5 Blues Licks from Pattern 1

Your first Blues words! I'll feel like a proud Dad when you're speaking them! Five licks from Pattern 1 of the Minor Pentatonic.

View the full lesson at 5 Blues Licks from Pattern 1 | JustinGuitar

My fingers go under the top strings on the bend?

I’m about to finish the old Intermediate course and my next goal is to get through the Essential Blues Lead Course. I’m curious about how to structure a practice routine going forward. Was this course meant to be integrated into the Intermediate practice routine that is listed on the Effective Practice module or is there a practice routine that is tailored specifically to focus on the lessons in the Essential Blues Lead course?

Hopefully my question makes sense. I get that its probably meant to get subjective and its up to the student to choose their own path at this point but for someone as indecisive as me it would be cool to have a template to go off of.

Welcome to the Community, Vlen. I am just starting and sometimes experience the same. I don’t have the knowledge and experience to offer tips.

Drew, perhaps have a look at the guidelines given in Grade 3 here. But you are correct, as one progresses there is much less prescription as to an overall routine. You will find guidelines as to how to practice and apply this lesson which will help to incorporate this into your routine.

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The original course was pretty straight forward > Beginner Course first and then Intermediate course (much less structured and less guidance on practice) and that was it!

Then there were style modules e.g. Blues Lead, Blues Rhythm, Fingerstyle. You picked which ones you wanted to do BUT it’s even less structured. Justin’s view was that as you progress you take charge of putting together your practice routines. Beyond Beginner and Intermediate you should be a semi competent guitarist.

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Thanks for the reply. I was thinking on it since I posted and I have an idea of how I’ll structure things going forward.

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I like to think I’m semi-competent now. I was thinking about it since I made the original post and using the Intermediate Practice routine and incorporating the Blues Lead course seems to be the best course for me.

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Not being able to bend a whole tone on the eight fret of my nylon string guitar, couldn’t I simply bend a half tone on the ninth fret, and so on?


Hi Yann and welcome

The licks are all played within the A minor pentatonic scale and the notes on 9th frets are not part of the scale, so effectively no. You would be bending the 3rd and 7th intervals giving a major feel that would sound complete wrong in the minor pentatonic. That may work somewhere (major pent) but not with these exercise/licks. Bends on acoustics will be much harder that on electrics but I am unable to comment on nylon strings I am afraid,


Just tried doing an eighth fret bend on my nylon. It’s no easier than on the steel.

I’d just bend it as much as you can. Get yourself an electric, much easier :wink:

This isn’t a good Idea. Doing bends wrong gets the wrong sound
into your head. It’s better not to do it at all. If @Jan29 doesn’t have
an electric guitar it’s better not to do the lesson.
To quote Justin “Practice Makes Permanent”

Hi @Vlen and welcome to the community.

This is something many of us have experienced.
Firstly, it can occur a lot if the action of your strings is too high.
Also, it can occur if you are pressing ‘into’ the fretboard rather with fingers digging in rather than across the fretboard with fingers pushing up on a rotating wrist. Your fingers may also be too flat and straight. You don’t want to have very tightly curled fingers for bending, nor do you want super-flattened fingers with all knuckles flexed open.
I hope that helps/
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

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Check this supplementary topic for additional guidance and support on learning and using blues licks to play lead improvisation: First Steps in Blues Improvisation using Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 1
Cheers :+1:
| Richard_close2u |

Just getting into the Blues Lead lessons and am loving Justin’s lessons. In his suggested listening for Five Blues Licks, Justin mentions that “Albert King played his guitar upside down with the thin string at the top. String bending is a bit easier this way (pulling down)”. I tried it and YES - it is easier. So my question is why don’t we (and everyone else) use this technique or is it somehow wrong?

If you pull the string down you can’t do techniques where
you bend a string and play the string below it.
A vary common technique in Rock, Blues and Country.
Check out the open lick in I Used to Love Her and near
The end

Just learning bends and the problem I’m having is that my fingers tough the string abov3e the bent string and make sound. For example, I do lick #1 on the High E and as I bend upwards my fingertips often touch the B string above it and create a tone of the open B string. How do I prevent that?


You can stop the B string ringing out by muting all the strings above the e string with the edge of your picking hand or as you are bending with your ring finger mute the unwanted strings by gently resting your index finger across the strings.

In general practice you use the edge of the picking hand to mute the strings above the note you are picking and the free fretting hand fingers to mute the strings below.

Hope that helps.



That’s me! Semi-competent! Emphasis on semi.

Does anyone know the timing for lick 5?

hey sdndr, I had trouble with the timing of Lick 5, also. It’s written out in music notation under “Discussion”, if you read notation.

I managed to learn it by ear, i.e. imitating Justin, but I can’t count it. It’s unfortunate that Justin doesn’t count it himself in the video, he generally gives the counts for these licks.

I also have trouble incorporating it into an improv with a backing track. There’s just something about it which doesn’t seem to sit right (which makes me think I’m probably not playing it right). I’ve decided to drop Lick 5 for the time being and perhaps come back to it.