Johan Paxoms Guitar
Johan Paxoms Guitar
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My Personal Suggestions/Advices for Improvising (shooting) over a Bluesy vamp.

Im not a guitarhero  but Im very into improvising & soloing whit my guitar........So I´ll try to print down for you ,this, my personal advices for soloing strategies. Really-they are basics but I think they work out really good. Here´s my two cents;

Be an player that allways has the ear and attention of the public. Make yourself intresting for them, surprice them whit some various guitarplaying. But keep the rules and stick to play whit the hamonies, structure and shape of the blues the band are playing. Feel the Blues and know the tunes harmonies (chord progressions) well. Dont be afriad to use cliche´s. If your breakin to many rules and dont play cliches you dont play the blues no more-then your playin some strange avant-garde jazz to a background of bluesmusic (if your lucky). Keep the rules and keep your own personality and orginality at the same time. Then, if you sometime should break a rule-it will be heard and understood...But if you do it all the time its only going to be hard and strange to listen to your music.

Heres a few tricks & tips I try to have in my trickbag for almost every solo. Not every time, not all of it at the same time in the same blues - but almost. (Depending on the Bluestunes feeling).

First-this is a real smooth trick you have to learn. Its a MUST to have in your "Jacky´s Bag of Trick" as a leadguitarist in a Bluesband;

Changing between the Mixolydian scales using "the inner logic of the Mixolydian scale" (A Berklee Uni. term.)
You change the scales this way;

(ex. in G)

G mix: G A B C D E F G
C mix:G A Bb C D E F G
D mix: G A B C D E F# G

Now you can hold your left hand in one position all the time while you changin between the scales.

You also need to be able to play some Bluesy Arpeggios - thats the 1,4 & 7 note of the chord......The Upper Arpegggios (7,9,11 & 13) can also be used in Blues but NOT , never ever the ordinary 1,3 & 5 arpeggio !!!! Broken Chords (played 1,6 & 5 of a Bluesseventh chord / dom7 chord) is also a real and true Blues cliche´.

A sologuitarplayer, "Monster" , also need to know all the modes of the Bluesscale;

Mode 1:    1    b3    4 b5    5    b7
Mode 2:    1    2    b3 3    5    6
Mode 3:    1    b2    2 4    5    b7
Mode 4:    1    b3    4    #5    b7 7
Mode 5:    1    2    4    5    6 b7

The Extended Bluesscale (the Mixolydian scale mixed whit the Aeolian scale and the "Blue Notes") often used by Jimi Hendrix and in Progressive Blues (a genre created by Jonny Winter 1968);

1 2 b3 3 4 b5 5 6 b7 7

Then - heres some tips;

But dont allways use the Blues scale or the Mixolydian. Throw in some licks and phrases played in Melodic Minor, Diminished and the Whole tone scale too. Thats sounds great in Blues among bluescliche´s like Broken Chords, doublestops and please-do some Loockwood playin on top of the compingchords between your soloing phrases...

Throw in some ornaments of chromatic passing tones when phrasing (use the technique called "Targetting" connecting chord notes whit cromatic patterns played whit slide) in a scale-and use lots of octave notes while playin the Blues solo....

Larry Carlton sometimes play the Ionian scale over "Bluessevents chord" (dom7 chord). Kind of unique but it works out just fine and real bluesy..... sometimes hes mixing the Ionan scale whit the Blues scale.....

If you are a JazzCat;
Use the Dorian scale when playin JazzBlues. Remember that Swing (in the pocket) solos and melodies starts on upbeat-the 2;nd beat or the 4;rd beat of a bar. The Melodic minor scale are also an common scale in Jazzblues and it sounds great..

Play around whit different rythms. For ex; if the drums and the bass is playin 4/4 you can play soloingprhrases i the rythm of "The Bo Diddleys Beat" (Thats a form of "son clave");

One e and ah, two e and ah, three e and ah, four e and ah.

Start your bluessolophrasing on the 4;th beat in a bar and end it on a 2:nd beat. Leave the two next beats before the next bar free. Thats kind of a cliche´ and spaceing in Blues. Its a nice trick, "Targetting" to step into a phrase from one semitone above or two semitones below. Or use a technique called "Raking" where you play one or a few palm-muted string whitout any tone at all, just before starting the prhase.

Allways land your soloing phrase or on a chordtone (1,3,5 or 7 or the colorings) otherwise it will sound like the soloingphrase shall cointinue. To long phrases are hard to listen to and will leave no space in the music.

Some times , often in the last bar of the turnaround, you wanna create more dynamics and tension. A simplier way, rather than use the Super Locrian scale (the Altered scale) (you never do that in Blues) is to move the Minor Pentatonic scale two semitones below the dominant chords root and you have all the 4 taltered (outside) tones right there. Thats a Bluesy way to do it !!!!! The trick, the technique, of playin outside (the House) are known as "Sidesteppin" or "Sideslippin".

I hope this tricks & these tips will help your improvising/soloing skills a little bit further....

So Happy New Year to all ya BluesDogs & take some soloing breaks, let it be space in the music - play the bassline instead togheter whit the bassguitarplayer some little time now and then !!!! Learn some, a few basic, Bluesbasslines to improve your Bluesguitarchops.

by Paxom, Sweden, 2014.