One of the first things we all do as blues guitar players is learn the licks and stylings of our favorite players. Essentially, we’re developing our blues vocabulary, which is important, but a possessing a big vocabulary of great blues guitar licks does not make a great blues guitar soloist. A great blues guitar solo tells a story and a lick is nothing more than a phrase that you might use to punctuate a part of that story.
So, what does it take to become a great blues guitar soloist? Technique, big ears, creativity, practice, and playing are all important factors, and you’re likely working on all those presently. But have you considered the importance of having a blues guitar strategy to follow when you’re soloing?
Longtime TrueFire educator Matt Brandt has studied all of the great blues guitar soloists to identify the 43 Blues Solo Strategies that he presents to you in his course, and here are 6 you MUST know.
1. Sequential Repetition
A different type of repetition is a sequence. When you’re playing a sequence, you’re repeating a relatively small melodic line in a different pitch. An upward sequence often makes you feel that you’re going to a high point in your solo. A downward moving sequence is mostly used to wind things down a bit; coming to some kind of resting point in the solo.
The most popular framework of a melody is an A-B-A-C structure, a question (A) followed by an answer (B). Then the same question (A) is followed by a different answer (C). You can use this strategy to start your solo.
3. Charlie Christian Method
Charlie Christian’s style of soloing was based around some surprisingly simple principles that still sound fresh today. To start, one of his techniques was playing a lot of solos based on chord shapes.
4. Five Blues On Five
Play the blues scale on the V chord when you get to it.
5. Moving Targets
A good story has good storylines, and a good solo should have good solo lines. Strong solo lines aim for a target. You might go there in a straight line, but you can also take some sidesteps. Prepare a few target solo lines in advance to help you give your story some direction.
6. Finger Lickin’ Good
Lose the pick and play with your fingers. You won’t be able to play as fast, but your attack will be more aggressive and precise.
You can download all of these lessons and many more including all the tab, notation, and jam tracks by purchasing Matt Brandt’s full Blues Soloing Strategies course.