50 Jazz Blues Licks is an exclusive series of video guitar lessons by David Hamburger covering the jazz blues styles of historically great guitarists like Geoge Benson, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and many others. A new lick will be released each week, so be sure to subscribe and check back often!

The great thing about a lot of these straight-eighth licks is that they come out of a school of 1960s tunes that generally use a V-IV-I turnaround for the last four bars, rather than the ii-V-I turnaround more typical of swing and bebop chord progressions. That makes them a lot more practical as a source for ideas if you’re used to playing over blues or funk material that also tends to give the ii-V-I ending a miss. And a lot of times, as in this week’s Benson-inspired lick, the moves are more modular and easier to adapt on a chord-by-chord basis to a different situation. You could take either the lick over the D7, or the lick over the C7, and use either one anyplace where you have a bar of some kind of dominant chord. In fact, a good way to practice some of these moves and get them under your fingers is to take a one-bar move like the lick over the C7, and try playing it on every chord in a G blues, one lick per measure. You could even do something similar with the minor pentatonic lick at the end – it won’t work to transpose it up to D, but you could use it just as it is over the IV chord in measures 5 and 6 of a G blues, and it would make a great contrast to playing the changes on the I and V.

Read on for the full guitar lesson…

Video Guitar Lesson

If you like these guitar lessons, be sure to also check out Frank Vignola’s Jazz Up Your Blues, which showcases essential jazz blues vocabulary and techniques, Mark Stefani’s Jazzed Blues Assembly Lines, which takes you on a sonic learning tour through the funky rhythm and blues stylings and fretboard concepts of top jazz blues players, and of course all of David Hamburger’s courses.