Blues Licks – Albert King Style!

Blues Licks – Albert King Style!

I just can’t get In Session, featuring Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan out of my head, so I thought I would do a post highlighting some of the great blues playing going on in that incredible recording. In fact there is so much there I may do some more posts about it later!

But for now I want to focus on the notes on the top 3 strings of the 2nd pattern of the Minor Pentatonic scale. Here are those notes in the key of G:

|---------6-8-6--------------|
|-----6-8-------8-6----------|
|-5-7---------------7-5------|
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|
|----------------------------|

Both Stevie Ray and Albert King spend a lot of time playing in that area. It’s amazing what you can do with just a handful of notes, especially when you squeeze and bend those strings! And in the blues the particular notes played carry no more weight than how much soul you put into them. Suffice it to say that both of these great blues guitarists played these few notes with a boatload of soul. Check out the video of Stormy Monday in my previous post: Blues Masters Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan In Session.

The first lick I would like to share with you is one that Albert King played all the time. Whenever I think of Albert King I think of this one. It s played at the end of a chorus, it takes the ear to the final V chord at the end of a 12 bar blues:

|--------------|
|---6----------|
|-7---7-5-7----|
|--------------|
|--------------|
|--------------|

(I demonstrate this staple of the Albert King blues sound, and everything else in this post, in the video at the end. Be sure to watch it!)

Next, I want to show you a couple great bends, because what is the blues guitar without bending strings? And Albert Kings blues licks, and SRV too, are filled with tasty bending, squeezing all kinds of emotion from their ‘gitfiddles,’ as Mr. King used to say.

Here are a couple variations on a theme:

|-8b10-6--------6-8b10-6------|
|--------8----8----------8----|
|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|
|-----------------------------|

And here’s another cool lick I do in the video:

|---5----------|
|-----7-5-7----|
|-6------------|
|--------------|
|--------------|
|--------------|

There’s a lot of blues you can get out out just a few notes in one area of the guitar, and both Stevie Ray and the iconic Mr. King demonstrate that over and over in the In Session video. Take a look at the video below, and be sure to see my last post on the fantastic In Session DVD.

I look forward to your comments!

About the Author

Marc GreenwaldI've been playing guitar for over 35 years, everything from Punk Rock to Jazz, but I love the blues. Due to my firm belief that a musician who can't play the blues is no musician at all, I built this website to help other people find their voice as a blues guitarist.View all posts by Marc Greenwald →

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"Of course there are a lot of ways you can treat the blues, but it will still be the blues." - Count Basie

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