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Michael Johnson >> Blues Legends III >>
Lesson Subject: Blues Legends III
What you learn: Lonnie Johnson Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

This interactive lesson is part of a series on acoustic delta blues legends. Our lesson covers the style of Lonnie Johnson. Lonnie started in New Orleans like other delta blues players from the southern Mississippi region like Robert Johnson. Lonnie had a very cool blues style that was heavily influenced by jazz. Most of these licks are finger picked, the early delta blues players influenced most of the Chicago blues players like Muddy Waters, Elmore James, etc. Here's a sample of the licks you'll learn:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Let's start with some intro licks, here's lick 1:

Lesson 1 - Lick 1

Lesson 1 - Lick 1 picking

Michael: These licks are based on the E Major Pentatonic scale pattern. Here's the scale pattern:

Michael: Notice how it ascends up the neck. You can also add a b3 note which makes the scale sound like a major blues scale pattern. I highlighted the b3 notes in the next scale:

Michael: Here's the E Major Blues pattern. It gives the scale a very cool sound, notice at the end of the last lick the Major 3rd and min 3rd intervals. Here's our next lick:

Lesson 1 - Lick 2

Michael: Notice how the lick descends the pattern and then plays the open E string (6th). Here's our next lick:

Lesson 1 - Lick 3

Lesson 1 - Lick 3 picking

Michael: This lick starts with a cool min 3rd interval on the 1st (E) and 2nd (B) strings. Notice the chromatic run towards the end of the lick. You can play the next 5 licks over this jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Here's the next lick:

Lesson 2 - Lick 1

Lesson 2 - Lick 1 picking

Michael: This lick uses all Major and minor 3rds based in on the I (E) of the progression. You can slide into most of these intervals and play the open E string as well with you thumb. The picking video will help give you an idea on using this technique. The picture should give you an idea on how to position your picking hand:

Michael: Here's our next lick:

Lesson 2 - Lick 2

Lesson 2 - Lick 2 picking

Michael: I really like this lick! It plays over the IV (A) of the progression. Notice how you use your thumb to pick the bass notes. The second part of the lick jumps back to the I (E) of the progression. Try playing the lick over the jam track. Here's the next lick:

Lesson 2 - Lick 3

Michael: Are most of you use to finger picking?

tinf: A little

Michael: These licks can be a bit of a challenge

tj: This is a little hard to do.

Michael: Take it slow and use the slow feature in the tab control.

Lesson 2 - Lick 4

Michael: The next part actually plays over the B chord position, then it descends back into the I (E) of the progression. Here's the last lick.

Lesson 2 - Lick 5

Michael: You can play this lick over the I (E) of the progression. It jumps around using the Major & minor 3rd intervals. This lesson should help you understand so very interesting techniques in play acoustic delta blues. See you next lesson!

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