24 January 2008

Blues Licks Over The IV Chord Part 2

In part one of this series you learned minor pentatonic notes to play over the IV chord. This post shows you a note from the major pentatonic scale that really makes the IV chord sound stand out. Using this note will really make your licks sound good.

Major 6th

The 6th note of the I chord's major pentatonic is a note you must make friends with when playing over the IV chord. Because this note is also the major 3rd of the IV chord the it sounds great. It not only sounds good but also shows that you know where you are in the progression.

You can bend, slide or walk to the 6th note or play it directly. Here are a couple of examples using these techniques.


G(I) C(IV)
& 3 & 4 & 1 2 3
e-|------------------|-------------------
B-|------------------|-------------------
G-|--3h4-------------|-------------------
D-|-------5--4--3--2-|-------2~~~~~~-----
A-|------------------|--3----------------
E-|------------------|-------------------
I notes 6 4 6
IV notes 3 R 3

Note the chromatic walk down to the 6th note at the end of the I bar. This sets up the following IV chord nicely; your listeners ears will be primed and ready for it.

D (IV)
& 2 & 3 & 4 1 2 3 &
e-|-------------------------------------------------
B-|-------------------------------------------------
G-|--3h4--3--5--5s7--5~~~--(7)b9--(7)b9--7p5--5~~~~-
D-|-------------------------------------------------
A-|-------------------------------------------------
E-|-------------------------------------------------
I notes 4 4 4 6 6 4 4
IV notes R R R 3 3 R R

Cranking It Up

You can obtain a great effect by bending or sliding up to the 6th from the fret below it. This note is the the minor 3rd of the IV. You'll instantly recognize this distinctive blues sound; now you know how it's done you'll recognize it on many blues recordings. Here's an example showing a bend up to the major 3rd.

D (IV)
e-|--5----5----5---------------------
B-|--6b7--6b7--6b7-------------------
G-|-----------------7~~~~~~~~--------
D-|----------------------------------
A-|----------------------------------
E-|----------------------------------

This post has shown you some ideas using the major pentatonic scale of the I chord. Now it's your turn to try them out and make up some more of your own. Remember to target that 6th note.

In the next part of this series I'll be taking a look at some more approaches to playing over the IV chord. Be sure to subscribe to the site's RSS feed so you won't miss it. In the meantime, happy practicing...

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