Blues Turnarounds For Guitarists
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The Theory Behind Blues Guitar Turnarounds
- Blues Guitar Turnarounds Theory Lesson - YouTube
Mark Fitchett describes the actual theory behind creating blues guitar turnarounds for those of you that need to know.
9 Classic Blues Guitar Turnarounds
Mark Fitchett Blues at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach CA
8 Classic Blues Guitar Turnarounds
The Blues Turnaround
Most blues songs contain a musical device called a turnaround which is a two bar melodic chord phrase occurring on the second to last bar of a blues chord progression. This signifies the end of the progression and sets up the progression’s repeat. The typical blues chord progression is 12 bars long, but there are many 8 and 16 bar chord progressions too.
In this article you will learn some classic turnaround phrases as well as the techniques to create some unique turnarounds of your own.
Turnarounds are created from three descending melodic lines:
- 3rd descends to Root: 3,b3,2,R (key of A: C#-C-B-A)
- 5th descends to 3rd: 5,b5,4,3 (key of A: E-Eb-D-C#)
- b7th descends to 5th: b7,6,b6,5 in the key of A (G-Gb-F-E)
Combining any two, or all three of these lines simultaneously will create the classic turnaround sound.
- 3rd to Root with 5th to 3rd
- 3rd to Root with flat 7th to 5th
- 5th to 3rd with flat 7th to 5th
- All three
Any of these combinations can include the root note played simultaneously above, below or between the descending lines. Also the single lines 5th to 3rd and b7th to 5th are often played against the root above.
Many variations can be created by combining the lines in different octaves, inversions and positions, along with applying rhythmic variations.
- Pick strings in different orders (6 ways using 3 strings)
- Play notes simultaneously strumming or pinching
- Choose whether to use root pedal.
- Put root pedal on top, bottom or in the middle depending on the lick.
The following examples are from an iPhone App of mine called Pro Lessons
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 1
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 2
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 3
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 4
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 5
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 6
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 7
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 8
Classic Blues Guitar Turnaround 9
Blues Guitar Turnaround Demonstration
- Beginner to advanced licks
- Over 80 examples
- Tempo change option
- Key change option
- Looping option
- Licks in every position
- Backing track to practice with
- Traditional classic licks
- Flat picking licks
- Hybrid picking licks
- Finger style licks
- Tab for every key
- Rhythmic notation
- Turnarounds for all blues styles
- Theory behind turnarounds