Learn to Play BB King

If the blues had a king, it would undoubtedly be the one and only BB King. Known for his expressive and soulful playing, BB King has become a cornerstone in the world of blues guitar. Our product "Learn to Play BB King" provides guitarists with a deep-dive exploration into six of his most iconic songs. Each song is deconstructed by tutor Lee Hodgson and taught note for note, with particular emphasis on the guitar scales and solos that form the backbone of King’s unique blues sound.

Everyday I Have the Blues

Played in the key of B, "Everyday I Have the Blues" is a classic 12-bar blues tune. It includes chord progressions with a liberal use of 7th chords which give the song its distinctive jazzy feel. The solo heavily features the B Mixolydian scale, with expressive bends and BB King's iconic vibrato technique. Each note speaks, carrying the emotional content of the song.

Rock Me Baby

"Rock Me Baby" is another quintessential blues track. In this track, the focus is on the C major pentatonic scale, while also incorporating minor tonalities for a truly bluesy feel. King's approach to the solo on this track showcases his command over rhythm and timing, adding an expressiveness that sets him apart. We'll analyze the solo's dynamic use of string bending, timing, and vibrato to convey emotion.

Sweet Sixteen

"Sweet Sixteen" is a poignant ballad that makes use of the G major pentatonic scale. The song’s chord progressions follow a classic 12-bar blues framework, providing a firm basis for an emotionally charged guitar solo. King’s solo is marked by its heavy reliance on vibrato, combined with his unique way of sliding into notes and hitting microtonal bends.

Three O' Clock Blues

"Three O' Clock Blues" is a lesson in emotional storytelling. King leverages the expressive power of the Bb minor pentatonic scale to convey a deep sense of longing and despair. One of the highlights of this song is its complex solo. King weaves in arpeggios within the minor pentatonic framework, and the result is a masterclass in emotive soloing.

The Thrill is Gone

Perhaps King’s most recognized song, "The Thrill is Gone," is performed in the key of B minor. The song is a perfect demonstration of how King uses a minor pentatonic scale to express deep and profound emotion. He adds his characteristic blend of string bending and vibrato to shape the tone and feel of his lead lines. The song’s solo is a testament to King’s ability to make every note count.

That's Why I Sing the Blues

"That's Why I Sing the Blues" is a testament to BB King's commitment to the blues genre. The song features a 12-bar blues chord progression and makes use of the G minor pentatonic scale. The solo is a brilliant display of King's unique style of string bending and his intricate sense of rhythm.

BB King’s Unique Contribution

Beyond the individual songs, it's crucial to appreciate BB King's unique contribution to these songs and blues music in general. King had an extraordinary knack for taking simple scale patterns and transforming them into soulful musical expressions. His solos are never just a succession of notes but a deeply emotive journey that resonates with the listener. King's innovative use of the minor pentatonic and Mixolydian scales, combined with his distinctive vibrato, has forever shaped the landscape of blues guitar playing.

Guitar Techniques in the Lessons

In these lessons, we analyze a range of guitar techniques that BB King employs. These techniques are foundational to King's blues sound, and understanding them can help to improve your own blues guitar playing. Here are the guitar techniques used:

With the "Learn to Play BB King" course, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of how to use these techniques in your own playing. Whether you're a beginner looking to dive into the world of blues or an experienced guitarist looking to master the iconic style of BB King, this course offers valuable insights for every level of player.

About The Tutor

Tutor Profile

Lee Hodgson

"Lee's contribution here at LickLibrary is a masterclass in classic guitar playing, from Hank Marvin to Simon & Garfunkel, but that certainly isn't the limit of his skills. In reality, Lee is one of the most technically able country guitar players we've ever seen, in fact his book ""Hot Country""...

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