Ex­am­ple BLUES SOLO 5

Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

The pick-up to this cho­rus fea­tures an em­phatic ma­jor start us­ing a C# (the 3rd of A7) via a C grace note, and an A (root). This is then fol­lowed by some stan­dard A mi­nor Blues scale ac­tion; how­ever, note how the C note (the mi­nor 3rd that, tech­ni­cally, clashes with the A7) is of­ten bent up slightly to­wards a more ap­pro­pri­ate C# (3rd of A7).

As men­tioned in the pre­vi­ous les­son, good blues play­ing is a com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent fac­tors, all of which re­quire a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act tem­pered by per­sonal taste. The­matic de­vel­op­ment is im­por­tant via phras­ing; so is the abil­ity to forgo the temp­ta­tion to in­clude all the notes that will work over any given chord; fur­ther­more, you need to strike a bal­ance be­tween ar­tic­u­lat­ing each chord, and re­main­ing faith­ful to the over­all tonal cen­tre. In th­ese two bars, we see all th­ese con­sid­er­a­tions coming in to play. First, there is the pick-up at the end of bar 4. It al­lows us to per­pet­u­ate the orig­i­nal theme set up in bar 0 and, be­cause it oc­curs just be­fore the ar­rival of the D7, we can still get away with the C# note. Across the bar, the A note con­verts from be­ing the root of A7 to the 5th of D7 (in other words, it’s a com­mon tone). Next, we get a rep­e­ti­tion of the blues phrases from bars 1-2. On paper, the G note doesn’t work against the D7: it should be an F# in­stead (the 3rd of D7); how­ever, it works in this con­text be­cause it makes sense to the lis­tener’s ear, which re­tains the over­all tonal cen­tre (the home root note: A). Try ex­per­i­ment­ing by re­plac­ing each G note with an F# in­stead (which should fit the D7 bet­ter) and see what you think. Al­though tech­ni­cally more cor­rect, is it the blues?

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