ELECTRIC BLUES ESSENTIALS LEVEL 1
Before tackling this course, you should be comfortable with all the material from Part 3 - Major & Minor Scales

In unit 4 we will be tackling the infamous “turnaround” as well as bringing together all your knowledge so far to be comfortable in any key. We also take a look at the “quick change” blues, which offers up a second, very common, 12 bar structure. The combination of all of these pieces should help you fit the whole jigsaw together, and set your foundation for the rest of your blues playing career! Check out the first video to get started and click here to check out the Materials Section below to access backing tracks!

Lesson 18: Turnarounds

The turnaround is most notorious in the blues, but also features in plenty of other genres, most notably jazz music. However, the blues turnaround is quite unique, in that there is a clear sound that we tend to look for and identify as a blues turnaround. This sound is based on the idea that you chromatically walk down from the root chord and then resolve to the root chord, before mov- ing to the fifth chord of the key.

It’s also important to note that the notes that descend chromatically are the notes from the 7th chord. So, for example, in a dominant 7 chord you have the following notes:

root, 3rd, 5th, b7th

You can take any of the notes that is not the root note, and descend chromatically for 3 beats, before hitting the root chord again. In A, the 3rd is C#, so you can take C# and descend it 3 notes (C# to C to B) and then hit the A7 chord again. Voilà! You can do that with any of those notes, or a combination of any of them, as Dan demo’s in the video.

Example Turnarounds

During this unit we will be walking you through two fantastic turnarounds that you can use with the recorded tracks. For now, try to focus on the theory behind the turnarounds as Dan demonstrates them in the videos and in the next few lessons we’ll break down the turnarounds in more detail using tab.

Lesson 19: Quick Change in B

Let’s put our new theory of turnarounds into practice, with this cool 12 bar. The track is a quick change blues, which simply means that you go to the four chord (IV) in bar 2, then back to the one chord (I) in bar 3. The rest of the 12 bar stays the same. Here is the sequence in chord chart format:

| I | IV | I | I |

| IV | IV | I | I |

| V | IV | Turnaround | Turnaround |

Top Tips

  • 1. The chords are all played as 3 note versions, which helps when you are “comping”. This is the idea that you play simple chord versions, with a simple groove, to support the other players (who may be soloing). These 3 string versions are less cluttered and a crisper sound, so it’s well worth learning them.
  • 2. You can remember that if your root note is on the low E string, the 4 chord will always be directly below in on the A string, and the 5 chord will always be two frets across on the A string. This makes it very easy to find the I, IV, V in any key on the guitar!

The Tab

Follow the link below to access the lick tabbed out with our awesome interactive tab. This will allow you to loop, change tempo and watch the tab play along with the audio!

Lesson 20: Quick Change in E

Let’s now try another quick change blues, this time in the key of E. This is an example of a key that suits an A string root note start, and therefore we have a slightly different chord format to 1/1 learn (in terms of where you play them on the neck). Here are the top tips!

Top Tips

  • 1. (Once Again) the chords are all played as 3 note versions, which helps when you are “comping”. This is the idea that you play simple chord versions, with a simple groove, to support the other players (who may be soloing).
  • 2. You can remember that if your root note is on the A string, the 4 chord will always be up one string and back two frets, and the 5 chord will always be directly above the A string root note. This makes it very easy to find the I, IV, V in any key on the guitar!

The Tab

Follow the link below to access the lick tabbed out with our awesome interactive tab. This will allow you to loop, change tempo and watch the tab play along with the audio!

Lesson 21: Blues Scale Airports

An important part of finding the blues scale for soloing or riffing, is to be able to find the root notes on the E and A string. From there you can assign specific blues scale shapes to help you start the process of finding your way around the neck. Here are the two shapes we need:

The Method...

  • 1. Locate the root note of the key on both the E string and A string.
  • 2. On the E string you can play your shape 1 (pictured above) of the blues scale.
  • 3. On the A string, you can play your shape 4 (pictured above) of the blues scale.
  • 4. Use those as your base to then travel across the shapes. For example, shape 2 is next door to shape 1, and shape 5 is neck door to shape 4. Gradually you will be able to explore the shapes across the neck using those two “airports” as your grounding.

Lesson 22: Mixed Scale Airports

Just as with the blues scale airports, we can use the same concept for the mixed major and minor pentatonic scales. Here are the shapes, based on the E and A string root notes for you to refresh yourself with.

The Method...

  • 1. Locate the root note of the key on both the E string and A string.
  • 2. On the E string you can play your shape 1 & 2 (pictured above) of the blues scale.
  • 3. On the A string, you can play your shape 3 & 4 (pictured above) of the blues scale.
  • 4. Use those as your base to then travel across the shapes. For example, shape 2 is next door to shape 1, and shape 5 is neck door to shape 4. Gradually you will be able to explore the shapes across the neck using those two “airports” as your grounding.

Materials:Backing Tracks

Below are the materials for this group of lessons. Jump straight in and practice the quick change blues with the backing tracks, Good luck!

Ready to move on? Remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

Part 5 - "Motivation Blues"

For our final unit we will really push you, with a classic blues style solo utilising all of the lead theory we have been working with on this course.