The One String Blues Solo

As any self-respecting lazy ass guitarist knows, playing a ton of notes on a pointy guitar not only involves countless hours in the woodshed, but it isn’t even going to get you laid; you’ll just end up surrounded by a bunch of sweaty dudes in black t-shirts. On the other hand, play a one-string blues solo and you’ll be beating them off with a stick (not the sweaty dudes).

BB King was of course a master at this, especially as he got older and couldn’t/refused/couldn’t be bothered to play standing up anymore. This had a knock-on effect on his playing, and he generally stayed within the confines of box 1 of the minor pentatonic, only venturing up the neck to do that thing where he hit the root of box 1 an octave up, then slid back down. You can bet your life BB had more than his fair share of broads, so you’ll want to get this one-string blues solo down asap, especially if you’re having a dry season.


Here are the notes we’ll be using. Imagine the B Minor pentatonic box around them so that your hand can assume the position.

one string blues solo

On the I chord (B7) – Just bend that A note up to the B repeatedly while making guitar faces to your heart’s content. Milk it for all it’s worth but don’t go down on your knees just yet.

On the IV chord (E7) – When you feel that chord change approaching, get ready to land on the G#. Don’t worry about why this sounds good, just do it. The tension released here should elicit a slight gasp from any females in the audience.

On the I chord again (B7) – You could easily continue bending that A or bring in the F# since we haven’t used it yet.

On the V chord (F#7) – Here’s where you make for that A# note, either by bending up or down to it, or doing some kind of convoluted approach that milks it for all it’s worth.

Turning it around – I’d honestly just milk that bend from A to B again instead of overthinking it and ending up doing some lame turnaround.

There you have it, and probably a ride home and breakfast after the gig into the bargain.

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