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In Part 7 you learnt about the Lydian Pivot Technique, the augmented wide spread arpeggio and you also you learnt another finger gymnastics exercise to add to your warm up arsenal.

For any new readers, this series on advanced guitar lessons is built upon my experience of pushing my own guitar playing to the next level by having guitar lessons with a highly experienced and exceptional guitarist called Scott McGill.

Using Chord Inversions when playing Blues Guitar.

In this lesson I want to introduce the idea of breaking away from our favourite Blues progression chord shapes and instead use chord inversions learnt in Part 3 (G Dom7 chord and its inversions on E string section of lesson) and Part 5 (G Dom7 and its inversions on the A string section of lesson).

We are focusing on the Dom7 inversions because our emphasis is currently on the Blues and the Blues can use the Dom7 chord exclusively. We will use the chords of an A Blues, the chords are as follows.

I = A7

IV= D7

V= E7

Our goal is to be able to play the I- IV- V chord progression in A using the Dom7 inversions, always using the nearest possible inversion. Here is an example of the Blues chords in A using the closest inversions

Blues Inversions Pattern 1

Blues Inversions 1

Blues Inversions 1





Blues Inversions Pattern 2

Blues Inversions 2

Blues Inversions 2




Blues Inversions Pattern 3

Blues Inversions 3

Blues Inversions 3




Blues Inversions Pattern 4

Blues Inversions 4

Blues Inversions 4




Voice Leading over the chord changes with Arpeggios

Once we have the inversions under our fingers and we understand how to find the nearest possible inversions when playing the Blues, it is time for us to play a simple Blues with the arpeggios for each inversion. To do this we first need to write out the Dom 7chords we are using and the notes of each Dom7 chord next to the chord name.

A7 A- C sharp- E- G

D7 D- Fsharp- A- C

E7 E- Gsharp- B- D

If we start by working out how to play the notes of each chord to form arpeggios based around the Blues inversion pattern 1 learnt earlier we will have a good framework to work with. Below are arpeggios I have created to use around the pattern 1 shown above. Our idea is to play notes of the particular arpeggio over the corresponding chord. For example use the A7 arpeggio below when the I chord (A7) is being played. Use the D7 arpeggio over the IV chord (D7) and finally the E7 arpeggio over the V chord (E7). Refresh your mind of the 12 bar form if you are not completely comfortable with it and then  start to try out the arpeggios. Scott discussed with me the idea that a great player doesnt need to play over a classic blues rhythm to play the Blues and just his melodies alone should make you hear the Blues progression.

Arpeggios for Blues A7

Arpeggios for Blues A7 chord





Arpeggios for Blues D7 chord

Arpeggios for Blues D7 chord


Arpeggios for Blues E7 chord

Arpeggios for Blues E7 chord





Remember this doesn’t need to be played at breakneck speed by any means, focus on the rhythm in which you play the notes, the note choice and finding the same notes that appear in 2 of the chords. If you find the common tones for example the A note is present in both A7 and D7, the E note is present in both A7 and E7 and the D note in D7 and E7 you can use these notes over those chords and sounds safe before branching out into a larger pallet of notes.

This process should now be repeated with the 3 remaining inversion patterns (patterns 2, 3 and 4) that we learnt earlier on in this lesson. Read part 9 to find out how to do this.

If you feel you have learnt something from this free lesson and may want to learn guitar with Your Guitar Tutor then please our eBook where you will learn everything to take an Intermediate player into the advanced stages of playing.

Tom Clark

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