Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Playing Electric Blues

Hal Leonard Guitar Method - Blues Guitar
Hal Leonard Guitar Method – Blues Guitar

Get started playing electric blues guitar with Hal Leonard’s Blues Guitar Method book. The book is written by guitar-celebrity Greg Koch. Greg lives in my hometown of Milwaukee, and I’m fortunate to catch his local gigs — he’s a great player and excellent writer/teacher.

This book covers the core rudiments of electric blues guitar. Lessons are accompanied with excellent demonstrations on the accompanying CD, and there are play-along exercises. The music on the CD is recorded with a swinging live band and Greg on guitar.

This Hal Leonard Guitar method book for electric blues is not quite right for an absolute beginner. You should have a good understanding of basic open chords and be able to efficiently make chord changes. Ambitious intermediate-beginners will be able to tackle the barre chords that come midway through the book. Students will also be practicing electric blues guitar effects: string bends, vibrato, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and double stops.

The format of the book includes a theoretical exercise such as: Shuffle Rhythm, String Bending, or Extended Chords. Then there is a play-along song — a classic blues standard — to work the theory into practice.

One thing stands out in The Hal Leonard Method for Blues Guitar, this is a fun book. Even the theory exercises are presented for practicing with the swinging band on the audio CD. Nothing in this book/CD sounds like you’re playing rote exercises. Even the exercises sound like you’re making blues music.

The play-along tracks include such popular blues standards as:

  • Sweet Home Chicago
  • Love in Vain Blues
  • You Shook Me
  • Mannish Boy
  • I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom

Another notable feature, Greg reviews blues music in the styles of:

  • B.B. King
  • Howlin’ Wolf
  • Albet King
  • T-Bone Walker
  • Freddie King
Title  Hal Leonard Guitar Method: Blues Guitar
Author Greg Koch
Copyright 2002
Pages 48
Recommended for This book would be great for an advanced beginner or an experienced guitar playing who’s looking to get started playing the blues. The book covers basic blues rhythm playing and single-note soloing.
Prerequisites You should be adept at playing the basic open chords and making some pretty quick chord changes. This book will also have you playing barre chords and doing string bending, hammer-ons and pull-offs. If you’re not familiar with these techniques, this book will get you started.
Accompanying Audio CD The volume comes with an audio CD with performed versions of the lessons and backing tracks for play-along tunes.
Contents Lessons include:

  • The Basic 12-Bar Blues
  • The Shuffle Rhythm — Sweet Home Chicago
  • The Blues Scale — Love in Vain Blues
  • Blues Phrasing — From Four Until Late
  • String Bending, Double Stop, Slide, Pull Off, Hammer ON
  • Boogie Patterns
  • Styles of: B.B. King, Howlin’ WOlf, ALbert King, T-Bone Walker and Freddie King
Fun Factor/Coolness Working through this book is a lot of fun. The backing tracks are excellent very “blues cool.”
What I like The material covered in this book is excellent. The play-along CD is recorded with Greg Koch and a live band and it really swings. It will you inspire you to learn to play like Greg.

I also like that the blues scales lessons are to be practiced with a strong rhythm track. It sounds like your making music, not just playing mechanically.

After each “theory lesson” there’s an excellent blues standard to play-along with to practice the theory.

What I don’t like This book delivers, as promised. But the book itself is sized quite small.
Recommendations I’d highly recommend this book to any beginner interested in starting the guitar.

I would highly recommend this book to younger students who might be put of by the more dated and “traditional” playing styles used in other method books.

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