T-Bone Walker was a blues guitarist whose guitar playing and style influenced other future guitar legends like B.B. King and Chuck Berry. He was a pioneer of the jump blues guitar style and one of the early electric blues guitar players. “Call it Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)” is perhaps his most well known song and has been recorded by just about every famous blues musician from the Allman Brothers to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Eric Clapton. In this lesson you will learn a few ideas to solo over a similar slow blues progression in the style of T-Bone Walker.
The solo begins will a pickup into a traditional minor pentatonic blues phrase. Give the Eb in the second bar a slight bend towards E to add a bit more blues style to your phrasing. The second half of this lick combines both minor and major pentatonic scales into a single idea. T-Bone Walker frequently combined the two scale sounds in a way that added a jazz/swing sound to his blues playing. You can often hear this with other swing players of the time like Charlie Christian.
The second lick in the solo uses double stops and rootless chord voicings to build excitement. It begins with a common blues double stop played with straight eighth notes and before moving to a ninth chord voicing. This kind of multi-note lick would often overdrive the old amplifiers. Guitarists like T-Bone Walker would take advantage of this by starting quietly and then gradually increasing the volume until the amp is overdriven. Playing very dynamically like this can turn a simple blues guitar lick into something much more interesting.
The third lick in this T-Bone Walker guitar solo again combines the major and minor pentatonic scales. This time combining the scales helps to produce chord tones from the F7 chord (F-A-C-Eb). Like the other licks, this one is also simple and straightforward. Focus on playing the lines smoothly to get that clean and cool T-Bone Walker sound.
The next idea in the solo is a quick one that uses sixteenth notes and sixteenth note triplets. With this guitar lick you can really hear where blues guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan got some of their inspiration from. Using the hammer-ons and pull-offs as written can help you play the line easier.
The last lick is over the V chord (G7) and the turnaround/ending. This uses a half step and whole step bend from the same fret. It can take a little practice getting each bend in tune. The solo ends with a common chromatic blues turnaround that lands on chord tones from C7 (G/E).