3 February 2012

Blues Guitar Solos – 5 Tips on Phrasing

Blues guitar phrasing is something I have to work on all the time. If I don’t pay attention then it’s too easy to get into bad habits, so it’s always useful to have a checklist of things to do… or not do… to keep your phrasing in good shape and avoid problems.


Here’s a nice video that offers 5 useful tips to get your phrasing into shape and keep it there (you might need to click here to see it on the blog if you’re reading this in a feed reader).



Here’s a short summary of the tips from this video.


1. Repeat ideas

Repetition is one of the fundamental elements of music. Build your solos out of blocks of only a few notes, and repeat them to draw in the listener. Use only a few notes and work them hard to create the most you can out of them.


2. Open up space

Use rests to create space in your music. It gives you time to come up with something new and heightens tension in the music.


3. Sing the notes you play

As Marty put it, singing the notes you play “connects with that inner music inside of you, that is a really good thing.” Singing also forces you to breath and introduces natural pauses that will help you open up space.


4. Dynamics – loud or soft

You can break up monotony in your playing through use of dynamics – how loud or soft you play. Mix things up and don’t just play everything at full blast.


5. Know when to get out

Finally, just like you have to end your phrases to leave space around them, you also need to end your solos to keep something in reserve for the next song.


If you enjoyed these tips then click here to visit Marty’s site for many more great guitar lessons. You can try out lessons free for three days. Note that I partner with GuitarJamz because I enjoy the quality guitar lessons it provides, if you decide to subscribe after following this link I may receive a small commission. You can learn more about Marty’s lessons site by reading my GuitarJamz review.


Oh, and by the way, to get the free jam-track Marty mentioned in the video click this link.


Jorge said...

Nice one, Gary. See, my goal as guitarist is to be able to play Chuck Berry style, simple rnr solos. There´s not much talk about this in the web but many blues lessons. I´ve started to study a little bit of blues, do you think learning blues licks and phrasing can improve rnr style playing?
Do you play rnr? Maybe some tips from you sometime?
Thank you for caring.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Jorge, Sure, learning some blues licks and phrases will help you to play rnr solos. Look out especially for any T-Bone Walker lessons, Chuck Berry's style borrows a lot from him. You can find a tip on his unison bend licks in this post. Another tip, take some blues licks and play them in straight - binary - time instead of swing eighths to get a rnr sound.

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