In The Style of B.B. King - part 3
BB King Lesson Sample 3
Lyle: Listen to
the Lesson Sample and you'll hear the riffs you will learn in this lesson. Three
chords make up this 12 bar blues progression in the lesson sample - C7, F9 and
G9. The scales to use for playing B.B. King style riffs against these chords are
C minor pentatonic and C major pentatonic. Learn these basic patterns for these
scales; you'll be learning riffs and a solo made from these scales. The
highlighted, circled notes are the C (root) notes of these
Here's another pattern of the same
The other scale you should know is the C major pentatonic. Notice this pattern
is similar to the C minor pentatonic, only 3 frets lower!
Here's another pattern of the C major pentatonic:
Pentatonics are 5 tone scales. The scale formulas are:
minor pentatonic 1 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7
pentatonic 1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6
playing these scale pattern over this looping jam track:
Sound Clip 1
Lyle: In this next TAB file, you'll see how
the two scales can be used with the jam track. You'll start off with the maj
pentatonic, then switch to the minor pentatonic and back again. B.B. King
doesn't really play scales in this fashion; I just want to show you a good
exercise with these scale patterns.
Lyle: Learn this series of riffs that combine
bending and vibrato, which make up the B.B. King style. These are just like the
ones from the last two lessons, only in a different key, C7. Riff 1 is based
around the major pentatonic notes.
Riff 2 is based around the minor pentatonic notes.
Here's a video clip that shows riffs 1 and 2.
riffs 1 and
Lyle: Riff 3 and 4 are from the minor
riffs 3 and
Cabe: Have you ever heard
the term B.B.'s box? It has really helped my leads. I used to be stuck in
the basic pentatonic shape.
Lyle: Cabe, I believe you're referring to a
pentatonic pattern. The C minor
pentatonic 2 pattern at the top of the lesson is the B.B. box pattern. Many
riffs are played right from that
Lyle: Riff 5 and 6 are almost the same except
for the bend amount, half step bend on riff 5 which makes it a minor riff, whole step bend on riff 6 making it a major riff.
riffs 5 and
Lyle: Riff 7 is from the minor pentatonic
Here's a solo example made up mostly of two simple riffs. Notice the space
between the riffs. You don't have to constantly be playing something. Play a
riff, then "take a breath" and play another riff.
Here is another 12 bar solo. This one is a better example of playing around the
groove. Listen to solo 1, you'll hear the organ play, then the guitar plays a
blues riff. You can pretend that B.B. is singing something during the organ part
and you are playing the fill-in riff!
Lyle: For a little extra study you can learn
the chords and play rhythm guitar along to the lesson sample or jam track. This
is a very common 12 bar blues progression. Here's the chord chart that shows you
what order to play the chords in:
Lyle: There are many ways to play these three
chords around the neck. Here are my suggested fingerings:
mac: Question: On the G9 and F9 is the root based on the 5th
mac. F = 8th fret - 5th string, G = 10th fret - 5th string.
Lyle: Here's how I played
the rhythm guitar in the jam track, hitting a short chord burst on beat 2 of
every measure. Notice in the video clip my right hand keeps time by bouncing to
the beat, but only hitting the strings on beat 2.
chord rhythm pattern
Lyle: These last three B.B.
King lessons all had a jam track and groove set to a "B.B. King sound". In the
next two lessons I want to show you how to play the B.B. King style against
other jams that might be in a slightly different style, like ZZ Top as an
example. Basically, anything with a blues groove I bet B.B. could jam on, so
that's what we'll look at in the next two lessons.
That's all for this lesson.
If you would like further study on this topic or any other topic, email me at
Lyle@theguitar.net for info on how you can get your own customized guitar
lessons like this using Riff Interactive technology. Your private lessons can be
downloaded to your pc for anytime, anywhere study. Thanks and see you at the
next lesson. - Lyle