Example BLUES SOLO 5
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?