Blues Accelerator - 21 Days to Blues Guitar Mastery

Learn to improvise guitar solos over the 12 bar blues in a variety of blues styles.
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Instructed by - Mark Thomson Music / Instruments
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  • Lectures 45
  • Length 7 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 1/2014 English

Course Description

The aim of Blues Accelerator is to take someone with little formal knowledge about blues guitar playing, and turn them into a confident blues player. The ultimate goal that we're headed towards is the ability to play over the 12 bar blues, which is the bread and butter of any blues musician. If you want to sit in with the real players, you need to have a rock solid grasp on playing over the 12 bar blues....and by the final lesson of this VOl. I, you will have mastered soloing over the 12 bar blues.

Depending on your skill level coming into this course, you might find the first lesson a bit easy. Nevertheless, please follow along. Each lesson in the course builds upon the lesson that precedes it. Skip a lesson, and you risk missing an important aspect of blues soloing.

As the title suggests, you can finish the course in 21 days.

What are the requirements?

  • An electric guitar, ideally with an amplifier

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of the course, you will be able to solo over the 12 bar blues in a variety of styles, from Chicago blues, to a Gary Moore kind of minor blues, and so on.

Who is the target audience?

  • Beginners and Intermediate players

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Promo Videos

The Blues 3rd is the single most useful technique you can add to your playing to immediately boost the quality and authenticity of your blues solos. It's easy to learn but hard to master. Check it out...


Believe it or not, the pentatonic scale is NOT what the pros really use when creating authentic blues solos. IIn this video you'll learn about the blues arpeggio...the real tool in the blues guitar player's toolkit.


In this video you'll learn how pro blues players structure coherent solos using what's known as Question & Answer (or Call and Response) phrasing. It's easy to do and sounds great!

Section 2: The Four Magic Notes

In this video you'll learn the four notes we'll be working with as we try our hand at improvising over a simple chord progression. Yes, it's only Day 1 and we're already going to be soloing! Check it out....


In this video, we learn about the importance of alternate picking. The two exercises we learn here will really help your chops. Check it out...


In this video, we're going to learn how to play's groove, which is similar to Freddie King's "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone." Enjoy!

Ear Training Exercises: Stage 1
Section 3: Imitating the Voice with Your Guitar

In this first video, we'll be adding two more notes to what we learned in Lesson #1. We'll also be learning how to add slides....and why. We'll then be putting this all to work for us over a new jam! Check it out....


In today's technique video, we work on developing strength and dexterity with each pair of fingers. It's a tough workout, but great for your long-term chops. Have fun, but don't keep going if you feel serious pain.

Play This Blues Groove
Ear-Training Exercises: Stage 2
Section 4: How to Apply Hammer Ons to Your Solos

Welcome to Lesson 3. We cover lots of stuff in today's lesson...I hope you're ready! We'll be playing in a new position, adding some new notes, and jamming over a cool, Hendrix-style progression. And most importantly, we learn about those infamous hammer ons and pull-offs. Okay, let's get started!


In this technique video, we learn the kinds of hammer on and pull-off licks that let the experienced guitarists play so fast. This is need-to-know stuff!


In today's groove video, we learn how to play "All Along the Watchtower"....It's an excellent jam tune. Be sure to call it out at your next jam session!


I really hope you've been doing all these ear training sessions. Developing your ear this way is vital because it's a skill shared by all top level musicians: the ability to play what you hear. It starts by being able to play the things your hear others play....but ultimately it will allow you to play the phrases you hear in your head. So dive into this next installment of our ear-training series!

Section 5: How to Apply Bends to Your Blues Solos

Welcome to Lesson 4. Our main topic today is bending...the ultimate blues guitar technique. Easy to learn, but it takes a long time to truly master! By the way, a lot students worry about breaking the string when they bend. It happens, especially as your strings get older. Might even startle you the first time, but you'll get used to it. So, breaking strings when you bend is normal, but really wont happen that much. Anyway, let's get to it. Please watch this first video to get an inside look at bending!


In today's technique lesson, we'll learn lots of cool bending phrases and licks. These are absolute classic licks!


Today's groove video teaches a variation on Kenny Wayne Sheppard's "Blue On Black". It's such a great tune!

Ear-Training Exercises: Stage 4
Section 6: How to use the Diamond Shape to Create Authentic Solos

This is an extremely important lesson because it introduces three fundamental blues concepts simultaneously: Up til now, we really haven't played an official blues least not the 12 bar blues. We've been playing over "bluesy" jams, and learning blues phrasing and blues licks, but now it's time to do so over the 12 bar blues. Secondly, we're going to add the vital Blues 3rd to our arsenal. Now, if you watched the videos I made during the launch of Blues Accelerator, then you saw the lesson on the Blues Third. So, yes, some of this will be a review, but there's one more very important thing we'll be learning today: The Diamond Shape. The Diamond Shape is great because it's easy to use, easy to remember, and it's very authentic sounding.

So let's get to it! Please watch this first video...


Sequencing is one of my favorite tools to give to students because it's a way to immediately create your own licks, riffs....even songs. Virtually all musicians -- from Bach to BB King -- employ sequencing in their music. So please watch this video to get in on the secret....


In today's groove video, we're going to learn how to play the 12 bar blues. This is the classic blues groove that countless blues songs rely on. Learn this, and you basically will have learned how to play thousands of blues songs.

Ear-Training Exercises: Stage 5
Section 7: How to Add the Blue Note (aka the b5) to Your Blues Solos

In the last lesson we learned about the all-important Blues 3rd. Today, we'll be adding the Blue Note (aka the b5) to our phrases. If the Blues 3rd is all about giving a sense of hope to a downer song, the Blue Note is about emphasizing the pain the blues musician is feeling. Let's see how it works. Watch this video....


In today's technique lesson, we'll learn lots of classic licks (starting with a Jimmy Page one!) featuring the Blue Note.


Let's learn today's groove. This is something I created just for this lesson, so feel free to add to it and make it yours!

Ear-Training Exersises: Stage 6
Section 8: How to Play BLues in the Style of B.B. King

If you had to pick the musician most associated with the blues, most people would choose B.B. King. Among other things, he's famous for "doing more with less." In other words, he can play just a few notes and convey more feel, more truth, than someone else playing a thousand notes. But how is that? How does he do it? Can it really be learned?

I think so. Watch this video and see!


In a recent technique video, we discussed something called sequencing. It's a great method for generating your own licks. And here is another very powerful lick-generating tool for your soloing toolbox. It's called: Pivoting. See if you can figure out how they work...


In today's groove we learn a very typical way to play the 12 bar blues. This is definitely worth learning, to add contrast to your rhythm playing.

Ear-Training Exercises: Stage 7
Section 9: Digging Deeper in B.B. King's Style

In today's lesson we'll continue our look into the soulful playing of B.B. King. Take a moment to warm up your hands by running through some of your favorite phrases, and then dive into this first video...


It's been a long time since we've talked about picking. Granted, some styles of blues playing aren't too demanding on the picking hand, but just listen to any Stevie Ray Vaughn or Eric Johnson solo and you'll soon feel the need for monster picking. So please watch this video to give your picking hand a workout...


In today's groove, we'll learn to play that cool fingerpicking groove I was playing. It's another great rhythm to have in your bag-of-grooves!

Ear-Training Exercises: Stage 8
Section 10: How to Play A Back Porch Blues

This next video is a How-to on tuning down to Drop D. If you've ever had trouble tuning your E string down to Drop D, check out this video...


This lesson is really cool because we're going to use the things we've learned to create our own Back Porch Blues. A Back Porch Blues is what I call any blues piece you can play truly solo, because you're playing both the lead and the accompaniment. It's the kind of thing you'd play, well....just sittin' on the back porch. So, this is a fun lesson because you'll be learning a new piece, and really you'll be improvising your own song. But it also acts as a review of everything we've covered up to now.


In this technique video we're going to work on something called subdivisions of the beat. Eric Clapton, among others, does this so well. It's like switching gears in the middle of a phrase -- and players use this to speed up or to slow down. It's a very cool effect! Watch...

Ear-Training Exercises: Stage 9
Section 11: How to Play the Texas Blues
Learn How to Play Texas Heat

Here is today's technique video. In it, we finally reach the key of E! We started our journey back in lesson #1 up at the 10th fret in D, and we've been working our way down the neck to the ultimate guitar key. We're also going to turn up the heat with some fast Texas style licks. Hey, it's a technique video, after all!


Let's see how well you can pick out phrases based on the Blues Arpeggio! (P.S. After this video, try listening to some Texas blues and see if you can pick out similar phrases! I bet you can!)

Section 12: Putting It All Together: The 12 Bar Blues with Turnarounds

Welcome to this last lesson of Volume I of Blues Accelerator! In the last lesson we learned the blues arpeggio in our three main positions. Today, we're going to apply it to the 12 bar blues. This is a very important lesson because we're going to solo over the entire 12 bar blues, including the turnaround, with very authentic phrases...thanks to the blues arpeggio. So, let's get to it!


We need to learn the blues arpeggions in one position because this eliminates jumps in our phrasing and ultimately leads to a more vocal-sounding style. (Always the goal in blues.) We'll also be learning how to truly play solo.


Here is our final installment of ear-training videos for Volume I. I would love to know how you did with these, and how much they helped you. And any input would be appreciated, too. Are they long enough? Tough enough? Not challenging enough? All input is welcome!

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Instructor Biography

- Mark Thomson, Professional Guitar Instructor

I've been a professional teacher my entire adult life. I have taught thousands of people over the years to play all levels and all styles. A music composition major at Arizona State University, I also graduated from L.A.'s Guitar Institue of Technology. In the late 80's I was featured in Guitar Player Magazine's SPOTLIGHT column, and in the early 90's was George Lynch's guitar instructor. (He of DOKKEN fame.) I created George's instructional series for R.E.H. videos and worked with George on other projects. For the most part, though, I was one of the lead instructors at the Music Store in Mesa, Arizona where I taught thousands of students over the years. I currently reside in Sevastopol, Ukraine where I moved to master the Russian language and to share American rock and blues with a part of the world that knows little about it.

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