BB King Guitar Lessons from the man himself!

Lester

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BB King going through his influences and teaching you to play like BB King, video link below. Five videos in the series, the first one has links in the comments to the others.

Maybe I'm actually a newb but this helped me a lot in getting closer to his sound and some early blues stuff I didn't know I didn't know. I think if I get through all five videos I'll be fairly good his sound and maybe twice the blues player. That guy had some roots!

He does love to bend i.e. "Need to play an F at the 12th fret on the high E? Play a D at the 9th and bend it up." Etc. A third of his notes are bends up of an off scale note instead of the note in the scale. Hard to get used to since my fingers default to the scale notes. But, it sounds a lot better and clearly closer to the old blues masters. Also index finger bends.

Of course, lots of vibrato, but we knew that. All fingers. But something I never caught on to before, even though I saw him live and up-close a few of times, is that he doesn't even use his thumb to hold the neck most of the time. The vibrato is free form on the neck, maybe with a little of the thumb tendon holding the back sometimes. Actually easy to to. I already free-formed a bit previously with no thumb to reach the upper threats on my LP (shorter fingers) but this is a step beyond that.

Worth your time if you're not already a guru. Worth eveyone's time just to listen to this true gentleman:

B.B. King Clinic 1/5 - Influences - YouTube

PS. After doing this for an hour or so, my fingers feel a bit like a new player. Fingertips are abused from the hard bends.
PPS. He plays 10's and considers them thin compared to what he used in the early days...Billy Gibbons might have gone down to 8's after talking with him, but BB considers 10's thin.
 

huw

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I've recently been revisiting that video series too. It's marvellous stuff alright.

One thing I'm always struck by anew, whenever I watch those, is how much he knows. He tells the interviewer every note he plays by name - even when he demonstrates some cool chord grips (BB playing chords!? I know! :laugh2:) he spells the chord out note by note.

Always worth going back to the master :)
 

EXPLRGAB

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I HAVE SEEN BB SEVERAL TIMES...TO INCLUDE..... BACK IN THE DAY AT FILLMORE EAST....I THINK I/WE MAY TAKE BB FOR GRANTED...HIS SINGING, BAND, GUITAR PLAYING.....I NEVER HEARD A BAD NOTE...THE LYRICAL QUALITY OF HIS SINGING GUITAR AND THE PERFECT RESOLUTION OF HIS PHRASING....I AM GRATEFUL AND HUMBLED TO HAVE SEEN BB KING IN HIS PRIME.....WHAT A GENTLEMAN..A CLASS ACT...A GREAT AMERICAN. I OFTEN THINK OF THE LYRICS I HEARD FROM HIS PERFORMANCE AT FILLMORE EAST DURING OBVIOUSLY LESS POLITICALLY CORRECT TIMES....."ONE LEG TO THE EAST; ONE LEG TO THE WEST...AND I AM IN THE MIDDLE TRYING TO DO MY BEST."
 

Lester

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...

One thing I'm always struck by anew, whenever I watch those, is how much he knows. He tells the interviewer every note he plays by name - even when he demonstrates some cool chord grips (BB playing chords!?
And yet he claimed to know nothing of music theory. I heard him say once "I don't know chords". But he knows where to find the sound, every time, whether it's in the scale or not.
 
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Lester

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I HAVE SEEN BB SEVERAL TIMES...TO INCLUDE..... BACK IN THE DAY AT FILLMORE EAST....I THINK I/WE MAY TAKE BB FOR GRANTED...HIS SINGING, BAND, GUITAR PLAYING.....I NEVER HEARD A BAD NOTE...THE LYRICAL QUALITY OF HIS SINGING GUITAR AND THE PERFECT RESOLUTION OF HIS PHRASING....I AM GRATEFUL AND HUMBLED TO HAVE SEEN BB KING IN HIS PRIME.....WHAT A GENTLEMAN..A CLASS ACT...A GREAT AMERICAN. I OFTEN THINK OF THE LYRICS I HEARD FROM HIS PERFORMANCE AT FILLMORE EAST DURING OBVIOUSLY LESS POLITICALLY CORRECT TIMES....."ONE LEG TO THE EAST; ONE LEG TO THE WEST...AND I AM IN THE MIDDLE TRYING TO DO MY BEST."
Yeah, I saw him a few times too. Once when he opened a BB King Blues club for the first night. Sat at a table 10' from the man. He just oozed warmth and charm.
 

multi-useless

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Currently watching part 3 of 5 and playing along as best I can, and I just did something with a guitar that I’ve never done before - bending high E, I just pulled the string straight out of the tuner. I didn’t break the string, I pulled it out.

Granted, whoever put these strings on (it’s a relatively new-to-me guitar) pulled them pretty tight before winding and didn’t leave much string wrapped around the tuners, but damn lol
 

Lester

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Currently watching part 3 of 5 and playing along as best I can, and I just did something with a guitar that I’ve never done before - bending high E, I just pulled the string straight out of the tuner. I didn’t break the string, I pulled it out.

Granted, whoever put these strings on (it’s a relatively new-to-me guitar) pulled them pretty tight before winding and didn’t leave much string wrapped around the tuners, but damn lol
He does test the limits. I was thinking I was going to break E strings doing those bends, but I haven't yet.
 


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