Performance Videos

Red House – Jimi Hendrix

Going Down – Freddie King

Killing Floor – Howlin’ Wolf

Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker

Well done to Chris, Jon, Michael, Oliver, Steve and Richard!

YouTube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2F3413C2AEA104DA

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Day #5: Friday 2nd September

Modern Electric Blues Guitarist Holiday 2011 - Class of 2011

Modern Electric Blues Guitarist Holiday 2011 – Class of 2011

[back] Richard, Steve, David and Oliver
[front] Richard, Chris, John and Michael

Session #1 – Technique Focus

After the morning warm ups (physical stretches and technicals: 2-4 finger, caterpillar, five positions of the minor pentatonic and minor scale) a Q&A was held before pushing on with preparing for the days end of holiday performance.

The songs chosen to perform were:

  1. Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker
  2. Red House – Jimi Hendrix
  3. Killing Floor – Howlin’ Wolf
  4. Going Down – Freddie King

Session #2 – Performance Skills/Practice

The class learnt the rhythm parts and twelve bar structures to the four chosen performance songs. The keys for these were:

1. E, 2. B, 3. A, 4. G

A number of scale options were discussed for improvising. The key point being; where does the first position of the scale start in relation to the key? Answer: The root note. i.e. If the key is A, you start the first position of the scale from fret 5 of string 6 and so on.

Session #3

After a long lunch the class jumped into the pool to cool off under the crystal clear blue skies and 28° sunshine.

Mid-afternoon pool session

Mid-afternoon pool session

Rehearsals began at 5pm in preparation for the performance later in the evening…

blues-guitarist-2011

Evening Performance – Chris, Steve, John, Michael, Richard and Richard

Weather

High: 28° and humid/sunny

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Day #4: Thursday 1st September

Session #1 – Technique Expander

The class ran through their warm up exercises (physical and technical) and continued to memorise the five positions of the minor scale (Aeolian mode) using the five minor pentatonic scale box shapes as a framework on which to build.

Session #2 – Style Focus

After tea/coffee break the class learnt an Albert King style blues progression with an additional fourth chord(!), instead of the standard three chords (I, IV, V) for a standard twelve bar blues.

Standard Twelve Bar Blues Progression:

{| : A | A | A | A | D | D | A | A | E | D | A | E : |}

Extended Twelve Bar Blues Progression:

{| : A | D9 | A | A | D9 | D9 | A | A | F9 | E7#9 | A | E7#9 : |}

Notice: A standard twelve bar blues progression is built from the famous three chord trick (I, IV, V – A, D and E) where as the extended version of a twelve bar introduces a bVI chord (F9) into the progression. This increases the overall harmony of the progression and allows the soloist to draw upon a wider selection of notes/scales.

Session #3 – Performance Skills

After lunch, and the morning thunderstorm, the class split up into small ensembles to jam and practice their four blues styles:

  1. BB King Blues (Key: A)
  2. Gilmour Slow Blues (Key: Dm)
  3. SRV Texas Blues (Key: E)
  4. Albert King Blues (Key: A)

Weather

High: 28° hot and humid with thunderstorm this morning!

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Day #3: Wednesday 31st August

Session #1 – Technique Expander

The class extended their warm ups to include two and four finger caterpillar exercises, the five minor pentatonic scale box shapes and now the five positions of the minor scale (Aeolian mode).

To help visualise the minor scale shape(s) it is useful to remember that the minor pentatonic scale can be used as a frame work from which the minor scale can be memorised also (example below).

Minor Scale with Minor Pentatonic Scale framework overlayed

Minor Scale with Minor Pentatonic Scale framework overlayed

Session #2 – Style Focus

After the tea/coffee break the class learnt a Stevie Ray Vaughan style Texas blues shuffle in the key of E (I, IV, V – E, A, B).

{| : E | E | E | E | A | A | E | E | B | A | E | E : |}

The progression used two basic chord shapes; a Dom7#9 and a Dom7 (1st inversion), which were commonly used by SRV in this style.

SRV shapes: Dom7#9 and Dom7 (1st Inv) chords

SRV shapes: Dom7#9 and Dom7 (1st Inv) chords

Using the progression (above) you can simply substitute any of the chords (E, A or B) for the two chords (Dom7#9 and Dom7 (1st Inv)). For example, when you would play an A chord you can choose to play the Dom7 (1st Inv) chord in its place to great effect.

Session #3 – Performance Skills

The third session of the day was held at 6pm to allow students time to relax and consolidate what they had learnt in the first few days of the holiday. Some students visited Cognac and others lazed beside the pool.

The class gathered outside for the evening session bathed in glorious sunshine and jammed through the blues styles learnt this week so far.

Weather

High: 25° and humid

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Day #2: Tuesday 30th August

Session #1 – Technique Expander

Our first session started with the physical and technical exercises followed by incorporating the alternate picking pattern (down/up when ascending and up/down when descending) into the five positions of the Minor Pentatonic Scale (R b3, 4, 5 b7).

E Minor Pentatonic Scale (5 Positions)

E Minor Pentatonic Scale (5 Positions)

Session #2 – Style Focus

After tea/coffee the class began working on a David Gilmour influenced slow blues jam track in the key of D Minor (R, b3, 4, 5, b7 – D, F, G, A, C).

{| : Dm | Gm7 | Dm | Dm | Gm7 | Gm6 | Dm | Dm | Am7 | Gm7 | Dm | Dm : |}

We experimented with the feel of the progression, playing straight 4/4 time (common time) and freely arpeggiated chords in 6/8 and 12/8 time.

Session #3 – Performance Skills

After a long lunch the class practiced their Gilmour inspired slow blues progression. The emphasis of the first half of the session hinged on target tones (R, b3, 5, b7) with in the Minor Pentatonic Scale over the I, IV and V chords (Dm, Gm and Am).

The group then split up into small ensembles and took turns to accompany each other taking turns to play rhythm and lead.

Weather

High: 27° and sunny

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Day #1: Monday 29th August

Session #1 – Technique Expander

The mornings first session started with an introduction about the course from Richard before the class learnt about physical warm up exercises for guitar players; an important element of a practice routine for any prolonged length of playing.

The first technical warm up exercise of the day covered the use of alternate picking, correct pick grip and fretting hand posture and placement – using the truss rod chamber as a guide for thumb location.

Session #2 – Style Focus

After coffee/tea break the class learnt the theory and structure behind the most basic twelve bar blues progression and how to construct the I, IV, V (A, D, E) chords built from the harmonised A Major scale (A, B , C#, D, E, F#, G#).

Standard Twelve Bar Blues Progress:

{| : A | A | A | A | D | D | A | A | E | D | A | E : |}

Session #3 – Performance Session

After a long lunch the class reconvened at the music room for the afternoon performance session. This session continued on from the mornings twelve bar class focusing on horn stab rhythm parts that would accompany a band with keys, walking bass line and soloist in a New Orleans style.

Weather

High: 26° and sunny

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Arrivals Day…

The students will arrive this afternoon for the Modern Electric Blues Guitarist Holiday. Here are some photos of the splendid scenery in Bercloux, La Moreau, France.

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All photos in the gallery © Wlodek Tych www.southlakesphoto.co.uk

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