Are there any good resources on the web for learning guitar phrasing , especially as it pertains to blues guitar. i have been listening to the blues for a really long time, but have just recently realized that most phrases that have an emotional impact boil down to the last few notes (and usually the last one). I know theory, but putting it together to create interesting phrases isnt taught in theory books. I'm not looking some "Buy my book and you'll be a great guitar player". I'm looking for sound advice. Also any tips would be greatly appreciated

2 Answers 2


Your best option here is to listen to, and learn to play, a large number of blues songs - not just the ones you know have a deep emotional impact, but as wide a range as possible to get the feel for blues inside you.

The whole point about emotionally charged blues music is that it to be convincing, you have to feel the music. There are a range of people on YouTube playing almost note-perfect copies of famous blues numbers, but not providing any emotional impact at all.

Get blues licks and phrases into your head and muscle memory, and feel the music - you will find yourself starting to come up with phrases you feel, rather than calculate.


In saying that, you can give yourself a great head start by learning how to play in alternate modes, and feel how moving from one to another changes tension and feeling. If you can move between modes at will, you will be able to choose changes in tension as appropriate. The combination of this technical learning and the playing by feel will help you become a much more emotional player.


I would probably help a great deal to learn a wind instrument, like clarinet, saxophone, or harmonica. The essential part of phrasing is breathing. When does a melodic line wrap up for a moment so the next one can begin? With a wind instrument, this becomes intuitive because you must pick your pauses to fit with the music or else, well, it sucks.

Musical phrasing on the guitar works the same way, but there's no direct feedback as with the wind. So you have only your ears to guide you.

Short of actually learning a wind instrument, it would be helpful to listen to great saxophone and harmonica solos and try to replicate the phrasing on the guitar.

Also good is singing your melodies as you play; and trying to play vocal melodies with appropriate phrasing and articulation (slurs and breaths and vibrato).

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