It would be an understatement to say that honing your skills as a rhythm blues player is a satisfying feat This, however, can come as a challenging feat for some who are learning. The skill of comping introduces a a totally new realm of creativity. And, when learned well, makes you an invaluable part of the rhythm section.

In Jeff McErlain’s course, Take 5: Blues Comping, you’ll learn to comp in incremental sections so you can get out and playing quickly.

Here are three video blues guitar comping lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Jeff McErlain’s Take 5: Blues Comping on TrueFire!

Blues Comping Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Overview

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar comping lesson

In this study, we’re going to check out a classic eight bar blues utilizing the all important I7-VI7-II7-V7 turn around. This specific chord progression can be heard in the blues classic “Someday After a While (You’ll Be Sorry)” by Freddie King. He didn’t come up with this progression, but it’s a great song to check out. We come across the 7-VI7-II7-V7 quite a bit in jazz and jazz influenced blues like BB King.

Blues Comping Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Performance

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar comping lesson

Be sure to watch this example all the way through to the end (as I assumed you would :-] ). What I do here is use three separate versions of the I7-VI7-II7-V7 turnaround. Each time through, I use tensions in the chords to extend the harmony a little bit. The most basic would be to add in the ninth and 13th, these are called natural tensions. As you can see on the last time through, I add in some #9’s and b13’s, these are called altered tensions. The altered tensions provide some more, tension in the music which makes the resolution much stronger. Honestly, it makes things much more interesting to listen to as well!

Blues Comping Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Breakdown

Download the tab & notation for this blues guitar comping lesson

The I7-VI7-II7-V7 turnaround is extremely important as I said in both jazz and blues and is heard quite a bit. Take your time to work through the three variations I gave you in this example. I highly suggest you find other fingerings and variations on the I7-VI7-II7-V7 as it will prove very useful. Once you get these under your fingers, you’ll be able to use them at will. I know from me this progression always used to be very difficult for me to pull off without some prep. That was simply because I didn’t practice it enough, some make this progression part of your practice regiment. You can thank me later.

Digging these free blues guitar comping lessons? Check out Jeff McErlain’s full course, Take 5: Blues Comping.