Guitar Tricks Blog
Posted: March 20, 2020

B.B. King Box Explained

bb king box

B.B. King is considered to be one of the greatest blues artists of all-time and certainly one of the most influential guitar players ever. His signature guitar tone can be replicated via what guitar players call the “B.B. King Box” or the “B.B. Box.” This box refers to a box pattern on the fretboard that players can utilize to play B.B. King’s signature licks. This box pattern is also great to incorporate into any guitar player’s repertoire as it’s always helpful to know a few licks that can easily mix minor and major pentatonic scales with the blues scale. 

The B.B. King Box is as follows:

bb king box

As you can see, the B.B. King Box can be an extension of the minor pentatonic scale. In this case, the illustration above is the A blues scale. The great thing about this is, the B.B. King Box can move with the scale that is being played as it is always part of the same pattern.   

For a full lesson on the B.B. King Box, check out Gary’s lesson below. 

As you can see, the B.B. King box is fairly easy to learn and play. Once you memorize this box pattern, you can apply it to just about every major and minor pentatonic scale. 

Now to put the B.B. King box to the test. Below are a couple of songs you may want to learn in order to practice using this amazing box pattern. 

“The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King

This song is the essential guitar lesson for anyone trying to not only learn from the legendary blues master, but to also learn how to play lead blues guitar. King's solo style is most prominent in this track since it features bluesy stabs and great work utilizing the box pattern named after him. 

“Riding with the King” by B.B. King and Eric Clapton

The song recorded by both guitar players poses a great challenge to aspiring blues guitarists simply because of the sheer amount of licks present in the song. Since there are two guitar players on this track, there are two guitar parts, and it's a great exercise to learn both. Clapton and King have different styles but for this song, the two guitarists play off one another and their jam results in a number of great bluesy licks that take from the B.B. King box. 

For more on the B.B. King style, make sure to check out the Blues Level 2 course with Anders. Anders will show you not only the B.B. King style, but also the style of Albert King and the Freddie King; the three kings of blues. 

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