blues by many musicians, some call it an altered scale pattern with the b3 added. The next lick starts in the lower major pentatonic scale pattern and moves back into the first major pentatonic pattern we started with.



Lick 3

Michael: This lick has a nice transition. The half-step bend adds a nice touch.

irene: yea ,bends are hard to learn

John: I like it. So you play a little major on the front and tail with a minor. An vise versa of course?

Michael: Yes, major pentatonic -> minor pentatonic -> major pentatonic



Lick 4

John: Does it would for that I, IV, V thing you keep talking about.

Michael: John we're playing over D which is the I, and the G is the IV for right now. Here's the tab that explains the concept a little better:



Michael: This next lick jumps into a higher pattern for the D minor pentatonic scale.





Lick 5

irene: Is it all down strokes or alternate picking?

Michael: The lick uses alter picking irene, but uses a lot of down picks. The 1st string is downpicks, the 2nd string is alternate picking... This next lick goes back to the first D Major Pentatonic pattern and then back to the 2nd pattern, but using the b3 we covered earlier.



Lick 6

Michael: Here's another lick.



Lick 7

Michael: This lick uses the first major pentatonic pattern, but this time you add playing intervals at the end of the lick. You will use the 1st and 2nd fingers for most of the intervals.

Michael: That's it for now, see you next lesson!

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