December 11, 2023

Blues Fundamentals

After finding an online video teaching the two-fret (whole tone) string bend as a fundamental blues lick, there has been a certain degree of disagreement around the office as to whether this simple bend can constitute a blues fundamental.

Does the simple two fret, tone long string bend qualify as a lick? Well I think it does and Dave thinks that it can`t.
So, we`ve grabbed an acoustic and tested the hypothesis.

How can something as simple as this elicit so much passionate debate?

Well, it`s all about emotion, passion and technique. A simple string bend is, although fundamental to guitar playing, nothing, without emotion. This emotion comes from experience. Some people claim to move the molecules rather than the strings and at the end of the day the TRUTH about guitar playing is that it`s in your hands… in every sense.

For me the ultimate blues lick would probably have to consist of only one note and some might say that maybe no-one has played it yet. On Texas Cannonball Freddie King’s “Pack It Up”, and “Shake Your Booty Baby” King takes this simple single bend technique and pushes it to its emotional maximum. The Album Freddie King 1934-1976 proves just exactly what a master guitarist can do with timing & expression and exactly why  Eric Clapton has always considered Freddie the true master of Blues Guitar.  Both Eric and Freddie get together on this album on “Further on up the Road” and this track is worth the price of the album alone.

If you wanna hear blues playing that just really, really cooks like a blister burning on the surface of the sun this album is the real deal. If you play the guitar and you`d like to develop the kind of passion and string control that will take you somewhere then this is one of the top ten albums in your list of must haves. King squeezes each note like a lemon from start to finish on this record and the result is pure blues lemonade of the highest order.

The instrumental “Hideaway”, Clapton`s tour de force with Mayalls Bluesbreakers  Beano Album is actually Freddie King`s track and you can hear more of the three King`s and Buddy Guy’s, wonderful influence on Clapton`s phenomenal Just One Night Album.

The ultimate blues lick consists of just one note, your hands and ensuring you`re on fire every time you play.

So Drink petrol.


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