Tag: Key of E

Blues Lick Lesson #04

In this 4th blues lick lesson, I show you how to play this OUTRO blues lick in the E major blues scale. This lick uses some concepts, like the use of double time and rock & roll patterns. Recommended playing level: intermediate and up.

E major Blues scale

This is mostly an E major blues lick that is used as an outro, but you can use it in other places as well. It is a very rhythmic lick played in the 12th position on the guitar neck.

E major blues
E major blues diagram

You can download the full E major blues scale here.

Concepts in this blues lick lesson

In this blues lick lesson, you get the guitar tabs on screen, a detailed explanation of the picking technique, 3 variations on a common blues lick pattern, a bit of background on where I got these guitar licks

Concepts that are present in this video

  • E major blues scale
  • sixteenth notes (double time)
  • 3 note per string ‘roll pattern’
  • alternate picking and legato (hammer-on, pull-off)
Backing Track

Shuffle blues backing track (115bpm) here.

The guitar used is my (brand new) Fender Telecaster Vintera (Lake Placid Blue). A great, fun telecaster that combines vintage tone with a modern feel to the neck. Everything is recorded through the Fractal Audio Systems AX8.
Practice Tips

Practice this lick slowly first, then with the backing track on my channel. Try to use it in different places of a 12 bar blues, for example, to connect the I to the IV chord in bar 4 of a blues. The lick is also easily transposable to other major blues songs, so I hope you’ll get some mileage out of this one.

In any case, try to make the double-time part of your improvisation. I love this concept because it adds another rhythmic dimension to the story you’re trying to tell with your instrument.

Keep on playing that guitar!

Hope to see you again next time,


Emotional Ballad Guitar Solo in E

Emotional ballad guitar solo (with guitar tabs) for the original jam track (‘Sunset Jam’) I posted earlier. Enjoy!

Play Video
About the track

After a short acoustic intro, the A-section (verse) follows a gorgeous chord progression in the key of E major. I play in the split coil position of the Suhr Modern. The bluesy guitar licks follow the groove of the emotional ballad backing track and leave room for the other instruments.

The B-section opens with a distant slide guitar, warm piano sounds, and acoustic guitar harmonics. The lead guitar switches to the bridge humbucker, and starts building up the melody into a higher register.

After an alternate picking riff, the C-section (chorus) presents itself with long, high notes. Here I’m thinking about the D major pentatonic. The D-chord in the chorus (bVII) implies a modulation to A major, thus bringing some Lydian flavor into the game. Mixing this part turned out the be a challenge because of the high pitch of the lead guitar. With extra delay (Soundtoys Echoboy) reverb (Exponential Audio Nimbus) and a hint of extra compression (Waves CLA Guitars), the guitar notes sustain longer to carry the melody over the chords.

Featured Lick (Bar 25)
Ascending Shred Lick
Ascending Shred Lick (B Mixolydian + Chromatic)

Ascending shred licks are a great way of connecting melodies between verses and choruses. In the emotional ballad guitar solo video, I use this technique in bar 25 to lead the listener’s ear from the bride (B-section) to the chorus (C-section). The lick starts on B and ends on E in the first beat of the next bar. In between is a B Mixolydian permutation (pattern of 3 sextuplets), followed by two triplets of sixteenth chromatic notes. Pro Tip: use the chromatic scale sparsely in your playing and save it until the very end of a bar.

Featured Plug-In

I highly recommend the Flux Stereo Tool v3 Plugin (freeware). I use it on summing tracks, the mix-bus, and FX-bus to build, check, and (if necessary) correct the stereo image. This plugin proves that the most straightforward tools sometimes turn out to be the most useful. One of my most used plugins. And did I tell you it was free?

Flux Stereo Tool v3
Flux Stereo Tool v3 On My Sunset Solo
Backing Track
Check out the SUNSET JAM Emotional Ballad backing track here.

Suhr Modern HH with Floyd Rose (all solos)
Martin HD-16R Acoustic (intro)
All guitars played by Maarten
Bass: Spectrasonics Trilian
Drums: Steven Slate 5.5
Recorded with Logic Pro X

Check out some of my other ballad solo's

Emotional Ballad | Guitar Backing Track in E

Emotional ballad guitar backing track in the key of E. Play along with this guitar jam track over a setting sun that beckons farewell in the evening sky. Tempo: 78 bpm.

Improvisation Tips

E major pentatonic, or pickup some ideas from my solo here.

About The Track

Credits to my son Senne (9y) for bringing the idea for the video. I let hem listen to a demo of the emotional ballad backing track and asked him with images this music created. He said it made him think of the setting sun ;-).

After a short acoustic intro, the A-section follows a gorgeous chord progression in the key of E major. Here you can use E major pentatonic, E major blues, or E Ionian. The same goes for the B-section (bridge), indicated by a distant slide guitar, warm piano sounds, and acoustic guitar harmonics. This builds to a denser C-section, where a reverb-laden guitar melody enters the lower registers to indicate the move to the D-chord. This chord brings some drama to this emotional ballad backing track and brings the colors of the Lydian mode into the track. You can continue improvising with the E major pentatonic or add the D for extra flavor. 

This uplifting chorus is inspired by space-age pop soundtracks, surf guitar, and bands like Hooverphonic. Everything blends with some U2-style guitar rhythm parts, and ambient synths , mostly Native Instruments’ Absynth.

I hope this jam track will inspire your guitar (or saxophone, or…) playing. Thank you for watching, playing along or just relaxing ūüėȬ† Cheers, Maarten¬†

  • 1994 Fender Standard American Stratocaster
  • Suhr Modern Pro HH Yamaha Pacifica p90
  • (slide parts)
  • Martin HD-16R Adirondack¬† (acoustic)
Featured Plugin: Soundtoys Echoboy

The Soundtoys 5 Bundle helps a lot to set the atmosphere in this emotional ballad backing track. Echoboy is the main delay on most guitar parts. I’m also a big fan of Little Radiator, an easy-to-use plugin to ‘warm-up’ digital audio tracks. The interface for these plugins is very easy to use. If you are used to turning knobs on an effects pedal, these plugins are very easy to learn and to use creatively. 

Screenshot from Logic Pro X (emotional ballad backing track)

Get the Soundtoys 5 bundle here (Plugin Boutique) 



Here is another Mixolydian backing track I made.