“If you want to get a visceral reaction from an audience, the bottom line is that you have to make your guitar sing”: Blues playing getting stale? Incorporating ideas from jazz guitarists will take your solos to the next level

Josh Smith
(Image credit: Future)

Early on in my playing career, I was drawn to the ideas of jazz guitarists as a way of spicing up my blues playing and finding my own voice. In my last lesson, we looked briefly at the idea of implying chord changes in a three-chord blues. In essence, this is the idea that we can play melodic phrases that spell out additional chords that could be used to enrich the harmony, even though they’re not written on the lead sheet. This time, we’ll expand on that idea.

It’s common to play every chord in a blues as a dominant chord (7th, 9th, etc), and something I like to do, to introduce more interesting sounds into my solos, is to view each of the three chords as a V chord. I’ll demonstrate this idea in the examples that follow, but here’s the theory behind this idea.

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