Just Joined?

Just joined?

Firstly, thank you for joining Absolute Blues Guitar!

Secondly, it’s been brought to our attention that a small number of new members have not received their welcome email upon joining Absolute Blues Guitar. The welcome email prompts new members to create their password, so it’s an essential part of the signup process.

In 99% of cases, the reason why a welcome email is not received is that it has been flagged as spam by the member’s email provider. This, of course, is beyond our control. However, if you have recently signed up for a full membership, please check your spam folder where you should find your welcome email.

If the password link has expired, simply send us a message via our Contact page and we will resend your welcome email.

All the best and have a great weekend,

Bobby

Stay Safe, Everybody!

Hi everybody,

It’s been a while since my last post, so I thought I would check in with you all and say hi. 

“Hi!”

I hope you’ve all been keeping safe and well during these unusual times.

We’ve seen a growing number of new signups since lockdown began, so, once again, I would like to welcome our new members and also thank our long-serving subscribers for your continuing support. 

Don’t forget, if you need lesson support, I’m just an email away, so feel free to get in touch via our Contact page. 

When requesting lesson support, please give as much detail as you can and if possible, let me know the title and Level number of any relevant lessons you may need advice on. 

That’s all for now. Stay safe, everybody.

Bobby  

TAB For “15 Essential Blues Licks”

Hi everybody,

Hope you’re having a great month.

We’ve had a few messages recently, asking for the tabs to our free “15 Essential Blues Licks” tutorial on YouTube.

This tutorial isn’t actually on the site, since it was made after launch in order to promote the course. 

The YouTube video features on-screen tab. However, if you’re a FULL member of Absolute Blues Guitar and you need a PDF of the solo, drop us a message via our “Contact Us” form and we’ll send you the full tab and backing track.

Best regards,

Bobby

Guitar Tab

Happy new year, everybody!

Hope you’ve all had a great festive season. 

2020 has kicked off with a record number of signups, so I’d like to welcome our latest members. I hope you’re enjoying the course. Don’t forget that if you need lesson support, I’m just an email away. 

We’ve received several emails recently, regarding guitar tab for the course. Some of you have asked whether the tab is downloadable of if it’s presented on-screen the way it is in one of our YouTube videos. 

The tab in the members’ section of the website is in pdf format and is downloadable and printable. The backing tracks are also downloadable. 

The on-screen tab idea shown in the “15 Essential Blues Guitar Licks” YouTube preview is exclusive to that video. It was the best idea I could come up with for presenting free tab via YouTube.

Incidentally, the “15 Essential Blues Licks” video isn’t on our website as it was made after we launched the course. If you’re a full member of Absolute Blues Guitar and you require a tab sheet for the solo, drop me an email via our “Contact Us” page and I’ll send you a pdf of the tab and a backing track.

That’s all for now.

All the best and have a great January.

Bobby

Feedback

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve had a great October. I just wanted to check in and welcome our new members and thank our long-standing members for their support. 

We’ve received some great feedback from our subscribers. It’s so rewarding to know that the course is helping so many of you become better blues guitarists. 

Members: Don’t forget that you can contact me for lesson support via email if you have any questions about the course. Just use the contact form on the website. 

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Over 160,000 Views!

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having a great week.

This is just a quick message to say hello to our new members to to thank our long-standing subscribers for their continued support.

Many new members would have checked out the site having seen our free 40 minute tutorial on YouTube. Thanks for checking it out, guys. It’s had over 160,000 views, most of which have been within the past couple of months.

Don’t forget, I’m always available for lesson support via email, so if you’re a member, drop me a line if you have any questions about the course content.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvHPOzDoCbQ

Free Blues Guitar Lesson On YouTube!

Hi everybody,

Hope you’re having a great summer. 

I’d just like to thank everybody for checking out the free 40 minute blues guitar lesson on YouTube – “15 Essential Blues Guitar Licks”. 

The lesson has had a staggering 40,000 views over the past couple of weeks alone, which has led to many more new members. Greetings to you all!

For those of you who have signed up as a free member, don’t forget, you can upgrade to a FULL membership at any time and enjoy unlimited access to the hundreds of video lessons, downloadable backing tracks, TAB and lesson support. 

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

P.S. Here’s a link to the free lesson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvHPOzDoCbQ&lc=z22uxjj4wl2fsxtbl04t1aokgsz01jlcegjwjuy3fuxhbk0h00410

Absolute Blues Guitar YouTube Videos

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a great weekend. 

We’ve received several recent emails asking whether Absolute Blues Guitar’s YouTube and other social media videos are representative of the material covered on our course and if so, if the lessons on our site include tab.

The answer is a resounding YES. All of the solos and lesson content in the videos we post on social media are taken directly from our course. Every lead and rhythm guitar idea has been meticulously transcribed in both standard notation and tab. 

Our lessons also feature hundreds of backing tracks in a variety of keys, grooves and tempos. 

Don’t forget, Absolute Blues Guitar features a free membership that will give you a taster of what to expect from our course. 

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Greetings From London!

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend.

Firstly, I would like a welcome our newest members. June 2019 saw a record number of signups to Absolute Blues Guitar. I hope you enjoy the course. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you need lesson support via email.

Secondly, I’m coming to the end of my short run of gigs with Sir Cliff Richard. Tonight we will play our final show of the tour at Greenwich Naval College, London. This is a fantastic open air venue and if the gigs we played there in 2017 are anything to go by, we look set to go out with a bang!

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Greetings, From The Road…

Hi everyone, 

Hope you had a great weekend. I’m still on tour with Cliff Richard and having lots of fun. We’ve just finished a run of shows in Denmark and are now back in the UK where we will play some more dates. 

Here’s a picture of me with “Summer”, my trusty Eternal Guitars T-type, hand built in the UK by Dave Walsh and featuring my signature “T-Dogs” pickups. 

Once again, thank you for your continuing support of Absolute Blues Guitar. Despite being away from home, I am still on hand to answer any lesson-related questions you may have.

Until next time, have a great week,

Bobby

On Tour Again…

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend.

I’m currently on tour, playing guitar for Sir Cliff Richard. We have just finished 10 days of rehearsals and will shortly be heading to Denmark to play the first of a short run of outdoor shows. This year’s tour includes another appearance at Greenwich Naval College, where I had the honour of playing in 2017.

Although I am away, I will be available, as always, to provide lesson support via email and will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the course.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Hello, New Members!

Hi everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend.

We’ve had a record number of signups over the past fortnight, so this is just a quick post to welcome our latest members. We hope you enjoy the course.

We’d also like to thank our long-standing members for their continued support.

Don’t forget that you can contact us via email if you need technical or lesson support or if you have any other questions about the website or course.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet signed up, don’t forget that we also offer a free membership that gives you access to a handful of lessons, so you can get a feel of what Absolute Blues Guitar has to offer.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Technical And Lesson Support

Hi everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend.

I just thought I’d write a quick post to remind you that we are on hand to provide lesson support and technical support if you have any queries. 

However, as stated elsewhere our website, Absolute Blues Guitar is a two-person operation based in the UK. We cannot run a 24 hour support service, so our hours of operation for email support are Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm GMT (UK time).

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby 

Blues Guitar For Beginners

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend,

Did you know that Absolute Blues Guitar has an extensive beginners’ course, designed to get the absolute (no pun intended) beginner playing real blues as quickly as possible?

Even if you’ve never before picked up an electric guitar, Level 1 of our course is designed to fast-track your playing and take you through the basics before providing you with everything you need to play authentic blues guitar.

Check it out here: https://www.absolutebluesguitar.com/blues-guitar-lessons/

Until next time, have a great week,

Bobby

Free Blues Guitar Lessons

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend.

Did you know that we have a selection of free blues guitar lessons on our website? 

They serve as a taster for the content of our course, but many work as standalone tutorials. You’ll see the “Free Lesson” banner on selected videos.  

Don’t forget that your full subscription gives you access to tab/standard notation, fretboard diagrams, backing tracks and of course, lesson support via email.

All the best and have a great week ahead,

Bobby

Slide Guitar Lessons

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend. I’ve received a few messages lately asking whether we feature slide guitar lessons on Absolute Blues Guitar.

The answer is a resounding yes. Level 4 features a huge, 19 part tutorial on the art of slide guitar. It’s effectively a course within a course, covering fundamental techniques such as muting and intonation, before going on to teach to you authentic blues solos in a variety of grooves, keys and tunings, including standard and open E, G, A and D tunings.

Check it out here: https://www.absolutebluesguitar.com/blues-guitar-lessons/slide-guitar-1-the-fundamentals-of-electric-slide-guitar-open-e-tuning-part-1/

Until next time, have a great week,

Bobby

Happy First Birthday To ABG!

Hi Folks,

It’s hard to believe, but this month marks the first anniversary of the launch of Absolute Blues Guitar!

We have welcomed many new members since we opened our virtual doors in April 2018 and the feedback we have received from our subscribers has been fantastic! 

I feel honoured to share with you my passion for blues guitar and I hope some of the licks, ideas and concepts found in our video lessons have found their way into your playing.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need one-to-one lesson support via email.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Blues Guitar Mini Courses!

Hi everyone,

Did you know that our extensive blues guitar course features, within its structure, several standalone mini-courses that specialise in different sub-topics within the blues?

For example, our site features an in-depth, 30 part study on slow blues, breaking down key elements, such as phrasing, rhythmic guitar and soloing over chord changes.

Here’s an example of the first 18 minutes of this comprehensive course. 

Enjoy!

Bobby

 

Welcome To Our Latest Subscribers!

Hi everyone,

Hope you had a great, guitar-filled weekend.

I just wanted to write a quick post to say that we are overwhelmed by the record number of new members who have signed up to our site this week. 

We’d like to welcome our new subscribers. We are confident that Absolute Blues Guitar is the most immersive online blues guitar course. Don’t forget, if you have any questions relating to the tutorials, you can email us for free lesson support.

Members old and new, thank you for your continuing support.

All the best,

Bobby

Skype Guitar Lessons With Bobby Harrison

Hi everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend.

I just thought I’d write a quick post to let you know that I am now offering one-to-one guitar lessons via Skype. 

All ages and levels are welcome, from absolute beginners to experienced players. I can cover all styles of music, although I have a real passion for blues, rock and classic rock.

I have a down-to-earth, friendly and patient approach to teaching and I always ensure that my students have fun while they learn. I am a dedicated tutor and many of my students have gone on to become professional musicians.

Whether you aspire to perform at a professional level, or if you simply want to play for fun, I can help you achieve your goals.

I use a mic and an audio interface to ensure that the sound quality is the best it can be, but no special equipment is required for the student, just a decent wifi connection, a guitar and an amp. 

I send lesson material such as pdfs and backing tracks (where applicable) via email.

To book your lesson, use the contact form on my own website: http://www.bobbyharrisonmusic.com

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

YouTube Channels

Hi everybody,

I hope you had a great weekend. 

I just thought I’d write a quick post to thank you all for supporting both Absolute Blues Guitar’s and my own YouTube channels. 

Both channels have seen a huge increase in activity over the past few months. 

ABG’s YouTube channel consists of several trial lessons, along with a number of blues backing tracks for you to jam along to.

My own YouTube channel (youtube.com/bobbyharrisonmusic) features dozens of free, short guitar tutorials in a variety of styles that can serve either as standalone lessons or as a supplement to your Absolute Blues Guitar membership.

My breakdown of David Gilmour’s classic solo on Pink Floyd’s ‘Have A Cigar’ has had almost 13,000 views at the time of writing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvi46J8Rark

Thank you once again for your continuing support.

All the best,

Bobby

‘Lickorama’ Returns

Hi everybody,

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Just a quick update to let you know that my ‘Lickorama’ YouTube series is back, after a break of several weeks. 

The series features short, weekly guitar lessons in a variety of styles. There are 42 episodes at the time of writing.

Here’s a link to episode 42: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1S1_ciyltA

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for regular updates. 

Enjoy!

Bobby

Welcome, New Members!

Hi everybody,

We hope you had a great weekend. 

February has seen a record number of signups to Absolute Blues Guitar, so we would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest members. Remember, if you need lesson support, technical support, or if you have any questions about your membership, we are only an email away and will be more than happy to help.

We hope our new members enjoy the course as much as we enjoyed making it. 

It goes without saying that our thanks also go out to our more seasoned members too. Your support hasn’t gone unnoticed since we launched our website 9 months ago.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Take Your Pick

For the past year, I have been using Hawk Picks exclusively. Rob Edney from Hawk Picks in Manchester UK, makes bespoke, handmade guitar and mandolin picks that are extremely hard-wearing, vastly outlasting regular, plastic picks.

Not only that, but they sound great, tonally. Seriously – Never underestimate the difference a good pick makes to your sound.

Check them out at: https://hawkpicks.co.uk

Pink Floyd Guitar Lessons

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having a great week.

This may be slightly off-topic for a blues course, but I thought it may interest some those of you looking to learn some classic guitar solos. 

A few months ago, I uploaded two Pink Floyd tutorials to my YouTube channel. David Gilmour has long been a favourite guitarist of mine and although Pink Floyd’s music is essentially classic rock, Gilmour’s playing style is pure blues.

So why not get into these note-for-note solo studies for “Comfortably Numb” and “Have A Cigar”.

Enjoy!

Bobby

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HdQmLAMnvc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvi46J8Rark

Lickorama Update

Hi everyone,

I’ve had a couple of messages regarding my ‘Lickorama’ YouTube series. Some of you have wanted to know why there hasn’t been any new videos for a few weeks.

I usually upload a new video lesson to my YouTube channel every Thursday, but I’ve been so busy for the past few weeks, learning songs and playing gigs overseas that I haven’t been able to. 

I’m hoping that normal service will resume this Thursday or the following Thursday at the latest.

All the best,

Bobby

Happy New Year

Happy new year, folks. 

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to our latest members and a massive thank you to our long standing students. Thank you all for your continued support. 

We wish you all a fantastic 2019. 

Absolute Blues Guitar team.

Merry Christmas from Absolute Blues Guitar

Hi everybody,

We just wanted to check check in and wish you all a very merry Christmas. This is our first Christmas since launching Absolute Blues Guitar back in April and it’s given us time to reflect on a productive year spend with some valued students.

We hope you all have a great and relaxing time.

All the best,

ABG Team

YouTube Channel

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend. Did you know Absolute Blues Guitar has its very own YouTube Channel?

We’ve uploaded a selection of lesson previews from our site, several backing tracks and an exclusive 40 minute lesson with on-screen TAB entitled “15 Essential Blues Guitar Licks”.  

If you’re considering signing up to our full blues guitar course, these videos should give you an indication of what to expect. Check us out here.

If you currently have a free membership at Absolute Blues Guitar and are considering upgrading to the full course, don’t forget that not only does a full membership entitle you to over 230 guitar lessons and hundreds of downloadable backing tracks, but you will have access to TAB, standard notation, fretboard diagrams and free lesson support from myself via email.

All the best and have a great weekend,

Bobby

Lesson Support

Hi everybody,

Hope you had a great weekend.

I’d like to extend a big, warm welcome to all of our new members. Welcome aboard. We hope you enjoy the course.

I’d just like to remind members new and long-standing that I am available for lesson support via email if ever you have any questions about the course. Simply use the contact form on the website, as opposed to via Facebook, just so we can keep everything in the same place.

Don’t forget you can also follow Absolute Blues Guitar on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, along with my own YouTube channel to which I upload exclusive lesson content in a variety of styles. 

While we’re on the subject of my own YouTube channel, I’d like to apologise for the lack of ‘Lickorama’ lessons over the past few weeks. I’ve been doing all I can to keep uploading regular free content. However, I have recently moved home and am still without a broadband connection. Normal service should resume in a few days time.

Wishing you all a great week,

Bobby

Busy Weekend

Hi everyone,

Hope you had a great weekend.

I’m sorry if I’ve been a little slow in the social media department over the past week. I had a couple of gigs this weekend for which I had to learn a 30 song set at fairly short notice. This required putting in some serious practice hours, with very little time for anything else. 

The gigs were fun and I’m now back. I neglected to upload an episode of ‘Lickorama’ last week. Apologies for anybody who was expecting the video. The clip was edited and ready to go, but there wasn’t even time to upload it to YouTube. I felt guilty for breaking my 35 week streak. 

Normal service has now resumed and as always, I am here to provide lesson support if you have any questions regarding our course on Absolute Blues Guitar.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

Bobby Harrison ‘T-Dogs’ Signature Telecaster Pickups

Hi everybody,

Hope you’re having a great week.

I am honoured to announce that my Hot Rod Pickups ‘T-Dogs’ signature Telecaster pickup set will be available to buy very soon from Eternal Guitars & Hot Rod Pickups. 

Dave Walsh at Eternal Guitars (Chichester, UK) hand-wound this pickup set when he built ‘Summer’, my latest custom T-type. 

Summer became my main guitar on this year’s Cliff Richard tour. The set list spanned 7 decades of music, ranging from pop ballads to hard rock, so I had a good chance to put the guitar and pickups through their paces. 

The T-Dog single coil set is such a great, versatile pickup duo that are equally suited to blues, country and rock players.

Switch to the bridge position, roll your guitar’s volume up, crank up the gain on your amp and the single coil has all the output and grit of an overwound P90, almost going into humbucker territory. Roll the volume pot back a few notches and you retain that traditional Tele twang. The middle pickup position sounds punchy and funky; and the neck pickup is smooth and bluesy.

Check out the video demo of the pickups and guitar.

Until next time,

Happy playing!

Bobby

 

 

Back From Touring

Hi everybody,

Hope you all had a great weekend. I just thought I’d drop in and let you know that I’m back from my tour with Sir Cliff Richard, so if any of you require lesson support via email, you will have my undivided attention – not that you didn’t before, but I’m always closer to my keyboard when I’m not on tour.

I’d also like to extend a warm welcome to our new members. October has seen a record number of signups and we’ve received some great feedback. It really means a lot to us to know that so many of you are enjoying the course.

My tour was so much fun and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of it. I got to play some great venues, including another two nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where Cliff and the band were joined on stage by Bonnie Tyler. It was also great to be back in Denmark once again for the final 4 shows of the run.

Anyway, all the best and have a great week,

Bobby

String Theory

Which guitar strings should I use?

Hi everyone,

I am often asked about guitar strings: What gauge would I recommend? Which brand do I prefer? How often should a set be changed? I figured it was about time I shared some of my observations on what I have come to know about guitar strings during my 30 years as a guitarist.

String Gauge

Ultimately, the gauge of string you use comes down to personal preference, based on factors such as the size and strength of your hands and simply what feels comfortable, especially when it comes to string bends. Your preferred string gauge can (and often will) change as you experiment. Some guitarists settle on their favourite gauge after years of trying different string thicknesses and tensions, while others stick with the same gauge for their entire playing career.

String Brand

When it comes to string brands, your preference will, for the most part, be dictated by your personal experience when trying that particular brand. This, too, is highly subjective. For example, I have had negative experiences with strings by leading brands that some of my peers swear by. While it would be unprofessional of me to mention brand names, there is one leading string brand that I always seem to break more easily than others. Similarly, strings by another popular manufacturer tend to corrode very quickly when in my sweaty paws. You may wish to experiment with the leading brands until you settle on your personal favourite, based on what feels the most durable and long lasting.

Don’t Sweat It

While we’re on the subject of sweaty hands, your skin chemistry is another key factor in the lifespan of a guitar string. The sweatier your hands become when playing, the quicker the string will corrode, rendering it dull-sounding and more prone to breakage. How long a string lasts varies greatly from one player to the next.

A set of strings on a guitar you only use at home will last longer than strings on guitar that you play on stage while perspiring under hot lights. That’s not to say that a brand new string can’t be broken. I have broken new strings mere minutes after changing them. Snapping a brand new string is often just bad a case of luck. However, there is sometimes such a thing as a bad batch of strings, regardless of the reputation of the manufacturer.

Time For Change

So, how often should you change your strings? This depends on how often you play and whether or not you perform live. If you only ever play daily at home, I would suggesting changing your strings every 2 to 4 weeks, or whenever they become noticeably dull or start to break. It is also good practice to keep a small supply of individual high E strings, if your guitar store sells them separately. The high E is the thinnest string and therefore the most prone to breakage.

The older and dirtier the string becomes, the more likely it is to snap. This is why many touring guitar players change their strings before every show. Of course, this gets expensive, but much like petrol, picks and stage clothing, strings are a necessary, regular expense for the gigging guitarist and there are few more embarrassing live experiences than that moment you snap a string mid song. Rest assured, this will happen and it’s okay. Along with death and taxes, string breakage is one of the few certainties in the life of a guitarist. When it happens to you, try to laugh it off. It’s a known casualty of rock ‘n’ roll and your audience and bandmates will forgive you.

Along with death and taxes, string breakage is one of the few certainties in the life of a guitarist

Wear And Tear

What you do to a string also plays an important role in its lifespan. Over-bending, or sometimes simply repeatedly bending the same string on the same fret will gradually bring it closer to breakage, as will an overly aggressive strumming or picking technique. When we perform live in our adrenaline-pumped states, we unconsciously tend to play heavier, sometimes losing our sense of dynamics completely. Of course, a heavy-handed attack can be exciting for our audience (check out some of the live footage of Steve Ray Vaughan on YouTube). Just be aware that all 6 of your strings may not make it through the show.

Many string manufacturers now produce coated strings. These can be more expensive than a regular set, but the thin layer of protective coating makes the string less prone to rust, debris and dirt and therefore allows it to last longer. In my opinion, the champion of the coated string, above and beyond the leading competitors has always been Elixir. The strings that I use exclusively on all of my electric guitars are Elixir Nanoweb, gauge 10-52.

Personal Favourites

I feel honoured to have recently become an endorser of Elixir strings. However, I have been using their strings for many years, regularly singing their praises to anybody within earshot. In fact, even before I joined Elixir’s artist programme, I used their Nanoweb strings for the filming of this site’s entire launch content, re-stringing every guitar with a fresh set.

Amazingly, each set lasted the entire duration of the filming. The studio lights were hot and I played all day, every day for several weeks, only ever breaking one string (which may have been captured on camera). That’s testament to how long these strings can last.

Of course, the string brand you choose should always come down to personal preference, but I cannot recommend Elixir strings highly enough. They really are super long-lasting and they feel great to play on both electric and acoustic guitars. Even if you’re not a fan of the slightly smoother-than-usual coating, Elixir now offers the fantastic Optiweb strings as an alternative. While still coated, Optiweb strings retain the feel of a regular, uncoated set of strings.

I have tried all of the popular brand’s coated strings. A couple of years ago, one leading brand’s expensive coated set actually corroded within 45 minutes of me putting them on my Gibson SG. That is in no way an exaggeration. It was a hot day and of course, they may have lasted longer in the hands of another guitarist, but in my mitts, they had a shorter lifespan than a regular, uncoated set.

In stark contrast, around the same time, I put a set of Elixir Nanoweb strings on a Les Paul that I now only play at home. That very same set of strings is almost as good as new at the time of writing this blog. That’s right…one set of Elixir strings has lasted two years and counting!

Personal Preference

Since everybody’s hands are very different, recommending the ideal string gauge is an impossible task. For the past 25 years, I have been using gauge 10-52. However, this is simply a preference that I settled on after a few years of experimentation.

Gauge 10-52 consists of a fairly regular trio of top strings, followed by a relatively thick D, A and low E. A regular set of “10s” is rated at gauge 10-46, but I prefer the fat tone of a thicker low E string. However, I still want to bend the higher strings without my putting too much strain on my fingers. This hybrid gauge may not be right for everybody and I know many guitarists who get a huge sound from gauge 9-42 or even 8-38 strings. Billy Gibbons is rumoured to use gauge 7-38 strings these days and we all know how big he can make his guitars sound!

When I was a beginner player, I used gauge 9-42 strings for a couple of years before graduating to 10-46 and finally settling on 10-52. A couple of years ago, while I was on tour and suffering from a mild wrist injury, I tried switching down to a hybrid gauge of 9-46 for a couple of days before settling back into my regular gauge. The sudden change felt alien to me, throwing me out of my comfort zone, so back I went, once again, to my preferred gauge.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the string gauge and brand you choose doesn’t have to be the one you settle on. Though not always cheap, a set of guitar strings is a far smaller investment than a guitar or an amp, so it’s okay to experiment and change things up as often as you like. As your playing develops and you begin to settle into your own style, you will naturally develop an instinct for choosing the gear that’s right for the sound you want to make.

Until next time, happy playing!

Cheers,

Bobby

Summer’s Here

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re having a great weekend. Apologies for the cheesy title, but summer truly is here, for “Summer” is the name I have given to my brand new custom T-Type from Eternal Guitars & Hot Rod Pickups.

Once again, this amazing instrument was lovingly handcrafted by Dave Walsh in Chichester, UK. Summer is my fifth bespoke build by Dave and she comes in the form of a traditional T-Type with a modern twist.

So, give us the spec (I pretend to hear you ask). I’m always looking for an opportunity to geek out about guitars, so let’s begin with the woods: The body is ash and the neck is one-piece maple. In the hardware department, we have a set of Gotoh locking tuners, chrome knobs and plates and a 50s style ash tray bridge. The saddles are Graph Tech Stringsaver graphite saddles (being a regular string-breaker, I have these installed on all of my electric guitars) and we top it all off with a set of Schaller strap lock buttons.

The pickups are a custom wound pair of single coils that I have named “T-Dogs” and will soon be available as my very own signature set. I’m extremely pleased with the T-Dogs. The bridge pickup packs all the punch of a P90, almost crossing over to humbucker territory on higher gain settings and the neck pickup is smooth and glassy. The switching is standard 3-way and the middle position provides all the country ‘quack’ a growing boy needs.

As is tradition with the guitars Dave has built for me, we’ve gone for an aged look with a rather fetching translucent surf green finish.

Aesthetically, we essentially have a 50s/60s vibe, but with some Strat-like contours, such as a tummy cut, arm contour and a sculpted heel for easier upper fret access. The neck is a comfortable C shape with a compound radius, so although her looks are vintage, Summer’s playability is ultra-modern.

Check out the video of this fantastic guitar. I cannot praise Eternal Guitars and Hot Rod Pickups highly enough. If you’re on the lookout for a custom build or the finest in hand wound pickups, contact Eternal Guitars.

Until next time, happy guitar bothering!

Bobby

New Lesson Content Coming Soon…

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. 

This is just a quick blog to welcome our latest members and to thank our existing members for their continued support. It really means a lot to us that you guys are enjoying the course and helping to spread the word.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about the lessons. I offer personal lesson support via email and I’m available to answer your questions Monday to Friday during UK office hours (9am – 5:30pm). 

In other news, I recently finished filming and am currently editing 56 new videos for the site on the subject of fretboard visualisation, or learning the neck. Like our slow blues and slide guitar lessons, these videos are effectively a course within a course. We delve deep into fretboard knowledge, addressing the most popular methods of viewing scales, chords, arpeggios and harmony on the neck.

Among the subject matter is the CAGED System; The Three-Note-Per-String system; the 6-Position-System; the intervallic, formula-based method and many more approaches, providing you with a deep understanding of the guitar’s fretboard and ensuring you never get lost again! 

In addition to fretboard visualisation, we also cover the modal system in depth, learning how to apply it to soloing and songwriting. 

This lesson series is accompanied by a number of new backing tracks and over 70 pages of tab and fretboard diagrams. 

We’re confident that you’ll enjoy this course, regardless of the style you play. The methods taught are not exclusive to the blues and lend themselves to every style of guitar music.

I will keep you updated in due course, but rest assured that this new content will be available to existing members at no additional cost to your subscription fee.

Once again, thank you for continuing to support Absolute Blues Guitar.

All the best and have a great weekend,

Bobby & Sarah

Bobby Harrison’s Lickorama

Hi everybody,

I thought I’d write a quick blog to tell you all about my new YouTube series.

It’s called “Bobby Harrison’s Lickorama“. I make no excuses for the cheesy name. The aim is to give you regular, short lick-based guitar lessons in a variety of styles.

A good deal of the licks are blues based, but there are also some faster, rock-based ideas, a few country licks and even a bit of fusion. I’ve already filmed Season 1 and will be uploading a new video at least once a week for the first year. At the time of writing this blog, there are 14 lessons on the playlist, since I’ve been uploading 2 per week.

Lickorama is separate to Absolute Blues Guitar and the lessons are posted on my own YouTube channel, as opposed to ABG’s. I figured it could work as a standalone series, but could also be a useful supplement to your Absolute Blues Guitar lessons for those days when you’re just looking to learn a quick, useable lick or to build your vocabulary.

Unlike ABG’s lessons, there is no tab and there are no multiple camera angles, but every lick is meticulously broken down, note for note and the theory behind it is explained.  

Head over to my YouTube page and take a look. Hopefully, you’ll find something you like. Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions for future lessons. I’ll be happy to address your ideas when I film the next “Season” (that’s what all the YouTubers are calling them now). While you’re there, if you hit subscribe, you can be kept up to date with new content and I will love you forever for having subscribed.

All the best and have a great week,

Bobby

My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BobbyHarrisonMusic

Free 40 Minute Blues Guitar Lesson With Tab

Hi everybody, 

We’ve uploaded an exclusive lesson to our YouTube channel. 

“15 Essential Blues Guitar Licks” is a 100% FREE, in depth blues guitar lesson with on-screen tab. In this tutorial, we will learn 15 licks in the context of a 12 bar blues solo over a shuffle groove in the good old-fashioned key of A.

Our solo spans two choruses (twice around the 12 bar progression) and features many classic blues licks and phrases in the styles of B.B. King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and Albert Collins. 

These 15 licks feature classic blues tonality, along with chord tones that really highlight the changes. These are all extremely usable ideas that you can incorporate into your own playing. Each lick breakdown features on-screen tab

In addition to learning the solo, we’re also going to cover a very cool rhythm guitar part that you can try out next time you find yourself at a blues jam. Enjoy! 

While you’re on our YouTube page, feel free to give the video and like and subscribe to our channel.

Have a great weekend,

Bobby & Sarah

How Good Do I Need To Be?

Long Blues Shuffle Solo Study (part 4) - video poster

A question musicians often ask themselves is “How good do I need to be?” Think about that phrase for a minute. It’s one of those scary, bottomless questions to which there really isn’t a definitive answer.

In our lifetime as musicians, many of us never grow complacent with our progress or simply consider ourselves good enough. Our goals may change from one year or even one day to the next. Do you want to be as good as Jimi Hendrix was in 1969? As good as your mate Jeff? Do you want to specialise in just one style? Would you like to be more of an allrounder? Do you strive to master classical or jazz alongside your blues or rock playing? How about mastering slide guitar, or learning to play a second instrument, such as piano or harmonica?

As a musical instrument, the electric guitar is still relatively young. I started playing in 1988 and by then, I thought the bar had already been set in terms of what could be done with the guitar. Fast forward 30 years and there are now so many great, inspiring players to listen to and draw from that it can sometimes feel intimidating. The important thing to remember is that music is not a competition. Our goal as guitarists is to find our own voice on the instrument.

Who wouldn’t want to lock themselves in a room and emerge 3 hours later a better guitarist?

Mastering every style of guitar playing would take the average human several lifetimes. It’s a near impossible task, but the fact that we never really stop learning and improving is what makes the journey so exciting. It’s a journey without a destination. How cool is that? Unlike athletes, who are forced to retire after their prime, we musicians have a lifetime in which to express ourselves on our instrument. You may never reach full six string enlightenment, but who wouldn’t want to lock themselves in a room with a guitar and emerge 3 hours later a better player?

Like levelling up in a video game, personal progress can become an addiction and some of us never stop striving to improve. I know musicians who seem to improve daily, due to the work they put into their craft. One of my biggest personal peeves is fellow musicians who judge another player’s ability based on the last time they heard them play, which may have been a decade ago, ignoring the possibility that the person they are judging may have made huge advances in that time, rather than simply stagnating. Keep working on your playing and your playing will work for you.

On a personal level, I continue to work on my craft daily and I feel that I’m a better guitar player than I was 10 months ago, let alone 10 years ago. Maybe one day I’ll stop putting in the work, but for now, 30 years into my life as a guitarist, I still feel that there is a great deal progress to be made and it’s that motivation that gets me out of bed every morning…or afternoon!

Until next time, happy playing!

Cheers,

Bobby

How Do You Play Guitar With Feel?

Slow Blues 13: Taking It Down - Fourth Slow Blues Solo Study (part 3) - video poster

What is feel? In the most general sense, feel is essentially a musician’s ability to connect with the listener on an emotional level. The resulting emotion can vary from excitement, to sadness and even to tension (especially if we like to play those crunchy outside notes).

In terms of lead guitar, feel can best be defined by the way we apply our expressive techniques such as vibrato, string bends, note choice, phrasing, our sense of dynamics and our overall tone. Of course, this varies greatly from one guitar player to the next.

The general mood of the song we are soloing over also plays a huge role when it comes to making an emotional connection with our audience, as does the chord progression, as this will determine our note choices. Additionally, some players just seem to have a secret mojo in their playing that can be impossible to describe.

So, can feel be taught? This is a difficult question to answer definitively, simply because a guitarist’s feel is essentially an extension of his or her personality and a teacher cannot manipulate a person’s character (or, at least, they shouldn’t try to). However, the core ingredients that make up what we consider emotional playing can indeed be taught. For example, a good guitar teacher can advise the student on the intricacies of vibrato, phrasing, dynamics and note choice, guiding the student to work on developing these techniques over time. However, there is no magic wand that will instantly transform any student into B.B. King. Crafting one’s own style can be a lifelong pursuit.

We can work towards developing our own feel on a slightly more abstract and subconscious level. Try the following exercise: Without overthinking, try to visualise three blues guitarists whose names frequently come up in conversation when discussing the subject of feel. There’s a strong chance that B.B. King, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix were some of the names that immediately came to mind. Perhaps you chose Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Albert Collins, but that doesn’t matter. One thing blues players have in common is that they all play with feel.

Now go back to the first name you chose, close your eyes and try to imagine hearing that guitarist play. Can you hear it? There’s a good chance that you’ve already listened to and internalised so much of their music that you can literally hear their phrasing in your mind. Try the same exercise with the remaining two names you chose.

Sounds lovely, right? Without realising, the chances are you have just picked your three favourite guitarists, or at least the three whose playing affects you the most strongly on an emotional level. You should now take time to analyse what it is about the feel of these three players that you love so much. What qualities do they share? What is it about their phrasing or vibrato that you connect so strongly with?

Feel is not something that you either have or you don’t. Nobody picks up a guitar on day one with the sudden ability to make it sing!

It may help to make a list of the specific traits of your favourite players that most appeal to you as these are the things you should work on and apply to your own playing. In much the same way as many vocalists subconsciously adopt the vibrato or phrasing of their favourite singers, you too will find that you will naturally inherit the expressive qualities of the guitarists you listen to the most. After all, we are what we eat and new music cannot be made without influences.

It’s no crime to make a conscious effort to copy our favourite players. In fact, copying other guitarist’s licks and making them our own is a huge part of the blues. After all, the blues is essentially a language. A musical form of communication. If musicians didn’t borrow phrases from one another, the blues would lose its instantly identifiable sound and become something else entirely.

Don’t worry about becoming a Stevie Ray Vaughan clone If you happen to learn Texas Flood note for note. Learn some B.B. King next, then some Albert Collins. Hey presto! You are now a blues guitarist whose style is a cross between Stevie Ray, B.B. and Albert Collins. If you analyse most guitar players’ styles closely enough, you can hear the influence of three or four key inspirations. In Stevie Ray Vaughan’s playing, you can hear the influences of Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Buddy Guy and Freddie King. However, it could never be said that Stevie didn’t have his own instantly recognisable style.

Let’s conclude by dispelling some ill-informed myths about feel. Firstly, it’s been said that you can’t play fast with feel. You only have to listen to Eric Johnson or some of the aforementioned Stevie Ray’s rapid fire flourishes to know that’s untrue. While not an essential ingredient of the blues, a sudden burst of speed at the right point in a solo can really hit the listener square in the feelings. The myth may have originated in the midst of 80s shred overkill, during which time, many young guitarists (my 13 year old self included) became obsessed with playing fast at the expense of working on their vibrato or phrasing.

Finally, feel not something that you either have or you don’t. Obviously, it’s possible to prefer one player’s feel to another’s, but we are all able to continually work on and improve our own expressive techniques. Nobody picks up a guitar on day one with the sudden ability to make it sing. In fact, we all sound terrible at first. We sound like angry bumblebees when we first attempt vibrato and like crying cats when we first try to bend strings.

The most important thing we can do to improve as guitar players is to be mindful of our own playing and to listen to ourselves. This sense of awareness will help us filter out the important things that we need to work on, allowing us to play what we hear in our heads and connect with our audience on an emotional level.

Until next time, enjoy your practice,

Bobby

Welcome To Absolute Blues Guitar!

Welcome to our website! I can’t tell you how good it feels to type these words. This project was a long time in the making, for both myself and Absolute Blues’ very own web developer, Sarah Cox. One day, I’m sure we’ll sit down and calculate just how many hundreds of hours went into launching this course (Edit: *coughs* thousands! – SC), but for now, we’re extremely proud just to have it exist and to know that right now, you are visiting our live site.

So, once again, welcome to our website. Less than a handful of people close to Sarah and myself were aware of this impending project, prior to launch. We wanted to keep things under wraps until everything was as perfect as we could make it.

Sarah worked tirelessly, designing and coding the website from the ground up, testing and re-testing like the true perfectionist she is, in order to provide you with a fun and effortless experience. Everything you see here, from the site’s appearance to the intricate membership system is a result Sarah’s very own custom programming. A lot of care went into the site’s build and we feel that it shows. The result is a clean and neat user interface where the primary focus is on the student’s learning experience.

Filming, teaching, editing and transcribing the content was my job. Those who know me well will know how self-critical I can be, but when it came to the making of this course, I can truly say that and I am so proud of every lesson I produced. During the site’s filming, I found myself caught on a wave of inspiration in which I managed to capture myself on something of a creative roll. Of course, I had a very detailed plan of what I wanted to teach, but as each video shoot unfolded, I kept discovering new ideas that I wanted to present alongside the original lesson plans, essentially doubling the educational content.

If I had to go back and film each lesson again, even if I played the same notes and spoke the same words, I would not have been as pleased with the end result as I am now.

So, what is Absolute Blues Guitar? Quite simply, Absolute Blues Guitar is a truly immersive online guitar course, committed to making you a better blues guitarist.

As well as learning hundreds of great blues licks, solos and rhythm guitar styles, you will learn how to improvise and play with true expression and feel.

Whatever your level, our course offers hundreds of video lessons, covering decades of classic blues, from T-Bone Walker to Stevie Ray Vaughan and everything in between.

In addition to learning classic blues styles such as Chicago and Texas blues, jump blues, slide guitar and slow blues, we cover other blues-influenced styles such as rock ’n’ roll, southern rock, blues-rock and even jazz-blues.

Everything we teach is broken down note-for-note and written out in either tab and standard notation or in the form of fretboard diagrams. We also offer hundreds of downloadable backing tracks in a variety of grooves and keys for you to play along with, allowing you to hone your skills in a realistic, jam-like setting.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced player looking to add a bluesy feel to your playing, we offer a complete, step by step blues guitar course with absolutely nothing missing.

Take a look around and try out some of our free lessons. Take as much time as you need. We’re here to answer any questions you may have. If you’ve already signed up, we’re proud to have you on board. Again, if ever you need our help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Once again, thank you. We hope you enjoy using the site as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.

Cheers,

Bobby