IN OUR LAST INSTALLMENT WE SAW JOE
Bonamassa take us through a sweet and sorrowful minor blues
progression. Now he’s going to show you how to work through
your sadness by absolutely shredding over those same changes.
Before we let the healing begin, keep in mind that this chart
is just an approximation of what Bonamassa played. His lines
are more of an intro cadenza and are played molto rubato, i.e.
in free time. He speeds up and slows down at will, so the rhythmic
designations here are just vague suggestions. Also, by his
own admission, this is not how Bonamassa would typically approach an emotional solo: “I normally wouldn’t
play that technically.” As woodshedders we
should be glad that he did, though, because
each bar stands as a great chops builder.
He starts it off with a classic pentatonic
lick with a twist: Despite the Cm backdrop,
Bonamassa still adds a quarter-step bend to
the b3, blurring the distinction between major
and minor. It seems like it wouldn’t work,
but it does. At the end of bar 2 the burning
begins. These four-note groupings are a recurring
motif for him, and even though he can
whip them off machine-gun style, it’s okay
to break them up with pauses, bends, hammers,
or pulls. Over the Fm chord in the 4th
bar he sweeps an arpeggio and then cruises
up to the thirteenth position for some tripletinfused
hammer-ons that bring in the 9 (G),
a potent flavor in a minor blues. When we
get back to the I chord, Bonamassa throws
down another of his blistering four-againstsix
runs. Again, treat what’s written here as
an exercise, and then in a solo, just use as
much or as little as you see fit.
When we get to the V chord, he does a
tasty augmented run that fearlessly makes
use of both B and Bb. There’s definite gold in
this bar—mine it! As we near the end, dig the
bend that connects the Fm to the Cm—it spans
two full-steps and is packed full of emotion.
Get these moves under your fingers and go
tell your tale of woe!