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Blues Guitar Institute

Blues Turnaround – Stevie Ray Vaughan Style

SRV-Style Blues Turnaround on Acoustic Guitar

Download the tab here.

This turnaround gets its roots from the classic turnaround but has a little more flash and smacks of SRV.  And it should, this lick is very similar to one heard in Stevie’s tune, Pride and Joy.  A Texas blues classic.

Breakdown

There are two key moments in this turnaround:

  • The E7 triplets in the first bar
  • The quick (and very Stevie) slide back into the 2nd fret to setup the second bar

Triplets

The first bar is based on the E7 shape at the 3rd and 4th frets.  As you can see in the tab and the video, I leave off the 4th fret of the high E string.  Even though it is part of the true chord, we are just not going to play it in this lick.

You’re left with a two note ‘chord’.  Two notes aren’t enough for a chord, but what else could you call it??

Once you have the chord shape that we are working with, really practice getting the triplet feel down.  This being a fingerstyle lesson, you should really focus on plucking the low E, G and B strings at the same time for beat one of the triplet.  Then just the G and B strings for beat two and three of the triplet.

Quick Tip – It helps to count triplets like this:  one-trip-let    two-trip-let    three-trip-let    four-trip-let

So sit with your guitar and practice this triplet section until it becomes second nature.  When you start repeating the one-trip-let, two-trip-let mantra in your sleep, you’ve got it!

Slide

The other subtlety of this lick to me is the quick slide occurring at the end of the first bar of this turnaround.

The trick with this particular lick is that the slide from the 4th fret to the 2nd fret on the G string must be super quick and that it ends with a ghost note – the open G.

Ghost Note – a barely played note that is nearly inaudible.

Ghost notes are super cool.  Even though you can barely hear one, its there.  And it does add to the nuance of blues playing.  Someone like BB King can have several ghost notes in one line and it really helps to bring to life the louder notes.

Spend some time with the slide and the ghost note.

Check out my lesson on Slide Ins to give you a little more detail on how to get a solid slide technique down.

Electric or Acoustic

This turnaround lick works great on acoustic which is what I show in the video.  But being a SRV style lick, its obviously well-suited for electric players too.

The only modification I would make to retool this lick for electric would be to eliminate all but the first low E note in the first bar of this lick.  Oh yeah, if your going electric with this one, use a pick.  The attack and aggression you can get with your pick will really let this lick shine.

I hope you enjoy this one.  I use this all the time whether I’m playing electric or acoustic.

When you are ready, there are two ways I can help you:

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