‘Woke up this morning…’ – Classic Blues scale lick
Named after one of the most famous opening lyrics in the history of blues music, this is very classic blues lick – inspired by many of the old greats! One of the frequently used techniques in this genre is the quarter-tone bend. Theory-wise, a quarter-tone would work out as a pitch difference of half a fret on the guitar, but I wouldn’t worry too much about precision – just make sure you only bend the string a little bit!
I’ve used the aptly-named E blues scale for this lick. If it weren’t for one note (the 3rd fret on the G string in the 3rd bar), it would be called an e minor pentatonic scale. But the use of this b5 note turns it into a ‘blues scale’ and when played creates a tense and unresolved sound that is unmistakeable bluesy. To see what I mean try playing that note over an E chord – it just begs to be resolved!
The lick also uses another common blues feature – double stops (the whole of the 2nd bar). Double stops are just two notes played at the same time and can add extra harmony and variety to your lead playing.
Have fun with this lick and don’t stick to it strictly if you don’t want to – improvisation is a beautiful thing!
Click on the play button below to hear the lick – a normal speed version is followed by a slowed down version.