Learn to Play: 3 Blues Turnaround Slide Riffs in Open G and E Standard Tuning

Standard Tuning Slide Licks

In this video, we explore some more licks and concepts with playing slide guitar in standard tuning. As I pointed out in a previous video, standard tuning requires a knack for precise intonation of notes and the ability to mute the strings that are not in use.

Unlike open tunings, playing slide in standard has the advantage of the scale forms not changing. This means that if you have a decent knowledge of scales when playing in standard tuning, the note selection doesn't need to shift because you are playing slide. The technique changes but the scale pattern itself doesn't.

I've chosen ideas here that I find very useful, and I think these concepts can inspire other new licks and ideas. Typically, you might hear these type of licks in a standard blues format, but they can work in other musical areas as well.

I recorded a bluesy rhythm track to show how the licks in the video work in conjunction with some other ideas. I would suggest experimenting. Take these concepts and apply them to your own repertoire.

Of course, these concepts work great with blues, but try them over some other rhythm styles, and you'll find the opportunities endless.

Turnarounds in Open G

Turnarounds are basically a transition or a lick that brings a piece back to the beginning of a chord progression. A turnaround is very common in jazz, rock, and, of course, blues music.

In this video, I focus on turnarounds in an open G tuning and a couple using the slide.

Open G tuning offers a wide variety of options for turnarounds that wouldn't work quite the same way in a standard tuning.

For example, the way the low E–string is the same tone as the V chord (D) in a key of G blues progression offers a cool low–note option to end a phrase with. This is just one of many endless options.

I also demonstrate how the V chord can be tagged at the end of the turnaround with the slide. Open G tuning offers more of a variety for doubling notes as well.

For example, droning the open D–string while descending down the E–string and ending on the low D tone. This would be very reminiscent of something bluesman Robert Johnson might play.

I would suggest checking out blues players like Johnson, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, and Lightning Hopkins for further ideas. You might even stumble upon your own inventive turnarounds in the process of learning the ones demonstrated here.


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