If you have heard of call and response when people are playing the blues. But your not quite sure what they are referring to. Or how to play a call and response. Then you are in the right place.
Maybe your wondering what you will learn in this In this Call and Response Blues Guitar Lesson Simplified. Then look below at the Call and Response Blues Guitar Lesson to see what you will learn:
- The Method of Call and Response
- Call and Response guitar
- Chords for an easy call and response
- Diagrams of the Chords
- Bonus Video
If this sounds like something you are ready to learn then grab your guitar and lets learn a call and response.
What is a Call and Response?
Let me explain what is is and then we will learn how to play a call and response. According to Wikipedia in music there is a sequence of two musical phrases. Written in different parts of the music. Where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or in response to the first. This is called a “Call and Response.
In lay mans terms you can think of a call and response like this. If you had a singer singing “Hallelujah” and then following the call of Hallelujah is the chorus of followers sing in response to Hallelujah. Which the response might be Hallelujah.
Well in the Blues it is the same thing you are playing a phrase or lick on your guitar. The phrase is the call and it is followed up by another lick or phrase called the response. If that’s as clear as mud don’t worry we are going to get into it. So stay focused and I promise you will learn a call and response.
First is the Call
To play this easy Call on your guitar you can use either an acoustic guitar or an electric. There are several blues songs that use a call and response. This lesson is inspired by a John Lee Hooker song called Boom Boom. And is loosely based off of the song. I hope you dig it!
The first phrase or lick starts on the G string. The third string at the second fret. Use your second finger. And what you want to do is pick that note and slide to the fourth fret. And then you are going to pick the B string. Which is the second string. Pick it when your first finger is at the third fret.
Then you slide back to the second fret with that second finger that is still on the fourth fret of the third string. So what you want to do is pick the G string and slide back to the second fret.
Then you play the open G string. The third string open. After that place your second finger at the second fret of the D string. The third string, and pick the D string. Then you lift your finger off the D string. Pick it again, and then place your finger back on and pick the D string.
Practice this move until you can play it fluently and then we are going to learn the Response.
Response to Lick Number One
This response is really simple, but it is all about timing. Start with the open E string. The 6th string. Which is the fattest string. Place your finger on the third fret of the sixth string. And pick the sixth string again. I won’t get into the notes in this lesson. But if you want to learn the secrets to learning all the notes, and more. Then you should consider this Guitar Bootcamp Course. It offers massive value.
After picking the G note pick the A string open. When I say open, I mean without using your fretting hand. To fret the string. After playing that 5th string, then you pick the E string open again. Like I said it is not hard, but you need to be in the pocket to make it sound sweat.
Learn this response before you continue on. This response is going to be all through this composition. Once you have master the response try the first lick and the response together. See how that sounds. I think you will agree, nice!
Now that you have that lets look at a different call.
Let’s Look at Call Number Two
Are you having fun yet? Well its about to get even better. Check it out. Your going to start on the D string. The fourth string, at the second fret. Use your second finger to cover the fret. Pick the D string. Then pick the open G string. Which remember is the third string. After that place your second finger on the second fret of the G string. Play the G string. Raise your finger and pick the G string one more time.
Next place that same finger on the D string. At the second fret, and pick the D string. Raise that finger and play the open D string. After that use your same finger, and place it at the second fret. Right on the D string. Playing the D string at the second fret.
My Favorite Go to Guitar for Playing the Blues
Practice this lick. Again not a hard lick to play. But it has to be in time with the overall big picture we are trying to paint here.
Then you guest it another response. When I say another, I don’t mean different. It is the same one we learned earlier. So now what I would recommend is taking the three licks that you just learned and put them together. Once you can play them to a T. Then move on, this is just the beginning there’s lot’s more to be covered.
Another Call in the Blues
This lick starts on the B string. At the third fret. Take the string and bend it a 1/4 note. I use my second finger to bend the string up. Next pick the B string open. Using your first finger. Place it on the G string at the second fret. Pick the G string. Remove your index finger and pick the G string again. So this time it is open.
Allowing you to move that first finger to the second fret of the D string. Once your index finger is in position then pick the D string. Remove that finger and play the D string again open. For the last part of the lick you place your first finger back on the D string and play the D string.
Next is that same response. As you can see or hear. If you just play the call, then your ears naturally pick up that there should be another lick to respond to it.Shop our Discounted DIY Guitar Kits!
Adding Some Chords to the Blues Call and Response
The chords we are going to cover, learn and use. Are the E, G, A. The Response that we covered earlier has the same notes. What we learned was the open E string, and then you play the G note on the sixth string. Next was the open A note and then back to the E.
So instead of that we are going to play the chords in the same chord progression. Which will be the E, G A E. But first lets look at the chord diagrams to make sure we know how to play the chords. If you already know the chords then you can skip past this portion of the lesson.
First is the E chord diagram:
- Your first finger is located on the first fret of the third string.
- Second finger is at the second fret of the 5th string.
- Third finger is at the second fret of the 4th string.
- You can strum all the strings when playing the E chord.
Next is the G chord diagram.
There are several ways to play the G chord. Here is one of them, and how I play it.
- Your first finger is on the sixth string at the third fret.
- Place your second finger on the second fret of the fifth string.
- Then your pinkie is on the third fret of the high e string.
- You can strum all the strings when playing the G chord.
Take a look at the A chord diagram below.
- Place your first finger on the second fret of the fourth string.
- Your second finger is on the second fret of the third string.
- Put your third finger on the second fret of the second string.
- Don’t play the the sixth string when you are playing the A chord.
Remember when playing chords, to play on the tips of your fingers. Here is a free lesson on fretting hand technique you might find it to be helpful.
Now we know what chords we are going to use. What’s next? So Next we are going to use chords instead of the notes.
Playing a Call and Response With Chords
First start with the first call that we learned. The one where we start on the second fret of the third string and slide up to the forth string. Do that complete lick. And then this time you are going to play the E Major chord, the G chord, A and then back to the E chord. in that progression. If you need help learning how to transition between the chords click here.
After you play the response with the chords. Then Play the second lick that we learned. Right after you play that you are going to respond with the same chord progression.
Play lick number three, but at the end of the lick you play the open A chord. Which will give you time to set up. To play the next response lick. That we are going to learn.
Related Article: Buddy Guy Guitar Lesson – Inspired (How to Play Licks & Riffs).
A Blues Response with Power Chords
What we want to do here is play three power chords. The Power chords that we are going to use are the B, D, E, and A. Look at the three chords
After the call you play the B5, D5, E5, and back to the B5. See the image above for the chord diagrams. If you need help reading chord diagrams take a look at this fast how to read chord diagrams.
Call and Response Blues Examples
A couple of examples of this would be to play the chords B D E. With the call beginning on the second fret of the third string. After picking the third string, slide up to the fourth fret. Almost simultaneously place your finger on the third fret of the second string. And pick the second string.
Slide back to the second fret on the third string. With the third string open. Pick the third string. Covering the second fret of the fourth string. Pick the string and then remove your finger. Leaving the fifth string open, pick it.
In response to this you are going to play power chords B D E and B in that chord progression. If you need help playing power chords. Look at this how to play power chords.
Use your first finger to fret the second fret of the D string. Pick the fourth string. Pick the third string open. Still using your index finger place it on the third string, and pick the third string. Next play the string open again. And go back to the second fret of the D string. Once its fretted then pick the fourth string.
The response is the same. Play the B D E B in the same progression. Using power chords.
Next play this lick that starts on the B string. Bend the B string at the 3rd fret. Play the open B string. Then play the G string at the second fretting the second fret. Release that finger and play an open G string. Then pick the open A string.
Another call and response would be to use the chords A, C, D, A. Of course that is the response but you can use the same call that we previously learned.
Acoustic Blues Beginner
When you are learning the guitar it is a lot easier to start by learning the blues. As a lot of genres including Rock n Roll, Country songs use the blues. Acoustic blues beginner guitar players should start by learning a 12 bar blues. Which is a road map. If you follow it you will always get the same result. Here is a lesson on blues songs.
If you like this lesson you might also like this Buddy Guy Guitar Lesson.