8 Carl Verheyen Blues Guitar Lessons

8 Carl Verheyen Blues Guitar Lessons

If you dig playing the blues, these ‘special weapons and tactics’ will inspire, excite, transform and invigorate your chops way beyond your wildest expectations. Whatever your level of play, you will love how Verheyen steps you through his curriculum. This series of lessons will fire up your blues bag. Check out the full S.W.A.T. Blues course on TrueFire now!

Diamond Blues – Solo 1: Performance

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In this first example I demonstrate the value of bending in tune. I also show how the consistency of vibrato affects the overall vibe and feel of the solo. Nowhere is this more important than on a slow blues or a ballad.

Diamond Blues – Solo 1: Breakdown

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The four principles of bending are described here: 1) Straight to pitch with no vibrato. 2) Straight to pitch without vibrato then gradually adding some as the note fades. 3) Bending directly to a note with vibrato in motion. 4) Bending with all four fingers because all of the above bending principles can be applied to all four fingers. Remember, no two vibratos from two different players are the same. It is your sonic fingerprint!

Diamond Blues – Solo 2: Performance

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Using harmonics, octaves and modern inversions I can create a mood and vibe that is completely different than the expected pentatonic blazing.

Diamond Blues – Solo 3: Performance

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While maintaining the ornamentation of the blues style, I like to stretch the format a bit. I start with lines that are obviously from the blues catalog of tried-and-true lines. But by the time I reach the IV chord I use lines with wider intervals and even an open string jump from the 13th position down to the 1st.

Walkin’ Man Blues – Solo 3: Performance

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In these two choruses I start with a traditional blues lick in A minor pentatonic. This is a simple line, and its purpose is to draw the listener in with something familiar that says, “This is the blues!” After that I can get away with a lot of wild and jagged musical ideas that hopefully expand the format a bit.

Dirty Blues – Solo 3: Performance

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Watch for the open strings as they go by in a split second. These lines are things I’ve worked out and practiced and – as you’ll see in these choruses – they are tailor made for an E7 blues.

Carl’s Shuffle – Solo 1: Performance

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Notice how I lay a little bit behind the beat in the beginning. I’m always trying to maintain the swing feel on a shuffle, and it ain’t easy using a drum machine track! But you can hear my time against the very rigid time of the track, and that feel is what I want to impart in this lesson.

Carl’s Shuffle – Solo 1: Breakdown

Download the tab, notation, and jam track for the blues lesson.

The shuffle feel is explained in this lesson. The difference between duple meter and triple meter is an important thing to understand, and a huge part of your conceptual ability to feel the groove correctly. It can’t be done in duple meter as you’ll see in this lesson. The next concept to grasp is the ability to pinpoint where you’re putting your part against the time. Are you ahead of the beat, behind the beat, or do you play center time? Once you understand this you’ll be able to lock into a drummer’s heartbeat. Every drummer has a different feel, so this is very important whether you’re playing rhythm or lead guitar.


Didn’t get enough? With the full course, you will work through six distinctive blues grooves ranging from low, down and dirty up-tempo shuffles to smooth and moody slow blues. Verheyen performs three solos over each groove, each solo demonstrating a distinctive approach. After each of these 18 solo/demonstrations, Carl breaks down the ‘special weapons and tactics’ utilized in the solo including intervallic lines, double-stop soloing, Myxolydian thirds, melodic chords runs, slide lick emulation, open string leaps and ornamentation, vibrato, zing harmonics, open position leaps, timing, big major third bends, modern inversions and voicings, motific and melodic development, picking-hand techniques, mixing minor and major Pentatonic lines and many more modern blues tools. Check it out!