Andy Aledort’s KingsofBlues&Rock,Volume1:Johnny Winter
Careful Solo, Continued
This month picks up from our last lesson, which was based on
Johnny Winter’s solo in “Be Careful with a Fool,” from his latest
Columbia release Johnny Winter. This breakdown begins with bar
seven from the 12-bar form, still relying on the C minor pentatonic
but with occasional forays into C major pentatonic, as well as a
brief visit to the G minor pentatonic.
The next measure features a double-stop over the IV chord and
ends with a country-blues flavored C octave as it segues back to
the I chord in measure 5. This has a unique sound played up high
on the neck, harkening back to open-position blues riffs, where
octaves are more commonplace. This technique was used to great
effect by one of Johnny’s heroes, Muddy Waters.
The first measure begins on the I chord and utilizes the C major
pentatonic at the 15th fret. Bend the B string up a whole step and
hold it while hitting the G on the high E string. Use the middle
finger for the bend and ring finger for the static note, or bend with
the ring finger and hold the note with your pinky – whatever method feels best to you. The next measure repeats the same riff with a
change-up at the end to keep things interesting.
Moving to the V chord, the third bar features some Winter-approved eighth note triplets utilizing hammer-ons and pull-offs
on the low E and A strings. Keep a sharp eye out for the half-step
pull-off before sliding up to the G minor pentatonic scale to finish
up the measure.
It’s been said that Johnny Winter knows more blues licks than anyone alive, and he has the talent to squeeze an almost impossible
amount of licks into everything he plays. He never sounds like he’s
aimlessly running up and down the fretboard because he creates
one great idea after another.
You can hear his influences, but he always retains his identity.
Take each lick and learn it individually, then put what you’ve
learned together. The next challenge is to make it sound as
effortless as Johnny!