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Blues guitar is often defined by its light, natural-sounding distorted crunch and a pleasant, round tone. You’ll also need to use the natural expressiveness of the guitar to be able to play both softly and loudly during a blues song, and so I always recommend blues musicians going for a tube amp. Set your gain right where you can play lightly for a nice, clean tone, but where you’ll also get some tasty, soulful distortion when you dig into a note. If you’re getting a tube amp, I’d recommend getting something with a lower wattage so you can crank the gain right on the amp and use its natural distortion settings (no need for fancy pedals in the blues).

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We can use the same modal shape with our legato technique as well. In this lick, we use a smooth and connected scalar approach on the first three beats, then shift gears to outline the chord by playing a Dm6 arpeggio. The lick ends on a common pentatonic bend to circle back around to the blues.

It’s always good to try to find ways to reengage with your collaborators even if they live elsewhere — developing and maintaining a network of home recording cowriters and musicians you can hit up is a very valuable musical practice. So last Friday, I shot him a text asking if he could track something for me by Sunday. I had a flawless solo take and some background parts less than two hours later.