12 bar Blues in C where next

So we have the 12 bar blues in C sorted and a C major pentatonic  scale improvised over the top.

We can do the same improvisation with the C minor pentatonic and the C Blues scale.

The C minor pentatonic:

Play this

C string –  Open, 3rd fret

E string – 1st fret, 3rd fret

A string – 1st fret, 3rd fret

Pattern is

starting on C string


E string 1-3

A string 1-3


There is one more step to the C Blues scale, add in the E string 2nd fret

The pattern becomes

Starting on C string


E string 0-2-3

A string 0-3

Try this over a C blues backing track..


Hints and Tips

I’ve put my rambling under Hints and Tips – you can find it on the RHS of the home page towards the bottom. They are not definitive but cover some of the stuff from the Sessions. Its more of – Write it down because you have a memory like a sieve!

Next Session 21 Feb @Shepherds House

Yes its Celtic night, I say Celtic, plenty of Irish as we have one token Scottish tune, nothing from the other Celtic places like Brittany or Galicia – I know we are not good with tunes in other languages. If you play the Penny whistle bring it along we have tunes in Keys D and G – the songs are on the Songbook page, music you will have to source yourself.

See you there. T


How to play difficult chords

In the session 7 Feb we tried to get through the bridge of Neil Sedaka’s Breaking up is hard to do.  that sequence of chords:

Gm7, C7, Gm7, C7, F, Fmaj7, Dm, Fmaj7, Fm, Bb, Fm, Bb, Eb, D7

So a few new chords for many, individually using the chord diagrams its not too bad. But if you are struggling you will have to break down into

  1. can I play the chords on their own
  2. can I transition between the chords.

A method James Hill uses is to help get that muscle memory going on a chord

  • Using a count of 8
  • count 1 play the chord
  • count 2 tap the body of the uku with the left hand
  • count 3-8 move hand back ready to play the chord on the next 1 count
  • count 1 play chord
  • count 2 tap uku
  • count 3 tap uku
  • count 4-8 move hand back ready to play the chord on the next 1 count
  • Count 1 play chord
  • count 2 tap uku
  • count 3 tap uku
  • count 4 tap uku
  • counts 5-8 move hand back ready to play the chord on the next 1 count

You get the jist, keep adding an extra tap on each 8 count cycle so you have less and less  time to find the chord. You can do this at any speed you like, maybe very slow when starting.


So now you have the chord down you can work slowly on the transition between the chords, more often than not you can leave a finger or two on a fret so you only have to move 1 or two fingers to get to the next chord. sometimes there is no option but to lift all fingers and hit the next chord but efficiency in movement means speedy transition.






C Pentatonic scale

Ok so during our session 7 Feb we practiced

  • Using our thumb to play the various open string.
  • We even used our thumb to do our finger walking starting on the 4th string till all 4 fingers were on the string, them moved to the 3rd, 2nd, 1st
  • Then with all of our 4 fingers on the 1st string we lifted them off one by one to walk down to an open 4th String

So what this to do with scales. you know I’m keen to get you playing without music! in one of our future session I’ll get some folks playing  12 Bar Blues in C and then a you can improvise using the notes of the C Pentatonic over the top – sounds too good to be true but it works. So go over the C pentatonic scale.

Play the individual string –

  1. open C- 3rd string with your thumb as we have just learned that.
  2. C string 2nd Fret – this gives you a D note
  3. open E string- 2nd string
  4. E string 3rd fret –  this gives you a G note
  5. open A string
  6. A string 3rd fret – giving a C note

so there is a pattern emerging C pentatonic:

open, 2fret, open, 3rd fret, open 3rd fret.


So give it a try, mail me if you have any problems. T