7 Blues Guitar Secrets that Can
Save you Years of Practice

INTRODUCTION

Hi everyone, Claude Johnson here. Welcome to the mini-course, "7 Blues Guitar Secrets that can save you years of practice. Now, I understand this may sound like a bold claim, as there's no real shortcut to mastering an instrument. However, having the insights I share today would have greatly benefited me in my musical journey.

As we progress, we often encounter valuable advice that might not fully resonate at the moment. It's challenging to leapfrog certain stages and reach an advanced level. Nevertheless, I'll do my best to share insights gained from years of experience. While I may not be the world's greatest guitar player, I believe these secrets can make a significant impact on your playing.

Keep in mind, you might not be ready for all these secrets immediately, but even grasping one can make a substantial difference. So, let's dive into the content without further ado.

SECRET 1: Master the Fretboard with I IV V with dominant chords.

The first secret revolves around mastering the 1-4-5 progression with dominant chords.

Now, you might be thinking, "I already know to play the 1-4-5 in the key of G." It's not just about knowing; it's about delving deep, understanding it across the entire fretboard, dissecting chords, and exploring different degrees.

As a beginner, this might seem like overkill, but as you advance, it becomes crucial.

For instance, in the key of G, take this shape, understand inversions, and recognize key elements like the third on top of the melody note. This kind of knowledge is foundational, leading to variations and understanding how chords connect.

Know your inversions, recognize the importance of the bottom and top notes, and relate them to the root. This depth in understanding enables you to play with tritones and various shapes. Going deep on each degree and how they interconnect is essential.

In summary, it's not about learning a million things but going deep on a few. Consider the analogy of a fighter mastering a single kick 10,000 times. Similarly, the seemingly simple 1-4-5 progression requires depth.

Now, let's explore an example of playing the 1-4-5 progression across the five positions. First, let me clarify what I mean by the five positions—I view everything in terms of octave shapes. Taking the key of G as an example, the octaves create five unique positions due to the overlap of low and high E strings sharing the same notes. Starting with the first position, each octave's last note becomes the first note of the next pattern. For instance, the second position begins with the higher G note, and the pattern continues.

Within each position, you can play any scale, be it Pentatonic or a 7-note scale. These five basic positions serve as reference points. Now, let's dive into an example.

I'll highlight some shapes, but mastering the 1-4-5 involves personal practice and in-depth exploration. The first basic shape is the typical G7 bar chord, and you can modify it by omitting certain notes. The second position introduces a different shape, and there's flexibility in how you approach it. The third position utilizes a smaller shape, emphasizing the fifth in the bass. Moving to the fourth position, it's a variation of the shape seen in the first position, now serving as the one chord. Finally, the fifth position completes the 1-4-5 sequence.

It may seem overwhelming with various shapes and positions, but there's significant overlap. For example, the shape introduced in the first position can become a 4 chord in the second position and a 5 chord in the fifth position.

In essence, I encourage you to delve deep into these fundamentals. The goal is not to learn numerous licks but to master the basics and wield them with power. This is just the starting point—go deep, and it will greatly benefit your playing.

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