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Blues Guitar Lessons • Pentatonic Soloing • Part 1 • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on August 16, 2014
Review by hansd: The book starts at a basic level but some more advanced chord knowledge is needed or can be obtained during the study.
Review by hansd: The book starts at a basic level but some more advanced chord knowledge is needed or can be obtained during the study.


This is the Em Pentatonic scale in the open position. Em and G Major share the same key signature (one sharp, F), and are said to be relative to each other. Every Major key has a relative minor key. When playing the minor Pentatonic in Box Pattern #1, the relative Major root is always the second note of the scale (in this key, E is the minor root, and the second note G is the Major root).

  • Practice this scale slowly and evenly with all downstrokes, then try alternate picking (down and up strokes). Since these scales have two notes per string, this is fairly easy to execute.
  • Keep your picking hand relaxed and shift it slightly as you move across the strings to keep the pick at right angle to the strings. Down this low on the fretboard, use the same fingering on the fret hand as the fret numbers on the tablature.

The fretboard diagram outlines the scale in two areas: open position (the same as the standard notation and tablature staves), and the twelfth fret position.

Since the fretboard starts again at the twelfth fret, these are exactly the same notes as the open position, but an octave higher.

Blues Solo #1

The expression mark at the beginning of these solos denotes a swing rhythm, and is explained in a previous hub. The 'licks' all begin on the second beat of the bar. The first beat is a quarter rest. The lead in bar (the first bar), would be just the guitar.

The band would kick in on the second bar. The licks are very similar, and shift to the root of the chord on the A7 and B7.

  • All of these solos have the lead guitar in the first go-round of the progression.
  • Then on repeat, it is just the rhythm guitar and drums, allowing the student to practice the solo over the backing track.
  • When you get to the backwards facing repeat barline, start again at the forward facing repeat. Don't repeat the lead in (pickup) bar.

Blues Solo #1

Blues Solo #1 With Rhythm Fills

This is a great sound, combining lead lines with rhythm parts. The rhythms are based on pinky patterns, and fill up the measures where there is normally a rest. The chord shapes are:

  • E5 (chord spelling: E and B),
  • E6 (chord spelling: E and C sharp),
  • A5 (chord spelling: A and E),
  • A6 (chord spelling: A and F sharp),
  • B5 (chord spelling: B and F sharp), and
  • B6 (chord spelling: B and G sharp). These are standard rhythm guitar shapes and can be found in many genres of music, not just blues.

This format can be used in a band situation, or as a solo piece.

Blues Solo #1 With Rhythm Fills

Blues Solo #2

This solo adds one more note (A) to solo #1. Once again, start on the second beat. This is a little trickier with the addition of the extra note.

Blues Solo #2

Blues Solo #2 With Rhythm Fills

Blues Solo #1 and #2

This one combines the licks from #1 with the licks from #2. The only licks that shift are #1. All the #2 licks are the same, ending on root E.

Practice all these solos until they are memorized, be aware of the phrases you are playing. Also try to sing the solos. This will improve your ear, and will prove invaluable when improvising.

  • The sound should be in your ears and your fingers.
  • A good ear makes improv much more enjoyable.
  • Try singing every lick as you play it.

Blues Solo #1 and #2

Blues Solo #1 And #2 With Rhythm Fills

Having An Average Weekend • Main Theme

The main theme from the 'surf' song, Having An Average Weekend by Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet.

This song was featured on the comedy satire show, Kid's In The Hall. This entire song is based in Em-G Major Pentatonic. All the licks and riffs (including this one) are diatonic to that key. They can all be played in Em Pentatonic Box Pattern #1 in the open position. This is just one of an endless stream of licks and riffs that come out of this box pattern, and position. Many of the songs from the 'surf guitar' genre are played in this key with open strings. Lots of 'twang' and reverb are used to create the desired tone.

Having An Average Weekend • Main Theme


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