In today’s installment of our RGT Rock Guitar video lesson series, we will be checking out an the Improvisation section of the Grade 2 Rock Guitar Exam, with an emphasis on Rock Guitar Blues Soloing.
In the second half of our look at the improvisation section from the RGT Grade Two rock guitar exam, you will learn uses several dominant seventh chords.
These type of chords instantly give the music a slightly blues edge, even though the chord progression is not a traditional blues pattern.
At this level, the ideal scale for improvising with over the example chord progression shown below is the two octave A blues scale (see below).
When using this scale to make up your lead solo, try and play short musical phrases (‘licks’), and include some string bends, as this will fit with the slightly blues style of the track.
As in the exam, the backing track is played five times: listen carefully during the first verse to get a sense of the style and tempo, then use notes from the A blues scale to improvise a lead solo over the next two verses, before switching to rhythm playing for the last two verses.
You don’t need to try and copy the rhythm part that is on the recording; it’s fine to make up your own rhythm style as long as you follow the chord progression fluently and accurately.
An example of the type of chord chart that will occur in the RGT Grade Two exam is shown below, together with the chord shapes and recommended scale.
You can also purchase the RGT Grade 2 Rock Exam book, which contains more examples of Lead and Rhythm Playing’ as well as all of the other songs and musical requirements for this exam.
To read the first article in this series, please visit “Rock Guitar Exam Soloing Lesson.”
To view more articles in this series, please visit the “RGT Rock Guitar Video Lessons Archive.”
A Blues Scale and Chord Chart
When practicing with the backing track provided below, you can improvise over the given chord progression, A7-C-D7-E7-G, with the A Blues Scale.
To help you begin your studies with this important and fun to play melodic device, here is a fingering for the A Blues Scale that you can learn, and then use to improvise over the backing track included in this lesson.
As well, here is the chord progression that is played on the backing track below so that you can follow along when practicing both your rhythm and lead playing along to this track.
Once you have the A Blues Scale and these five chords under your fingers, you can move on to practicing your lead and rhythm playing along to the backing track below, with an example and explanation of this process provided in the video lesson.
Rock Guitar Blues Soloing – Audio
Here is a backing track that is built using the chords mentioned above. To simulate the Grade 2 Rock Guitar Exam situation, put the backing track on and listen to the first run through of the eight-bar form.
After that, solo along with the backing track twice through, before playing the rhythm part twice through.
This is how the lead and rhythm playing portion of the Grade 2 Rock Exam will work, and so practicing in this way at home will allow you to become comfortable with this part of the exam.
Rock Guitar Blues Soloing – Solo
Here is the tab and notation for the sample solo shown in the video below, so that you can learn this as a guide for your own rock guitar blues soloing practice.
Notice that each bar contains a “lick,” a short musical phrase that you can take out of this solo and learn on it’s own.
From there, you can mix and match these licks, as is the case in this solo, along with your own melodic ideas, as you bring them all together in the practice room and later on during the Grade 2 Rock Exam itself.
Rock Guitar Blues Soloing Lesson – Video
Video presented by Chris Bird, Music Editor of Total Guitar Magazine
RGT Rock Guitar Grade 2 Books
To find out more about the Rock Guitar Blues Soloing at this level, and the RGT Rock Grade 2 Exam, please download the RGT Rock Guitar Exam Information Booklet.
You can also check out the Rock Guitar Grade 2 Exam Book, which comes with a CD and contains notation and recordings of all the exam pieces, as well as diagrams for all of the chords and scales that the pieces are based on.
Not a Registered RGT Teacher yet? Visit the Join the RGT Page to find out the great benefits that membership has to offer.