How to Play Kenny Burrell Style Jazz Guitar
In this Guitar Control video, Instructor John Maclennan is going to show you how to play Kenny Burrell style Jazz Blues Guitar Licks. John was lucky enough to get the chance to study with Kenny Burrell, one of the most legendary Jazz guitarists of all time. In this lesson John is going to show you a few Kenny Burrell licks from the song, Soulful Brothers. These licks demonstrates some really great down home blues phrasing. In the key of E.
Step 1: Phrase One
The First of these Kenny Burrell Jazz Blues Guitar Licks starts on the 10th fret of the 1st string with your pointer finger, and the 12th fret 2nd string with your ring finger. This is just a little two note figure, that John actually starts a half step below and slides into that positions. So actually starting with your pointer on the 9th fret 1st string and your ring finger on the 11th fret 2nd string then pick and slide both of these fingers up one fret, at the same time.
Now having your pointer on the 10th fret 1st string and your ring finger on the 12th fret 2nd string. Do this twice. Then you go down to these thirds, starting with your pointer on the 9th fret 1st string and your middle finger on the 10th fret 2nd string. Pick that once and then move it down a whole step, so down two frets. Now your pointer is on the 7th fret 1st string and your middle finger is on the 8th fret 2nd string. When you get to this shape you’re actually going to slightly bend your second finger. So slightly bend your middle finger on the 8th fret 2nd string. So we start by sliding into that first shape twice from the half step before it, then the thirds.
Starting with the first shape of the thirds, strum that once, move it down a whole step and bend the 8th fret 2nd string only. Then pick the 9th fret 3rd string and hold it down with your ring finger. Then repeat this riff but just play that first shape once this time instead of twice. Then down to the first third on the 9th fret 1st string and middle finger on the 10th fret 2nd string, pick this shape once, then move down a whole step to the 7th fret on the1st string with your pointer finger and the 8th fret on the 2nd string with your middle finger and strum this shape once. Then repeat that last part again but this third time through you are going to go back to picking the first chord twice, and the next two once.
Step 2: The E Minor Pentatonic Lick
Then you are going to go to this great E minor pentatonic lick. Starting with the 9th fret on the 3rd string with your middle finger, to the 10th fret 2nd string with your ring finger, to your first finger on the 7th fret 1st string. John would recommend copying the fingering he is using for this lick, which is starting with your 2nd finger, to your 3rd, to your 1st. Your middle finger, to your ring finger, to your pointer. Then bend the 8th fret 2nd string with your middle finger, then on the 3rd string pick the 9th fret with your ring finger, to the 7th fret with your pointer, back to the 9th fret with your ring finger and adding vibrato on that last note. This is just real down home blues, I mean this could be something that say Freddie King would play, or even Clapton over a blues shuffle.
If you are enjoying these licks also be sure to check out our other lesson on how to play The Stumble on guitar by Freddie King for another awesome blues song to add to your repertoire.
Recap: How to Play Kenny Burrell Style Jazz Guitar
I hope you enjoyed learning how to play these Kenny Burrell style Jazz Blues Guitar Licks. Again these are just some really great down home blues licks. Kenny Burrell is a legendary player and you can even see that some of these licks could even be Freddie King or Clapton licks if you alter them a little. It’s always so interesting to see different players takes on classic licks, especially a bunch of different guitar heroes. These licks are very classy, well thought out, and tasteful. The main things to take away from this lesson are the phrasing, how less can be more, and adding little touches that add lots of life to parts that would otherwise be pretty ordinary. And of course, as always, have fun!