How to use chromatics in a blues guitar solo

Jimmy Page
(Image credit: Watal Asanuma/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

There is an old musician’s adage that says when improvising, you’re only ever a semitone away from the ‘right note’. While this is perfectly true, it doesn’t always feel that way when we get into difficulties. 

At one time or another, we’ve all found ourselves using a less than optimum blues scale shape or phrase over a tricky chord progression! There’s no substitute for preparation, but we can minimise such problems by getting more familiar with those ‘in-between’ notes and access more options, not just from the blues scale shapes but any favourite licks or patterns. 

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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.