B.B. King Songs You Must Learn on Guitar
B.B. King is arguably the greatest blues guitar player to have ever lived. His songs are classics in the blues canon and a number of guitar players and musicians have cited him as a great influence including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. If you're someone who wants to learn how to play the blues on guitar, look no further than these songs from the late great B.B. King.
The Thrill is Gone
Guitartricks features two ways to play B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone.” There is a Made Easy version, as noted in the video above, and a full version, that most of you will be familiar with.
This is by far the most recognizable song from the legend B.B. King. It’s piercing, short licks and haunting tone catapulted the blues guitar player into a household name. Other guitar players took note, like Eric Clapton who frequently collaborated with the King.
This song features a great number of licks and riffs to play with, and is a great introduction into a little scale pattern called the ‘Albert King box,’ or in this case, the ‘BB box’. The entire song is set in the key of B minor and utilizes the familiar blues scale for the intro solo. Check out the full song lesson here.
Rock Me Baby (Made Easy)
Another classic from the legendary blues artist, “Rock Me Baby” uses the standard blues form. It can be played via our Made Easy version above. The strum pattern is relaxed and simple, featuring a 12 bar verse section.
In the full version of the song, there are a number of quick, bluesy licks and the entire song is in the key of C. There’s also a guitar solo that incorporates a number of techniques and really puts your phrasing and timing to work. Overall, the song has a jam-like feel and if you have a few friends, anyone can jump in fairly easily thanks to its easy-going tempo. All in all, this is a timeless blues number that’s easy to pick up and learn on a lazy day.
Nobody Loves Me But My Mother
This piano song has been converted to an acoustic guitar song lesson. It’s played with your fingers and sounds absolutely incredible once you get it down. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ve taken the original song’s key of A flat and modified it to the key of A.
The intro of the song starts with 2 bars from the classic 12 bar blues form and then resolves with a turnaround. The trickiest part of this lesson is that the right hand technique could be tough at first. You’ll have to switch from plucking 2 strings at once, to strumming and then playing almost like a boom-chick. Give it a try!
Every Day I Have the Blues
Set in the key of Bb major, B.B. King’s “Every Day I Have the Blues” is an up-tempo swinging blues. This song is great for anybody wanting to learn a thing or two about blues soloing and lead improvisation.
The song features only one guitar and it’s signature King. The intro solo is a call and response with the vocals and really pushes the 12 bar blues form. The intro also mixes major and minor pentatonic notes, which demonstrates the versatility of these scales, and it’s also a great way to add a few extra licks to your soloing repertoire.
Just like “Every Day I Have the Blues,” this a great song for learning how to play blues solos on guitar. B.B. King’s licks are very soulful and this song features super long sustain and bends using, you guessed it, the 12 bar blues form. Thankfully this song is played at a fairly easy pace of 67 beats-per-minute and in 4/4 time.
Again, B.B. King uses both minor and major pentatonic notes in his intro solo here, and continues to play fills the rest of the song. Since he played this with Ray Charles, there’s also a piano solo in which King plays some short and sweet fills. It’s all about timing and phrasing here, which is what the legend is known for.