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from Jeff Scheetz's Blues Rock: Secret Sauce
Blues is a great learning ground for phrasing, mainly because there is more open space to develop our phrasing. Every time we play, we’re applying some sort of phrasing, whether we are thinking that way or not. This arrangement is designed to get us focused on phrasing and variations.
The third song in our series is “Phraseology” and the concept is, of course, phrasing. Any time we play music we are phrasing, but we want to make it sound more musical - not always coming in on the same beat every time. We will work on something called shifting sixteenths, which is a really cool thing to not only practice with, but also apply in real life. A good source for phrasing ideas is Robben Ford. Whether he is playing straight blues or jazz-fusion, he is a master of playing with style.
Our rhythm section is in Dm, so we will be using some distortion, and working with 7th chords as well as some minor 7ths to get the sound we’re looking for.
The solo is based on using the Dm, or Aeolian scale, and the Dm pentatonic, going back and forth between the two, paying attention to the concepts as they apply to phrasing. The solo starts out on the upbeat, sliding up on the fifth fret on the fifth string on the “and,” going to the third fret on the fourth string, then repeating. Next, go up to the fifth fret on the fourth string and bend that note a whole step, then play the fourth string, third fret. We then go to the fifth string, fifth fret and do a whole step pull-off, hammer-on to complete the riff.
The next two measures emphasize the use of double stops. This lick also starts on the “and” of the beat, sliding a single note up, then hitting the double stop. Single notes would work, but by using double-stops we are able to add a more nasty, textural sound. Also make sure to listen to the resolve of the final chromatic run.
Up to this point we have been playing the minor pentatonic. For the next part we will use the D Aeolian. The only difference between the pentatonic and Aeolian is the addition of the 2nd and the flat 6th; it’s just two notes, so don’t let it throw you. Measure five starts at the tenth fret on the B string, then uses hammer-ons and pull-offs to add movement. The sixth measure begins with a ghost bend on the G string at the seventh fret and a pull-off to the fifth fret on the same string. Since we are in the Dm barre chord position, follow this with a slide up to the B string, eighth fret from the sixth fret.
The next two measures feature a Dm pentatonic run that goes right down the scale, and uses the concept of shifting sixteenths. The first run ends with a quarter note on beat two, suggesting that the next run would begin on beat three. The idea of shifting sixteenths moves the start of the following run to the “e” of beat three, as in “one-e-and-a-two-e-and-a-three- e -and” as an example of using rhythm to create interesting phrasing with simple harmonic ideas. This theme continues until measure nine, where another ghost bend appears, and finishes up with some more double-stops.
Hopefully, this secret sauce has given you plenty of ideas to help get you out of your phrasing rut.
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