Guitar Tutorial

Take a Solo - The Secrets to Blues & Country Guitar Improvisation

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13 Videos | Length: 1hr 33min 1sec
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Sample this tutorial...
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    Chapter 1 (3:10)


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    Chapter 2 (5:52)


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    Chapter 3 (2:52)


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    Chapter 4 (8:50)


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    Chapter 5 (5:47)


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    Chapter 6 (4:45)


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    Chapter 7 (10:03)


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    Chapter 8 (11:41)


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    Chapter 9 (8:25)


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    Chapter 10 (13:11)


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    Chapter 11 (5:52)


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    Chapter 12 (7:17)


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    Chapter 13 (5:16)


Homespun and guitar great Toby Walker shows you how a blues or country guitarist creates a great solo, thrilling the audience and getting nods of approval from fellow musicians. How does this happen? How do you even start figuring out which notes to play in the midst of a song or jam session? Just watch and see!

Toby Walker has the perfect key to unlocking those mysteries. He shows you how to come up with powerful and compelling improvisations in any key and in any position on the fretboard, using a flat pick or fingers. Concentrating mainly on blues soloing, he eliminates robotic scales and patterns and shows you the "language" of a musical conversation.

You'll learn how to think in shapes, or "boxes", in 12-bar blues, finding the root note and then adding the right intervals to come up with licks and solos. Once you start moving from one shape to the next, your playing will flow up and down the fretboard with ease.

Then see how to add in the "wasabi" - vibrato, bends, B. B. King-style licks, Lightnin' Hopkins shuffle beats, and other techniques that will add really hot spice to your playing.

Once you've got the blues ideas under your fingertips, you'll discover that you can apply the same licks to country songs, like Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad. After watching this Homespun video series you'll be stepping into the spotlight in no time!


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Marc A.
Submitted 7 months ago

Interesting for novices who never learned to improvise

This tutorial mainly consists of a rhythm guitar player and a soloist showing some ("blues-ish") approaches to improvising more or less "floweresque" variations to chord center notes. Interesting and inspiring for musicians who never learned improvisation fundamentals, but not worked out in enough detail to create outstanding solo parts that would be remembered. To rephrase: These videos can give you some ideas on how to INSTANTLY improvise solo-ish etudes, perfect for jamming and practicing. Just don't expect an introduction to solo-performances. Production quality of the videos is OK. I personally don't like the aggressive plec picking that lacks variety and dynamics, but that's a question of style. Camera isn't perfect - while the rhythm guitar has been recorded nicely, showing action on the fretboard just fine, the "lead" is recorded face on, with the fingers of the player's left hand obstructing what he is doing. Having moved the camera slightly left and up would have given a much better insight.

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Author
Submitted 1 year ago

Great licks

This helped me advance for sure

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Raul Estaka
Submitted 2 years ago

Excellent Teacher

If you play the acoustic guitar and enjoy the blues or country music and plan on jamming with bands then it is worth 100% of your time and effort to follow this video series. The instructor speaks in slow, easy to understand terms and does an excellent job of demonstrating everything he is teaching

I am a: Professional, Audio Engineer, Musician

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Internationally and nationally acclaimed Toby Walker has been hailed as a roots music fingerstyle guitar wizard who has toured the US, England, Wales, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland.

Walker has been featured in the New York Times, the London Sunday Times, the London BBC, Sirius-XM radio and was the 1st place recipient of the International Blues Challenge Award - Solo division - given out by the Blues Foundation in Memphis TN.

Walker blends the styles of blues, ragtime, country, bluegrass, rock and old time jazz into his own unique style. Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna and the Jefferson Airplane says "Flat out... you have to hear this great musician... I'm blown away" and has employed Walker to teach at his famous Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp for 6 years. In 2010 Walker won the NY Music Award for 'Best Instrumental CD', sharing the honors with Mariah Carey, Rufus Wainwright and Judy Collins among many others.

Walker has recently released five instructional guitar DVD's for the world famous company Homespun Tapes which have been getting rave reviews. His latest CD release - 'What You See Is What You Get' - has been hailed as a shining success in the genre of traditional blues recordings. Carnegie Hall acknowledged his rare talents and hired him to augment and teach in their "American Roots" program aimed at honor level middle school students.

Toby’s passion for blues, rags, folk, and other traditional American music drove him to leave an apartment crammed full of recordings, books and instruments for the Mississippi Delta, Virginia and the Carolinas where he tracked down some of the more obscure - but immensely talented - music makers of an earlier era. He learned directly from Eugene Powell, James "Son" Thomas,Etta Baker, and R.L Burnside, among others.

Products by Toby

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Take a Solo - The Secrets to Blues & Country Guitar Improvisation is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 3.
Rated 3.5 out of 5 by from Interesting for novices who never learned to improvise This tutorial mainly consists of a rhythm guitar player and a soloist showing some ("blues-ish") approaches to improvising more or less "floweresque" variations to chord center notes. Interesting and inspiring for musicians who never learned improvisation fundamentals, but not worked out in enough detail to create outstanding solo parts that would be remembered. To rephrase: These videos can give you some ideas on how to INSTANTLY improvise solo-ish etudes, perfect for jamming and practicing. Just don't expect an introduction to solo-performances. Production quality of the videos is OK. I personally don't like the aggressive plec picking that lacks variety and dynamics, but that's a question of style. Camera isn't perfect - while the rhythm guitar has been recorded nicely, showing action on the fretboard just fine, the "lead" is recorded face on, with the fingers of the player's left hand obstructing what he is doing. Having moved the camera slightly left and up would have given a much better insight.
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 3.5 out of 5 by from Great licks This helped me advance for sure
Date published: 2017-05-18
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Excellent Teacher If you play the acoustic guitar and enjoy the blues or country music and plan on jamming with bands then it is worth 100% of your time and effort to follow this video series. The instructor speaks in slow, easy to understand terms and does an excellent job of demonstrating everything he is teaching
Date published: 2016-08-18