Blue Moves, by Jean-Marc Belkadi.
There’s something magical about blues turnarounds.
They mark -- with great satisfaction -- the harmonic
climax of the 12-bar cycle, whether they’re opening or
closing a tune. So why do most guitarists only bother to
learn a small handful of them? Truth is, you can crack
open a treasure chest of hip turnarounds by simply
spending a few moments experimenting with the ones
you already know.
The saucy G7 maneuver in EX.1, for instance, wouldn’t
be anything out of the ordinary. If, that is, it was played by
Ray Charles on a Rhodes keyboard. Guitarists, however,
often simplify this type of turnaround by leaving out the
middle voice. But that middle voice -- the chromatic
D-Db-C-B descent on the third string- creates a burst of harmony
that adds a new dimension to this otherwise generic lick.
Now, without adding another voice, try further refreshing
this turnaround by dropping the root, G, an octave, so that it
lies between the other 2 voices. This yields such rich sounding
cadences as Example 2a and 2b. Remember, when using either
of these turnarounds to close a tune, tack on a meaty bII-I shift
at the end- like the Ab7-G9 move we learned in the first example
for added finality.
Another way to breathe new life into old turnarounds is to use
your 1st finger as a capo to create virtual “open” strings, as in EX.3.
This lick is usually played three frets down in the key of E, with the
first string ringing open while the minor thirds descend chromatically
on the second and third strings. Here, in the key of G, we create the
same effect by barring the strings at the 3rd fret and letting the
first string drone throughout.
Moving up to the key of A, we see in EX.4 that by simply adding an octave, a turnaround
can sound fuller- as proven by the parallel octaves that occur on the second and fifth
strings during the last three beats of bar 1.
For an especially climatic closer, try EX.5 which employs the always ear-catching,
Bach-approved contrapuntal approach known as contrary motion. It happens throughout
this riff as two chromatic lines move in opposite directions. For extra impact, slap a spicy
A13#9 chord on the end.
Finally, for that wide-load sound, try exploring a fat, four-fingered closer such as EX.6 --the
Mack truck of blues turnarounds. It features the tonic, A, pedaling on the second and fourth
strings throughout most of bar 1, while the other two voices drop chromatically. Notice that
the F7-E7 shift at the end features jazzier, more inventive voice-leading than is typical of many
blues riffs. The progression may be slightly trickier to play in this manner, but, as is the case with
all of the examples in this lesson, your ears will appreciate your fingers’ extra efforts.
Check the Blue Moves Exercises Tabs below:
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