“Blues You Can Use” review: Learn Sizzling Electric Blues Guitar

Hello and welcome to my Blues You Can Use review.

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Blues You Can Use

If you want to play blues guitar, Blues You Can Use will get you going right. The book is a comprehensive study of virtually all of the popular electric blues guitar styles from Gospel Blues to Texas Rock Blues, a la Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The book/CD package covers the whole gamut from pentatonic minor scales for blues-guitar soloing to minor and major scale chord forms used in the blues.

Watch a video browse-through of Blues You Can Use.

Title Blues You Can Use
Author John Ganapes
Recommended forAll levels of players who want to get into playing electric blues guitar. If you’re a beginner and can play basic chords this book is for you. If you’re an advanced guitar player from another style who wants to get into electric blues, this book is for you, too.
PrerequisitesGuitar students will need to know how to play basic chords. The book includes techniques such as bends, hammer-ons, and hammer-offs, so you should know how to do these effects, although you needn’t be proficient at them. This book will give you plenty of practice.
CD/DVDsThe book’s CD includes the recorded exercises and the backing tracks to the tunes you will be learning. All tunes are written by the author and performed with a live band.
ContentsLessons include:

  • All minor pentatonic scale forms (e.g. CAGED).
  • Playing scales over the entire fingerboard.
  • Matching minor scale and chord forms.
  • Matching major scale and chord forms
  • Building speed

Other topics covered in Blues You Can Use include:

  • Using extended chords.
  • Using the “blues note” the flatted 5.
  • Introduction to the Circle of Fifths
What I like about BYCUJohn Ganapes does an excellent job of laying out the theoretical underpinnings of each lesson. You’ll end up learning a lot of practical theory. You probably won’t even realize your being schooled in “theory”. I like the way the lessons take you by the hand, even if you’re a beginner and build the knowledge and skills to play solos up the entire fretboard. John teaches all of the five pentatonic minor scale forms (e.g. CAGED).

But what I like best — the book is fun. Each lesson has you playing a jumping blues tune that’s fun and inspiring to play. There’s a professionally-recorded backing track on the book’s CD. All tunes are written by John Ganapes.

What I don’t like about BYCUI can usually come up with some bit of constructive criticism. But this book pretty much has it all. And, what it doesn’t have can be found in accompanying Blues You Can Use books.
RecommendationsThis book is an obvious choice for an advanced beginner looking to get into electric blues guitar. An advanced player who is not familiar with electric blues would also find the book informative and challenging. For rock guitarists, Blues You Can Use is an excellent lesson in electric blues music, which is the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll.
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