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T-Bone Walker Guitar Lesson

by Wolf Marshall

This classic blues lick can be found in T-Bone Walker's solo at 1:30, during the first six bars of the second 12-bar chorus, moving through the I-IV-I chord progression. The whole phrase is in G minor pentatonic and is played in the standard blues-box position at the 3rd fret. The repeating bend riff, the pull-off lick and the thematic descending line are three main points to explore......

Lesson Highlights The idea of locking in with the pulse of the song on one note, and bending that note in a repeating, steady quarter-note rhythm, is a fixture of rock and modern blues style. It reduces the feel of the phrase to its most fundamental component: pure rhythm. This is what we find in bars 1 through 3.

star1.gif (994 bytes) In bar 4, we hear a pull-off lick which was a favorite motif in Jimi Hendrix's style and is now a standard cliche for all guitar players. Most rock and blues guitarists use this motif as an all-important nucleus idea, often to be repeated in ostinato form--as Hendrix did in his "Spanish Castle Magic" solo (bars 7 and 8). Compare the melodies and see for yourself!

star1.gif (994 bytes) The descending lick in bars 5 and 6 is a classic horn line applied to guitar, and again locks in soldly with the quarter-note pulse of the song's groove.

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