More often than not you’ll find yourself playing with another guitar player at the local blues jam or on the gig, and you’ll both be playing rhythm guitar a majority of the time to support a vocalist or other soloist. The last thing you want to do is play the same or even a similar rhythm guitar part because that muddies up the rhythm section and does little to enhance the overall sound. So what should you do? Easy…
Start by digging into Jeff McErlain’s Two Guitar Blues Grooves and work through the 10 sets of rhythm guitar performance studies (20 rhythm guitar parts in total!) that Jeff prepared to expand your rhythm part vocabulary and impart priceless guidance for crafting two-guitar rhythm parts.
”As guitarists we play rhythm guitar much more than lead guitar in most settings. And when we’re in a two guitar situation, this can complicate matters as to what to play and how to best fit in. In this course, we’ll work through 10 of the most commonly encountered blues tunes and I’ll show you some really effective rhythm part approaches for playing with another guitarist. All in all, you’ll pick up 20 distinctive rhythm guitar parts that you’ll be able to use in hundreds of blues tunes, in any jam or band setting!”
Jeff will demonstrate, and breakdown in detail, two distinctive, complementary rhythm guitar parts for 10 blues progressions, in different feels and tempos, based on popular, commonly encountered blues tunes.
Each set of of these 10 rhythm performances features two multi-angle videos for both rhythm parts, two breakdown videos for each part, plus a playalong video displaying both parts being performed in split-screen view.
Boogie Woog-E - ”Here we have a classic boogie woogie blues in E. This is probably the first blues you ever learned, and if you have ever been to a blues jam, you've played it over and over! The last thing I want to hear is two guitar players playing this pattern in unison for more than one chorus of the blues, and I don't even want to hear that! I see Guitar 1 as the driver of the car, setting on top of the groove, and Guitar 2 fills it out.”
Jumpin' Uptown - ”We're going to check out a jump blues in the key of C. Jump blues tunes were always tricky to me as I didn't come up listening to them. I also had no idea what a major 6th chord was, which is a big part of the sound of a classic jump blues. A jump blues is usually an uptempo song that has its roots in big band music of the the 40's and is really the precursor to rock and roll.”
Rose Colored Duplex - ”Rose Colored Duplex is basically the same feel as Jimi Hendrix's "Red House". Although Jimi was the only guitarist in his band, it doesn't matter — it’s the basic solo 12-bar blues that we need to learn how to navigate. This one always gets called on gigs, and often in jam situations, you'll usually have two guitar players and so here's how to handle this type of blues.”
The Thrill of Restraint - ”The Thrill of Restraint is based on the B.B. King classic, The Thrill Is Gone. I know I have taught this song in a previous course, but I'm excited to do a deeper dive here to see how two guitar players would handle it. Of course, always check out the original version to make sure you know the source material. This is one of the most well known blues tunes of all time.”
Up the Road - ”This one is called Up the Road that is based on the Lowell Fulsom classic, Further On up the Road. Of course, this tune is a staple in Eric Clapton's repertoire. The riff is pretty classic and I put it in G so we can take advantage of the open strings which is something I like to do whenever possible.”
Rumba Brothers - ”A rumba is a Latin feel, and Albert King used one in Crosscut Saw, which is probably the most famous version of a rumba I can think of. These are cool to add into a set list to break up an evening of blues and that's important. Nobody wants to hear shuffles all night, believe me! Also, if you're in a blues band, that doesn't mean every song has to be a blues. Seriously, mix it up with something that isn't a blues, most blues acts do this because they know it can get fatiguing.”
Freddie's Twins - ” Great quote — “I have no idea what I am doing, but incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm." Those are great words to live by. Let's view it from a musical perspective: go for it, basically. No one gets hurt in music, so just see what happens when you go for something new. Sometimes it's a total train wreck or you just might find something amazing and new. We even learn from the train wrecks if we are paying attention.”
Stormy Days - ”Ah, Stormy Monday, a blues classic and one of the first "jazzed up" blues I ever learned. The changes still boil down to a standard 12-bar blues but with some added chords. By adding the chords, we're "jazzing it up". That's where that term comes from. Many jazz standards like Bye Bye Black Bird were old songs that jazz musicians added more chords to to make the harmony more complex. Jazzed up.”
I’ve Got the Key - ”Key to the Highway is a classic 8-bar blues, so let's take a look at it. The first version I heard was on the Layla record from Derek and the Dominos, and shortly after that, I heard the Little Walter version that I much prefer. The song has been recorded countless times and is a must know!”
Bring It Together - ”What we have here is not technically a blues, but it's part of the blues canon. It's basically Bring It On Home to Me by Sam Cooke. I'm so happy to be showing you this guitar part as it's probably the kind of thing I do most often: triad based voicings on the D,G, and B stings, A touch of Motown thrown in, a hint of Jimi, perfect and a must for any guitar player who wants to work! I can't stress enough learning your triad inversions. It's probably the most important thing you can do. Here I'm going to show you the changes and some cool two guitar part ideas.”
Jeff will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the performance studies. Plus, Jeff includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own. In addition, you’ll be able to loop or slow down any of the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace.
Grab your guitar and let’s dig in with Jeff McErlain!