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Play Over A Blues Turnaround


Hey, fellow music enthusiasts! It's Gary here from Guitar Tricks. Today, I'd like to illustrate a straightforward blues turnaround that you can incorporate to shake up an E blues routine. We have previously discussed the initial chord progression, E7, A7, B7, and the first improvising scale, open E minor pentatonic. Now, let's level up by mixing in a blues turnaround.

The 'turnaround' term is quite literal. We use it to describe the music technique that turns the progression around, leading it back to its start point. It's like a round trip, bringing a sense of conclusion before looping back to the beginning.


Unraveling The Mystery of Turnaround

Let's focus on the last four bars of the progression: B7, A7, E7 (played once on bar eleven), and the corresponding notes. Listening closely, you might realize we're repeating the same thing, but the key is in mastering precise timing.

Once you've got the rhythm down, you can then add diverse elements to it. Here's how it works. Tick off each beat as you proceed with the last four bars. Rinse and repeat a couple more times, till you reach and one, two, three, essentially concluding the jazz rhythm and bringing you back to the top of the progression.

Now, let's zoom in on the last two bars of the progression. Assuming the role of a double stop, the first note we hit is an E chord, but in a D chord shape. Laying my second finger on the fourth fret of string three and ring finger on the first fret of string one, we walk it down chromatically (fret by fret).

When we reach B7, it signals a transition from E to B and back to E. Reaching E again, the shape shifts. The first string is open and the third string hits the first fret before returning to the top. To add some flavor, try playing a little arpeggio with the B7.


The Full Structure with Turnaround

To add a spark to your blues, hammer on the open G string to the first fret, giving it the authentic bluesy sound. You can use your pick on the lower string and the middle finger on the upper string. This blues rhythm, when combined with the chords, perfectly encapsulates the sublime rhythm of the turnaround.

And voilà, everyone! We have now successfully performed a basic turnaround that you can add to your open E blues.

Remember, the placement of the turnaround and the shifting chords are just as significant as timing. It's like the drummer in a band who continues to play even during a solo - they are fully aware of where the beat is, and retain that rhythm even though they may be pulling off some intense moves.

Once you've mastered this basic turnaround, the world is your oyster: adapt it, move it around, change the rhythms, and create something uniquely yours.


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