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3 note blues solo

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Guitar Lesson Overview

Can you really play a 12 bar solo with only 3 notes? Well, sure you can! In this video, I am playing over a 12 bar blues in the key of A, and each time through the 12 bars, I play only 3 notes from the A minor pentatonic scale. It's not my best blues solo ever, granted, but it is a good exercise in itself, and the video may be helpful in demonstrating that you don't need to play a lot of notes when you are playing the blues.

It's all about phrasing and making musical statements. That's what great about the blues - you can play 3 notes over and over - slightly change the way you phrase those 3 notes every time - and voila, it can sound great. Practice playing fewer notes when soloing and see how you fare.

The backing track is called "Get Close" and can be found on my backing tracks page. You can also get it directly from here.

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You can also download this video from here if you prefer having it on your computer.

Comment on this?

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Comments on this video lesson:

blufly said...

Wow! Talk about breaking the minor pentatonic into down into soulful parts. Many thanks Robert, a great demonstration.

Comment added on July 26, 2013
alain boulet said...

I love the 3 note blues
do you have tabs for this piece?

Comment added on April 07, 2013
mark dupere said...

you don't want tab for this, what robert did here is improvise. you don't want to copy it exactly thats how you get your own style.they didn't have tab 20 years ago thats how you get good. follow what robert has and add your own flavor. no 2 guitarist play the same
called transcribing, this makes you hear notes. be yourself this is only a guide for you to express (yourself)

Comment added on December 21, 2012
gordo said...

I like your 3 note solo. Do have the tab for it?

Comment added on June 08, 2012
Dan Robinson said...

TAB it.

Comment added on April 28, 2012
Ken said...

Great lesson, but I would giver ANYTHING if you would add the tabs.


Comment added on March 25, 2012
Greywolf said...

Wow great video sounds cool for only 3 notes. I'm a beginner do you have tabs for this video?

Comment added on March 16, 2012
Mike said...

Hey Robert that's a great little lick between 7 & 8 seconds. 'Love the mechanics of it. Thank you

Comment added on February 24, 2012
Ricardo Santos Souza said...

Hi Robert you are a great guy I am a teacher I am more in love with Brazilian Blues thanks to you I'm developing quite a lot things and successes Thank you!

Comment added on January 07, 2012
Barry said...

Lovely solo, well worked and the build up is excellent.Shows what you can do - Thank you. Wish there was a tab !

Comment added on October 10, 2011
Ravi said...

What does it take to play like this? So laid back and beautiful. Wish I was in your shoes.

Comment added on March 11, 2011
Ben Greene said...

The gentleman plays well, but that's not really playing an entire blues chorus on just three notes. All the notes in the slides, hammers, pull offs, bends and other techniques should count. I understand the idea and I suppose that's what he meant by the example being "over the top."

Comment added on January 01, 2011
Michael LaRue said...

Is there a PDF of this tune? It's great Robert.

Comment added on December 21, 2010
Robert said...

Bob, I'm just playing A Minor Pentatonic throughout this video. The only notes are A, C, D, E and G. However you put them together and however you come up with boxes and fingering, it's still just those 5 notes that make up this scale.

Comment added on December 03, 2010
bob said...

According to what I know the positioning on the fret board is not the Am pentatonic blues box.
Am I missin' something?

Comment added on December 03, 2010
jamal said...

hi robert you are the best i admire you i discovered your videos by pure chance and iam really happy thanks at you iam playing better day by day salute from spain sorry for my bad english

Comment added on November 01, 2010
Vasiliy said...


Comment added on August 09, 2010
nap said...

Great video. So cool I love it. I from the Philippines

Comment added on May 16, 2010
christian said...

great video but the latin students need subtitle in spanish . thanks
im from Perù

Comment added on March 04, 2010
Daniel said...

Unfortunately the video stops after one bar of three note solo....

Comment added on January 18, 2010
Seany M said...

Hi Robert,
your guitar playing has helped my own on a huge scale! I have only been playing properly a year too!
All the best from Ireland,

Comment added on November 16, 2009
Mich from Belgium said...

Great player and teacher.

Comment added on October 29, 2009
Carl said...

excellent example of 'less is more'; thanks for that little lesson Robert, keep'm coming my friend, really good stuff.

Comment added on October 29, 2009
ElusiveRick said...


Comment added on October 29, 2009
Stefan Johansson said...

Once again you have shown us what a great guitarmaster and teacher you are!! It´s awesome Robert, more of this great stuff!!

Comment added on October 29, 2009

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Free Guitar Lessons
New Course - Comping with Triads -

Learn 6 common chord progressions.

NEW - T-Bone Walker Lesson

"You are simply the best teacher on the internet. Always cool, explain things well, and relevant stuff for beginners to advanced players. Even my kids are into your lessons now!"

I was chosen as the 2013 Next Top Guitar Instructor at Truefire!