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Blues Guitar Lessons • Pentatonic Soloing • Part 3 • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

As a guitar, electric bass, ukulele instructor at Long & McQuades, I have taught countless musicians how to play or improve their chops.

The Late Great Hubert Sumlin.

blues-basics-blues-soloing-part-3

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E♭ Major-Cm Pentatonic Box Patterns

Below are the five box patterns in E♭Major-Cm. E♭Major and C minor share the same key signature: three flats. These flats are B♭, E♭ and A. Keys that share the same signature are said to be relative to each other. Scale spelling for E♭ Major Pentatonic is: E♭ F G B♭ C and the octave, E♭. Shift the tonic (root) to C and the spelling is: C E♭ F G B♭ and the octave, C. Practice these patterns evenly and in time. Start with all downstrokes, then move to alternate picking (down, up). Start at a slow tempo (70-80 bpm). Try to master both picking patterns at this tempo, then gradually increase the speed.

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Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #2

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #2

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #3

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #3

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #4

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #4

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #5

Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #5

Blues Solo #4

The entire solo is played in Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1. Note the three flats in the key signature. The solo begins on the 'and' of the third beat in the lead-in bar. Many blues riffs, solos, and licks start this way. This is standard blues phrasing and sets up your licks to come in ahead of the chord change. The phrasing and repetition stems from emulating a vocal line. You will often here a vocalist sing a line, repeat the same line with a slight variation of the melody, then change the lyrics and melody for the last line of the progression. This is so common, it is actually easy to make this up on the spot. "My baby left me, and I feel so bad….my baby left me, and I feel so bad….she was a good woman, makes me feel so sad' As comical and cliché as this sounds, many, many blues songs follow this format. The same structure can be used for soloing. Play a lick, repeat the lick (with or without variation), then create a new lick for the last one.


blues-basics-blues-soloing-part-3
blues-basics-blues-soloing-part-3

In this video, the solo is played in free time (no strict tempo) with vibrato and ¼ step bend embellishments. Quite often in the minor Pentatonic scale the minor third scale step (in this case E♭) is played as a microtone bend. This may sound a little off when played across the tonic chord, C7, because the third is E natural, but nevertheless it is executed this way all the time. If it is annoying to your ear, simply change the ¼ step to a ½ step. The trick is to make this solo sound lowdown and sleezy. Definitely, a bluesy, roadhouse sound

In the video below, the solo is played once and then the rhythm section continues on for one more pass of the progression. Practice with the solo, then play the solo again with the rhythm. There is a two bar drum intro. Count: 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 and 4 and (the 'and 4 and' is the first three notes of the lick, the lead in).

Jammin' With Guys I Never Met

Listen to this recording. It is in Am Pentatonic. There is only one note outside of the scale (B). I am utilizing different box patterns. During this recording I could feel every note I played. The sound was in my head and my hands at the same time. Pay close attention to my phrasing (where I play, where I don't), you can pretty much feel it.

Comments

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on April 06, 2012:

Thanks Lindsay. The main lick was actually taken from an old Eric Clapton solo, when he played with the Yardbirds. The song is called 'I Ain't Got You'. I changed the phrasing, but it is essentially the same lick. It has a very sleazy, barrelhouse sound to it. Glad you enjoyed it!

Lindsay on April 06, 2012:

I really like this piece. Simple, catchy, groovy...thanks for sharing!

Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on November 02, 2011:

Thanks for the comment, my friend. We can't all have perfect pitch, I think :•)

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on November 02, 2011:

I have a blues soul but sadly my ears are made of tin. Thanks for the hub.

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