In this week’s guitar lesson, I’ll show you how to play a fun blues (with jazz influence) composition that requires no accompaniment. You can play this one by yourself and will learn how to play chord changes and how to connect licks back to basic chord shapes. These solo composition lessons are popular because they give you something that you can perform for others, to showcase your progression.
Part 1 - Free Guitar Lesson
Part 2 - For Premium Members
Video Tablature Breakdown
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Brian… What can I say man, every time Im in a little guitar slump, you put up a lesson that motivates me to get back at it. Thank you for another classic!
kathy b. l says
Brian Sherill, u talk too much! It is unnecessary! Play more, talk less! Please!
Nick P says
It depends what level you’re at Kathy… some people need a lot of explanation, others don’t. I don’t, but Brian talks so much sense I’m happy to listen through it for the gems that I find.
This is one more GREAT lesson Brian. Keep it up.
+1 on Brian’s method. I dig the explanations. If I want to go faster, I just go to the walk-through or the tabs. Great lessons and style.
Michael M says
Couldn’t agree more!
The ‘talking’ is the explanation of how and why things work on the guitar, in the context of the lesson. It is the actual teaching bit. The practice bit comes later on my own, helped by the full understanding of what Brian has explained so clearly., and the ‘tools’ provided on the website. One of the main reason I subscribe to this site, is the clear and easily understandable explanations that I can take away and incorporate into my own playing.
Having said this, and perhaps stated the obvious, everybody learns in a different way and at a different rate, so I can perhaps understand ( kathy b.I says) frustration, but could never agree with her sentiment that ‘you talk too much’ Keep up the great teaching Brian, I’m learning so much.
Rob S says
Well said Subm. Keep up the good work Brian.
then just go to the tab,, these lessons are for all many different levels of players
Robin S says
Maurice G says
Brian – I love listening to the explanations. But let’s face it: you don’t need to explain where every note comes from, or what scales are in play in [every] video. Some of that could be reduced. After all, we are here to watch you play — not get a theory lesson. I think Kathy might mean ‘addition by subtraction’. Instead of walking us thru an explanation of the theory, just play it again. I doubt that the kids who need the theory have the patience to absorb it. For the rest of us, we get it. Kathy–does that help? (–: cheers, everyone!
Murray K says
Part of what Brian does is called general marketing and there’s the value add of educating his members. Your issue Kathy is one of a minority. These lessons are short and sweet and the explanations are purposeful to provide some fundamental understanding of both the technical and theory of his lesson.
My take is hey Brian keep up the good work …
William A says
If he moves too slow for you, just fast forward. His pace is excellent.
What’s your problem? He does it right for those who are less advanced, just skip it.
Scott S says
I am a relative beginner, I need the explanations, sorry Kathy. Fast forward is a great new technological advancement 😉
Cheers Kathy and happy picking!
Mike S says
Kathy – What r u talking about? Brian starts off playing the first part of the lesson and then explains it. He doesn’t talk too much. Your comment is unnecessary.
Michael M says
I disagree. And so does just about everyone else on here, so…you’re WAY outnumbered! Oh, and…you can always mute the sound, and then just guess what Brian is trying to TEACH us!
Brian, tasty as always. Is there a way that I can resize the onscreen tab viewer to fullscreen. It’s now very small on my ipad. Can only see a few measures. Best, anne
dan l says
Hi Anne, Look for the Gear icon at the bottom right. Click on it, then look for the ‘Full Screen’ button, just above the word “Recordings”. That ought to do it!
Scott S says
Unbelievably tasty. Delicious really. This is the kind of thing I’ve been looking for for 20 years, these no accompaniment tasty jams. And you sir, are the master. THANK YOU!
Michael H. says
Dang, another one for the “favorites” pile. Good thing I’m retired now.
Nice job Brian.
Michael Allen says
Thanks Brian for another great lesson. Beautiful Les Paul!
These are my favorite!
I really am going to enjoy this..as always great lessons!
Brian what a tasty start got 2018. Yet another lesson I absolutely wamt to master.
Robert J says
cool stuff. reminds me bit of Cream. thanks!
Nice lesson. Love the new Les Paul (what year is it ?). I noticed you shifting it about on your lap a lot during the video. Is it bottom heavy like one of mine or is it just a natural twitch?
Will have to start on it tomorrow!
Hey Andrew, it’s a 2010 – very bottom heavy 🙂 I should have used a strap
That’s really interesting. My 2003 always tries to slide off my lap but the 2015 and my two Epiphones balance beautifully. Maybe our difficult ones aren’t chambered? The strap in the answer,
Another great one! I can’t wait to start on this. I really like the not-overdriven Les Paul sound here.
There’s an error in bar eleven. The C played thru the side. Eliminate the C.
Actually make that bar 12
Really hear Robbin Ford in the second half,,at least that is the only artist I know that mixes the blues and jazz chords.. really fun lesson and very a cool ! Les Paul sounds great too!
good ear 😉
Lefteris B says
These are my favorite lesson compositions (blues with a little bit of jazz). Again we have a very nice composition and very helpful, too. I admit I ‘ve made a lot of progress with your lessons, Brian and I am very thankful for that. But you have to admit that you have made a lot of progress as a teacher, too. And the site as a whole also. So nice. I’ m very proud to be one of your students. Keep the nice work!
Thank you – yes it seems we’re all progressing here 🙂
Yes, I watched a guy on Guitar World the other day who was very pleasant but his teaching was so complicated I wouldn’t be able to watch him or learn. Maybe, he was only preaching to the advanced player but it goes to show just how good your method is!
Yes you can definitely see how Brain has vastly improved on delivering a lesson in all aspects when you you compare to those early videos .
San Luis Rey says
This is going right into my favorites! I know the major scale is supposed to be happy but last week was a struggle. This is the perfect remedy. Thanks Brian!
Very good lesson, theres no any chance not to recognize Robben Ford anywhere he is. I suspect that I’m not so advanced player to get this lesson this year. Maybe next.
Can’t wait anybody post it in “Showcase” soon!
Hello Brian. Please explain in more detail the comment you made at time 4:04 in Part 1. You said something to the effect that you only played the G note on the first string which is part of the 4 chord; you cited the reason as since there were no other accompanist in this piece you did not need to play the chord. OK, would you elaborate on this a little either on this site or an email? Thanks as always. Rip
Wow! These lessons are the best
This may be Brian’s finest piece thus far and I’d definitely rate it his best electric piece (right next to his Robben Ford style funk rhythm……Brian has indeed a knack for Robben!!) as it’s just pure guitar! Think about it…….electric guitar usually compliments a tune and this ditty shows us how to showcase our playing with emphasis on touch and feel and even emotion! So bravo, Brian!! It’s pretty evident that providing now more than 5 years of steady lessons to the world has certainly benefitted in your own playing which also shows us that steady work and concentration plus joy of practicing does certainly pay off!! This new Les Paul is a definite keeper!! Jim C.
These are the kind of lessons I like the most! Love that Les Paul of yours Paul! An affordable Gibson LP is still on my wishlist!
Tillman W says
Bryan what kind of app are you playing
nice to see the 4 fret stretch E9 and the diminished 7th higher string shape coming back in to play , i am starting to get my head around it . This piece is quite challenging but i got it to an acceptable standard .
Another one for the ages.
Philippe G says
Thanks a lot Brian, each lesson is a great motivation to take the guitar and learn . I’m french , even if I understand your language, i just disvcovered that you put subtitles in the lesson, thank you for that, now even if you speak too quickly sometimes (LOL) i ‘ll read you !!!!
Ian R says
HI Brian love the new lesson thank ,just wondering if the tab is little off in places?
Not that I know of. I try to be as accurate as possible. Occasionally i’ll miss marking a hammer on or pull off here or there
Ian R says
Your quite right, it was me not paying enough attention (sometimes I’m just to keen to get to the end :))
I think your explanations are excellent and helpful..I wouldn’t change a thing in your teaching methods..it helps to know where all these things are coming from so we can use them in other settings-
the slow walk through should be good for those who object to the explanations- I use it alot after going thru the lesson
I still struggle mightily with the hybrid picking. I usually use my self taught finger picking method with a lesson like this and it sounds awesome.
Brian, started on Friday, and now am playing this from memory and enjoying this one as much as any lesson to date. I just about have this one nailed, and I know that when I start to feel like I’m playing with it instead of just playing. It combines so many of elements that we’ve worked on for the past 18+ mos (finger-style/hybrid picking, diminished scales/chords, jazz/extended chords etc. etc.) I’m enjoying it most playing on my Martin, with an acoustic amp, a little chorus and reverb and boy, does it sound great!! Nice work and congrats on this piece. Keep up the great work Brian.
Tony G says
Thanks Brian -just great. Tony. UK
André Schrade says
Please don’t change the way you talk to us – I find it helpful.
Another great lessons, thanks (from Switzerland)!
Dear Brian, I follow your lessons almost from the beginning and I can assure you, you are simply the best ! Thanks for all those years. Dirk from Belgium.
Griffin F says
Just curious how well your Les Paul stays in tune. I just recently got one, I find myself tuning a lot more than I usually do. I’ve heard lots of talk about Gibson and their ability to keep in tune. any tips or tricks would be helpful! Really enjoying this lesson!!!!
I haven’t had any issues with it. I know the G string will typically go out of tune – there are some workarounds for that including filing the nut and there’s even a device you can buy which reroutes the strings making them stay in tune better – can’t remember the name of it though!
The string Butler is what I supect you mean. There are some posts about it in the forum. All good as I recall. My Strat stays in tune day after day.
This lesson is just fantastic Brian.
So many comments I agree with (most imortantly included those which give support to your teaching method …), I just wanted to say that this is an absolutely beautiful composition!
Just wanted to add my thumbs up on this lesson. Your format is outstanding. I look forward each week for your new lesson. Im glad Im retired and can put the hours in. So much music. so little time.
Michael G says
Love the out of the box licks! And the fact that they still fit perfectly within the blues framework.
I came back to Active Melody after a over a year of trying other lessons. Ultimately, I learned that I was learning to play guitar from Brian and not just learning a song. I don’t learn super easy, definitely don’t pick up things on the first or second go around ever, and I like that Brian constantly says why he is doing what he’s doing. It’s take many times for it to finally click with some of us, especially those of us who don’t spend hours every day on our guitars. So lease don’t ever change a thing Brian. For those so advanced that they don’t want or need to hear why you played a certain way, they can watch the play only video with no talking.
I started with an acoustic and love your acoustic lessons. But I must say that I now like your electric lessons even more. I need to get an effects pedal or some individual stomp boxes cause my amp (Princeton Reverb Reissue) doesn’t break up at lower volumes so I tend to gravitate to the more clean tone stuff. I’m thinking of getting a boss me 80 or something along those lines cause I want something easy and that I don’t have to buy a ton of different pedals.
Anyhow, keep up the good work Brian. You inspire me to play my guitars and get better.
Gary Boats'Blues. says
Brian, There is years of playing experience in that lesson and I am grateful to you for teaching this one and all the lessons that you teaching us. I won’t get all of this under my fingers this year and that’s ok because there are so many takeaways in this one that it is teaching me riffs that I have always wanted to learn. Thanks you very much for your hard work,
Mathew F says
Hi Brian: Will be 77 in May and still learn something new every day thanks to you. KEEP IT UP! thnx. Mathew
Peter B says
This is a great lesson Brian! It has taken me until now to get it all sounding something like but I just love that feeling of being able to play tunes that seemed daunting in the beginning. I’m learning all the time thank you.
wayne l says
I always learn something new from your lessons and compositions. Many times it is a certain feel or style and I will think “so that’s how it’s done!”
Thanks for all you do.
The first half of this piece goes nicely on my acoustic, and can then be combined with aspects of other major blues in E such as EP214 to make a really nice composition.
Doug Harrison says
Hey Brian, This is a perfect example of one of those pieces you can play when someone says “show me what you can do”. And don’t pay any attention to the guys that say there’s too much dialogue. They either don’t want to know theory (a mistake), or not capable of fast forwarding and pausing. Great work man!
Billy R says
UGH… this one is tough! I’m terrible with this harmonizing concept. Sounds SO cool, but so hard for me to grasp.
Jeff B says
I dont know what is wrong but the videos are all staticy and jump or skip every few beats.
Try clearing your browser cache and restarting your browser – otherwise, you might try a different browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, etc)
Jeff B says
Oh and not just this video its all of them.
Ronald W says
Brian, You are the man! With your patience (and the internet) I have a chance to be interested enough to spend alot of time thrashing around because it’s very difficult for me to comprehend this here guitar stuff. With your help I have acquired 2-upgraded guitars (thinking maybe that’s the problem) and it helped alot because of the easier action and sort of the psychology of playing the guitars instead of procrastinating and they just stay on the rack. You do wonders for the whole guitar and music interest all over the www. Thanks so much
Alexandre F says
This is one of the best songs in the key of E ever… and it was so great to start with my new guitar a epiphone les paul custom pro… so now I can understand the importance of a D flat neck and vintage pick ups altogether which creates a beautifull sound so easy to play with…This way I´m living a modern classic for sure THANKS a lot indeed
Mike S says
Great lesson as usual Brian. But your blues are always, or almost always, in the key of E. Please give us blues in other keys, not just E.
David L says
Fantastic composition! I love the mix of blues and jazz runs and I’m addicted to that arpeggio lick in the second “verse”. It adds such a novel surprise into the standard blues runs.
I gravitate towards the more jazz blues tunes so I love the search function that gets me all kinds of compositions from the years.
Really glad I joined and really improving my playing since I did. Thanks Brian!
Jennifer Ruby says
Thanks Brian. I really love your tab viewer and the fact that the speed can be altered. I appreciate all the work you put into your teaching!
Theodore J says
What an excellent composition Brian…..Love it.