In this week’s guitar lesson, you’ll learn several classic (must know) blues concepts that are easy to play and can be applied to any key.
Part 1 - Free Guitar Lesson
Part 2 - For Premium Members
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Nice Brian, really like that “mellow” blues vibe…..
Alan J says
Thanks Brian , very helpful .
Brady H says
This is one of my favorite lessons. I learned so much here. Thanks for your thoughtful work.
Tyrone M says
Thanks for another good blues lesson👍👍👍
A nice bluse here Brian, with obvoiously lots of takeaways.
James V says
terrific, absolutely super cool, can’t get enough
Kiwi Rowan L says
So sorry to hear that you are under the weather – take care and we hope you are feeling better real soon.
You give out so much to all of us every week thank you. This is another absolute gem for jamming.
I don’t know where my guitar playing might have been without you man – I’m progressing so fast with your teaching thank you !
Michael Allen says
This is just my speed! Thanks Brian.
Erik B says
The backing track for this lesson invites to grap the guitar and jam along!
San Luis Rey says
This is perfect to follow lesson 515. This sounds great and will allow me to learn and play it while continuing on last weeks fast tempo number that has a million takeaways! You are the best even when not feeling 100%. Hope you feel better soon.
Joseph B says
Great lesson, learnt so much from this one. Looking for some input here. I am now 80 years old and a reasonable player, however I am struggling to remember lessons learnt. I will master EP 516 in a week but if I come back to it 2-3 weeks later large chunks of it are totally gone. This is applying to all songs I have learned . I now find that my only competency is improvising over backing tracks using muscle memory skills. Any suggestions on how to improve my ability to retain musical knowledge …….or am I just to old ?
That’s fairly normal for most of us – I learn stuff all the time and will totally forget how to do it verbatim, but what I find is that little pieces will stick. Maybe just a note or two, or maybe even just the knowledge of where it came from – but those little things add up over time. I’d say to just keep doing it and keep soaking up new stuff. Oh, and record yourself playing so that you can listen back and see if there is any improvement. Hearing even small improvement will give you the motivation you need.
Joseph B says
Thanks Brian, I definitely can see the benefit in that method. It also reinforces your teaching style of improvise not memorise. I will now settle for learning the licks from the lessons and use them over backing tracks. This will also cure that feeling of frustration . Will definitely record my efforts for comparison.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer and advise.
thanks for your comment joseph, i am 53 and i have the same problem. I had a bad alcohol problem for about 20 years so my short term memory is pretty bad. it was a huge help to me when in a previous lesson, i think it was the setting up a practice routine one at the first of the year, where brian said that most of the stuff you won’t remember, like he said just now. After that i still go through a whole lesson but i try to find 1 or2 take aways. then i try and play them with different backing tracks and mix them in with my go to stuff. i’m still not remembering those all the time but some are sticking. Anyway after hearing brian say that i no longer get frustrated by the thoughts of “whats the point, i won’t remember this in a week or 2”. Now i get excited about getting 1 or 2 things out of each lesson that i know will stick and become part of my core go to stuff. have a great day, and thanks brian for all you do!
I have experienced the same thing as Joseph B and being an older player myself, Im glad Brian made the comment it’ s fairly normal. Having been a long time member, I find hearing the “repetition” of ideas over several lessons helps the little pieces stick and it does add up. For instance, the A6-A9 move sticks and the “T-Bone Walker” moves stick for me. The concept idea of playing the “IV” over the “I” I’ve heard several times but it might have moved into a longer term memory after this lesson…. especially if I use that concept several times over the next few days and weeks. Like Brian says, it adds up!
Alex F says
I’m in the same age group and am overwhelmed at times by the stuff I have forgotten. Just keep playing is good advice…. On this lesson, the challenge for me was to understand how all these partial treble chords are connected to the barre chords. It’s a whole new group of chords but I can hear their value. Brian, don’t believe folks who say you talk too much. You are assisting us to integrate what we are learning. In that sense, your talking may be even more valuable than your playing!
Bern F says
I am in my sixties Joseph and took up the guitar 3 years ago because my memory was so bad and I was getting trigger finger sporadically, my memory has improved leaps and bounds and haven’t had trigger finger since….what you are experiencing may be frustrating but it’s keeping your brain and memory active all the same
Jim M says
Brian. You always bring us fresh inspiration with your musical compositions.
ken muso says
Nice mellow blues with so many takeaway ideas. Works on an acoustic also. Feel better soon!
Pierre L says
Hey Brian, always looking forward to your lessons every week. I’m at the stage I’d like to try to play with backing tracks “minus guitar”. My problem I can usually play most pieces at ~80% speed, but no faster, even for the “easy” lessons. It would be great if you could make MP3 backing tracks available at slower speed for all lessons.
Thanks for another great lesson!
Alvin T says
Try this website
A great lesson and your production on your videos keep getting nicer!
Mark H says
Thanks Brian, this lesson reveals some very useful insights. Hard to express but I’ll give it a go. I feel it demonstrates the power of theory when applied with intent.
For example, it’s very nice to finally know why briefly modulating a harmonized double stop to its IV works. Although I sort of sensed that through years of, er, semi-mindless noodling, now I can put it in play with much more confidence and in my chosen context. Great for lick- and riff building I reckon.
Also I appreciate the deeper dive into the two fret 6th to 9th chord thing. You’ve touched on it before but this lesson complements those earlier lessons and will help move me toward “owning” the material better, so to speak.
And then there’s the two fret move in parallel across the fretboard, strings 1 to 5 and excluding the 6th string, creating a major- to minor lick (or vice versa) without even having to think about it. Brilliant! 🙂
Burton M says
Your last two lessons have been outstanding explaining where all the notes come from and linking them with the chord shapes and the pent. scales. You make it seem so simple the way you explain it all, just have to make my fingers get there quicker. The price for your annual subscription is not much more than one private lesson, but I wouldn’t get as much information in ten private lessons as you give in one lesson. Keep them coming, it just is so easy to understand the way you teach it. Thanks, you are a very talented instructor with that special knack to explain things.
John V says
No Ice! Like they say down under…. Thank You Brian
Tim O says
Great lesson..really liked the scale mix licks and explanation and the 6th-9th shape bit. Hope you feel better.
Mike R says
Thanks for another simple lesson that teaches so much. This does remind me a little of EP215, which is another great lesson to help learn to improvise. Sorry your not feeling well, we all appreciate you putting so much into these lessons. Your turning me into a pretty good guitar player. Would love to hear you do another Soul type lesson along the lines of EP481. I also would like to see, if possible, the ability to regulate the speed of the jam tracks. Lots of these tunes sound great a little slower and sometimes a little faster. But I guess that is just personal preference. Get Well Soon!!
I love the sound of this one. Plus, I t’s a nice breather after last week’s barn burner of a lesson (which I’m still enjoying working on). My renewal is coming up soon and I’ve not once considering dropping off. Your lessons just get better and better.
Dick S says
Hey Brian, another great lesson and one that I need and can use more of in my playing. Appreciate all that you do to make us better.
Jeff H says
What a Cool lesson! Sounds Jazzy and Cool, love it. You do it every week Brian, we always get our money’s worth, and more. I love how it is easy to play, and has such a great feel. On a cold grey day in Melbourne, you just brightened up my day and inspired us all. Thanks Brian, and thanks for being so Genuine.
Phil B says
Another masterpiece! Get well soon.
Harry V says
I like this music it’s also jazzy
Thank you brian
Shashanka S says
Awesome insights, Brian! Thank you. Hope you feel better soon. Take care.
Malcolm D says
Great lesson much appreciated to all your hard work week in week out, just what we need to move forward.
Many thanks Brain and get well soon.
Raymond U says
Great lesson. As usual, your timing and expressional playing is exceptional. Love it and get well soon.
Thanks for this one Brian … it is helping reinforce the concepts from other lessons, and I appreciate the slower vibe of this one also. Cheers
Mike P says
Thanks for another great lesson and I’m grateful for a slower one after last week’s! This is a great vibe and blues is my first love. I’m excited that bits from each lesson are starting to stick now and be useful for jamming and general improvising. Get well soon Brian.
Don M says
Nice one Brian. Some very useful ideas.
Nacho S says
Get well soon!!!
Raymond T says
great lesson do you know any Rev Gary Davis blues
judah L says
great lessons, easy to follow best web site for visual learning as well. wow epic vinyl collection, what a geek..I Love it!
Daniel H says
Brian, I love your new “barnacle” metaphor of attaching licks to chords shapes! As a boater, it can’t get anymore visual. But the power of that concept has been HUGE for me. Metaphors used in teaching, especially when they are selective and not over-used, are such powerful memory devices. Thank you for another great lesson.
Darryl P says
Another great lesson, thanks.
Bob B says
Not quite sure why some of us are asking for slower jam tracks – click the ‘download the mp3’ link, then click on the 3-dots menu and select a lower % than 100.
Eckbert M says
So great Brian! Had no time the last month to practise a lot! Now I know what I missed! So nice melody! Thanks!
André Schrade says
Great lesson! Thanks a lot.
Keith S says
Very nice. After 2 years as Premium I can say all these information is starting to come together nicely finding it’s easier now to go thru each week. Starting to see the keyboard as a whole unit. I don’t save as many lessons as I used to finding it all comes back around and makes more sense the second time. Thx!
David R says
OMG I’ve been wanting to use more triads and this is perfect lesson and blues to boot!!! Hope you do one thats more uplifting and driving in the future! Learned a lot Thank you!!!
Brent N says
Hi Brian thanks again for another great lesson. By the way, I never see you playing a PRS.?
herby m says
fun piece to experiment ideas
Raymond P says
Another great lesson Brian. And as always thanks for sharing your knowledge and insights with us. Each week always adds more to my every growing knowledge how to understand and play the guitar.
Paul N says
Paul N says
I just realized – you were playing how you were feeling! Takes me a while …
Thanks for all that you do.
Is that a Gordon Smith strat that you are playing for this lesson? I really like it and believe it should be mandatory that you report to us any new equipment that you might have.
Not a complaint, mind you; just curious.
William B says
Sweet! And very sophisticated sounding. Nice to have alternates for the 6 and 9. Good to learn I can use Dom 7th as an alternative. Thank you.
John R says
Perfect lesson for where I’m at. It makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks for putting the pieces together!
David H says
Hi Brian, I would just like to say that I think all of your lessons are good! Thanks, Brian.
Max d says
You asked for a thumps up. … 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍
Max d says
PS. Best rest after a another very enjoyable lesson. no Covid!
William Y says
I don’t know how you managed to put together such an outstanding lesson when you were not feeling well !!
KIRK E says
If you can manage last weeks lesson, and then “feel” your way through this one…you got everything. I know nothing of music theory, BUT, this lesson on the heels of the last…no “cowinkidink” I’m sure. GOOD STUFF Hey just for fun, Listen to “Sample” of last weeks lesson, then immediately this week’s…maybe it’s just me.
Bill B says
Great video Brian, I like to learn and play old blues standards with acoustic guitar. I learn songs mainly from lead sheets, so these type of lessons give me ammunition to help fill in around blues melodies. Also, it seams, it’s easiest for me to find and reach the notes of a melody in the key of “A”.
Keep them coming and thanks!!
James A says
Another great lesson Brian, I do enjoy that mellow jazzy/blues sound.
Gerald M says
Ralph B says
At approx. 02:46 of the 2nd video, in Measure 14 Brian shows an alternate of playing the A7 triad, sliding into it from below on Frets 8/9. He does it the first time and the pitch increases as it should. But he then does it a 2nd time and it sounds like the pitch is lowering instead of increasing. Is he doing something different the 2nd time? Thanks for any help provided.
Jeff B says
Nice Lesson Brian. I especially liked the ending where you tie the arpeggio to the “T-Bone Walker chords”. BTW, I always focus on your cassette tape deck on your shelf which (if I’m not mistaken) is the last high-end Pioneer before the CD came out. I had the Pioneer 707 reel to reel to match. It’s a blast back to the 70’s to see it.
Barry H says
Nice one again Brian, soooo cool
Peter W says
Jim S says
Great lesson Brian! Love that jazzy blues style.
Rick C says
Thanks so much man! :)) It’s keeping the blues alive…!!
Not only just this tune… it’s sounds and how to get them 🙂
Walter A says
Great lesson Brian. Blues sound with a taste of Jazz…Nice
Gary W says
So many great takeaways here. All of the little bits being attached to the shapes is so valuable!
chris m says
I am baffled how D6 becomes a true D9 by sliding down two frets – though I do get where the ‘9’ note (E) appears two frets down. Specifically, if in the D6 shape:
With strings 1-4 represented L to R, we have:
D6: 10(D-1) 12 (B-6) 11(F#-3) 12(D-1) – i.e. the 1st, 3rd, and 6th of D major are represented.
D9: 8(C -7b) 10(A-5) 9(E-2) 8(C-7b) – i.e. the 5th, 7b, and 9th of D are represented, but no 1st or 3rd.
The move produced a musical-sounding result, but although the 2nd (9th) of D is represented, the only other note of D major present is the 5th. Kind of thin missing both root and 3rd…
it has a D9 sound though. It has 3 of the 5 notes of a 9 chord and gives enough color to give that 9 chord sound. You could even play the flat 7 and the 9 and that also would represent a 9 chord. Don’t overthink this stuff. If it sounds bad – don’t play it… but it if it works sonically, then use it.
alasdair L says
A most excellent lesson from a sick guy. I get most of it, tho 6th and 9th chords confuse me, but I do have difficulty moving from the licks to some of the chords, like the T-Bone ones at the end. More practice, I guess…
Peter H says
Great lesson, Brian! I have been subscribed to Active Melody for at least a year now and I’ve only been playing guitar for about 2-3 years but your lessons have taken me well beyond the beginner level. I have always loved how you break down the ideas behind what you’re playing and lead us through some of your thought processes while writing music. That’s what keeps me engaged and has helped me to improve my playing. Keep up the great work!
Brad S says
So sorry you are not feeling well. Thank you especially for this exceptional lesson while you are under the weather.
Your continuing admonition to focus on the ideas and where they come from rather than on learning the piece by rote may be finally beginning to sink in.
Louis G says
I love that smooth classic blues ! Thank’s Brian !
Robert G G says
Thanks for another prefect class for me. Still struggling to get out of my minor pentatonic box. I think you will like my May challenge submission.
Ruthann G says
Really good video. I get the sound of a 6 chord and 9 chord and I see how they are near one another. What I don’t get is what makes them a 6 or a 9 chord. That might be helpful going forward.
A thing I do that really helps is I print out the tab and then next to each chord name I write what shape it’s derived from. That’s helped me with fingering and with learning the neck.
Thank Brian. You do an outstanding job. I’m thankful I’ve found your lessons.
Stephanie S says
“Melt Your Face”. LOL. That’s a good description. I like that.
As a 79-year-old guy who has been playing guitar since the Pliocene Era, I was encouraged by the comments of some of my fellow old guys. I wish I could remember all of the cool licks I learned over the years. Maybe the Alzheimer germs ate ’em!
James M says
One of the very best lessons. Many thanks!
glen d says
ditto all the above comments. Thanks a million Brian.
Chris H says
Brilliant, Brian …. Don’t doubt yourself for a moment … you are one of the best internet instructors out there. Your instructional ideas and style are great … I have been playing a long time, and I never walk away from one of your lessons … even the most basic … without picking up something I haven’t seen or thought of before. You always help me see how things are connected. AND you’re a great player … I hope you get some session work, ‘cause you’ve got the chops. Keep up the good work, amigo … the world is a better place with your playing and instruction.
Charles W says
Totally Kool! Totally manageable even for luddites like me. And totally useful and transferable!! Yay! Another “I can do that!” video lesson!!!
Ed L says
Really a great lesson Brian! So many good ideas packed in there. Love the blues, constantly trying to expand my blues vocabulary.
Cliff Carbaugh says
I like it! Getting closer to the much desired “Melt-Your-Face” Blues! <3
Thanks Brian another great lesson
Jim H says
Brian, great lesson. You’ve covered this before, but I think you’ve finally broken through. You’ve taught me that a 6th slid down two frets is a nine, but finally I get that by adding the 6th note to a 1 cord, not only does it become a 1-6th, but it is also the 6th cord in the progression. Ex- Adding a 6th note to a C makes it a C6th cord, but it’s also the 6th cord in the progression…ie-an Am. That is just amazing. Nobody else talks about this stuff. Thanks!
Malcolm P says
Don’t feel insecure. You are inspirational.
Josef K says
This has been the most important lesson for me for months. It brings a lot of “logic” to the feeling. With this lesson I understand better what’s going on and what I am playing. So it is far more replicable. Thank you very much, Brain!
Skio C says
Very helpful, I was thinking about the changes would it be alright to not use chord pieces but instead use a small lick of the pentatonic scale over that chord? ie:
change to 4 chord use (Dmajor) pentatonic 5 chord pent. then back to the A major and minor licks and chord pieces.
David S says
Simple and to the point, great springboard to other things 😎👍😎
David B says
Great timing for a lesson like this! I just increased by guitar collection with a new Fender Telecaster, (well slightly used) and getting back into electric playing. This lesson was so spot on and timely as it helped me pull together a lot of the pieces from previous lessons and playing old blues licks. Brian thanks so much for drawing out and putting excitement back into my guitar playing. I’m in my mid 60’s and been playing since a teenager, but have incorporated more knowledge and skill into my playing in the last 3 years since being an Active member. It’s now so much more of a joy playing guitar in a large part to your lessons! Hope you’re feeling better and keep up with the good work and teaching style. Excellent.
Roy L says
Brian. So simple yet really great sounding laid back Jazzy sounding Blues. Loved it. More please. Hope you feeling better soon. Roy
Stephanie S says
Great lesson. You can never emphasize the theory part of it enough. AND reviewing it is necesssary.
Is there a way to show both the tabs and the note names at the same time when you’re walking through
all of these chords/licks. Having a classical musician background, I really think that’s what would make the
connection to the chords alot faster and understandable.
Perhaps have the tab and note names to each chord next to each other OR
even just have the chord structure with note names off to the side.
I say this because its just to much to think through “where am I on the fret board and what are the
names of all these notes?”. By the time I figure it out, you have moved on.
Let me know what you think. Thanks.
Again, great lesson. Good to have something a little different.
Feel Better Soon.
Mike H says
Very practical, useful, insightful and clearly presented lesson(s). Insecure is not a word that would ever come to mind
Mark M says
So C6 triad is the same as D9 triad?
Peter R says
Initially thought I would not like it because it is slow but once I started practicing I really started to appreciate all the hidden treasures that you put into this. Now it is one of the first things that will come out of my fingers when I grab a guitar. Thanks for this.
Alex P says
Love the blues Brian. It would be great if you could also add the tab for your compositions for the rhythm sections or bass lines. This way we can learn all aspects of the great work you do. By getting the rhythm right, I feel I can get the single lines down better and record into my looper
Paul W says
Paul W from NSW, Australia. Must be very satisfying to know that you are teaching around the world.
Love your teaching style. Appreciate the balance between theory and practical.
Chuck S says
Yet another great lay down there Brian. This lesson is very informative and really helps me see where stuff is coming from. Some of these concepts are actually staring to root ):
Bruce A says
I feel your lessons are custom made for my interests and level of musical knowledge and playing ability. I’m sure it takes a lot of time to prepare and produce your lessons and they’re much appreciated and I enjoy them a lot! You’ve inspired me to play more.
Another great lesson, Helps to consolidate so many take aways from previous lessons. I appreciate your teaching techniques and skills . Keep up the good work Brian and hope you feel better.
Another fantastic lesson, Brian. I really like to play blues, and you help me to sound better whenever I get the chance to play.
Harold V says
This was a great lesson. Although I took several lessons from you in which you talked about going from the sixth to the ninth chord but for some reason this lesson gave me an A Ha moment. I just realized for example when playing the four chord in the key of A or any Key (using the A Shape) you can also play the four chord by using the A shape on just the 7th fret D 9 or the or 5th fret D 6. I put this lesson on my Practice Daily list. Thanks for all your hard work. You are helping me become a better guitar player.
Lance R says
Bloody brilliant Brian. Thank you.
William M says
Would be helpful to hear it on an acoustic guitar, but I guess you’ve sold yours.
John H says
Hi from NZ Brian. Have really enjoyed this lesson. Such a lot of good stuff in it, and I love the way you elaborate on the theory/rationale for your progressions.
Please keep it up!
Joseph T says
Thank you as always, Maestro
Quick question, please in the third measure on the four and carrying over into the one of the fourth measure that looks like a G6 cord is that correct? And is it called something else? And what is the theory behind playing that chord?
So grateful for all you do, you’re having a big impact on my playing. Thank you again.
Paul C says
Michael Jordan has his flu game performance,
now Brian gives us EP 516. The cream always rises to the top!
Mike A says
Spot on for my level Brian, love these slow blues with the backing track but which could stand alone too. The explanation and theory is so helpful and a fairly enjoyable and painless way to learn it. I see I’m not the only kiwi member so you have a world wide audience. Thanks
Kevin L says
Great Lesson Brian, lots to digest and remember. I am still struggling with lesson EP 515 the Country Rock Blues licks attempting to get closer to the performance speed! Long way to go but getting there. Sorry to hear that you are under the weather. Hope that you feel better soon.
john l says
Hey, I’m a barnacle! Dig it !
Bill M says
Great lesson, but I can’t get part two or the slow walk thru to work.
Bill M says
Can’t get part two working