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.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

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

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