23 January 2009

Intermediate Blues Guitar Review Update 3

It's time for what will probably be my final update on the Intermediate Blues Guitar book and CD by Matt Smith.

I've been working with it for two or three months now and previously reported on some of the rhythm skills it teaches. This time I'm reporting the solo chapters that complete the book.

The blues soloing chapters start off with some lessons on adding to the basic minor and major pentatonic scales you may be familiar with. These show you how to use passing notes around these scales to give you some more options in your solos.

One nice thing I picked up here is the idea of motives and sequencing to improve blues guitar phrasing.

The example motives and sequences have a really bluesy feel. This is one of those tips that takes only half a page to explain but a long time to master, so I'll still be working on it for some time to come.

Bluesy Feel

Another idea that emphasises the bluesy feel of your guitar phrases is the use of some special notes to end your phrases. If you have a little experience with blues soloing you are probably familiar with the idea of ending your phrases on the root note of the key or the current chord.

Page 74 gives you two other notes you can use to create very bluesy endings to your phrases. I'm not telling you which notes, I don't want to give away the contents of the book in this review, but they really make for a distinctive blues sound.

Double Stops

The soloing lessons end with some lessons on using double stop thirds, fourths and sixths. I especially like the way these can be worked into rhythm playing to spice up your chord accompaniments and create a lighter, more airy feel.

In conclusion learned a lot of useful things from this book. For me its strongest point is the blues rhythm guitar styles it teaches.

I think if you're into dirty and heavier rock oriented blues, you might be a little dissappointed. But I think that Matt Smith is more of a subtle, soulful, blues guy, and you'll certainly add some finesse to your blues guitar playing with his instruction.



Catch up on the series of reviews.

Intermediate Blues Guitar, Matt Smith
Intermediate Blues Guitar Update 1
Intermediate Blues Guitar Update 2

Matt Smith's web site.

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