In this free lesson from Guitar Control, instructor Jon Maclennan, demonstrates how to play a cool “Blues Turnaround” lick in the style of Key to the highway. Blues Turnarounds are one of the most important tools to have under your belt for any blues situation. It’s like the meat of blues music vocabulary.
This particular lick is pretty easy, Jon makes this lesson so simple that even a beginner guitarist could play and have fun with it. We hope you get inspired to incorporate these ideas into your own playing.
Hey, John McLennan here, excited to bring you this blues guitar lesson and we’re looking at a turnaround in the key of a and blues. I was playing an 8 bar blues a la key to the highway, but you can use this you and move it around to any key and also you could use it in 12 bar blues or an 8 bar blues.
The basic idea of a turnaround, is that it’s happens in the last two bars of the blues and it takes you from the end back to the top again as a real distinct character to the melody or the lick that you’re playing, and as a blues guitar player you want to have plenty of these at your disposal.
I’m thinking basically of this a shape here, starting with my first finger on the fourth fret, and then my pinky on the seventh fret, and that’s on the fifth string, and then the fourth string, those two notes together with two frets are between my fingers. I’m going to play the fifth string to the fourth string, and then back to the fifth string, and then this first finger is going to sort of progressively crawl up to the seventh fret while m pinky stay, ending up with seven, and seven.
One of the things you’re going to do is to work out a fingering. Here’s what I do, using my first finger pinky, I slide my first finger up then using my second finger and my third finger goes down for the last pluck. The rhythm is basically triplets, three notes to one beat, one, two, then three, and then four.
Then I end with a nice e7 sharp five chord, it’s basically a dominant seven sharp five with a real distinct sound. You’ll hear those like in sort of a T-bone walker slow blues. Setting up the five chord kind of thing makes a real cool sound, the dominant seven sharp five augmented chord is basically cool. So again here’s the lick. Starts on beat two, let’s see if we can try that in the context of an 8 bar blues, that should give you an idea on how to get started.
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