Looking to learn to play the best licks on guitar? Well, there’s nothing better than the blues. First of all, why play blues guitar when I can play jazz? B.B. King himself said that all of them back then, the blues musicians, they were all in high school –and when a fellow starts playing jazz, then he’s in college. He said jazz was the big brother of blues. While it may be true that jazz is arguably a higher form of music than blues, it’s a historical fact that all the musical genres of the 20th century worth giving a damn about: rock, R&B, hip hop, soul, funk, metal, and yes even jazz have deep roots in the blues. The blues gave birth to all that great music, and jazz is a credit to the greatness of old blues licks and kicks.
That being said, here are 5 tips to start on the long bumpy road to playing great blues: If you don’t already have one, buy a guitar. Some licks sound better in acoustic, some in electric, so both kinds can be used to play. Consider that you can’t plug in an acoustic guitar (unless it has a pick up), and that an electric guitar will always require an amplifier to play. If you’ve picked what you want, consider now the price. Don’t be too stingy. A great guitar, if treated right, will outlast you, so go ahead and splurge if you have the cash.
Sure it would be real awesome if you could just teach yourself how to play. But not everyone’s cut out for that. Even the best professionals in the business are not all self-taught.
Blues is today considered the music of intellectuals. Unknown to most, blues takes roots in recounting worker’s tales. It’s a perpetually raised fist against slavery. An echo of protest in another lost era of the last century. It is almost too awesome. The aspiring blues poet !Blues guitar licks are not easily mastered. All the greats: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, not one of them perfected the blues overnight. Ask any professional and they all say the same thing. To give justice to playing the blues you need to keep in mind 3 things:
Play in front of your friends and ask them if you’ve improved. If they say no, then take that as a signal to practice more. If they say yes, then take that as encouragement. Either way, it’s good for your guitar playing.
Also, the blues backing tracks that are available online are great and you can listen to and learn from. A good way to learn guitar is to listen to good guitar playing. Prepared learning tracks are paced for amateur to professional playing, so there’s something for everyone. Get ready for some improvisation! Don’t be afraid or embarrassed if you don’t sound too good. Everyone needs to start somewhere. Lashing out licks is about confidence. Lastly, remember that the blues is about feeling and emotion. Playing the blues is summoning that sound. Nearly any good player will tell you that to be a successful blues musician, you’ll need 3 things: a bit of skill, a lot of licks and whole lot of soul!
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