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Blues Solo Tip

Tone Taster

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This is probably something you already do instinctively and by ear w/o realizing it.


Q: Why do you do it?


A: Because it sounds good


Q: Is that answer good enough?


A: Yup


Q:But if you knew exactly what it was that made it "click", wouldn't you be able to derive more possibilities so that way you won't be playing the same lick the same way for years as if you are in a melodic prison?


Okay here goes:


If you are playing a Blues in A, w/A7-D7-E7 (Major sounding),

Over the A7, Play in A major pentatonic or any of your A Maj pent country/blues licks ala BB King, Dickey Betts, etc. . .


If you don't know what a major pent is in the Key of "A", then play the "normal" F# Minor pent/blues scale which you know and love.


So in other words, pretend that you are playing in F# minor pentatonic and do all of your string bend, hammer/pull F# minor licks while the band is playing the A7 chord in a Blues Prog. (Don't use other F# minor scales, --YET - keep it simple, o.k.?)


Now, when the band goes to the D7 chord, play the Aminor Blues licks w/in the A minor pent/blues scale.


I'm tellin ya, you will notice such a shift in color between the two.


It's kinda like going from orange to indigo


Like i said, alot of you already do this instinctively by ear, but why not exploit this concept to the max via conscious effort in the practice room, and then let it flow naturally onstage w/o thinking about it.


OR if you have some gig or band situation you are bored with, experment w/it on stage consciously

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You can take it a step further and use the corresponding major pentatonic over each chord in the progression (A maj pent over A7, D maj pent over D7 and E maj pent over E7). To me this sound major-ish and "safe", so I usually mix it in with plenty of the blues scale. It makes for a nice contrast.

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The Dmaj pent must be used w/ way more discretion over the D7

than when doing the A maj pent over the A7.


Nowhere near as cool sounding as the Ami pent over the D7


Plus, you get more of a modal interchange/coloring effect going major to minor


The E dominant pentatonic is cooler over the E7 (or Bmi-E7), but i'm trying to keep this simple for the newbies


But even the Emi pent sounds cool over the E7. It all comes down to how you phrase it, though

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My one claim to fame...(shameless self-pat on the back coming)


I was up playing at the Colony in Port Huron...soloing my usual assortment of mundane licks...and one of the local guitar crowd came up to me and said "Cool solo, Ted, I never really realized that you can shift from minor to major like that in a blues solo". The kid was Nick Nolan, who went on to achieve some degree of notoriety as an guitar instructor at MI in LA.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Originally posted by Tedster Claus:

one of the local guitar crowd came up to me and said "Cool solo, Ted, I never really realized that you can shift from minor to major like that in a blues solo".

See, that is the deal, that'a what I'm talking about - - the maj to min shift.

(2001 Space Odyssey, baby)


It just seems so dramatic when you go to that minor over the IV chord when you set it up properly w/ the root maj pent over the I

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As opposed to moving the major pentatonic pattern up to the 4th and 5th chord of the progression for it's duration, I'll stay with the notes in the major pentatonic (or minor, depending on what sound I'm looking for...) of the root key but I will add the third of the playing chord, and spend time nailing the root and the 7th of that chord, which are still in the original scale.


I know what I'm doing but did I say it right???

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