Slow Blues 25: Slow Minor Blues (part 1)

We’ve covered both slow blues and minor blues extensively. Our next logical step would be to look at… you guessed it… slow minor blues.

Although there are earlier examples, slow minor blues songs became very popular in the early 1970s and continue to be part of the modern blues artists’ repertoire, often being the emotional highlight of a live set, since the style provides a great platform for dynamic range and expression.

Our backing track is a moody, downtempo 12 bar minor blues at 72bpm. Similar examples of slow minor blues can be heard on Albert Collins’ recording of “Cold, Cold Feeling” and Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. The latter has more of a blues/rock approach and features some of Jimmy Page’s most emotional lead work and a stellar vocal performance by Robert Plant, held together with John Bonham’s fantastic drumming, complete with that famous squeaky kick drum pedal!

More modern examples of slow minor blues can be heard on the live recordings of both Gary Moore and Joe Bonamassa.

Although our arrangement is based on the 12 bar format, we will be working with a slightly different chord progression than in previous songs. Additionally, we have 4 versions of our backing track: A long version and a shorter version, each with and without rhythm guitar.

Over the next 6 lessons, we will learn the chord progression, rhythm guitar part and a moving, 2-chorus solo featuring many dynamic highs and lows, chord-tone approaches, arpeggio ideas and plenty of licks that we can incorporate into our own playing.

We’ve put our dynamic range to the test before, working with breakdown sections. Our solo features a short breakdown section of the 5th bar of the second chorus, before building up to a powerful ending. A breakdown section on bar 5 of a 12 bar chorus is very common in both minor and dominant slow blues and can be sound very effective in a live environment, so it’s a good one to try out at a blues jam!

Backing Tracks

Lesson Sheets

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