5 Simple Steps to Conquering Blues Solos on the Cigar Box Guitar

5 Simple Steps to Conquering Blues Solos on the Cigar Box Guitar
By Justin Johnson

When you are writing melodies or improvising a solo… what notes should you use?  While there is no one answer to this question that everyone would agree with, most people would agree that learning some basic scales can help players learn what notes sound “right” over a given chord or chord progression.  There are endless strategies to developing a connection between scales, music theory, and “good music,” but for now… lets just have some fun, keep things simple, and start with a simple Blues progression and some simple scales.  If you wrap your mind around this concept, you’ll be transcribing Charlie Parker solos forward & backwards in no time!

Most simple Blues progressions have just three chords.  A simple 12-Bar Blues progression in the key of G uses the chords G, C, & D.  For an introduction to a typical 12-Bar Blues progression, check out this video below ( http://youtu.be/_v4zKs1cklw ).  You could play the G Blues scale over all three chords in this progression, which will give you a great backbone for building your improvisational vocabulary off of… but sometimes you want your solos to sound a little more complex and not so repetitive.  Try this simple trick for figuring out which notes to add to the Blues Scale over which chord.

1) You can play the notes in the G Blues Scale over all chords in the progression

2) When you are soloing over a G Chord, add the notes from the G Major Pentatonic Scale.

3) When you are soloing over a C Chord, add the notes from the C Major Pentatonic Scale.

4) When you are soloing over a D Chord, add the notes from the D Major Pentatonic Scale.

5) If a note sounds wrong… bend it, add vibrato, and try to look really confident like you just did something really cool!


Learn the scales one at a time… get comfortable on one, practice it, get it under your fingers, and then learn to incorporate those notes into the Blues progression.  Once you do that, move on to the next scale.  The key to making solos look easy is to practice until they ARE easy!

Thanks for keeping the roots alive!  …and don’t forget to click the “FOLLOW” link on the right side of this page to get new lessons send straight to your email!
~Justin Johnson
VISIT STORE for CDs, DVDs, Books, & More!: www.RootsMusicSchool.com/store.html
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If you like this lesson, but would like more in-depth explanations and tutorials on Roots Music, Cigar Box Guitars,  Slide Guitar, and more…  Check out my Instructional Roots Music DVD Series.  Available at: www.RootsMusicSchool.com


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Posted on September 18, 2014, in cigar box guitar and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Where can I buy a good 3-4 string acoustic electric cigar box guitar like the one on the video rooster blues on the street? It’s brown and has some metal plate in the body thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is GREAT!!! Thank you so much for doing this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Solomon Catfish Walker

    You are growing this idea beautifully, guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. if it feels good keep doing it


  5. Thank you, Justin, that is wonderful! Very good Information! Cheers Tom


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