Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Solo In The Style Of ‘Step It Up And Go’

Step It Up And Go Lesson

In the last lesson we took a look at an easy Boogie Woogie accompaniment pattern. In this lesson you learn an authentic fingerstyle solo in the style of ‘Step It Up And Go’ by Blind Boy Fuller. Again this solo can be applied to a countless number of other Blues songs.

All examples are taken from my new book ‘Garantiert Akustik Bluesgitarre lernen’ (published by Alfred Music Publishing in November 2014), which contains many more examples and ideas (available at my website).

The basic solo motif a la ‘Step It Up And Go’

We start with this bluesy motif that is the main ingredient of our Step It Up And Go solo:

Then we accompany this melody with an alternating bass played with the thumb (if you don’t know about this technique please take a look at my previous lessons)

The melody notes on the third fret are all played with the pinky. If possible add a little palm mute to the bass notes.

Building a complete solo from this motif

In the next two bars we play a variation with a G7th chord in the second bar:

Then we play the Step It Up And Go melody over a C major chord. Note that only one note has changed (the C on the first fret of the b string). This note is part of the C major chord we are fretting so we don’t need to change anything to get this note.

In bar 7 and 8 we can repeat one of the G figures we just learned or find another little variation.

For some extra spice I have thrown in a cool bass run:

The only place where our little melody motif doesn’t fit is the D chord (bar 9). Let’s play a simple picking pattern for the D chord using a C7 shape moved up two frets. On the C chord (bar 10) we could play our main motif again, but I prefer the picking pattern we just played on the D chord, moved down two frets:

The complete solo

In the last two bars one of the G riffs could be repeated, but I played a turnaround to make it even more interesting. The complete solo with all the licks we just learned would look like this:

Now try to find a few variations of the main lick on your own and incorporate them into your solo. Try a different picking pattern in bar 9 and 10. How about finding a variation of the main motif that fits the D chord? (Hint: Transpose the C lick two frets up or change the dissonant notes for more pleasing ones.)

Listening Recommandations

Blind Boy Fuller (1907–1941) is one of the all time greats of Country Blues guitar.

‘Truckin’ My Blues Away’ (Yazoo 1060) is a nice sampler with 14 tracks to get you started.

If you want to go crazy about Blind Boy Fuller (and I suggest that you do 😉 you can either buy these two 4-CD-boxes from JSP with 100 tracks each:

‘1935–1938’ (JSP7735) and ‘Volume 2’ (JSP7772) (Vol. 2 contains ‘Step It Up And Go’)

or the Document Records CDs ‘Complete Recorded Works’ Vol. 1–6 (DOCD 5091-5096) (Vol. 5 contains ‘Step It Up And Go’).

The JSP-CDs usually have a better sound quality than the ones Document Records.

Stay tuned!