Magazine article Guitar Player

Blue Moves. (Chops)

Magazine article Guitar Player

Blue Moves. (Chops)

Article excerpt

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-D[flat],-C-B descent on the third string--creates a burst of harmony that adds a new dimension to this otherwise genetic lick.

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Now, without adding another voice, try further refreshing this turnaround by dropping the root, G, an octave, so that it lies between the other two voices. This yields such rich sounding cadences as Examples 2a and 2b. Remember, when using either of these turnarounds to close a tune, tack on a meaty [flat]II-I shift at the end--like the A[flat]7-G9 move we learned in the first example--for added finality.

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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. …

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