If you're playing in a blues trio, you have an awful lot of freedom with your guitar parts – here's how to make the most of being the only guitar player in the band

John Mayer performs with Pino Palladino as part of the John Mayer Trio at the Jazz Foundation of America's 15th Annual 'A Great Night in Harlem' Gala Concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City on October 27, 2016.
(Image credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images)

Whatever we’re playing or soloing on, it’s always essential to keep the basic chord harmony in mind. However, in a trio format of drums, bass and guitar this is especially important because there is nowhere to hide. I’m specifically thinking of John Mayer, Hendrix and SRV here.

The trio format gives you an awful lot of freedom to play around with different ideas, such as switching between major and minor, superimposing different triads over whatever chord the bass is implying (more on this in a moment), or leading the way with dynamics in terms of volume or rhythmic complexity. 

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Richard Barrett

As well as a longtime contributor to Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, Richard is Tony Hadley’s longstanding guitarist, and has worked with everyone from Roger Daltrey to Ronan Keating.