Laying the Foundation

Before we dive into learning the solo, it’s important to talk briefly about the chord progression we’re working with. Understanding the chord progression is a very important part of soloing!

This track is in shuffle feel. One way of thinking about that is that we’re breaking every quarter note into a triplet. You can count these like this: “one trip-let two trip-let three trip-let four trip-let,” or alternatively, “one and a two and a three and a four and a.” Emphasize the main beat, ie ONE and a… You’ll notice that either way of counting produces 12 syllables. Now, listen to the jam track, and listen for the high hats or the ride… you’ll hear them playing those 12 beats per bar too. If you’re not familiar with playing in triplet feel, it can seem quite different at first. Just sit and listen to the jam track, start working with it, and pretty soon you’ll get adjusted.

The chord progression is simple: A7, D7, and E7 in a 12 bar blues. If you want to play along, you can use any form of those chords you know. In the video, I demonstrated the D7 and E7 with a variation that’s actually a D7+9. That chord looks like this: x54555, and the E7+9 like this: x76777.

If you have any questions on any of this, please ask them in the comments section below, and I’ll do my best to answer there.

Leave a Reply 7 comments - June 26, 2019 Reply

Just started your course. My question is if we are learning a slow blues solo in A why are using F# as a root note? Am I missing something? If we are playing in A why aren’t we using A as the root?

    Jonathan Boettcher - June 26, 2019 Reply

    Hello, that’s a good question, and it is one I have covered in the next section of the course:

    If you still have questions remaining after going through that portion, please let me know and I’ll do whatever I can to help clear them up.

Michael Dattoma - June 27, 2019 Reply

What was always confusing to me is that in Major Pentatonic it is Box 4 in the C shape, but in Minor, it is still called Box 4 yet is now an A shape… is all the same notes for both Minor and Major Pentatonic in a given key…..But the CAGED system, and their chord shapes, do not match up to the Boxes 1-4 the same way in both Minor and Major in terms of chord shapes. Would love to see you give a lesson explaining all of this because we all tend to learn starting with the Minor Pentatonic scales in terms of Box 1 thru Box 5….when you then step into the world of CAGED and Major Pentatonic the world gets turned upside down, even though all the notes within a key are the same.

    Jonathan Boettcher - June 27, 2019 Reply

    Yeah, that’s a very good point. The way I was taught (by Colin Daniel), we call everything by it’s descriptive name. For instance, the scale pattern I’m using in Phrase one is a Root 5 Pentatonic Minor pattern. That name gives me everything I need to know exactly what and where it is…

    The root note is on the 5th string – in this case, F#. It’s a pentatonic minor, which tells me what the shape looks like. I have to really think about the box numbers and CAGED stuff, and I mostly only mention it to give other people a reference point if they’re coming from that background.

    Then we could add all the other names into the mix as well, Ionian, Aeolian, Phrygian, etc etc. In my opinion, this is where theory can potentially become tangled up and confusing for a player, and can actually hinder progress in some cases.

Michael Dattoma - June 27, 2019 Reply

I meant, “in Major Pentatonic it is Box 4 in the C shape, but in Minor, it is still called Box 4 yet is now an A minor shape”

Jack Shimizu - August 31, 2019 Reply

Is their a way to download the segments of the video instead of the whole video? It hard to keep track of where you leave off on an iPad with the whole video.

    Jonathan Boettcher - August 31, 2019 Reply

    Hi Jack, unfortunately I don’t have it broken down into small sections. Sorry about that.

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