Hello improvisors and jammers: Here’s a powerful way to play impressive pentatonic piano/keyboard licks when soloing in rock, blues, or jazz settings, using only three fingers in your right hand. This video uses the famous “minor pentatonic” scale (“pentatonic” refers to a five-note scale). With a little work you will be amazed how fast you can fly across the keyboard using this simple trick of the trade!
Welcome to A Study in Blues Piano!
This is an in-depth study of twelve blues licks, with extensive left-hand support tips. Each lick/riff is explored in detail, including variations, fingering, playing tips, and supporting music theory.
More than just learning the notes by rote, you will get insight into the patterns, scales, chords and intervals involved, including how to transpose each lick.
As a result, each lick will be mastered as RAW MATERIAL for endless variations, with applications in many musical settings (genres).
Lick #10 of this group is actually more than a lick; rather, it gives you a complete two-handed 12-bar opening groove, including a left-hand pattern to support your licks throughout your soloing.
Students can download and print optional sheet music for several of the licks. There’s also a sample solo piece with a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 12-bar piano solo that features licks from the class.
THE TWELVE LICK STUDIES
If you want to get better at your blues piano playing, who better to learn from than Ray Charles? Try playing this video while throwing in your own blues licks on top. Also try to imitate or paraphrase some of Brother Ray’s.
Here’s some insight to help you:
Welcome Back to a Study in Blues Piano!
Blues Study Lick #6, “Locked Up”
This is a really exciting technique for what I like to call the “Big Blues” sound. By “Big Blues,” I mean dramatic, exciting, full, like you might hear from a jazz big band. This kind of lick also works great for building to a climax in your “blues story” (a good solo usually tells a story).
The name of this lick, “Locked Up,” ain’t necessarily because what you’re saying with your fingers might be a story about going to jail. In this video, “Locked up” actually refers to the core idea of the lesson, something called “locked rhythm.”
The video lesson below is for keyboard players who want to “properly” use the pitch-bend wheel on their electronic synths or other keyboard. By “properly,” I mean that you can’t just randomly roll that pitch wheel around and expect your keyboard licks to make any sense (outside of cartoonish sound effects).
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The keyboards in this list are personally recommended by me. They are Yamaha keyboards, which I swear by (no affiliation there).