AYNSLEY LISTER Video Masterclass PT1
In this new three-part video feature, blues ace Aynsley Lister demonstrates the heart of his lead style by taking a solo over three, blues-style backing tracks. This month: a fast 12-bar blues. Jon Bishop is your guide.
Aynsley Lister is one of the UK’s most highly regarded blues-rock guitarists. Aynsley lends an insight into his soloing thought processes.
Aynsley Lister shot onto the scene in the mid ’90s with his debut album (Messin’ With The Kid, 1996) and has since become a firm live favourite with blues-rock fans. We were lucky enough to get Aynsley in the studio where he took us through his approach to bluesy soloing.
The first backing track is in the key of A and uses the classic 12-bar blues format. The key thing to be aware of is the interesting
(A7-C7-B7-Bb7), turnaround used here which is most effective. Aynsley navigates this sequence using chord tones and double-stops. It is also fine to ignore these chords and play a stock blues turnaround as Aynsley also does in his performance. The tempo is fast (190 bpm), which means you can afford to play less. One of the key aspects of this solo is the use of space and pacing. Aynsley never gets carried away with super-long phrases or lots of notes. Everything is placed in a considered fashion and the emphasis is on the melody.
Before learning this solo it’ll be well worth playing through the A Blues fingering pattern as outlined in Fig 1. This fingering pattern is the main foundation of Aynley’s soloing here and learning it will help you to improvise in a similar fashion. Aynsley talks you through this fingering in the video and explains how this one position can be used for both Minor and Major tonalities.
Aynsley uses a variety of techniques including string bending, hammer-ons, pull-offs, finger slides and vibrato, which are all used to taste. String bending is a great way to add expression and feeling, as is finger vibrato. Once the string is bent to pitch, Aynsley often adds vibrato, which not only helps with the general intonation but also adds interest, feeling and that ‘vocal’ quality that guitarists often talk about trying to obtain. The finer points of this are well demonstrated in the teaching part of the video so make sure you listen closely.
The notation contains all of the fingerings, articulations and phrasing from the video performance. It’d be well worth taking a close look at the way Aynsley fingers and picks the phrases. He alternates between the plectrum and fingers with ease and this provides plenty of tonal variety. Finally, don’t be intimidated by the tempo: the ideas are all relatively easy to play at a slow tempo, so be sure to completely nail them slowly and this will reward you in spades when you finally build up to tempo.
make sure that you completely nail the ideas slowly; this will reward you in spades when you finally build up to tempo
NEXT MONTH Jon delivers part 2 of our exclusive video masterclass with Aynsley Lister
Aynsley Lister: fab new album Eyes Wide Open available now
Aynsley Lister with his blues video masterclass series, Part 1