Groovy Blues Solo A

Animated Groovy Blues Solo A tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This exercise is from the Jamzone where we play a blues groove in D tuning (Low D:G:C:F:A:D).

Okay, so you know the backing riffs and have got the groove, let's let rip with some lead!

Listen to the normal speed audio a few times on loop first. Do this before reading on. Pick out the techniques and licks you like then find them in the ActionTab and try them out. The lead is totally fresh in this ActionTab - We wanted to give an example of some live blues stuff. So, the backing music was played, the lead plugged in, and the record button was pushed. You can hear me at the start just testing the guitar is in tune before playing proper. This ActionTab is a good example of freestyle lead playing, and shows you some of the techniques you can use to jazz up your licks on-the-fly.

It sometimes helps to get an insight into the mind of the guitarist when they are playing live solos. So here's what I had on my mind (besides the usual desire for coffee)...

Before putting pick in hand, I already had a gameplan roughly formed (all guitarists do - the artist never picks up a pen without already knowing something about how to use it). I knew the backing riffs switched between G minor and C major (or A minor and D major if you like to think in terms of standard tuning), so resolved to keep my solo fairly straightforward and just switch between the G minor scale and D major scale accordingly.

All Clapton fans know that blues is all about bends, so I figured to put in a fair few of those, but I also wanted to showcase a few other techniques such as the rakes (muted arpeggio sweeps - like here).

Apart from that, I didn't really have any strict criteria other than wanting to start slow and finish fast (mission accomplished I reckon).

The rest is down to experience and familiarity with scales (namely making melodies from them, as we encourage with the various scale games in the Jamzone). And also, down to a knowledge of certain bluesy licks - e.g. here, here and here, to show just a few.

The other thing I had going on - as important as all the rest, was a feel for the groove. I allowed the backing music to influence my melodies. This is a hard thing to put into words - but essentially, you find that opening yourself to the backing music causes you to access your internal library of licks, your unconscious melodies and phrasing. Your guitar voice :)

These are just some (hopefully useful) insights. The solo could be better in many ways I'm sure - but still would be plenty good enough for a live performance in most places. Putting yourself on the spot and 'just doing it' is a superb practice tool. All musicians I know improvise like this. You will improve your overall ability vastly. How do you begin? Loop the Backing ActionTab (normal speed) and play along - use the scale games and other ActionTabs for inspiration and melodic ideas. And don't get upset if your fingers seem too slow - you have to practice, there's no avoiding that. I've played many years and still feel like a beginner - just be patient and keep your practice steady, at least 30 mins a day. You'll be surprised what that will do for you in a few months!

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