You hear a whole lot of minor and major pentatonic lines in the blues. You’ll hear those pentatonic lines spiced up with a flatted fifth or a little chromaticism and it sounds great, and that’s how we all learn to play the blues. Then all of a sudden a player comes along and cranks up the spice with lines crafted from altered or diminished scales and your ears perk immediately to attention. What was that?! How do you do that?!
That was likely Robben Ford playing the blues, or one of his fellow blues masters similarly inspired by harmonic approaches, chord voicings, and scale applications usually associated with jazz.
How Robben incorporates diminished lines in his solos is the topic of discussion in countless articles and workshops. Yet, as much as it's discussed and analyzed by others, the answer remains somewhat elusive. That’s why Robben wanted to focus on this one topic here in the Diminished Lines edition of his Solo Revolution series.
”The diminished scale, for me, has always had a direct correlation to the blues. it's both major and minor, which is very characteristic of the blues. The use of the flatted fifth and the emotional intensity of the diminished scale sounds like the blues to me. I’ve prepared 17 concept lessons and 8 soloing performance studies to illustrate how I use diminished lines in the blues.”
Robben starts the course by examining how the diminished scale is constructed and the importance of learning how to hear it. He’ll show you how to use the diminished chord to move from the I chord to the IV chord, as well as from the V chord to the I chord. You’ll learn why and how Robben begins his phrases on the upbeat of one. Robben shows you a few of his melodic patterns and a few of his diminished licks and an interesting way to use open strings with the diminished scale.
The concept lessons include: The Diminished Scale, Altered Scales, Minor Third Devices, Wrap Your Ear Around It, A Statement In Itself, Four V to I Chord Lines, The Altered Five & Home, I to IV Diminished Lines, Finding Wilder Voicings, Incorporating Open Strings, Melodic Minor Magic Licks & Lines, Sahara Moon Chords, and Mixing Scales & Sounds
Robben also guides you through 8 soloing performance studies, which draw on the diminished lines concepts, techniques, and creative approaches that he uses in his own improvisations: Blues Shufflin' in A, Straight Up Blues in A, Slow G Shuffle: 1, Slow G Shuffle: 2, Uptempo C Swingin' Shuffle, Latin E Groove, Minor Blues in A, and Sahara Moon Changes.
All of the performance studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons. Plus, Robben includes all of the backing tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s sprinkle some of that diminished spice on our blues lines with Robben Ford!