In this course you will learn all the basic techniques for playing lead guitar in the traditional blues style - as heard on the recordings from the 1950s and 1960s. Lessons cover all the most important concepts and skills needed to play solos, fills, introductions, and end tags. The course includes a section with lessons on the the specific techniques commonly used in traditional blues guitar - including string bends, double stops, vibrato, palm muting, slides, hammering on and pulling off the strings. There is also a section to teach you how to play in every position on different parts of the guitar neck.
To help you learn the ideas taught in the first part of the course, there is a special section with more than 50 examples of classic blues licks from the masters of traditional electric blues guitar - a veritable "Lick Encyclopedia" to get you started playing this kind of music. This section features short lessons demonstrating and explaining specific examples of licks by Freddy King, Pee Wee Crayton, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Rogers, Little Milton, Otis Rush, BB King, and many others! There is enough blues guitar taught here to keep you busy learning for months!
Course comes with FREE downloadable booklet containing diagrams and TABS of ALL examples taught in the videos!
For the money, this may very well be the BEST blues guitar lesson bargain on the market!
*I highly recommend that you first complete part one of this course - Rhythm Guitar. It's not absolutely necessary, but I think you will find this course much easier to understand lead guitar if you do!
Welcome to my course! I am assuming that you love old-time electric blues music AND want to learn to play it on the guitar. If so, you have made the right choice. Be sure to download and print out (if possible) the booklet that I have created for this course. It contains charts and TABS to help you get through each part of the course. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have as you work your way through my course. Good luck and have fun!
Make sure your guitar is in tune with mine before starting work on any part of this course. Be sure to buy or download a dependable tuner. You can buy a solid tuner for around $15 online or at a local music store. In this course we will use only standard tuning-
1st String - E
2nd String - B
3rd String - G
4th String - D
5th String - A
6th String - E
Throughout the course I will be referring to string numbers and fret numbers to help you learn where to place your fingers. Use the diagram in the booklet to help you learn these.
Barre Chords are essential for playing traditional electric blues guitar. They are most important because they will help you be find where you can play on the guitar neck - depending on the key and chord structure of the tune. Make sure you can play these chords and can identify they keys on every part of the neck! Use the diagrams in the booklet to help you.
So, you want to play a traditional electric blues guitar solo in the key of A? How do you know where you can play? This section will teach you the main positions used to play the blues.
Most of the solos and fills heard on the electric blues records of the 50s and 60s were played in or near what's called the 1st Position Blues Box. In this lesson, you will learn which notes are part of this position and how to find it in any key on the guitar neck.
You play the 1st Blues Box a little different in the key of E - because it's located at the very bottom of the neck - requiring you to use open strings. It is a position that is used time and time again in electric blues. So, learn it well!
A capo allows you to play in the E-Position in other keys - mainly F and G, but others too. Blues guitarists like Guitar Slim and Gatemouth Brown made regular use of the capo to help them to produce their searing licks and signature styles. You can buy a good capo for around $15-$20. It's a worthwhile investment if you are getting into this type of music.
The 2nd position blues box is where a lot of tradition electric blues is played. This lesson will teach you how to find it in any key and help you to identify and recognize the notes you can play. Again, use the chart in the booklet to help you out!
Though not used as much as the 1st and 2nd blues boxes (based on 1st position barre chord), it is important to learn how you can play over the 2nd position barre chord. There are many cool licks and single string runs that you can execute in this area of the neck in most keys!
You can also play over the D-Shaped version of the key you are playing in. This lesson will teach you how to find the D/C shape and show you the main notes that are used in playing electric blues.
This lesson teaches you how to find and play over what's called the "Long A" position.
Most electric blues songs, but not all, follow what's called a I-IV-V chord progression. So, if you are playing in the key of A, the chords would be A-D-E.
Like jazz guitarists, some blues guitarists would shift with the songs' chords to play over whichever chord the song was "on" at a given point in the tune. This lesson introduces the idea of playing "over the IV chord."
This lesson teaches you where you can play "low" notes as part of solos and fills.
A simple way to add higher notes to your solos/fills is to find the 1st blues box for a certain key "high up on the neck." By this, I generally mean beyond the 12th fret. This is often done in traditional electric blues when playing in the keys of E, F, F#, G, and A.
When playing traditional electric blues, there are a number of guitar-playing "techniques" that you will use over and over again. This section identifies each one of the commonly used techniques and teaches you one or more examples and how/where you can use them.
Bending strings is perhaps the most essential techniques used in traditional electric blues. This lesson shows you the most commonly used string bends.
Double stops add variety and power to your blues soloing and fill playing. This lesson teaches you the main double stops used in the 1st position blues box.
This lesson teaches the other commonly used double stops - located outside the 1st position blues box.
Sliding from one note to another is one of the most commonly used techniques in playing traditional electric blues guitar.
This section teaches you how to play hammer ons and pull offs.
BB King, Otis Rush, and many other old school blues guitarists employed a technique called vibrato to make single notes "sing out."
Raking the strings is a technique that was used by Freddy King, Lowell Fulson, and others. This lesson briefly introduces the idea and teaches a couple example of how to do it.
T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, and other blues guitarists used this technique in many of their songs.
This section includes lessons covering more than 50 different licks played on blues recordings from the 1950s and 1960s. Most are examples of the techniques taught in the second part of the course. TABS for each lesson are included in the booklet that you can download from the course introduction section.
T-Bone Walker was/is arguably the father of electric blues guitar. This lick is a simple example of one that he used over and over again in his solos and fills. It's from the 1951 song "I Got The Blues."
BB King was heavily influenced by T-Bone Walker. This lesson teaches two licks from his 1951 song "3 O'Clock Blues. They come from different parts of the song's introduction, but I've put them together here to give you some ideas of what you can do in the 1st Blues Box.
Freddy King used licks like this one with great regularity in his many solos and fabulous instrumental tunes. This one is from a tune called You Know That You Love Me - recorded in 1961. It shows you how to move toward the lower notes in the 1st position blues box.
You will learn two of Pee Wee Crayton's signature licks in the key of G - both used in the instrumental tune called "Bounce Pee Wee." These are both basic licks played in the 1st position blues box.
You will learn one of the most recognizable licks in the history of electric blues - the long bend used by Otis Rush on his classic recording of "I Can't Quit You Baby" in they Key of A. This is a good example of using long bends on the 2nd string in the 1st blues box.
This lick from Lowell Fulson's hit "Reconsider Baby" is typical of his bare-bones style of soloing. This lesson shows one lick from the tune and how he used bends and licks on the second string - in the 1st blues box.
This lick from Little Milton's 1959 tune "That Will Never Do" shows how you can use a bend on the first string in the 1st position blues box.
This lesson is a great example of Wayne Bennetts' use of the high F 1st position blues box to play bends and single string runs. This example is from the Bobby Bland tune "You Did Me Wrong."
Hubert Sumlin was Howlin' Wolfs' long-time guitarist and one of the most distinctive players of the 1950s and 1960s. This lesson teaches a typical Hubert-ish lick in the 1st blues box from the song "New Crawling King Snake."
This lesson teaches a T-Bone Walker lick employing "hops" in the key of Bb.
This lesson teaches a Freddy King lick using a descending single string run in the 1st position blues box. It is from the 1961 tune "I'm Tore Down."
This lesson shows yet another example of how you can play in the 1st position blues box.
This lesson combines licks from two Freddy King tunes - "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" and "Love Her With A Feeling." Both licks are played in Db and show how King played in the 2nd blues box.
This lesson teaches Freddy King's version of a commonly used lick in the 2nd position blues box. This example is from his tune "See See Baby."
This lesson teaches one of the basic 1st position blues box double stops as used by Buddy Guy in his 1972 version of "T-Bone Shuffle."
This lesson teaches one of the simplest and yet coolest licks that Magic Sam played in the 2nd position blues box.
Here's another example teaching a lick played in the 2nd position blues box - from the Aces version of "Honky Tonk." I'm pretty sure this is Louis Myers playing, but not positive.
This lesson teaches an example of how you can play in and around the 2nd position blues box in Bb.
This lesson teaches an Earl Hooker lick played in E - high on the neck and in the 2nd position blues box.
This lesson teaches a cool BB King lick that involves moving from the 2nd position blues box back into the 1st.
This lesson teaches a typical Jimmy Rogers style lick using double stops and licks in the E-position.
This lesson teaches some Eddie Taylor licks from the 1955 tune "Big Town Playboy." Cool examples of double stops and using chords in a solo!
Bill Jennings was a remarkable jazz guitarist, but this lesson teaches one of his bluesier licks from the instrumental "Big Boy." It's a cool double-stop/bend lick that was also used by many electric blues guitarists.
This lesson teaches some nasty Pat Hare double stop licks played in the 1st position blues box in G. Crank your amp up to 11!
This is a pull-off lick that Buddy Guy often used as a fill. This is perhaps the most difficult lick taught in this course. Learn and practice! This is a great fill to play in the 2nd position blues box.
Willie Johnson played guitar on Howlin' Wolfs' early Sun recordings. This is a double stop lick that he used in the tune "The Wolf Is At Your Door" - recorded in 1951.
This lesson teaches a signature blues lick played in the E-position.
This lesson shows how to combine licks in the long A position with double stops in the 1st position blues box - a good example of playing in more than one position on the neck.
This lesson teaches a Goree Carter lick employing descending double stops in the 1st position blues box.
This lick is a cool example of playing a double stop in the high-F position (1st blues box).
This is yet another signature blues lick and an example of playing over the IV chord in a song in the key of E - Magic Sams' "Sweet Home Chicago."
Robert Jr. Lockwood was the master of playing fills behind a vocalist - as he did with Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson,Johnny Shines, and many others. This is an example of his playing over the IV and V chords in the key of E.
This lesson shows how to solo over the IV chord (1st blues box) as Buddy Guy did in his 1963 tune "Worried Mind." BB King made a living doing this later in his career.
This lesson teaches a typical Ike Turner-style lick using the bass notes to produce a lower end sound for a solo or as a fill.
This BB King lick is an example of how you can move from the long A position back into the 1st position blues box. It is from BB King's epic biographical tune "Lucille."
I think it was an Excello studio guitarist named Rudy Richard who played this cool lick in the long A position on the 1966 Slim Harpo classic "Tip On In."
Jazz/Swing guitarist Tiny Grimes liked to play licks like this one in the long A position - usually in the key of Bb. This lick can add a jazzier feel to your playing.
Eddie "Guitar" Slim was one of the most distinctive blues guitarists of the 1950s. This lesson teaches one of his basic licks from his 1954 crossover hit "The Things That I Used to Do."
This lesson teaches two "red hot" Gatemouth Brown licks played in the E-Position using a capo. Very, very cool.
This is a Johnny Watson lick played in the key of A - in the E position with the help of the capo.
This teaches a cool Pee Wee Crayton lick played over the D-Position in the key of G.
This lesson teaches a signature diminished chord lick used by T-Bone Walker in many different tunes.
This Hubert Sumlin lick shows you how to move up the neck - from one position to another - in the course of a single solo phrase!
Buddy Guy is famous for his use of "octave licks." This lesson shows you how to play these really cool sounding riffs in the key of Bb.
This lesson shows a lick that combines double stops and other techniques. This lick was played by the fantastic, but little known, Reggie Boyd - a Chicago guitarist who played on a few of Jimmy Rogers recordings for Chess. This one is from the tune "Rock This House."
This lesson shows how to use a double stop lick in the key of A.
This lesson shows an Eddie Taylor lick that involves using staccato picking!
Mickey Baker played some of the hottest licks in 1950s R&B. This lick is from one of his blues tunes and involves a nastly bend and double stop.
This is a cool double stop lick that Freddy King played over the 2nd position barre chord in his instrumental "Sen-Sa-Shun."
Some final advice - listen to a lot of old blues and listen to the guitar! See if you can recognize and/or figure out what's being played and how. Use what you have learned here to learn more. Most importantly, try to develop your OWN style using what you have learned here to help you realize what can be played on the guitar and where. Good Luck!
Dave Moore is a high school history teacher who has spent most of his adult life playing and studying traditional electric and acoustic blues guitar. Currently, he records and performs traditional acoustic blues with his older brother, Tom Moore, an accomplished harmonica player and vocalist in South Bend, Indiana. Over the years, Dave has played with such blues legends as Pinetop Perkins, the late Barrelhouse Chuck, Big Time Sarah, Ricky Nye, country blues legend Yank Rachel, saxophonist Ab Locke, and the Cleveland area band Blue Lunch. For the past ten years, Dave has maintained a popular You Tube Channel offering lessons in both traditional acoustic and electric blues guitar - Old School Blues Guitar.
With 30 years of classroom experience, Dave is an accomplished instructor who excels at making things simple and easy to understand for all of his students. If you want to learn how to play a ton of traditional blues guitar, for a reasonable price, this is the instructor for you!