Blues Guitar Lessons

The end of a blues progression is called a "turnaround". It signals the end of a chorus and the beginning of the next. When you solo, it helps to be clear at that point about what you're going to do; take another round or finish off.

Keep your eyes closed and head towards the sky, mouth preferably open and tongue out when you're not done. Look your buddies straight in the eye, nod your head to signal the change.

Another way of showing you know where you are is playing cliche turnarounds.

A turnaround lick can take 1 to 4 bars and follows the chord progression.

Turnaround 1 - CD 77    (mp3 click here : )

TAB Turnaround Ex 01

In these turnarounds the #3 of a chord is used as a marker for that chord. It shows - sometimes even more clearly than the tonic - where you are.
This first one is a real T-Bone Walker turnaround.

Turnaround 2 - CD 78    (mp3 click here : )

TAB Turnaround Ex 02

Play this one real slow till you get the timing right. A turnaround in Ronnie Earl's handwriting.

Turnaround 3 - CD 79

TAB Turnaround Ex 03

This jazzy turnaround makes use of an altered scale on the F7 and implies an F7b9 or F7#9 chord. Whatever you do with this one, do not play an F9.

Note: the more tension in (or on) a chord, the more it wants to resolve.

Altered chords or the use of altered scales on a chord makes you want to move forward to the next chord. This is exactly what we do in a turnaround: we move from chord to chord pretty quickly.
There are a mountain of possibilities here and with them come restrictions on where you can use them and when they sound good.

The use of these altered scales will make you sound more jazzy. Unfortunately, that's not the aim of this book. If you're really interested in these sounds, be prepared to invest some major time.

Turnaround 4 - CD 80

TAB Turnaround Ex 04

This time on the F7 we're using notes of the mixolydian scale. To make really clear that you know where you are, play the three note chords at the end.

Turnaround 5 - CD 81

TAB Turnaround Ex 05

A lot of difficult two and three note roll-overs. This type is in the style of Duke Robillard, the master of turnarounds.

Turnaround 6 - CD 82

TAB Turnaround Ex 06

This one is on Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. He will sometimes slide further than the #3 of the Bb7 (10th fret, 1st string); up to the 12th fret or higher. This is done with great speed because you've got to be back for the next note. This forward whip was also played by Albert Collins who would end the "whip" with a minor third and then bend it like crazy. Try it, it's a great effect.


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