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Lyle Ronglien >> Blues Guitar for Beginners >>

Blues Guitar For Beginners

Lesson 9

In this lesson you'll be playing in the key of C. The three main chords for this typical 12 bar blues progression in C are C, F, and G. These are the I - IV - V chords in the key of C. You'll be playing near the middle of the neck for these chords which are made from the simple power chord shapes:

Lyle: Here's the main rhythm riff for the C chord:

Lyle: For this rhythm riff make sure you're using the correct fingerings. Your index and third finger is used for the 8th and 10th frets, your pinky/4th finger used for the stretch up to the 12th frets.

Lyle: This rhythm figure is 4 beats long, or 1 measure. To do this for the F chord just move it down 1 string:

I need a pinky extender!

kyla: Me too...

Michael: Try putting your thumb behind the neck even with your middle finger.. your pinky should reach then.

Lyle: If you're having trouble reaching the 12th fret with your pinky, drop your wrist down and away from you. This will extend your finger reach. See video of the rhythm riff and notice my wrist position.

Lyle: To make the G chord rhythm riff, move UP two frets from the F position:

Lyle: You'll only need to use these three chords and rhythm riffs to play the whole 12 bar blues progression in C. But there is one more thing, the turnaround riff. The last two measures of a blues progression has the basic turnaround riff that signals the end of the progression and gets you "turned around" to start over again. Here it is:

Lyle: Here's the whole progression using these rhythm riffs:

danman: That is easy.

Jorge: It's easy but fundamental.

Lyle: Once you have the full rhythm riff figured out, try playing along to this looping jam track:

chord chart

Let's learn a couple blues riffs to play against the jam track. The best scale to use is......the C minor pentatonic scale. Here's a cool pattern to learn:

Lyle: The "minor pentatonic" scale is a five tone scale made from the root, b3, 4, 5, and b7 degrees of the major scale.

Lyle: Learn to play that scale pattern just like I tabbed out. It has a good sound to it.

Lyle: Notice the highlighted notes are the root notes, in this case C.

Lyle: Here's a blues riff that uses 4 notes and 4 strings. Two basic techniques are used, a slight bend, and a vibrato, just like in the past lessons.

Lyle: Notice this riff is made from notes right in the C minor pentatonic.

Lyle: The strong vibrato helps sustain the note longer too.

Lyle: The next riff uses a legato slide from the 10th to the 12th frets on the third string. Only strike the 10th fret then slide to the 12th fret. You don't strike the 12th fret, just let it ring.

jeff: Is it better to pull down on riff 1?

Lyle: The last two notes are to be ringing out together. You'll also need to add a vibrato to them. This is tricky. It's a certain vibrato technique used by violinists. Instead of bending or wiggling the strings, you pull and push them back and forth. Here's a video example:

MarkW: what does legato mean?

Lyle: Jeff, it's easier to pull down on the note in riff 1.

Lyle: LEGATO SLIDE: Strike the first note and then slide the same fret-hand finger up or down to the second note. The second note is not struck.

Lyle: Now you can make a simple solo using these two riffs. Play riff 1, then riff 2, then riff 1 again like this:

jeff: This is a great lick!

danman: This is cool.

Lyle: Here's a video of it:

Lyle: This is how I played the solo in the lesson sample above. I played it just like this:

Lyle: All I did was play blues riff 1, then blues riff 2, then blues riff 1. Then I started over. I listened to the jam track to kind of find my way as to when I would start the next riff.

In riff 1 when you hit the 1st three strings, are you rolling or jumping your finger real fast?

Lyle: Len, in riff 1 you'll roll your index finger on the first three notes. Try not to bar them.

kyla: sounds cool when you play riff 2 backwards

Lyle: Yes and that's a good idea, to try different ways to make new blues riffs from old blues riffs. Your goal in this lesson is to be able to play the rhythm along to the jam track, and to play the solo too, just like in the TAB.

Lyle: Well that wraps up this lesson. See you in the next lesson!

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