Hal Leonard recently sent me a new instructional book by Keith Wyatt called Blues Guitar Soloing and it is packed to the gills with great instruction to take you from the very basics of blues solos (the minor pentatonic scale), all the way to blues fusions solos, with tons of technique explanation, riffs and licks to practice on, and always a progressive style from least difficult to more difficult before branching off into fusion styles, gear, and what makes for good reference material music-wise.
The book is not written specifically for beginners, though beginners will benefit from it since it starts with basic scales. Instead, it’s written for any players that want to get into blues and it is recommended in the text that even if you are experienced with guitar and think you have a good grip on what the lessons are covering, to at least do some of the first ones to make sure you’re on the right path. This makes perfect sense to me since you’re not going to be a detriment to yourself if you go over what you already know.
Meanwhile, you are on the path desired by the author so the potential miscommunications will be mitigated.
Techniques covered in the book include:
- Essential skills
- Blue notes
- Shuffle phrasing – rhythm and blues
- Legato, picking, and dynamics
- Sliding, bending, and vibrato
- Blues melody – core and color
- Getting around the neck
- 12-bar blues
- Soloing strategies
- Flavor and textures
- Harmony and form
- Tempo – from ballad to boogie
- Blues fusion
- Blues sound
- Style and influences
There is substantial written instruction in the book so players – particularly new ones – can get a good grasp on technique before being unleashed on the practice licks. Those licks are written out in standard notation and TAB, and the book also includes access to audio examples that can be downloaded with the code provided in the book (no audio discs are included).
Where Hal Leonard has other books that focus on quick lessons of techniques and feature sparse instructional bits and a couple practice licks to complete lessons of random difficulty, there is definite merit to making a progressional book for students to work through from front to back and come out the other side with a solid grasp on blues that will only be expanded on with further playing and experimentation.
If anyone is looking to become better versed in blues, but also gain a better understanding of the fretboard, this may just be the book for you, and it retails for $24.99 so it’s still affordable too and, for the amount of education you get, that’s a really good price.
You can find this at your local music retailer or online HERE.