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Michael Johnson >> Blues Legends III >>
Lesson Subject: Blues Legends III
What you learn: Robert Johnson Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson is on the style Robert Johnson. Robert inspired so many players, including the likes of Muddy Waters, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker. For this lesson we'll use standard tuning and blues fingerpicking. We will be using the key of B, do you know the notes for the 1, 4, 5 of that key?

Tonester: B E F#

Michael: Thanks Tonester! Our first lick kicks the progression off, first here's a sample of what you'll learn:

Lesson Sample

Lick 1

Lick 1

Michael: This lick starts off with the D7 shaped chord.

Michael: This kicks the opening chords, after that the lick plays the B Major formation.

Michael: Then you have an interesting interval with one line descending while holding the root note on the 1st string E. Here's the finger positions.

Michael: I use the 3rd finger as the anchor, but you can also use the 4th finger in its place.

Michael: The last chord resolves on the 5 of the progression which is E7.

Michael: Now we get into the meat of the progression, which is in B. Here's a jam track.

Michael: Here's a repeating track in B.

Lick 2

Michael: This lick fits nicely over the jam track that drones on the B. You start with the "D 7 chord" formation, play and slide on the 3rd string, then play the chord on the 11th fret.

Michael: Notice how you slide into the chord than increase the picking speed. The last note resolves on the E which sets you up for the IV of the progression.

Michael: OK, let's move on.

Lick 3

Michael: Now this lick works well over the I or B of the progression. Notice the how the chords descends, pretty common lick!

Tonester: Sort of a triad/double stop lick?

Michael:  Exactly, remember Robert Johnson was a main influence on many great blues and rock artists. You can hear these licks in John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, BB King... Now lets' try a jam track with the entire I, IV, V progression.

Michael: Try those scales over the last progression.

Lick 4

Michael: Now this lick works over the IV of the progression (E). You can position your hand to play this lick using this hand formation. Here's the IV jam track.

Michael: Try the last lick over the track. Notice how I kind of hold the E 7 chord formation but play notes in the lick.

Michael: Now this last lick follows the end of the progression where it goes from the V -> IV -> I.

Lick 5

Michael: Here's the full jam track again.

Michael: So are you guys gettin' down or what!

Skedman: rockin and a rollin

Steve: yep

mac: pickin and grinnin

Michael: That's a good thing, keep practicing and see you next lesson!

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