Blues Guitar Music - Where To Begin?
Anybody thinking about learning to play blues guitar is often bewildered by the number of artists who are all supposed to be blues players. Who can I take on as a role model, how do I learn the basics of blues music? This essay will be your guide as you take your first steps as a bluesperson.
If you are contemplating learning to play blues guitar music, you will need to learn a little music theory but you will also need to learn when to leave it at the door. If you have the kind of brain that thinks there is an "always play this note at the start of the bar", then you need to let go of that mindset.
The so-called "blue note" is a case in point. The blue note is the flattened fifth of the scale you are working in and when to play it does not follow nay rules. Your own musical feeling will tell you when you should play it or leave it out. To start you off as a blues guitar player, all you need is your pentatonic scales and some time to learn some licks from CDs.
Get some blues music onto your computer or your ipod and try to play along with the guitar. First, try and work out what key you should be in, then work on getting some approximate version of some of the licks you are hearing. You don't have to be one hundred percent accurate at first. You will improve as you go along.
What kind of guitar you choose to play blues music is a question that needs some serious thinking. You can play a Stratocaster or a Telecaster or a Gibson ES 35. The Tele sound is bright and the Gibson has a warmer sound. If you really don't have a clue and don't want to think about it too much, get a Strat. You can get a reasonable version of the Stratocaster for not too much money, so you can always change your mind when you have had a little experience.
A question that you don't hear discussed very often is the role of bass in blues guitar music. Some newbie guitar players find themselves attracted to the bass guitar but blues music does not give them too many role models to get a handle on how to play.
All the same, the bass does fulfill a significant function in blues music which can give a bass player plenty of scope for improvising solos. The main function of the bass is really to draw the melody and the rhythm together by adding some color to the rhythm section.
So, what are some good songs to start playing blues guitar with? The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix, Pride And Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Right Next Door by Robert Cray and I Looked Away by Derek And The Dominoes give you a wide assortment of blues styles to study. Other artists you could look at are Albert King, Muddy Waters, Roy Buchanan, Robert Johnson and B.B. King.
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