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Michael Johnson >> Stevie Ray Vaughan style >>
Lesson Subject: Stevie Ray Vaughan Style
What you learn: Licks
Michael: Michael Johnson

Michael: Welcome class to the series on the style of Stevie Ray Vaughan! One of my favorite players! SRV's Texas Blues sound changed the way many guitar players looked at playing guitar during the '80s and '90s. Many guitar players focused on shredding during that era, but SRV ignited a new interest in blues guitar.

Lesson Sample - Highband - 2 Meg

Michael: This lesson will be based in the key of E. First, let's start off with the rhythm track, and then you'll learn several licks later in the lesson.

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Part 1 - Rhythm Guitar

Michael: This rhythm pattern is a common I, IV, V walking blues riff in the key of E. You incorporate playing kind of a walking bass line on the lower strings, then jumping to double-stop notes that accents the chord you are playing in. This technique works great in a 3-peice band where the guitar has to fill in a lot of space o fill out the sound. Notice that after the V (B7) note, you shift up to C7 and back. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1 - Highband - 4.4 Meg

Michael: OK, let's talk about SRV's equipment a little. SRV uses Fender Stratocasters with heavy gauge string... using .13 - and up. He detunes the guitar down on half-step to Eb which adds a darker and much richer tone. For this lesson you will be using standard tuning. Let's get started with the licks.

matt: Will you be playing the licks detuned

Michael: No Matt, we will use standard tuning for the following licks. You will be using the E Minor Pentatonic and Minor Blues. Here's the first lick:

Part 1 - Lick 1

Part 1 - Lick 1

Michael: This lick slides into the 2nd box pattern of the E Minor Pentatonic and then jumps back into box 1 of the scale.

E Minor Pentatonic Scale - Box 1 & 2

Michael: See how the scale patterns fit together. Later in the lick you hammer to the Major 3rd note on the 1st fret/3rd string. Here's the next lick:

Part 1 - Lick 2

Part 1 - Lick 2

Michael: This lick uses the a descending pattern in box 1 of the E Minor Pentatonic. Notice how it starts off with a cool bend then descending the scale pattern. You resolve the lick by ending on the root note (E) on the 6th string. Here's the next lick.

Part 1 - Lick 3

Part 1 - Lick 3

lauren: Does anyone else find it hard to bend on the 2nd fret third string?

Michael: Lauren, try using the 3rd finger to bend, but with the 2nd finger to support it. Bending near the nut has more tension than any where else on the neck. Also use your thumb to grab the top of the neck to help support it as well. This lick uses a series of double-stops that ascend the 1st and 2nd strings. Notice how your fingers adjust to the patterns. SRV had big strong hands, you could swear he was a construction worker or something, but his tone was unmatched with that size of strings! Here's the next lick:

Part 1 - Lick 4

Part 1 - Lick 4

Michael: This lick uses the E Major Pentatonic scale pattern.

E Major Pentatonic

Michael: Notice in the 2nd half of the lick the descending chromatic line on the 1st string, while you use the 6th fret/3rd string (C#) as the pedal tone. Here's the next lick:

Part 1 - Lick 5

Part 1 - Lick 5

Michael: This is a cool sounding descending lick. Notice how the 1st string (E) rings while you descending the 3rd string using descending chromatic notes.

Jim: Fingerpick the E?

Michael: Jim, yes I am. Notice the hammer on the Major 3rd note on the 1st fret/3rd string, and then you descend the scale pattern using the E Minor Blues scale.

E Minor Blues

Michael: Here's the next lick:

Part 1 - Lick 6

Part 1 - Lick 6

Michael: I love this guitar lick! You start by sliding into box 2 of the E Minor Pentatonic scale, and then back into the E Minor Blues scale. This lick works great as a turnaround. You can start this lick while playing over the V (B) of the progression. Make sure you are playing these licks over the jam track, that's where the real fun happens! You can also practice the scale patterns over the jam track as well to get an idea of how the scales, licks and progression work together. OK, here's the next lick.

Part 1 - Lick 7

Part 1 - Lick 7

Michael: This lick jumps up to the octave E Minor Blues pattern.

E Minor Blues - Octave

Michael: This lick has a heavy Hendrix influence! You start with a whole-step bend on the 14th fret/3rd string, then playing the 12th frets on the 1st and 2nd strings. You jump into a double-stop on the 15th fret/1st & 2nd strings, and then descending the scale pattern. Towards the end of the lick you hammer/pull-off on the b5 notes. This technique was used often by SRV. Here's the next lick.

Part 1 - Lick 8

Part 1 - Lick 8

Michael: This lick uses a series of double-stops in the octave E Minor Blues scale. Notice you start off using a half-step slide into the pattern. At the end of bar 2 you hammer the double-stops, using the Major 3rd note. Bar 3 shifts into the 2nd box pattern of the E Minor Pentatonic. Here's the next lick.

Part 1 - Lick 9

Part 1 - Lick 9

Michael: This lick starts on the 15th fret/2nd string, then descending the scale pattern. Notice the cool chromatic run in bars 2 & 3. Here's our final lick using a standard turnaround.

Part 1 - Lick 10

Part 1 - Lick 10

Michael: You start this lick when you play over the last I (E) of the progression. Timing is important when playing a turnaround, but when played correctly the turnaround resolves the lick and prepares the musician to start the progression over.

Michael: Well time to go, any questions before I go?

glenn: great lesson! looking forward to more!

JM: No, but I would like to thank you. This was very enjoyable :)

patrick: Thanks - great lesson

Michael: Thanks guys, I love doing this style 8-) See you at the next SRV style lesson! Bye!


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