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Blues Guitar Lessons • Pentatonic Soloing • Part 2 • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on August 20, 2014

Ry Cooder

Review by Karen: Not your average blues book. This is for someone who wants to learn how to stand out.
Review by Karen: Not your average blues book. This is for someone who wants to learn how to stand out.

Ry Cooder Music

The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed (2CD)
The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed (2CD)

Visionary, Grammy-winning guitar legend, composer, and producer Ry Cooder's epic musical journey has explored the realms of rock, blues, country, folk, Hawaiian, Latin, Tuvan throat singing, jazz, and Tex-Mex-to name a few. On 'The UFO Has Landed', Rhino celebrates four decades of his eclectic output with a 2-CD 34 track collection of his work as a solo artist, collaborator, and soundtrack composer. Spanning 38 years- from Cooder's self titled 1970 debut to his 2008 album 'I, Flathead'- the anthology includes his most memorable selections as well as one previously unreleased track.



This is Em Pentatonic in the 12th position. Position is loosely defined as the fret the first finger plays on. The fingering for this scale can be found in a previous Hub: Blues Guitar • The Minor Pentatonic Scale.

Once again, play this pattern with all downstrokes, evenly and in time, then move to alternate picking. Try to make your upstroke as powerful as your downstroke. Do not grip the pick tightly, let the guitar do the work. DO NOT FLICK THE STRING WITH THE PICK!

Always approach picking as you do strumming. There should be a slight downwards angle on the downstroke and upwards angle on the upstroke. If the pick is held tightly with no give in the picking motion, you will most likely get caught in the strings and this will result in an uneven pattern. Use the fingering notated above the notes.

The fretboard diagram outlines the scale in two areas: open position 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 12th Position.

This solo is similar to Blues Solo #1. Of course, the position has changed, and instead of playing the B on the 12th fret, second string to start the phrases, the A on the 14th fret, third string is bent into the B then released back to the A. This results in a 'crying sound', and is much more guitar-like, than just playing the note at rest.

Although there is no standard to tablature, the accepted way to notate a 2 fret bend is 'full'. Check your pitch by playing the B on the 16th fret on the third string, then bend the A on the 14th fret, third string up to match the B. Remember, the bends must be in key! Over or under bending results in a dissonant sound (that is, it is not pleasing to the ear). When the full up arrow bend is followed by a down arrow, it means to strike the string once, bend it up, then release it back to the original note. This is called 'bend and release'.

This video is played in free time. Note the second finger fortifying the third for the bent note.

The video below has a 2 bar intro. Start the solo on the second beat of the second measure, that is, count 1 2 3 4 1, then start playing. Play with the solo, then practice the solo with just the rhythm section in the second pass.

Blues Solo #3.

This is much harder to execute than the previous solos. The first three notes are a staple lick in guitar playing. So common in fact, it is called a cliché lick.

The trick here is to barre your first finger across the first and second sting on the 12th fret. Bend the 14th fret with your third finger fortified by your second finger on the 13th fret. Once you have reached the pitch, let go of the bent string. The sound will be cut off as the third string hits your first finger that is holding the barre. Try playing these three notes over and over again (Warm-up). DO NOT MOVE YOUR FIRST FINGER! Hold the barre. Also, try the picking motion of down, down, up. I have found this to be the easiest way to execute this lick.

After that, just continue down the Pentatonic scale. Use your fourth finger for the 15th fret: D. Play this slower than the recorded version, then try to work the speed up. Because it is all triplets, it can get pretty fast, with just a slight increase in tempo.

This video includes the warm and is played in free time. Follow the fingering and technique.

The video below has a 2 bar intro. Start the solo on the second beat of the second measure, that is, count 1 2 3 4 1, then start playing. Play with the solo, then practice the solo with just the rhythm section in the second pass.


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    • profile image

      Richard Bourne 

      6 years ago

      pentatonic 5 is old

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      8 years ago from Oshawa

      Thanks very much!

    • PhoenixV profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Hey this is a really cool hub! Well done.


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