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Michael Johnson >> Blues Legends II >>
Lesson Subject: Blues Legends II
What you learn: Freddie King Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson covers in the style of Freddie King. Freddie spearheaded the modern Chicago blues scene and has inspired many guitarist, the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan. His style features a staccato and sharp attacks on his blues licks, but with a melodic edge. They're great licks for any blues guitar fan, check out the lesson sample:

Michael: Let's get started, our progression is based on the key of E, we'll use a I. IV, V progression common for most blues.

Michael: Can you tell me what the chords would be?

skarz: E, A, B

Michael: Thanks skarz! Here's our first jam track, notice the bass and guitar parts:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Here comes the tab for the progression on the jam track.

Michael: Notice how the progression is structured using the I, IV, V and how the progression is a bit different from the other 8 bar blues progressions it goes:

I, IV, I, IV, I, V, IV, I, V

Michael: Notice between the main riff how it follows the bass, the first progression has a descending chromatic line that resolves on the E before repeating. You can use the mouse to highlight and repeat any section of the interactive tab this will help you isolate a section that needs practice. The coming guitar licks will use the Em Blues scale.

Michael: Here's our first lick:

Lick 1

Michael: Notice the phrasing in this lick, try playing over the jam track, the emphasis is actually on the rests, this allows room for the vocals and the grove of the band to stand out. Freddie would usually blurt out tight little guitar licks in between the vocals this was signature to his style. Our next lick uses the same phrasing:

Lick 2

Michael: The first portion of this lick starts in the major pentatonic scale and jumps back to the open Em blues pattern.

Lick 3

Michael: Notice how these licks start on the V then IV and I, here's another lick:

Lick 4

Michael: This uses more of the staccato type licks, this actually uses the major pentatonic scale pattern in the open position and then jumps back into the minor blues.

skarz: Do you have to think about those scales while your playing or does it just flow?

Michael: It helps to have the pattern envisioned in your mind, it's the foundation of all these licks and helps you jump between them quickly. Here's another lick that follows the V, IV, I.

Lick 5

skarz: What is the best way to memorize patterns, horizontally or vertically?

ton: I can only memorize them vertically.

Michael: Good question skarz, it depends on the scale, in this case vertically. Scales are the foundation that helps you visualize where to play and where not, that's why I always stress learning the scales and always refer to them in the lessons

skarz: So that last lick would be in 4th position right?

Michael: When you hear the V (B) played you play the lick over it, you can use this next lick at the end of the phrase, does anybody know what the term would be for playing a lick at that time? Brian: turnaround

skarz: Yep turnaround

Michael: Thanks Brian and Skarz!

skarz: Man this is cool, I'm actually learning something.

Michael: Yes, a turnaround ends the progression and can even be used to start a progression, one example is Red House, by Jimi Hendrix.

skarz: Buddy Guy does that allot doesn't he?

Michael: Correct skarz!

Lick 6

Michael: Now let's try a counter lick you can play over the progression.

Michael: This is a great sounding lick! This lick kind of reminds me of Ted Nugent's "Hey Baby."

skarz: sweeet

Michael: Here are some pictures of how you can position your hand.

Michael: Notice how I anchor my 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th & 5th strings, you can also use chord position and pick the notes, I really like this next lick:

Lick 7

Michael: The chords are actually based on the C#m and C#b5, kind of a cool finger-picking triad thing, it all comes together when you hear Lesson Sample at the beginning of the lesson.

Michael: See you next lesson!

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