Let’s start out by warming up with our 6/8 rhythm, playing the E7 and A7 changes that we learned last time. Set your metronome at 90bpm, and play them for a couple of minutes.
Ok, that should be sounding good, with accurate timing. But how are wew going to make it "feel" great? Two words: rhythm and velocity.
That’s right, rhythm gives us great feel, and the more skill we have in articulating rhythm, the better our feel will be. We will be able to add great emotion and dynamics to our playing through rhythm and velocity. So, this time I want to take a deeper look at our strumming pattern for this blues riff as well as add an extra strum here and there to drive it along more steadily.
This time we’re going to add an extra strum on every 3rd beat. You’ll remember that last time we were playing this...
E7 E7 E7 A7 G7
D D D D U
E7 E7 E7 A7 G7 E7 E7 E7 A7 G7
Well, now we’re going to play it like this…
E7 E7 E7 E7 E7 E7 A7 G7
D U D U D U D U
Mp3. Example goes here.
Remember that the red letters below denote the strumming motion. Let's try practicing this rhythm at 120 bpm for 5 minutes. Change between E7 & A7 regularly. Well done! Sounding cooooool!
Now that you can do that, lets loosen our wrists a bit by shaking them out because for this next rhythm you need to have a loose strumming wrist. Stretch your fingers too.
This time we’re going to add an extra strum to the previous rhythm… halfway between the 2nd and 3rd beats and halfway between the 5th and 6th beats too. In the diagram below it’s marked as an x. Those marked as an x should be played quieter (at a lower velocity), than the other notes, and the fretting hand should be releasing pressure and just resting on the strings to mute the notes on those strums. This is how this version of our rhythm pattern looks.
E7 x E7 E7 x E7 E7 x E7 A7 x G7
D u D D u D D u D D u D
Note that the strumming pattern has also changed. All the muted (x) strums are played on the up strokes, and everything else is on a down stroke. Again, practice changing between the E7 and A7 riffs using this rhythm, at 90 bpm, for about 5 minutes.
Excellent! Do you hear and feel how much better that sounds? So, our last mission today is to learn the B7 chord and to incorporate it into our E7 Blues progression.
The B7 chord is a bit of a tricky one, but there is an easy way to remember it. First of all I must point out that shape wise, it looks almost the same as a D7, it just uses one extra finger, that’s all. So begin by placing your “D7” shape (which is like a triangle), on the second fret of the A string and tucking your fourth finger on the second fret of the thinnest E string. It should look like this:
Excellent, now all we need to do is put this chord into practice. So now our 6/8 blues progression will go like this.
4 bars of E7
2 Bars of A
2 Bars of E7
1 Bar of B7
1 Bar of A7
1 Bar of E7
1 Bar of B7
For your homework this time, practice the whole chord progression at 90bpm in 6/8 time and gradually increase the tempo every 2 minutes, again in increments of 5bpm, until you reach 120 bpm. Keep up the good work!