One of my students recently wanted to learn the hard rock song Cult of Personality by Living Colour. This is a great tune with a rocking riff and catchy chorus. While these parts are slightly fiddly to play they aren’t impossible to master. However the solos are something else! Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid is known for his “out” jazzy playing and his tendency to shred a million notes a second making it very challenging to learn his solos note for note.
To get around this I decided to create new solos for the tune that were more playable while following the spirit of Vernon Reid with high energy and fast phrases. Both solos here are over the main G Mixolydian (G A B C D E F) riff which means that G Mixolydian, G minor pentatonic and the G blues scale will all work well here. Read More
Another way to make your blues solos sound magic is to use the mixolydian mode. This can expand your playing beyond the often used and predictable minor pentatonic scale. The mixolydian mode is a major scale with a flattened 7th note.
So while a G major scale uses the notes G A B C D E F# the mixolydian mode uses the notes G A B C D E F with the F being F natural and not F# as it is in the G major scale.
This makes the mixolydian mode a suitable scale to play over the dominant 7 chord which are used in the 12 bar blues. For example the notes of the G7 chord are G B D F which are part of the G mixolydian mode. Read More
Want to play better blues guitar solos? Move beyond the minor pentatonic scale with these 3 essential notes. These 3 extra notes will spice up your solos and make your licks sound fresh and interesting.
The Blues Note
The blues note is the flattened 5th in a scale. For example in the A minor pentatonic scale this is an Eb note. Adding this note to the minor pent scale (A C D E G = A minor pent) creates the Blues scale. (A C D Eb E G = A blues). The “blues” note is often bent into from a note ½ step below whether by bending a string on the guitar, or on a harmonica (blues harp) or with a singers voice.
The ½ bend is played from the 4th note (D in A blues). This means that the note effectively goes up one fret in pitch (D to Eb in A blues). Read More
Many of my students want to know how to improvise and build guitar solos over a 12 bar blues progression. Using guitar licks as bricks you can build an effective blues solo. First off you need to know the notes and the main pattern (AKA pattern 1) of the minor pentatonic scale. These notes will be the building blocks of your solo.
The next step in constructing your solo is to create phrases or licks using these notes. These licks will act as bricks to construct your solo. The solo we’re building has a combination of licks with some using string bends and others that don’t. These bent licks are based on a phrase and its variations. Some of these phrases also use pattern 2 the minor pentatonic scale. Note that all these licks except for #3 start in the “and” after beat 3. Read More
Last Sunday I ventured out to the Melbourne Guitar Show for the afternoon. I mainly went to check out the Guitar Players Acoustic Session and The Finale Jam. Of course there were also all the exhibitor stands full of guitar and bass gear to check out too.
At these sort of events I personally find it hard to hear or play gear due to so much noise going on and am happy enough just to window shop as I walk by. Any way I probably have more than enough gear and guitars even though there were some good deals on offer! However there were a few products that grabbed my interest and I would recommend checking out.
Fican Guitars www.ficanguitars.com are a range of guitars created by Australian luthier Stuart Monk that looked really interesting. Read More