40 BLUES IN­TROS & OUT­ROS Top and tail your so­los

Never be short of ideas again with this essen­tial guide to open­ing and clos­ing a blues solo with both panache and au­thor­ity. Richard Bar­rett is your guide...

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

A good en­trance and exit is vi­tal if you are to leave your au­di­ence im­pressed. Richard Bar­rett re­veals the se­cret to great in­tros and out­ros.

ROBERT John­son’s finger­style acous­tic Blues em­ployed un­usual di­min­ished voic­ings and chro­matic move­ments to lead from One place to an­other

What do Chuck Berry, Jimmy Page, Eric Clap­ton, Gary Moore, Al­bert King, Jimi Hen­drix and count­less oth­ers have in com­mon? No, there isn’t a punch­line: the an­swer is a knowl­edge of the ba­sic blues for­mat and the abil­ity to blend it into their own con­tem­po­rary styles.

The first thing you of­ten hear on any blues record is a ‘taster’ of what is to come, courtesy of some fancy or soul­ful licks. Some­times this is called a ‘turn­around’ – the bit at the end of a 12-bar pro­gres­sion when ev­ery­thing is gear­ing up to go round again. You could say it’s like start­ing with an end­ing.

Check out some of our in­tros and com­pare them with their outro coun­ter­parts. Of­ten the only ma­jor dif­fer­ence is that the outro fin­ishes with a very fi­nal I (‘home’) chord, as op­posed to the intro, which usu­ally fea­tures the V chord (for ex­am­ple, B ma­jor in the key of E), set­ting our ears up to be­lieve – cor­rectly – that there is more to come. There’s some­thing rather com­po­si­tion­ally ele­gant, too, about ‘book-end­ing’ a song in this way. It sounds more de­lib­er­ate, rather than just bluff­ing through and com­ing up with what­ever you fancy (that has its place too, but you know what I mean).

There are ex­cep­tions to ev­ery rule and some of these are fea­tured in our ex­ten­sive cat­a­logue of ex­am­ples. John Lee Hooker and El­more James of­ten ‘vamped’ on one chord or riff, be­gin­ning and end­ing a song in much the same way. Robert John­son’s finger­style acous­tic blues em­ployed un­usual di­min­ished voic­ings and chro­matic move­ments to lead from one place to an­other. And mod­ern elec­tric play­ers, like Eric John­son and Scott Hen­der­son sub­sti­tute un­usual chords through­out the 12-bar pro­gres­sion, giv­ing a jazzy feel to pro­ceed­ings.

What­ever the ter­ri­tory, if you’re look­ing to im­prove your li­brary of ‘stock’ licks and fills, there is some­thing here for you. Start­ing with in­tros (of course), there are both easy and more ad­vanced ideas in a va­ri­ety of keys and styles, from acous­tic to full-on dis­tor­tion. The out­ros fol­low a sim­i­lar tem­plate – first a sim­ple idea, and then some­thing a lit­tle more ad­vanced over the same back­ing tracks, which are in­cluded for you to ex­per­i­ment over.

Some of these licks will be use­ful for gen­eral solo­ing vo­cab­u­lary as well. So, what­ever hap­pened when you Woke Up This Morn­ing, you will be able to ex­press it far bet­ter in song. Good luck... one, two, three...

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