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The ULTIMATE I’ll Play The Blues For You (Albert King Guitar Lesson)

blues Jun 30, 2024

If you're down and out, and you feel real hurt, here’s an epic blues groove to pick you right back up.

And that’s something special about the blues. It often comes out of sad circumstances. But ironically when you listen to it or play it on your guitar. You feel better.

So grab your axe, that’s what we’re going to do in the post. 

I’m going to break down a classic from none other than the Velvet Bulldozer himself, in this “I’ll Play The Blues For You” Albert King guitar lesson. 

Who wrote I’ll Play The Blues For You?

"I'll Play the Blues for You" is a classic blues song written by Jerry Beach. It was made popular by Albert King though, one of the most influential blues guitarists and singers of all time. King’s recording of it was released in 1972 as the title track from his iconic album "I'll Play the Blues for You." 

The song’s lyrics talk about a musician promising to play the blues for someone...

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#1 Best Place To Start Soloing

blues Jun 04, 2024

Are you primarily a rhythm player but stuck with how to start moving into soloing?

Well… 

This post contains a very important message for you.

Every day I talk to guitar players in this exact spot. They have played some rhythm, but what they really want to do is…

SOLO

I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to step out into the spotlight, be the star, and play a lead that makes the crowd go wild?

Or play expressively over jam tracks/looper pedal at home…

Well, over the past 25+ years of playing music for a living. Ripping solos on stages all over the world, and most importantly teaching others how they can too.

There is one place I’ve found to start, that works better than any other option you’ll find guaranteed. In fact, it can make all the difference in your solos. 

Why?

Because it’s simple. 

When you start with this it means you won’t get stuck with:

  • Hearing common chord changes you need to know how to solo over
  • ...
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Bo Diddley's Gutsy Performance On The Ed Sullivan Show

blues May 19, 2024

Back in the day, I used to watch a lot of iconic performances on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Ed was a big deal. He was super charismatic and seemed to be able to connect with viewers of all ages. And you’ve got to give him credit for introducing a huge variety of acts to America. Everything from comedians and dancers to opera singers and rock and roll stars.

But one of the most impactful performances I saw, other than the Beatles of course, was Bo Diddley’s.

Apparently, the producers wanted Bo to perform the old country song “Sixteen Tons”. Ed also agreed and thought this would be a safe choice for his audience.

But Bo Diddley at the last minute went rogue.

Instead of performing “Sixteen Tons”. He played his own brand new song called “Bo Diddley”. 

Yup.

“Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley

This was a bold move. He had some serious guts to defy the wishes of such a powerful television program at the time. In fact, some accounts of it...

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Two guys absolutely SLAYING a Walmart toy guitar w/the blues

blues May 02, 2024

One of my buddies texted me this awesome video that blew up on the internet… 

It’s about two guys who walk into a Walmart and become blues stars. It got over 10 million views.

It starts off with them just mozying around the aisles. Then they stumble upon this little red toy guitar. It’s a short scale guitar for kids and what happens next is quite shocking.

One of the guys picks it up (Clay Shelburn), and starts busting out these tasty Stevie Ray Vaughan-style blues licks in E. He’s slaying this mini guitar right there in the toy aisle, sandwiched between Barbie dolls and Legos.

He then comes in singing and does the first verse of “Pride and Joy” with a soulful tone. 

The camera guy, filming on his phone, leans into the frame and Clay says, “Catch the next verse?”

The camera guy says, “I'll do it.” 

And then he comes in and sings the next verse!

After that, Clay plays a little blues solo and then takes it...

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The One Scale To Rule Them All

blues Apr 30, 2024

Years ago I was sitting in a music class with blues guitar grand puba Kenny Burrell…

He didn’t have his guitar with him that day. But he did have a grand piano in the room.

So he walked over to it and played the notes:

G

A

Bb

B

In that order, slowly, he hunted and pecked at the keys. (Kenny isn’t a piano player. But, he would often use the piano to demonstrate certain sounds he was talking about.)

He then looked up at the class and said, “Do you know what that is?”

The room was silent. 

He said, 

“That’s the blues scale.”

Then he paused and said,

“Do you have that worked out? All over your instrument?...

…because if not, you’re going to want to do that.”

Decades later, I still remember this lesson. And as I became a more proficient musician. I’ve only seen MORE value in it.

You see, when I play lead guitar, in pretty much ANY style, I rely on knowing the blues scale on...

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3 Killer Blues Licks From Eric Clapton's Unplugged Record

blues Apr 28, 2024

A few decades ago I was down at this ginormous record store in Hollywood, California called Amoeba Music.

I’d spend hours in the listening rooms and thumbing through records.

One day I stumbled upon this bundle of Eric Clapton’s Unplugged concert.

It was both a DVD and a CD. I bought it and listened to it...a LOT...

Like every day.

And I learned every song on it…

This album was incredibly instrumental in teaching me a ton about the rhythm and lead blues guitar. Today, I'd like to share with you 3 killer blues licks from Eric Clapton's Unplugged Record.

If you want to learn the patterns and scales behind these classic licks. Get your hands on my blues scale PDF guide at the link below:

Jon MacLennan

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Guitarist can’t recognize a picture of himself

blues Apr 25, 2024

Not long ago, I read this crazy story in a book. 

It was about an anthropologist who went to live among tribal people with little to no contact with the modern world.

The anthropologist wanted to share some of the wonders of modern technology with these isolated folks. And so he took a photo of the chief and his wives.

When the Polaroid picture was processed and shown to the chief. He was unable to recognize the blotches of black, white, and gray as an image of himself. He had never learned to translate two-dimensional images into recognizable three-dimensional shapes.

Yet at the same time. This chief could look at a patch of grass and say what kind of animal had walked on it and how long ago. He could do that as easily as you and I can tell the sun from the moon.

Playing music works the same way.

Most guitarists haven’t learned to see the patterns below the surface. It’s like they are living in isolation and can’t recognize themselves in a photo. 

They...

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3 min trick that works better than 60 mins of practice

blues Apr 21, 2024

There’s so much information out there nowadays for learning guitar.

But most of it is a bunch of horse pucky.

That’s why in this post I want to share with you a 3 min trick that works better than 60 minutes of practicing.

I’ll be applying this trick to soloing. But, it can work for becoming a good rhythm guitarist as well. (I’ll save that for another lesson.)

Here’s the thing…

Most guitarists don’t really want to spend years training to become professional musicians. I mean who would? Wouldn’t you rather just be able to play like one without all the agony and mindless practice?

In fact, the majority of my students in my programs are older players who don’t want to join a band. They just want to be able to sit at home and play some good solos (perhaps with a backing track). They don’t have time to sort through all the nonsense online. And don’t want to stay up late at night wondering if they’re doing it...

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Why Most Players Struggle To Solo With Feeling

blues Apr 20, 2024

A little while ago I learned a new word: 

“Blatherskite.”

It essentially means nonsense talk. Gibberish.

Kind of like when a guitarist cranks up their amp, launches into a solo, and just spews out a bunch of blatherskite.

Or maybe in a band, suddenly the lead singer cuts the solo short. When they realize it’s just spiraling into blatherskite with no feeling. 

There’s really only one reason for this.

You see, often players have learned their scales, they’ve maybe even tried them in different keys all across the fretboard.

But when they solo there’s still something missing. They don’t know where to go from there. Using the tools they have keeps resulting in solos lacking melody and feeling. I was stuck here too for a while until blues master Kenny Burrell showed me how to break free.

If this describes your solos, and you would like to change them to captivating solos dripping with emotion and feeling.

Go to:

...

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Tommy Emmanuel's CASE AGAINST Practicing

blues Apr 16, 2024

I was listening to an interview with the great Tommy Emmanuel the other day and heard something really fascinating…

The interviewer asked him about what his practice sessions are like.

Let’s be honest, as guitarists we want to know these things. We want to peek inside the minds of these legends. Learn their hacks and get their secrets. There’s got to be some mystery or magic behind the curtain that we’re missing, right?

Many times there is. That’s why it’s super important to be careful who you listen to. But anyway, despite what many people might think Tommy would say like: 

Well, it’s 20 minutes of ear training, then it’s 15 minutes of major scales… blah blah blah

No…

What Tommy actually said was, he puts his guitar strap on, stands up, pretends there’s an audience in front of him, and just plays songs relentlessly without stopping.

His practice is like a show.

You see, there is this awesome feeling that you...

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