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JGT Lesson: Funky Blues Meets Jazz

Mark Stefani

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Mark Stefani’s latest lesson based on a solo from his “Blues Tripper” composition.

“Blues Tripper” is an original Stefani tune in the key of G – it merges the “All Blues” (Miles) chord voicings with the “Day Tripper” (Beatles) bass line.

Even though “Blues Tripper” is a basic 12-bar, three-chord blues, this section takes place after the final head and is a stationary vamp over the I (G7) chord. A one-chord vamp has always been one of my favorite settings to blow it out, because there are so many options for an improviser. In this case we’re looking at repetitions, a mix of blues and jazz language, funky phrasing, syncopated double-stops and overall energy.

Let’s break it all down. Read on..

1 – The opening measure is just a pickup into the vamp solo section, using a repetition based on the b7th (F) of the key.

It’s done in the traditional G blues bar position at the 3rd fret, so use either your 3rd or 4th finger and add a taste of vibrato if you like. What follows in bar two is one of my all-time favorite George Benson dominant blues moves, combining the same b7th with major blues action between the minor/major 3rds (Bb to B). Watch the slurs (hammers) as they are essential in achieving the proper phrasing.

2 –  Bars three, four and five are where the jazz language rears its head, superimposing D minor lines over the G7 chord.

This is a powerful and melodic option for any player with a decent background in that genre. It begins with Am7 and Fmaj7 vertical/arpeggio movement in 2nd position before the line becomes far more linear in personality. Once again, note the critical slurs (slides and one pull-off) to move smoothly to the 3rd and 5th positions before finally returning to home base at the 3rd fret.

3 – You know what they say about saving the best for last? Well, if the “best” means funky double-stops (aka two-note licks), that’s what happens in the remaining measures of this vamp solo.

The first pair is done via a slide with your hand in the 5th position. I’d recommend using your 2nd and 3rd fingers for the D and F. After that you’ll want to shift to the 3rd position for a series of keyboard-oriented major blues cliches using standard index finger barring while hammering on to the B (3rd of G) with your 2nd finger.

4 – Leading into the final bar you’ll want to shift your left hand up to the 7th/8th position for a classic GB move, then up to the 10th fret for a great double-stop repetition featuring interplay between the b3rd (Bb) and 2nd (A).

What you won’t see notated in the final fade is a common move holding the high D while bending the same Bb, then a series of descending broken octaves ala Benson, based on the G blues scale.


To hear the entire “Blues Tripper” solo, click here.  A complete transcription (standard notation/tab) is available in his popular Monster Guitar Solo series.

Everything in this edition is reflective of the material taught in Mark’s Rhythm & Blues Experience lesson course. Mark Stefani also accepts Zoom/Skype students on a limited basis. Information available upon request.

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