How to Play Blues Licks Using the 9th Fret

Hi there. I’m Claude Johnson and today I’d like to show
you a lick in the key of E-minor. Let’s check it out.

Now, what’s interesting about this lick is that it’s in
the key of E-minor pentatonic, but we’re also adding one
more note, which is the F-sharp. Remember, our E pentatonic
is here. And we can also go down one more position here.
And this is really a useful part of the neck, especially
the middle two strings, the D and the G string. So for
the 9th through the 12th of the D and G you have a nice
little three-fret rectangle there. So we’re going to be
throwing in the F-sharp which is on the 11th fret. So
it’s down one fret from the 12th. So we have… That
note there, we’re going to use that in the lick.

Now, this note, we could say it’s from dorian, we could
say it’s from aeolian, but it’s also in the E-major
pentatonic. It’s a very useful note and I won’t get too
deep into the theory. Let’s just learn the lick.

So we’re on the D string. We go 9th fret to 12th, then
the G string 9th to 11th. So the first four notes…
Then we do a hammer-on/pull-off of the G string, 9th
to the 11th back to the 9th. Then we hit the 12th fret
of the D string. So far we have this… Notice we have
that little triplet rhythm in there.

Then we’re going to do another triplet, 9th fret of the
G string, 12th fret on the D string and 9th fret of the
D string, just right down the scale. So the whole thing
so far…

Then we’re just going to go three more notes. The 12th
fret on the G string, bend a whole step, and I like to
choke it down, bend it down, and then 12th fret, 9th
with some vibrato. So again the whole thing. First part.
Second part. And all together.

This bend here, you’re really coming out of this major
pentatonic tonality and then you throw in this sharp
bend here. It’s kind of like a Hendrix feel. You can
try different timing, different feels with that.

Another really interesting way to use this note,
Stevie Ray Vaughan used. He kind of really milked this
note on the 9th bar of the 12-bar blues. All right, let
me just play a couple of bars of the blues so you can
see how that fits in.

Well, there you have it. Try working with these ideas
in some of your own licks, some of your own rhythms.
Have fun and rock on. Catch you next time.

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