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    How to Jazz Up Your Blues Guitar Riffs and Licks

    by Simon James




    One way to learn Jazz Guitar is to apply Jazz Guitar Scales to a 12 Bar Blues Progression. This is an accessible way to learn guitar solo techniques for Jazz Guitar music that is relatively uncomplicated as Blues Riffs for Guitar are so familiar sounding on the ear. By improvising using Jazz Guitar Scales you will learn to incorporate Jazz phrasing to your regular Blues Improvisations. In this lesson we will be looking at a 12 Bar Blues progression in D and will be playing a few Jazz Blues Guitar Riffs and Licks based around Dominant 7 chord shapes whilst utilising some Minor to Major 3rd Changes that are so typical in Blues Guitar playing.

    Learn Guitar Solo Lick 1: The Quick Change

    The first solo lick that we will be using can be played over the first four bars of our progression and involves a quick change in bar 2. Notice how we begin the lick on the Minor to Major 3rd change from the F to the F# before incorporating the b7 and other notes from the D Dominant 7 arpeggio. The lick shifts to the IV again beginning on a Minor to Major 3rd change this time from a Bb to a B and then a b7 before adding a descending chromatic line from the D Dominant Bebop Scale when returning to the I. Notice that at the end of the lick there is space for the tune to breathe before we enter bar 5.

    jazz blues lick  

    Learn Guitar Solo Lick 2: Bars 5 and 6

    When changing to the IV we can simply move our whole arpeggio shape up from the 5th string root position of D to G. Notice that although we are again making good use of the Minor to Major change (form the Bb to the B) and the b7 there is a slight variation to the phrasing of this second Jazz Blues lick.

    bebop lick  

    Learn Guitar Solo Lick 3: Bars 7 and 8

    In our 3rd lick we return to the I by again using the Minor to Major 3rd change and a descending chromatic run from the D Dominant Bebop scale.

    bebop lick  

    Learn Guitar Solo Lick 4: Bars 9 and 10

    As we move to the V chord in Lick 4 we are now going to move quickly from one chord shape to another by playing the R, M3 and P5 from the IV7 arpeggio before descending through a IV7 arpeggio. The lick over the IV7 almost covers two octaves as we move down through a C CAGED Shape of G7 before finishing on the P5 (D). This adds some really cool jazz sounding phrasing to the lick.

    bebop lick  

    Learn Guitar Solo Lick 5: The Turnaround

    By using a more traditional Turnaround we are adding an unmistakeable blues feel to the climax of our progression. This is a versatile turnaround that harks back to the sound of the of the early delta blues players like Big Bill Broonzy's playing on Key to the Highway. Here we play descending chromatic intervals of 6ths played on the 2nd and 4th strings punctuated by the root note of our I chord before finishing on the V7.

    jazz blues turnaround lick  


    Related Posts:

    1. Jazz Blues Licks

    2. Blues Variations Part 2

    3. Introduction to Jazz Blues

    4. 5 Essential Boxes for Blues Guitar Soloing

    5. Useful Bebop Solos and Phrases