Still Not the Blues

Since posting the Simple Blues Lead study from Grade 2, Module 13, I’ve devoted some time to working on some of the basic techniques of lead. That is documented in a related What Are You Learning now topic.

But however patient and tortoise=like I can be, I still want to play the blues. Here’s a noodle in which I try to put into practice some of what I have been practising.

As the title suggests, I am far from playing like Gary, Peter, or based on my current favourite blues listen, Hubert Sumlin.

It is also a little long, I need to trim my BT loop to allow a start to finish recording that is a less painful duration.


:clap: :clap: :clap:

It’s cool, and the guitar, too :slight_smile:


That was good David. I loved the tone you got. You’ve clearly been working on this. I’m in no position to offer advice but perhaps a change in tempo would add some ‘oomph’

As you say to others - keep on keeping on!

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Some nice phrases and vibrato!

My main take away from Justin on the Blues is that licks that are already invented are the words. It’s worth throwing in some of the simple licks from Justin’s Blue study (lick n riff). Beginner Blues Lead from Fundamental Changes is also good for build up a bag of simple licks.

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Certainly making some progress David but others more qualified will give informed guidance. Some nice use of space and some good effective phrases, have you had a look at Justin’s Essential Blues Lead ? I thought I recognised a couple of the licks, if not certainly work checking out the Pattern 1 & 2 licks, as you are getting confident about changing position !

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David…well done…good tone and nice use of varying Pentatonic positions.As others have suggested there are some really cool sounding licks in Justins beginner blues course in the positions you are using so you would probably find them usefull.

As you said you have reservations about the backing track length…rather than shortening it may I humbly suggest that you explore a couple of tracks with more of a “shufflier” (is that a word!)? feel…there’s plenty on YT and some with Justin’s lessons…I always seem to struggle with articulation on a slow 4/4 type blues and feel more comfortable with something more uptempo…(its probably because the bum notes I play sound awful at slow tempos but can make great passing notes at a faster tempo…well that’s my excuse anyway😆)
Hope you don’t mind the suggestions. Keep up the good work

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Nice work, David. I liked your sensibilities in your progressions. Wish I could offer some advice, but I am a ways behind you on the journey.
The length of the BT did not bother me at all, nor did the laid-back tempo.

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Well done David good things thrown in the mix, tone sounded good and you are really making a nice steady progress!

Caught this one on the tubez, good stuff. You’re coming along nicely. Some really good phrases in there – you are starting to be much more conversational in your lead play. You were also playing the changes, which is an advanced way to play. Good times!

I think that you’re going the right way, some nice licks and phrases but there was occasionally an unanswered question. It may be that at the moment you’re not quite sure about phrasing but it’s worth looking at.
It’s all to do with the final note of the phrase, it needs to resolve not leave things in mid air. Generally you don’t end an answer phrase on a high note unless it’s to add extra tension, a lower note resolves this. Have a good listen to some of the blues players who play the style your interested in to get a better idea of the Question - Answer thing, once you get it you will really improve and feel it more.
This is a great example of question and answer from Buddy Guy and Ally Venable, it’s absolutely magic!


I think you’re sounding bluesy, David. You make good use of space, and so your playing breathes. I also quite liked some of the musical phrases. Beyond that - it’s beyond me to offer any pointers. I will say though that practicing is quite a lot of fun, so keep having fun! :slight_smile:

I admire your steady persistence David and that shows in the progress you’re making. There’s evidence of your influences and efforts in some of the phrases and expression and well as that all important space in the right places.

You cooooool cat :sunglasses:

That sounded great David. I noticed the good use of space for breathing room right away.

A very enjoyable listen. Sounded quite bluesy to me, it had had a good, laid back feel to it and the tone was great. Thanks :slightly_smiling_face: :+1:

Thanks everybody for taking a look, sharing your thoughts and encouragement; much appreciated :love_you_gesture:

@Jozsef I do like the looks of the guitar :yum:

@sairfingers Tone is the result of a little knob twisting on the amp and guitar, plus adding just a hint of reverb and delay which the amp has built-in. As for tempo, do you mean trying to play the whole thing faster, or trying to playing more shorter notes?

@skeldol I haven’t looked at the ‘lick n riff’ lesson yet. I’m trying to get to grips with a couple of the pattern 1 licks from the Blues Lead course. Going to be a while to become fluent enough with the licks to be able to make sense with them. Need to follow the teaching and spend more time just playing one lick over and over.

@TheMadman_tobyjenner I have looked at the first position licks and of course there is the one I got from watching you. I was trying hard not to over-play, repeat phrases etc. And fitting in the licks is not as easy as it sounds.

@lankytwang Quite happy with suggestions, I make use of what I can. I kept this BT simple to aid in being able to keep up and hear the changes. When the BT gets to be busier with lots of instruments then I struggle a bit. Will keep working on the licks.

@ChasetheDream no need to feel a need to offer advice, just reflecting that you liked some of it is encouragement enough

@adi_mrok slow and steady as we go, and it is good fun

@CT yeah, hearing the changes and then playing chord tones to try and accent was one of the things I was trying for. Seems shorter phrases and space really does improve things

@DarrellW years of listening to all the advice given. I particularly struggle on the last 4 bars, playing something that works for the 5 4 and then the turnaround. I tried some call and response once or twice, maybe not in this clip, but will pay attention to ending on a lower note. As for Buddy Guy, he is a magician.

@mari slowly, slowly. I think the penny really stopped to drop on the use of space doing the simple blues lead study. It’s almost half play half rest. Reduces the chances of bum notes by half :laughing: As you say, just lots and lots of fun.

@batwoman fun and progress, can’t ask for more, but perhaps a little soon to be putting on the shades :laughing:

@TheCluelessLuthier space is so important and yet surprisingly difficult to play nothing and then to start playing at the right moment.

@Tim_Wilson glad you enjoyed it.

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Good post! I enjoyed watching that. You’ve got the stank face going, that’s pretty much as important as what you’re playing :grin:

And I think it’s that attitude that makes the blues the Blues otherwise we’re just playing scales right? So I would keep it up :+1:

On the call and response thing the call should end on a high note and the answer on a low note, very much like in a conversation but occasionally if you want to increase the tension you can answer the question with a question, but like in a conversation you need to be careful how you phrase it.
Buddy Guy is one of many I can say are favourites, there are several ‘flavours’ of blues to look at, it’s best initially to pick a style that you’re most interested in.
As regards turnarounds you need to listen to some of your favourite artists and see what they do, listening and watching is a big part of learning to play blues, you don’t want to re-invent the wheel you want to re-distribute it until you get your own voice.

Hi David. I probably should have said anything. What do I know? No I didn’t mean speed the whole thing up. I meant not play so many notes on the beat. I just thought the tempo was a bit ‘samey’ throughout. But I realise it’s a ‘slow blues’.

Sounding good, David. The progress you’ve made is impressive!

That was pretty sweet David. I thought it had a great bluesy vibe with some nice little twiddles in.