Learn to Play: Johnny Winter's Blues Runs with Jeff Massey

Johnny Winter is a bonafide Texas guitar legend. Emerging in the late 1960s, he quickly escalated his career to rockstar status, using the blues as his catapult.

Even at his arena-filling heights, Johnny never abandoned his beloved genre. After a stint of '70s rock stardom, he returned full-time to the blues, becoming a bandleader and producer for the legendary Muddy Waters. He continued to release numerous solo records and tour up until his death in 2014.

In this video, I decided to focus on some licks inspired by Johnny's ability to play lightning-fast blues runs with extreme accuracy and clarity. Johnny always had a lot of edge to his playing, but he was never sloppy. I've adapted these licks to work with a flatpick, which better suits my playing style, but you are welcome to try it like Johnny did, using thumb and finger picks.

The concepts shown in these lessons are based primarily on the B minor pentatonic scale. They display how Johnny could take a simple five-note scale and really make it interesting. I hope you enjoy incorporating some of these licks into your own playing.


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