Blues Guitar Institute

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First Four Bars of an Open G Slide Tune

Lesson ID: TB053

There’s just something about playing slide that screams blues. Sure you hear slide in different types of music from country to pop, but to my ears, nothing embodies the blues like a sweet slide lick.

In this lesson, we’ll continue our study of a 12 bar blues piece in open g tuning by fleshing out the first four bars.  We’ll work on taking the lick that we covered back in Tuesday Blues Lesson #51 and adding a little flash to it.

Small Changes for Big Results

The lick in bar 1 isn’t vastly different from the lick in lesson #51, but it’s oh so bluesy.  When you’re getting this ‘new and improved’ lick down, keep in mind that just a small tweak to the lick made it really shine.

Incidentally, how can something be both new and improved? That always bugged me.  Anyway, back to the blues!

Call and Response

I talk about call and response in blues a lot and that’s because it is one of those core elements of the blues.  The call in this four bar sequence is setup by the lick at the end of bar 1.  The answer happens at the end of bar 2.

When you cut out the shuffle rhythm and simply play the two licks back to back like I do in the video, you will really get a sense of how these two licks form a complete musical idea.  After hearing the response, your ear should scream “there’s something missing!”

Yep.  That’s the response.


Another fundamental technique used heavily in blues is the use of chromatics.  Chromatic movement in music is simply moving up or down by a half-step (remember: a half step in music is one fret on the guitar).

This chromatic movement can be heard in bar 4 and it really sets us up nicely for bar 5 where we move into the IV chord which is the next step in the 12 bar blues progression.

Go A Little Deeper

If you’d like to get deeper into the structure of 12 bar blues or what the heck the IV chord means, check out BGI’s course on getting started with 12 bar blues.  You can find that here:

How to Get Started Playing the Blues

Best of luck to you as you work your way through these first few bars and I hope you join me in upcoming lessons as tackle the remaining bars.

Play On!

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

Back Porch Blues Course:  A proven system to fingerpicking the blues.  This step-by-step course guides you through building fundamental fingerpicking skills.  Plus, you’ll learn three levels of a delta blues style performance study to put your new skills into action.

Become a myBGI Member: Membership comes with access to Back Porch Blues plus over 70 step-by-step courses.  Get proven results with one of myBGI’s structured Roadmaps.

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