Whether playing rhythm guitar by yourself or sharing the duties with
another guitarist or keyboard player, it’s important to play with
intensity, all the while keeping the groove focused, concise, and—as
musicians like to say—in the pocket. A nice pocket occurs when everyone
in the rhythm section plays the right part at the right time with the
right dynamics and feel and is constantly listening and reacting to the
other players. In the 12-bar blues example above, the guitar doubles the
bass in a pocket that helps define the groove.
Played in the style of Buddy Guy, Albert King, and other blues greats, this riff isn’t particularly difficult to finger. Nailing it down with the right phrasing, however, is another story. It’s not easy to play with consistency while retaining that lively, relaxed, and loose feel that is the mark of a stellar musician. In addition to listening extensively to live performances and recordings in the style you’re pursuing, the following practice techniques will help you nail any blues groove:
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