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Watch the Altered Scales online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Solo Revolution: Diminished Lines

I've always been a great lover of jazz and also a great lover of blues music. The blues was the first place that I got inspired to be a guitar player, and as I've said many times throughout the years, Mike Bloomfield was my initial inspiration. I think he was a particularly good one in that he was literally the first blues guitar virtuoso. Not to say that someone like B.B. King wasn't a virtuoso in his own way, which he was, but Bloomfield played a lot of notes and fast, taking the guitar into a much broader improvisational realm. So, that's where he started merging into what you could call "jazz", but really, it's just improvisation. He was doing things that hadn't been done on the guitar before, and even conceptually it hadn't really tried coming out of a blues guitar player format.

Jazz and blues had always had their own niches, and though people talk about the two being related (which they are), it's not exactly a straight evolution - the two always had their own worlds and then came together. Bloomfield was a bridge for people like me, who then discovered guitar players like B.B. King, Albert King, Albert Collins, and others.

So, it was a great place to begin on my journey, and it made me want to know more about music. I wanted to go out from the pop music that I'd grown up on and learn about jazz. I started buying and listening to records and there were all these harmonies that I had no idea what they were doing - even in some of the simplest jazz pieces. I learned that these were scales, and that you could alter them to add dissonance. You could use the altered scale to get from the I to the IV chord in a blues, or from a V chord back to a 1 chord.