Swing Guitar

Dedicated to pre-bebop jazz guitar.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bb Blues - simple and variations

Here's the first in a series of lessons on classic rhythm guitar songs and patterns. We'll start at the beginning and go over a Bb Blues.

Simple Blues
First is a simple pattern with no frills. It works well for playing fast, and as a good starting point for the beginning swing guitarist. All of these voicings are classic and can be found in Charleton Johnston's Swing and Big Band Rhythm Guitar. And this time, I've included some sound samples - because the ones in the Johnston book are terrible.

Bb Blues - simple - pdf
Bb Blues - simple - mp3

Blues Variations
Here is much more complicated chorus. Bear in mind that I crammed as many moves into this one as I could. You probably wouldn't bother to play all of these moves all the time, but you can use any of these moves to spice up a regular chorus.

Bb Blues - variations - pdf
Bb Blues - variations - mp3

Bar 1-2: Rather than play a simple I-IV-I, we put a I7 into the IV, and then a #IVdim leading back to the I.
Bar 4: This is another classic voice leading move that I learned from John Reynolds. I often also play this move two beats per chord over two bars.
Bar 5-6: This is a little more unusual move that I came up with looking for some kind of descending voice leading move.
Bar 7-8-9-10: The C#dim into the Cm7 is another classic chromatic movement. You can use the dim for beat or two or whole bar before moving to the ii7 chord.
Bar 11-12: Just a classic turnaround. You will use this everywhere.

*** Sound Clip Notes: I just got a M-audio Fast Track USB, which is a handy and simple audio interface, so I can finally record decent sounding sound samples. I used my RODE NT-3 for both. The simple changes were recorded with my Eastman 810CE (now strung with flatwounds - I can still hardly bring myself to say it) and the variations were played on my Eastman 805. Both were using the new Wegen 7mm.


  • At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Quick question/comment on "Bb Blues - variations":

    In measure 11, beats 3 and 4, the chord is labeled Bdim, not G. Is this correct?

    Absolutely brilliant blog!

  • At 6:26 AM, Blogger Jonathan Stout said…

    Good eye! The G on the 5th fret D string should actually be a G# at the 6th fret. Bdim was the intended chord.

    However, a G/B chord (which is what the notes are spelling) is valid as well. I-VI-ii-V is a common turn-around, although Gm7 is probably more common.

    At some point I'll fix the pdf.

  • At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was at the GW Williams,Rock & Blues & JAZZ guitar concert last night in Seattle I couldn't believe what GW Williams did, neither could 102,000 other people his jazzy blues style mixed with Rock on guitar and singing opened a whole new world of music,maybe a new style was born last night.Rock,Blues,Jazz Guitarist GW Williams Gets 45 minute Standing Ovation IN Seattle Concert


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