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Blues Rumba (BB King Style)

Blues Rumba might be the solution you are looking for when you grow tired of shuffles and slow blues. In this article you learn how to intregrate this great groove into your repertoire. For our ‘Playing On The Porch’ approach we will use a Blues Rumba solo in the style of the great BB King.

The main characteristics of a Blues Rumba

The main characteristic of a Blues Rumba is the rest on beat ‘2’. The second note is played on beat ‘2+’. Another typical attribute of a Blues Rumba is the straight 8th note feel.

Blues Rumba Grooves

This is the basic Blues Rumba groove, the mother of all Blues Rumba grooves so to speak. I’ll show it in the open position (that is with unfretted strings), because later on, when we add solo licks, this will make things a lot easier.

Guitar Blues Rumba Example 1

 

This kind of groove is used for example on the song ‘Woke Up This Morning’ (BB King, CD ‘Live At The Regal’, one of the greatest live recordings of all time) and a really rocking version is played on ‘Jailhouse Rock’ (The Blues Brothers, CD ‘The Blues Brothers Original Sound Track Recording’).

 

Here is ‘the other’ Blues Rumba groove:

Blues Rumba for Guitar Example 2

This kind of groove is used for example on the songs ‘Crosscut Saw’ (Albert King, CD ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’) and ‘Don’t You Lie To Me’ (Gary Moore, CD ‘After Hours’).

Try to play these grooves as a complete 12-bar Blues:

| A | A | A | A | D | D | A | A | E | D | A | A |

I show several more rumba grooves in my book “Garantiert Bluesgitarre lernen” (Alfred Music Publishing Germany, 2012, page 65-67) with song examples (and the CD titles where you find these recordings) for each groove.

Adding in solo licks

Ex. 3 shows a great lick in the style of BB King.

Blues Rumba for Guitar Example 3

 

Just by changing the ending of this lick according to the underlying chord at the moment we can create a complete 12-bar Blues Rumba solo in the style of BB King:

Blues Rumba for Guitar Example Solo Etude

During the first chorus the bass plays Blues Rumba groove 1 and during the second chorus Blues Rumba groove 2.

Using our ‘Playing On The Porch’ approach we now alternate between the above shown solo licks and bass groove:

Blues Rumba for Guitar Example Etude 5

As always hit the notes with the stems pointing upwards with your finger(s) and the notes with the stems pointing downwards with the thumb

Now try to add in ‘the other Blues Rumba groove’ (Ex. 2) into this solo on your own .

If you want to learn more concepts like this you should check out my ebook ‘Playing On The Porch – How to Play Blues Guitar On Your Own’, available on my website.

Stay tuned!

Lesson by Andi Saitenhieb. Taken from ‘Playing On The Porch – How To Play Blues Guitar On Your Own’ available at www.andisaitenhieb.de

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Andi Saitenhieb , guitarist & guitar teacher - Fundamental Changes for guitar

Author - Andi Saitenhieb

Andi Saitenhieb is a professional guitarist, singer and a highly respected and much sought after guitar teacher from Germany. He has over a decade of teaching experience and has taught hundreds of musicians over the years both privately and within countless workshops. Andi specializes in old school blues: Delta and Country Blues on acoustic guitar and…

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