How to make the most of open strings in blues guitar solos

Muddy Waters at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, Illinois, March 3, 1979.
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

In this lesson, I’m exploring soloing approaches to the Muddy Waters blues classic, Rollin’ Stone. The song is played in the key of E, and, true to the style of acoustic Delta blues, as well as electric Chicago blues, many licks are played within the first few frets and incorporate open strings.

Ample evidence of this is heard in the acoustic playing of Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and Lightning Hopkins, as well as the electric playing of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, Magic Sam and many others.

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Andy Aledort

Guitar World Associate Editor Andy Aledort is recognized worldwide for his vast contributions to guitar instruction, via his many best-selling instructional DVDs, transcription books and online lessons. Andy is a regular contributor to Guitar World and Truefire, and has toured with Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, as well as participating in several Jimi Hendrix Tribute Tours.