Sometimes I spend hours just jamming with jam tracks like this one. They're such a good tool for developing your solo, I don't know of anything quite as powerful. Having the chords on-screen is also very useful for developing your ability to target individual chords with your riffs on the fly, right in the middle of a solo.
If you're interested in learning the solo at the beginning of this video, checkout the Slow Blues Solo in A here.
In Secrets of Tasty Riffs & Solos, one of the tricks I taught was how to use two strings and climb up or down the fretboard in patterns of thirds. This is a great way to move between scale patterns, it sounds really cool and melodic, and it can quickly get you from one end of the fretboard to the other.
What’s not to like?
Anyhow I was just watching some Albert Cummings (do it!) and I saw him pull the exact same trick, and thought I’d post the video to give you another practical example of how this sort of thing can be used in a song.
Right around 4:06, you’ll see he starts using these patterns on the 1st and 2nd strings to rip down the fretboard, from right near the top to the bottom, then he uses different strings and different patterns (looks like inverted thirds on 1st and 3rd strings to me) to begin his climb back up.
A little while ago I visited a friend’s place – we were over there to have a BBQ, and I noticed he had a guitar sitting in the corner.
So, I grabbed it and just quietly started jamming away in the corner.
I kind of tuned out from the conversation while I was jamming, but a few minutes later when I stopped, I noticed another friend had snuck up and was sitting there watching me play, I assume to look for more helpful hints for his own experience.
“What was that you were playing?”
“Oh I was just fooling around with some 12 bar blues stuff” I replied – which was true – it was basically off-the-cuff blues.
But the thing that intrigued me was that it was the rhythm playing that had caught his attention – the stuff I was playing was really fairly simple, chord wise, basically just I IV V kind of thing, but because I kept on changing to different chord voicings, and throwing riffs in here and there, and swapping up the rhythms, it actually sounded pretty cool.
And that got his attention – a lot more so than a little solo would have (what’s a solo worth, unless you have a band to back you up??)
There’s nothing like a good 12 bar blues to let you throw in a few blues licks while you’re jamming around, but the actual rhythm part of the 12 bar is usually pretty easy to pickup. So, today I’ve got three blues licks for you to work on. Once you’ve got those nailed down, take them and start throwing them into your jam sessions, your favorite 12 bar, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
The common denominator among these three licks is that they all have a bit of a chromatic flavor to them. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the interval patterns demonstrated here, you should checkout my other lessons, starting with those on the guitar scales. You can also find other lessons on thirds in the Licks & Riffs section, and some explanation in the Guitar Theory section.
Because these licks are chromatic, they’re not found strictly within a particular scale pattern; however knowing your pentatonic minor and major scales will be useful here. Essentially, we’re working off the E pentatonic minor scale (open), and also getting up into the G major pentatonic as well.
Here’s another lesson from Colin Daniel (from RiffNinja.com), this one is a shortcut to playing the blues. Basically, you’ll learn two bar chord shapes which are used particularly frequently in the blues. Those are the “7” chords. The two shapes are based on an E7, and an A7.
I’ve decided to start a series of videos for the cool guitar riffs lessons. Hence the name “Cool Guitar Riffs #2.” Mostly because I’m running out of things to call them, so why not start giving them numbers?
I once had one of those Siamese fighting fish as a pet, and I wasn’t sure if he would live very long, so I named him Louis, in case I needed to start a dynasty…
Anyways, cool guitar riffs are a lot more fun than dead fish, so back on topic here! Today I’ve got one for you that uses fourths, and the A pentatonic minor scale. That’s the first riff in the video, and I’m sure you’ve heard this style of riff all over the place. It’s a pretty classic sound. Keep in mind that these riffs can sound very different if you simply turn off the talent button and play clean for a moment, or if you just change up the timing a little bit.
The second riff comes out of the A diatonic minor scale, root 5 – also known as the Lydian scale if you like being technical about it. I find it more intuitive to talk about these scales in terms of what they are (A minor diatonic) and where they start (root 5 = 5th string… think about it… that means you’re starting on the 5th string, 12 fret, where you find the A). I’ve never related well to the technical terms like Lydian, Dorian and all the rest, and by and large I don’t find the terminology particularly helpful.
Get on with the Cool Guitar Riffs Already!
Okay, my rant for the day is done – go ahead and hit play, watch the lesson, and then leave a comment below the video when you’re done!