A blog by John W. Tuggle about online video slide and blues guitar lessons. If you want a mix of tech reviews and great tutorials on licks and overall technique, this blog is the place to visit. Concise video lessons and no-nonsense approach to gear is what these guys are all about.
When you become a member, you’ll have the ability to get direct video feedback from me. You will just need to post an audio or video in the Forum section, then I’ll post a video giving you some pointers as I listen or watch your performance.
You can also post your performance in the new Private Coaching area if you only want the comments to be between you and me. Some may not want other members in the forum watching their performance and seeing the feedback I give for various reasons so this eliminates that problem.
Having this kind of feedback is invaluable I think and really gets you closer to the private lesson experience.
With all the new technology out there I’m able to record these videos and post them almost instantly which means it won’t take any editing and the long post-production process that goes into my Courses and Lessons.
After listening to music for so many years, there is one thing I have realized when it comes down to feeling the emotion from a guitar performance.
Almost every time, the most passionate blues solos that make the hair on the back of my neck stand up are the ones that imitate the quality of the human voice.
If you really want to take your blues or slide guitar playing to the next level, then learning how to play with the feel and emotion of a singer is where you need to look to.
So how do you start playing vocal-like blues guitar that makes your audience stand up and listen?
I believe it first starts by listening to classic vocal melodies that really stand out from the pack.
No, I don’t mean Beyonce’s XO. She has a great voice no doubt and you can probably find some really cool licks in there, but this is a blues guitar site so first start with the Masters. This is where Beyonce learned her style from. Have you seen Cadillac Records?
You might think that learning these simple vocal patterns will not help you to play better blues solos, but YOU are wrong. All those speed licks you are playing WILL NOT mean a thing if you can’t communicate a melody to a listener.
FACT – The average listener will not be impressed by your blazing speed unless you have unbelievable chops. And even then once they’ve seen it, then it’s not very impressive anymore. Maybe kinda like a circus act.
The fastest licks in the world won’t mean a thing unless they are setup properly and executed in a manner which sounds great in the context of the song and has some memorable parts.
Why do most people love certain songs?
The lyrics, and the melody of the chorus.
Sure there are those who just love only the guitar in songs, but this is not the majority of listeners, and if you think this is the case then you are kidding yourself.
Even then, just take a look at the Allman Brothers. Why are they so popular? One of the main reasons is that they have GREAT SONGS with GREAT MELODIES!!
Most people want to hear a great chorus and a melody that they can remember. You should use this idea to your advantage with your guitar playing.
If you want your playing to be heard and enjoyed by the majority of people out there, wouldn’t you want to add this element to your playing? I can’t think of one reason why you wouldn’t.
Listen to any great guitar player, and you’ll hear lots of melody in their playing. They all have excellent rhythm, phrasing, and melodies within their chaotic solos.
and many other famous guitar players play vocal-like guitar licks as solos and guitar parts and have a very large following because of it.
Now back to the “How”.
To start playing vocal-like guitar licks, you need to start listening to the greatest vocal melodies of all time.
For me, this would be the melodies of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Beethoven, Ben E. King, Chopin, and Ray Charles are a few to get you started. But there are so many amazing vocalists that it’s impossible to list them all here.
More than 10 years ago I sat down with, “When A Man Loves A Woman” and learned all the main melodies using Open E Tuning Slide Guitar. I, later on, would learn many more and I believe this really shaped my slide guitar style.
By learning the vocal melodies of legendary vocalists, you will learn to think in a completely different way.
Singers naturally phrase different than guitar players, and their vocals make for some very tasty guitar licks.
Singers have to breathe in between phrases. Utilize this element in your playing. I’ve heard many a guitar solo where if the guitar were actually a singer, then they would be dead from suffocation.
I urge you not to miss out on these awesome guitar licks that are waiting to be unlocked! This technique WILL set you apart from your average guitar player and you don’t want to be average, do you?
Make a commitment today to learn at least one vocal melody a week, and in the next year, you will have 52 melodies that shaped the world of music at your fingertips! This is powerful stuff that WILL make you stand out from the pack.
Eric Clapton is not only one of my favorite guitarists, but he has also been a big influence on the way I approach my guitar tone.
Through the years he has created a number of amazing sounds coming from his guitar.
Most guitarists usually have only one sound for most of their career, but Clapton has created many unique sounds during his lifetime, and has pretty much set the standard for blues rock tone through the decades. I’m not sure if there has been another guitarist who has influenced blues rock guitar tone in so many different ways.
Here are the defining Era’s of Eric’s tone in my opinion.
This era from 1965-1966, Eric played a Gibson Les Paul through a 1962 Marshall combo. This setup resulted in a buttery, thick and saturated tone that many think was one of his best tones ever. You can hear the tubes overdriving on these classic recordings. Listen to this tone below.
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton - Steppin' Out - YouTube
Eric mainly used a Gibson Sg, a Gibson 335, and 100 watt Marshalls during this time period. In this era Eric developed the classic “Woman Tone”, and created some of the most classic blues rock tones to date. Just listen to the tone on “Strange Brew” or “Spoonful”. Great sustain and thickness.
Cream Spoonful part1 - YouTube
Derek and the Dominos Era
During this time period, Eric moved to a maple neck Fender Stratocaster (“Brownie”). It was during this era that Eric recorded the classic rock album Layla with Duane Allman. I believe he was using a Fender Champ amp when recording his guitar parts. I heard Duane Allman comment when asked how a listener could figure out who was playing what part on the album. (Duane or Eric) He said, “It’s easy. I play the Gibson, Eric plays the Fender.”
Have you ever loved a woman - Derek and the Dominos - YouTube
Now is when Eric really starts to change his tone. Before, he never used effects other than a wah to my ears and just cranked the amp. He was now using the infamous “Blackie” guitar as his main axe with Marshall 800 series heads. The “Journeyman” album to me depicted what his tone was like during this time period as well as his “Behind the Sun” album. A lot more gain, delay and reverb sometimes, and a very “dialed in” tone to me. I really like the tone though, but on certain songs I could hear some chorus, which I’m not a big fan of. His version of “After Midnight” has some killer tone on it.
Eric Clapton - "Forever Man" [Official Music Video] - YouTube
To me, this period saw a resurrection of Clapton going back to basics. The tones he captured during this era are really amazing. Two albums define his tone in my mind during this time period. “24 Nights” and “From the Cradle”. These two albums were the guitar bible for me when I was learning how to play in the early nineties. I wore out both of these albums by practicing along just trying to get some of those licks down. At the time it seemed impossible. But I kept trying through the years.
Eric was mainly using “Blackie” during “24 Nights”, but during the recording of “From the Cradle”, Eric played all kind of different guitars, and we saw a return of the Gibson’s to his arsenal. Eric was mainly using a Soldano Slo-100 amp head giving him a very saturated blues tone. I really wanted this amp in the nineties but I couldn’t come close to affording this beast. Warren Haynes was using this amp as well in the nineties.
Worried Life Blues - Eric Clapton @ 24 nights, 1990 - YouTube
In additon to the SLO Clapton was also using Fender Tweed Twins which also have an amazing tone as well I think.
Eric Clapton - I'm tore down [Live in Hyde Park 1996] - YouTube
And now we get to the modern era where Clapton to me has been very hit or miss with his tones. He has been using mainly different Strats, and various models of reissue Fender Tweed amps. Most of the tones I hear during this period have been ok, but nothing like he sounded like in the past. I think the best tones I heard were from the Cream Reunion Tour and on Riding with the King.
Cream - Born Under A Bad Sign (Royal Albert Hall 2005) (13 of 22) - YouTube
BB King & Eric Clapton - Three O'Clock Blues - YouTube
Well that’s my rundown of how Clapton’s tone has changed throughout the years. What is your favorite era of tone Eric Clapton had?
As the demand for download versions of the lessons has steadily decreased, I’ve decided to stop selling them. The amount of work it takes to create the download version then try to sell them individually takes up too much time where I could be creating new and better lessons. Since not many people are interested anymore then it’s not worth my time to keep offering this option. If you have purchased a Download lesson in the past you will always have the ability to download it whenever you like.
The All Access Pass has become by far much more popular during the last 4 years and I have decided to only focus on creating new lessons for it. Trying to run two different kinds of businesses ( Subscription and Downloads ) requires different types of marketing and production levels. Since I am only one person I only have time to focus on the subscription. Instead of trying to have two mediocre business types I want to only work on making the subscription business the best it can be.
For these reasons, I’m no longer going to offer Download versions as an option.
Thanks to all of you have purchased the Download versions over the years as well as DVDs. I want to stay in business for at least another twenty years and I believe that to do this I need to be laser-focused on what the majority of people are interested in.
In my new Blues Rhythm Guitar pt 2 course I want to continue on with the blues rhythm guitar lessons that were started in pt 1. There were personal and health reasons that Blues Rhythm Guitar pt 1 came to a hault but now have re structured the plan to teach the rest of the most common techniques and concepts used to play blues rhythm.
This Pt 2 course will focus on more of what to play when presented with different blues styles while the first part in the series was more of getting the basic foundation set in place.
This course is currently being released in the All Access Pass as I complete new lessons. So far there is close to 2 hours of material that I feel really help you to better understand how to play blues rhythm and more coming soon. To get immediate access to this course you’ll need to become an All Access Pass subscriber. Also I’m recording this course to work best and make sense by utilizing the tools in the All Access Pass and specifically the Soundslice Interactive Tabs.
This course will not be released as a download anytime soon and right now I’m not sure if it will ever be released in that format as I am recording it to make sense in the All Access Pass.