Blues licks "words" Improv Pattern 1 - key of A

So I have been practicing bending and vibrato as my journey is progressing. I. Wish I could focus more on Blues, but I feel I have alot of other skillsets that must be worked on before moving forward to fast

Pretty sure my bends are a lil out of tune, sometimes not bad at all to my ear. Any help in this would be greatly appreciated. Still ear training on this end!!

For this I have worked around 2 “phrases” to try and make a few expanded phrases. It’s coming along I think?!

Hope you enjoy, it is so fun even if it is an art in progress!

Like always, critical, constructive criticism is most certainly welcome!!

Rock on!


Good to record and come back to check progress over time, Darren.

The licks sounded good, fit with the backing. I can’t comment on pitch accuracy of bends, just don’t have sufficiently schooled hearing.

I do suggest you look at your bending technique. Try to work on the rotation of the hand to create the bend rather than largely pushing up with the fingers.

Vibrato can be done the same way with just a smaller motion.


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Hey Darren,

Great to see others havin a crack at the Blues - all the cool licks, the bending,the vibrato etc. And you’re right - all loads of fun and great learning.
Re your bends. Yep, they are all flat in pitch at present. I think mostly due to the fact that you appear to be ‘lifting’ the string with your fingers, which will give no real strength and no control. Check out Justins lessons on bending where he talks about the wrist motion. Thats where it all happens, where all the motion, and control comes from. The fingers themselves remain relatively still.
Once you get that motion going OK, it’ll start to feel alot more natural and in control. Justins also mentions some exercises where you bend to the target note after you pick. Great exercises.
I like your rhythm mate. You seem to be in the groove. Get those bends goin and you’ll have some killer licks goin. All the best.

Cheers, Shane


Great groove going on there Darren with terrific leg stomp work. :smiley: The others have said it all re the bends.
Well done.

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Great start Darren, Shane gives great advice on wrist rather than fingers for bends and playing the target note first before the bend so can you hear the sound you’re aiming for. You can do the target note stand alone or add to your playing against the backing track. I don’t know if you only know pattern 1 pentatonic, but by adding the notes two frets up on the G,B and e strings as target notes for your bends in pattern one your also learning pattern 2 on those 3 strings.

I have the opposite problem to you, I bend sharp but slowly getting better.

It’s quite a tough gig to bend on an acoustic and requires much more strength than on an electric, especially on the high e string.

Keep at it you’ll get there.

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That’s a great start . As has already been pointed out, your bends are flat. Recording yourself is a great way to better understanding this so keep that up.

I suspect the thing that is really making it difficult for you is the fact that your playing on an acoustic. I find full tone bends on an acoustic very difficult. Even semitone bends are tough. Some things you could try:

  1. Play around with 1/4 tone bends. Just curl the note slightly sharp, not even a full semitone. They sound good and are fun to play.
  2. Slide up a tone. You’ll get a similar effect to a full tone bend and will start to hear what the full tone bend should sound like.
  3. You could try down tuning your guitar a semitone or even a full tone. This makes it much easier to bend notes. You’ll just have to modify your position on the fretboard to take this into account.
  4. If you’re using a heavy string gauge then consider using something lighter.
  5. Get an electric guitar. On of the best things about an electric is the ease with which you can bend notes.

I was happy enough with the fit. Few flubbed notes, but still need much practice with the Athlete there! I will certainly be taking more videos of myself playing. Really helps! Thank you sir!

I’m happy to hear you think it"s a good start! Yeah, that is what I figured. I have about (in total) 2 to 3 weeks practice so I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect yet! It is SOOOO difficult to hit on an acoustic!! I have looked at Justin’s lesson as this several times, so I do know what I am suppose to be practicing according to the man! :v:I will certainly be working alot on the wrist action! So fun, so difficult! Love it anyways! Thank you sir!

Thank you! At least that is one area that I have practiced a bunch! That one skillset is a real focus for me. Thank you.

Well, unfortunately I only know the first pattern at present. I don’t want to stretch my skillsets to far and add alot of extra thinking that I would like to avoid. Have alot of other consolidations to do before I feel I am ready to push the next step. Bending sharp on this thing is difficult! Lol . Nice to hear othera are on a similar track. As mentioned, so hard to hit those notes on acoustic. I know it is possible, just crazy extra work to get there. Thank you to you as well.

Absolutely!! There is no doubt there and I am aware it is easier on the electric. However, getting an electric isn’t in the scope of my finical situation a.t.m. I will get one, just a matter of time in space! I will keep up with getting a good technique re to my bends and vibrato.

I saw this myself but wanted confirmation on my end. :wink:. It has been confirmed!!! :grin:

I have put alot of your suggestions in practice already. However sliding up to the tone I should be hitting is not one. I pick the note I am suppose to bend to then pick string I need to bend then pick again and bend as Justin has taught us. But sliding to it eh? I like that idea.

I have already changed my strings to 10’s, I tried 9’s but they were just to light and did not help at all for me! 10’s I can work with.

Down tuning I thought of and have heard before. But I feel it’s just one more “I have to think” steps involved. The less thinking I have to do, the better my playing will be. In my mind.

And finally, oh yeah. Electric would be much easier. But not in my scope of view right now.

Thank you very much for your input!!

Thank you all! Comments much appreciated!
A good start is better than a bad one!! :smile::wink:

Rock on!


Hi Darren, I wasn’t suggesting you learn pattern 2, I was suggestion a way to improve your bends.

So you would normally do a full bend on each of the second notes on the g b or high E string as you were doing in your jam. You should play the target note first and then play the bend, the idea is you get the target note in your ears then bend to the same note. Each target note is two frets up from the string you are bending on those 3 strings. So by doing that exercise the 3 target notes are part of pattern 2.

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One other tip Darren, use a tuner and bend until the tuner shows the bent tone is correct. This works when you’re starting out with bends but isn’t a long term fix as you need to learn to do it by ear alone.

Some may frown on this but I found it useful when starting out.

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Ahhhhh…ok. I see what your saying. Yeah, I think I will try to put that in practice. That may very well help (I’m more thinking to it will)with if I’m in tune or not. Makes sense to me! Thanks man!

Rock on!

Hmmm…yeah I believe this was mentioned before somewhere as I recall, but obviously was sent to the back of the storage facility!!! Lol. Never hurts to check it out and see. Might work good with a couple of options melded together. Thanks for jogging me brain! :v:

Rock on!

I hate to be Debbie Downer but 2 to 3 weeks of proper bending techniques would have been enough to get your bends to proper pitch. Also noticed you’re bending you wrist backward when bending, this will hamper the rotation of the wrist when bending to pitch.
My advice would be to practice the bends first get the technique down the try using them in your phrases.

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I’m thinking this may be possible on an electric in that time, maybe, but on the acoustic…a lil more difficult. I’m sure on that one. I also believe it would depend on the person, and the place you are in your journey. My opinion. As I said still training the ear, but I’ll get it…no doubt in my mind!!

That’s the basic aim. But just practicing the technique and not applying it doesn’t seem like alot of fun. I figure as long as I keep most emphasis on technique I’m going to have some fun with it!!! :grin:. I’m thinking I keep the right mindset and have good advice will bring me in the right direction! :wink:

Thanks brother!
Rock on!