Listen to any Stax, Motown, James Brown or Wilson Pickett record and you’ll instantly recognize how critical a role the guitarist plays in the overall mix. Guitarists like Bobby Womack, Cornell Dupree, Little Milton, Wolfman Washington and Johnny Guitar Watson created a fresh and exciting style of rhythm and lead guitar that remains a staple to this day in so many genres from pop to rock to funk.

In these 5 free soul guitar lessons from Jimmy Reiter’s Soul Guitar Guidebook Vol. 2, you’ll learn more soul guitar licks and rhythmic moves that will spice up your playing across a wide variety of contemporary styles.

Octave Double Stops

Now as you probably all know, soul guitar fills are full of double stop licks. The most common intervals for those licks are thirds, sixths and sometimes fourths. I’ve talked about these extensively in my first course, Soul Guitar Guidebook, and we’re going to come across a lot of thirds and sixths and so on in this course as well. But in this lesson, I want to talk about octave double stops, which simply means playing the same note twice, just an octave apart.

Guess I’ll Come Back – Performance

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this soul guitar lesson.

Guess I’ll Come Back – Breakdown 1

This example is a nice groove with a 4-bar chord progression in the key of G minor. There’s a song called “If You Want Me to Stay” by Sly & the Family Stone that has very similar chords, and also the verses in “Sunny” by Bobby Hebb are pretty close. Not identical, but the same idea I would say.

I’ll show you the rhythm guitar first and then give you an idea for a solo, in which I’m going to use both chords and single note licks. They use some of the more interesting notes in those chords, like flat nines and sharp nines.

Guess I’ll Come Back – Breakdown 2

Here, Take This – Performance

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this soul guitar lesson.

Here, Take This – Breakdown

This is a funky groove in the key of D. It’s actually two 8-bar segments. The first one — what I would call the verse part — is a 2-bar pattern with different D chord shapes that is repeated 4 times. This is followed by what I would call the bridge part.

This takes us through an F–G–D chord progression. This is a III–IV–I progression, with some nice double stops, funky chord riffs using ninth chords and a short single note run before going back to the verse part.

Dig these free soul guitar lessons? Check out the full course, Soul Guitar Guidebook Vol. 2, for more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!