Blues Turnaround in E with Contrary Motion
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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.
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.
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.