Blues Rock is one of the most guitar-centric styles of music that you can play. It has it’s roots in the blues but it’s been amped up with a more aggressive and riff-driven approach cultivated by players like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, Hendrix and so many other giants of that era.
The good news is Blues Rock is very much alive under the fingertips of players like Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark Junior, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Gales and Jack White to name just a few.
The even better news is that Jeff McErlain will guide you through this Blues Rock Grooves edition of Essentials and pass on the essential grooves, techniques and riffage that make Blues Rock so impactful and so much fun to play.
”In this edition of Essentials, we're going to jump right into the playing. We'll work through ten essential blues rock grooves in a variety of tempos, keys and feels. Along with the main groove in each, I’ll also show you lots of cool fills and rhythm variations to round out the groove just like you would on the gig.”
Jeff demonstrates the solos over rhythm tracks and then breaks them down by stepping you through the key concepts, techniques and creative approaches he used in the performance study.
Fishin' Blues--”Well, here it is, the riff that influenced generations of blues-rock players — Muddy Waters' Rollin' Stone Blues, also known as Catfish Blues. Besides the countless covers of this tune and uses of this riff with different lyrics, it remains maybe the single most important riff to inspire the heavy blues genre, and as we work through this course we'll see how ubiquitous it is.”
Shadow Walker- -”This riff is based on the Free classic Walk In My Shadow, which Joe B. covered on his Shepherds Bush Empire record. Free is one of the great British blues rock bands that don't get the attention they should. Paul Rogers is truly one of the finest rock singers of all time...I don't think that's in dispute, but I just wanted to say it!”
Pay Me!--”My love of Billy Gibbons is well known around these parts, and one of my favorite ZZ Top tunes is Just Got Paid from 1972's Rio Grande Mud record. The original is in open E tuning with Billy using a slide on certain parts, but I've kept this reworked riff in standard tuning for simplicity. The main germ of the riff is pedaling back and forth on the low E string to give a thick, heavy, percussive sound.”
Blues Blood-- “Johnny Winter did a great version of the Stone's classic Let It Bleed, I loved his groove on it and wanted to share it so you can use it. Johnny Winter had a very long and rocky career due to drugs and failing health, but near the end of his life he had cleaned up and was playing great again. In his prime, he was one of the baddest players out there, a full-bore rock and roll monster. He's mainly known for playing a Gibson Firebird that gave him his signature bright and aggressive sound.”
I Hear My Train-- “Well, what can I say about Jimi Hendrix that hasn't been said before? I mean really? What can I say? When we think of the great blues and rock players he is always at the top of the list. Even the other guys atop those lists say he was top of the list. Although not essential, I decided to use one of me and Jimi's favorite pedals, the uni-vibe on this example. The uni-vibe is a chorus effect that gives the guitar the watery sound that we hear on my performance and everything that is quintessentially Hendrix.”
Lovin' You-- “This one is based on the chord progression for Led Zeppelin's Since I've Been Loving You. This is a 12-bar blues with some nice alternate changes that you do have to be careful with since they are distinctly Led Zeppelin. In fact, I can't think of another song that uses these changes, so bravo Jimmy Page! I really wanted to share this tune with you as it's one of my favorite songs by them, and one of my favorite blues chord progressions.”
Rumble Train-- “The blues rock tradition runs deep in Badlands' first record, released in 1988, made up of ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee and ex-Black Sabbath singer Ray Gillen. This tune is similar to their song Rumblin' Train, a rocking blues tune with roots that go back to bands like Led Zeppelin. I made this riff as a mashup of the Badlands tune and Waitin' For The Bus by ZZ Top, putting it together in a longer form.”
Baby Rock-- “One of the greatest American blues rock guitarists was Johnny Winter. Johnny's career suffered many ups and downs due to substance abuse and poor health, but in his prime he was a force of nature and was doing very well in the years right before his death. Johnny was so well regarded that he played at Woodstock in the evening, one of the prime slots.”
Good Morning Girls-- “One of my first guitar heroes growing up besides Brian May and David Gilmour was Alvin Lee. Like many people, the first exposure I had to his playing was at Woodstock. Obviously, I was not at Woodstock, but I remember hearing Going Home when I was first picking up the instrument and wondering if I could ever play like that. To this day that solo and performance is a real stand out at Woodstock.”
Uni-Vibes-- “Well this one is all about vibe, and the uni-vibe! However, you don't actually need the pedal to play this song properly, it just sounds cool. I wanted to channel both Robin Trower and Jimi Hendrix on this performance, focusing on the similarities between the two of them. We’re in drop D, and if you're a modern rock fan as I am, this riff sounds quite a bit like something you would hear Rage Against the Machine play. The melody is similar to that of Voodoo Chile and No Man Is An Island by Robin Trower.”
All of the performances are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can loop and/or slow any section down as you work through the lessons. Plus, Jeff generously includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s rock with Jeff McErlain!