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Beyond Blues: "Chicken" Blues

Beyond Blues: "Chicken" Blues

This solo is a little more complicated, but still nothing you won’t be able to get down with a little bit of practice.

Measure 1 starts with an idea based on shape three that fits in the major pentatonic scale, though it’s very similar to a lot of the vocabulary we’ve looked at in this position. The second measure changes things up with a switch to the blues scale for a darker sound.

I bring in a new influence in measures 3 and 4, proving that going beyond blues doesn’t mean you need to be a jazz player, as this idea is clearly inspired by a Brent Mason country lick. The first half of the lick fits nicely around the Bb7 arpeggio you know and love, while the second part shifts up the neck to a Bb triad pattern that moves down to Ab and then resolves back to Bb.

For the Eb7 chord, we start with a cool little motif that gives us time to prepare for the second bar of Eb, which uses a string of 16th-notes and chromaticism before landing on the 5 (A) of D7. Over D7, we repeat the same motif used on Eb before moving to a very Clapton-like minor to major pentatonic phrase.

To contrast with the first solo, for the C7 chord I’ve decided to stick a little closer to the 7th tonality (rather than forcing the minor pentatonic), so notice how the phrase begins with a bend up to the b7 and then moves down to the 3. This idea is then developed in the tenth measure, where I add some chromatic passing tones before restating the original C7 idea, only this time we end on the bluesy b3.

I’ve ended with the same phrase from the first solo to illustrate how you can stitch these ideas together to spontaneously create new and exciting solos.

It’s worth mentioning that this is by no means a complete guide to soloing over this tune and there are numerous other ideas you can explore if you want to get real beyond. Try playing some Lydian dominant over the Eb7 and a bit of Mixolydian b6 over the D7 chord and see what you think of that. Just remember, this is still blues-based music, so don’t underestimate the power of a good blues lick.

Levi Clay
Levi Clay is a London-based guitar player, teacher, and transcriber. His unique approach to learning keeps him in constant demand from students the world over, and his expertise as a transcriber has introduced his work to a whole new audience. For more information, check out
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