- Learning Blues Guitar
To purchase a pdf copy, please follow this link.
This is a basic pinky pattern for the song, Before You Accuse Me. Performed by many artists, this version is based on Creedence Clearwater Revival's cover. It is a twelve bar progression and contains the 'quick change' explained in The Three Chord Progression Part One. It is based in the key of E Major, and has a swing feel. The eighth note patterns are actually broken triplets (see Pinky Patterns Part One). Once again it is the ever-popular 'one, four, five progression' and the overall tonality is E7, A7 and B7. Home base scale for improvisation purposes is Em Pentatonic (see The Mighty Pentatonic Scale). The Em Blues Scale and Combination Scalecan also be used, but the Pentatonic Scale is the starting point for most players. Using your ear, you should be able to improvise endlessly, even in one pattern. Easy to say, but not all that easy to do. Most players rely on tried and true licks, sometimes resulting in what we call a rut. Everything we play starts to sound the same. If you find this happening, just a simple change in phrasing or note placement can ignite new ideas. The following progressions take this step to the rhythm patterns, progressively getting more interesting (and more difficult). Remember, Blues and Jazz music are all about substitution, whether in the rhythm or the melody.
This movement is the same as Pinky Pattern In A #3, without the drone note E, and, of course in a different key. That is, the G natural and G sharp are played as single notes. This slight change lends a whole different sound to the riff. Also, I have substituted a new turnaround in every progression (see Blues Turnarounds In E). CCR's version utilizes the turnaround form Progression One (or a slight variation) for the entire song.
This pattern is similar to Progression Two, but the single note riff takes place at the end of measure as opposed to the middle. This is a triplet phrase and is a little more difficult to execute. I have notated it with a hammer-on, which makes the triplet easier to play. Try it both ways: with the hammer-on and pick each note.
This progression combines elements of Progressions One, Two and Three, as well as ideas from The Major 6th to Dominant 9th Hub. This is the most difficult, but also, the most interesting. In measures five and six, the pinky pattern has been replaced by the A6 to A9 change. Try sliding from the A9 into the A6 in beat two. I find this is easiest when executed with 'chicken picking'. That is, the pick is used for the lowest note while other fingers 'grab' the strings. When only two notes are sounded, the intervals are sixths, commonly called 'sliding sixths' (in this case, the two notes would be G and E to A and F sharp). In measure eight, there is a chromatic climb into the B5 to B6 pattern (overall tonality is B7). Play this whole pattern slowly at first until thoroughly memorized, then try to speed it up to the recording tempo. Not an easy task!
Some new concepts here. Measure one is the same as progression four. Measure two, across the A7 incorporates some new chords. These chords are embellishments of the normal pinky pattern found in progression one. They could be played as two note or, as in this case, three note chords. This results in a very cool sound and is a great alternative to the common pattern. Instead of A5, A6 and A7, the chords are expanded to A Major, D Major and A9. Try the 'chicken picking' technique. In measure four, the E5, E6, and E7 are expanded to E Major, A Major and E9. Try these embellishments for the whole progression. Switch to the B chords notated in measure nine, as you will not have the luxury of the open strings across this measure. Or, move the A Major, D Major, and A9 up two frets (B Major, E Major, and B9), and play each chord twice, leaving out the root note. In measure eight, I have substituted the E pinky patterns for an ascending turnaround phrase. Very cool chromatic sound. This progression would be very challenging at the recording tempo. Lots of planning ahead! Within this 12 bar framework, everything must fit together perfectly, in order to avoid any train wrecks. Blues is simple, but it ain't easy…..or blues is easy, but it ain't simple.
© 2012 Lorne Hemmerling
Bono on December 26, 2014:
If you're reading this, you're all set, panrred!
Aadil on December 24, 2014:
You can use many things. A shot glass will work, so will a beer btotle. Slide players of the 20s and 30s used homemade slide made from btotlenecks (hence the name btotleneck guitar). You can find directions for making your own online. They also used knives fairly often. Tom Rush used part of a telephone housing on his recording of Bukka White's Panama Limited. John Hammond uses a Craftsman deep socket I've used an old salt shaker, a piece of copper pipe, and a lighter. The lighter won't work well for an acoustic though. Experiment with whatever you have laying around. Something that slides over your finger is generally better-it leaves your other fingers available for muting.
Lorne Hemmerling (author) from Oshawa on April 25, 2012:
Thanks lucybell. Electric or acoustic? If it's electric....crank it to eleven......maybe not, you might have to look for another place!
Bonny OBrien from Troy, N.Y. on April 24, 2012:
Great hub! I just moved into a new place, so now I will actually be able to enjoy learning on my guitar again. In the old apartment you had to be quiet all the time.