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Heatwave Blues - Lesson 2

Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

This lesson explained

It's still body temperature here where I live. Has been like this for weeks now, and I've still got the Heatwave Blues.

This is another look at the Blues in A, something you could quite easily tack onto the end -- or beginning -- of Heatwave Blues #1. I've got plenty more of these too, in fact when you can see the whole fretboard as "A7th" you can just keep playing away forever and still come up with new paths through the matrix.

I start this one off with a simple little bass line then introduce what I am sure you will hear as one of the most well known blues figures of all. It's been used since time immemorial, or at least since those first bluesmen started picking away at guitar strings. I chose to play it high up the neck so I could more easily bend that string up. As I'm sure you have discovered, bending strings in the middle is a whole lot easier than bending them down near the nut. Notice also that I bend the string toward the thin strings. Most bending is done toward the thick strings. It just seemed a lot easier to do in that direction. Notice also that the bent note is heading from a #9 (or flat 3) up toward the major third, but it never quite gets there. This is the 'blue' note that we often talk about in blues lesson: not the flat 3, nor the 3 ... somewhere in between.

The phrase starts with a mini bar that is, in effect, a D chord over an A bass note, but I hammer-on an E note and a G note, which instantly turn the little D triad into an A7 chord. So, as in the first Heatwave Blues lesson, there's a quick move from D to A, again, very bluesy.

That figure repeats.

I then go to a IV chord -- D7. It's a bit of a plucked rhythm part followed by a bass line.

Back to the main figure, repeated exactly. That yellow exclamation mark at 1:03 indicates that slap down on strings I did on the fourth beat of the 10th bar. I sort of choke of the strings and slap them all at the same time. You don't need to do it, of course.

The V chord is, again, a combination of chord fragments and melody lines, as is the next bit over the IV chord.

I end on another very familiar sounding blues turnaround over the I chord, which can be described as a descending chromatic run played in sixths. There's a momentary E7 chord that appears right at the end which I didn't label as such in the video.

The ending is a bit of a mish-mash over A7. I'm sure you can come up with something better!

So ... if you have learned the first lesson, try adding this to the end, or start with this and tack the other one onto the end ... experiment with it all. The more ways you can come up to mix the various bits and pieces around, the better. You'll find that after a while of doing that, the easier it will be to start making up your own lines and figures.

Have fun, that's the main thing.

See you next time,



Guitar Lesson by Kirk Lorange

Kirk LorangeAs well as putting together these fingerstyle guitar lessons, I am also the author of PlaneTalk - The Truly Totally Different Guitar Instruction Package, which teaches a mindset, a way of thinking about music and a way of tracking it all on the guitar fretboard. Yes, there IS a constant down there in the maze of strings and fret wire, a landmark that points to everything at all times. I call it The Easiest Yet Most Powerful Guitar Lesson You Will Ever Learn and many testimonials at my site will back up that rather superlative description. If your goal as a guitar player is to be able to truly PLAY the guitar, not just learn by rote; to be able to invent on the fly, not memorize every note; to be able to see the WHOLE fretboard as friendly, familiar territory, not just the first 5 frets and to do it all without thinking about all those scales and modes, then you should read more here.