Joe Bonamassa electric blues licks guitar lesson

Joe Bonamassa talks us through some of the go-to licks That define his hot, high-energy style of blues guitar.

He didn't have any of his touring electrics with him, but a gorgeous Gibson Collector's Choice '57 Goldtop Les Paul. It sounded stunning through the Lazy J combo we borrowed from John Henry's for the occasion.

Once Joe was plugged in and warmed up, he explained some of his best blues moves for us, lick by lick.

Joe demonstrates a cool way of adding thickness to bluesy doublestops by using a wider interval. The minor 3rd (top note) is pushed up to the major 3rd, creating a partial major chord, and the rest of the lick uses a G blues scale (G Bb C Db D F). This would work well on the last four bars of a 12-bar blues.

"This is a great way to start a blues if you're with your jamming buddies, and maybe they say, 'Hey, you kick it off'. Try this little lick out for size - it's great for starting a blues, because you get these ominous kind of half-bends within the chord. It's a lot of fun if you can get your hands trained to anticipate the changes and bend down. And the real trick with that is making sure that the intonation's right, because if you don't get that right it just sounds like you're making a lot of mistakes!"

In this lesson, Joe shows how a knowledge of chord inversions can help you get thick, meaty sounds, even when the current chord's root note isn't particularly low on the guitar. When the chord moves from G to C (bar 3), he plays a 2nd inversion C chord (with G, the 5th, at the bottom), keeping things low and pungent!

"One Of the most commonly asked questions is how you get from point A to point B when you're soloing, such as when you're starting high [among the upper frets] and you want to go lower down on the fretboard. So I think about the fretboard in terms of blocks.

"So if you want to do a cascading lick down the neck, you pull [blocks of notes] from every one of these areas. That also helps you in mid-solo to just look down and then if you're in danger of getting stuck [for where to go next], you can kind of right the ship once it starts listing."