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Michael Johnson >> Contemporary Blues Guitarists >>

Teacher: Hello class, welcome to our lesson on the style of Ry Cooder. In this lesson we will cover his rhythm guitar style, even though he is mainly known for his blues slide guitar work. We will cover Ry's slide work in another lesson series that is related to this series called Contemporary Blues Slide Guitarists. Notice the cool blues rhythm guitar parts played underneath of the slide solos on the lesson sample:

Lesson Sample - Lowband - 1.2 Meg

Lesson Sample - Highband - 4.2 Meg

Teacher: Notice the rhythm guitar has some very interesting riffs that are based on the I, IV, V blues progression. Let's get started! Our first riff uses various intervals based in the key of G:

Part 1 - Riff 1

Part 1 - Riff 1

First take a look at the Maj 3rd interval that starts on the G. The root note is on the 1st string (E) and the 3rd is on the 3rd string (G). This tab illustrates the notes used out of the chord.
G Major Chord

Teacher: You might also recognize this interval in the song "Brown Eye Girl." Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 1 - Lowband

Teacher: In fact a lot of the notes used in this standard set of blues intervals are in the song "Brown Eye Girl," only different. Later you jump up to the D Maj. interval on the 10th fret and back into the first pattern. Notice the slides as well in the 3rd bar. After this section you play various related chords to this progression:

Part 1 - Riff 2

Part 1 - Riff 2

Teacher: In this section you start with the Am, then a B (5th string/2nd fret) note leading into the C Major and a hammer with the little finger on the 2nd string (B)/ 3rd fret. Then you play G down the Em, using the D/F# as a transition note between the two chords. Here's the jam track:

Looping Jam Track 2 - Lowband

bart: what does add9 mean?

Teacher: Here's the scale C (1), D (2), E (3), F (4), G (5), A (6), B (7). The 2nd is equal to 9, so in this chord you have an C, E, G and D which is the add9 note.

bart: oh, I see, thanks, I've always wondered.

Teacher: Bart a good CD-ROM to get by Riff Interactive is "Understanding Chords," it helps you understand the formulas used for building chords.

Teacher: For our next section of the lesson we will use the key of E using a blues progression.

Part 2 - Riff 1

Part 2 - Riff 1

Teacher: For the opening riff you use the 2nd box of the E Minor Pentatonic scale pattern:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Patterns Box 1 & 2

Teacher: Here's the box patterns, I highlighted the notes used in the last riff. Now this entire section is based on the E I, VI, V progression, only in this sample you use riffs and intervals to make it sound more interesting. Here's the jam track for Part 2 with the first part I just gave you and the next two riffs.

Looping Jam Track 3 - Lowband

Teacher: Notice that these riffs are based on the main chord structure of E7 (I), A7 (VI) and the B7 (V).  I even add the C7 which it sound more interesting. This part has a very cool lazy groove! Here's the section when you jump to A7.

Part 2 - Riff 2

Part 2 - Riff 2

Teacher: The first thing I want you to notice is the difference in the starting scale pattern before the A7. Remember in Part 2 - Riff 1 you start with the 2nd and 5th frets, in this section you start with the 2nd and 4th frets. The scale leads you into playing the A7 or the VI of the blues progression. You later jump back into the E7 (I) of the progression. Now in the blues pattern we jump one half-step higher to C7 and then back into the B7 (V) to make it sound more interesting. Here's the riff.

Part 2 - Riff 3

Part 2 - Riff 3

Notice in the C7 we mute the 2nd string (B) and then slide the fingering up 1 whole-step and back, then you move to B7. The last 3 riffs are all the ones used in the last jam track I gave you. You can also jam in the E Minor Pentatonic/Blues scale as well. Here's a few patterns you can try.

E Minor Blues

Teacher: Now I would like to add another blues riff you can try.

Part 3 - Riff 1

Teacher: Now this riff is related but more upbeat! Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam Track 4 - Lowband

Teacher: Well thanks everybody, I look forward to seeing you at the next lesson!

Shockwave: Thanks Mike

bart: thank you teacher

Teacher: Bye!

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