“I REALLY LIKE MINOR BLUES,” SAYS JOE BONAMASSA.
“It’s like pork—it’s the other white meat. It’s the forgotten blues.”
As he talks, Bonamassa starts some mournful riffing in C minor
before settling into the groove that we see here.
He walks into the I chord with the simple but decidedly non-pentatonic
lick before landing on a suggestion of a Cm. Resist the
temptation to fill that chord out. As we’ll see, part of the Bonamojo
lies in little open-voiced two-note hints of chords. He then does a
quick slide that includes the major 6 (A), a note that will be replaced
with Ab in the following bar with the Fm chord. Bar 3, where we’re
back to our I chord, features the slick double-stop slides that are a
hallmark of the minor blues—try ’em and you’ll see. In bar 4, Bonamassa
subs in a Csus2 for the Im chord.
In the next phrase we get an arpeggiated IVm chord. The thing to notice here is how many different ways
he attacks, phrases, and animates the chords
to keep things interesting. After a bar of Cm,
JB takes us to the V chord.
The notation says
G7#9 but that’s merely what his line implies,
thanks to the major 3 in the first chord and
the minor 3s in the rest of the bar. “The cool
thing about the minor blues,” he says, “is
that you can kind of float in between the
major and the minor in certain situations
where it makes sense.” He walks down chromatically
to an Fm7 and the revisits the I
chord before wrapping up on a straight G
“It’s really an art,” he offers. “There are
a lot of guys who do it really well. Ronnie
Earl comes to mind. There’s ‘Tin Pan Alley,’
that Stevie Ray Vaughan did. Gary Moore’s
‘Midnight Blues’ is a great example of the
Peter Green school, and obviously Peter
Green is another.”
This lesson was transcribed with a Godin Freeway
SA guitar, a Roland GI-20 MIDI interface,
and Sibelius software.