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Blues Guitar Lessons • Pentatonic Soloing • Part 3 • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on August 20, 2014

The Late Great Hubert Sumlin.

Review from Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. Doesn't keep it safe but goes for that blues-jazzy feel throughout. Not your average blues book.
Review from Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. Doesn't keep it safe but goes for that blues-jazzy feel throughout. Not your average blues book.

Hubert Sumlin Music

Living The Blues
Living The Blues

Rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan, in a 1985 interview from the film, says "Hubert's the heaviest, most original guitar player I've ever heard...and that's the truth!" Speaking candidly before a Boston concert, Stevie Ray credits Hubert as a major influence on his style. "Hubert's one of the guys who sat down and taught me stuff," agrees Ronnie Earl.


E♭ Major-Cm Pentatonic Box Patterns

Below are the five box patterns in E♭Major-Cm. E♭Major and C minor share the same key signature: three flats. These flats are B♭, E♭ and A. Keys that share the same signature are said to be relative to each other. Scale spelling for E♭ Major Pentatonic is: E♭ F G B♭ C and the octave, E♭. Shift the tonic (root) to C and the spelling is: C E♭ F G B♭ and the octave, C. Practice these patterns evenly and in time. Start with all downstrokes, then move to alternate picking (down, up). Start at a slow tempo (70-80 bpm). Try to master both picking patterns at this tempo, then gradually increase the speed.

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Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #2
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #2
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #3
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #3
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #4
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #4
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #5
Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #5

Blues Solo #4

The entire solo is played in Cm Pentatonic Box Pattern #1. Note the three flats in the key signature. The solo begins on the 'and' of the third beat in the lead-in bar. Many blues riffs, solos, and licks start this way. This is standard blues phrasing and sets up your licks to come in ahead of the chord change. The phrasing and repetition stems from emulating a vocal line. You will often here a vocalist sing a line, repeat the same line with a slight variation of the melody, then change the lyrics and melody for the last line of the progression. This is so common, it is actually easy to make this up on the spot. "My baby left me, and I feel so bad….my baby left me, and I feel so bad….she was a good woman, makes me feel so sad' As comical and cliché as this sounds, many, many blues songs follow this format. The same structure can be used for soloing. Play a lick, repeat the lick (with or without variation), then create a new lick for the last one.

In this video, the solo is played in free time (no strict tempo) with vibrato and ¼ step bend embellishments. Quite often in the minor Pentatonic scale the minor third scale step (in this case E♭) is played as a microtone bend. This may sound a little off when played across the tonic chord, C7, because the third is E natural, but nevertheless it is executed this way all the time. If it is annoying to your ear, simply change the ¼ step to a ½ step. The trick is to make this solo sound lowdown and sleezy. Definitely, a bluesy, roadhouse sound

In the video below, the solo is played once and then the rhythm section continues on for one more pass of the progression. Practice with the solo, then play the solo again with the rhythm. There is a two bar drum intro. Count: 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 and 4 and (the 'and 4 and' is the first three notes of the lick, the lead in).

Jammin' With Guys I Never Met

Listen to this recording. It is in Am Pentatonic. There is only one note outside of the scale (B). I am utilizing different box patterns. During this recording I could feel every note I played. The sound was in my head and my hands at the same time. Pay close attention to my phrasing (where I play, where I don't), you can pretty much feel it.


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    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      7 years ago from Oshawa

      Thanks Lindsay. The main lick was actually taken from an old Eric Clapton solo, when he played with the Yardbirds. The song is called 'I Ain't Got You'. I changed the phrasing, but it is essentially the same lick. It has a very sleazy, barrelhouse sound to it. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I really like this piece. Simple, catchy, groovy...thanks for sharing!

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      8 years ago from Oshawa

      Thanks for the comment, my friend. We can't all have perfect pitch, I think :•)

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      8 years ago from Cape Cod

      I have a blues soul but sadly my ears are made of tin. Thanks for the hub.


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