Blues Guitar Institute

Blues Turnaround with Contrary Motion

Blues Turnaround in E with Contrary Motion

blues guitar turnaround

Download the tab here.

This turnaround is a bit tough to get down, at least for me it was.  It was a challenge just to wrap my head around the bass line and the melody doing completely different movements.  I suppose this is second nature to a jazz or classical guitarist, but for me it wasn’t!

Spend some time with this one and get it under your fingers.  Musically, I think this is my absolute favorite turnaround.  So for me, investing in this one was completely worth it.

How to Play It

I guess you could play this on electric and you could play this with some sort of hybrid picking, but I go all acoustic and all fingers here.  This sweet little line seems to sing when I play it on acoustic.

Contrary Motion

The first bar in this turnaround uses contrary motion.  Which is really both the magic and the challenge of this piece.

Contrary Motion – The movement of musical parts in opposite directions. One ascending and the other descending.

The bass line walks up from the open E to the 4th fret, E string and then begins a strict chromatic ascent up to the B note on the A string.

The melody has a couple of things going on.  The high E string is plucked open and allowed to ring and creates a pedal tone in the higher register.  Then, the yin to the bass’ yang, the melody descends in a chromatic fashion from the 3rd fret, B string down to the open B.

The tricky part here is to use the right fingers on your fret hand.  Take a look at the fingering I use in the video to take a look at how I play this.

The 9’s

This turnaround finishes with a brief C9 chord that quickly steps back a fret to the B9.  You could use 7ths here for sure, but the closed feel of the 9th chords really finish this turnaround off nicely.

I hope you enjoy this turnaround as much as I do.  It’s a ton of fun to play and I find it often works best as the ending to a typical 12 bar blues in E.  If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section.

Good luck.


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