Phrasing: teaching your guitar to speak

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wildwoman1313

Full Access

Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303



Music is a medium of communication. There's something inherent in each of us that recognizes and responds to music and allows us to connect and understand one another, despite language barriers. As guitarists, we speak to our listeners not only through what we play, but how we play. The more articulate and emotive we are, the more effectively we're able to express ourselves.

When thinking about phrasing as it relates to the guitar, it helps to consider how we speak. We use words to convey meaning. We combine these words to make sentences. But it's not only word choice that gives meaning to what we say and how the listener interprets what is being said, it's also how we say those words—the modulation in our voices and the rhythm of our speech. If we're angry, for instance, we might raise our voice and speak with pointed words. If we have a secret to convey, we might whisper it in haste. We may pause for effect or to take a breath, and put emphasis on certain words to give them added meaning. The way we use words when speaking is called phrasing.

To further understand this concept, let's imagine what it might be like to read a book that has no punctuation, no capitalization, no paragraphs or chapters. A passage might read something like this: There were dead faintly seen in offices to either side he climbed out over a fallen wall and made his way slowly toward the voices in the stairwell in near dark a woman carried a small tricycle tight to her chest a thing for a three year old handlebars framing her ribs they walked down thousands and he was in there with them he walked in a long sleep one step and then the next there was water running somewhere and voices in an odd distance coming from another stairwell or an elevator bank out in the dark somewhere. You get the picture. Pretty tiresome and confusing stuff, no? Well, the same principle applies with music. A guitar solo that consists of two minutes of non-stop sixteenth notes will sound like a bunch of gibberish, and you will eventually lose your audience. It takes phrasing to make your sound interesting and meaningful.

When it comes to soloing, most guitarists focus on what to play instead of how to play. Fact is, the nuances of phrasing, how the notes are played, is the most important aspect of creating dynamic guitar solos. So why do so very few guitarists learn to develop this key element of their playing? And what exactly is phrasing anyway?

Phrasing, as it applies to language, is defined as a word or a collection of words that the mind focuses on momentarily as a meaningful unit, and is preceded and followed by pauses. In musical terms, it refers to the grouping of notes in a line of music into distinct phrases. Phrases can contain any number of notes, possibly even a single note played in a distinct rhythmic fashion. To think of phrasing in vocal terms, it is a length that doesn't exceed what the lungs can handle. What fits in the space of a breath. Phrasing is instinctive—it isn't just something you understand, it's something you feel. It's the punctuation of music. The lifeblood of a song. The beginning of the subjective and interpretive aspect of being a musician and making music. Phrasing is what distinguishes a solo from just a bunch of scales and arpeggios. It's what you do with all those notes and licks you already know.

A rather bloated yet oddly vague definition, but phrasing is an inexact term. Music can be abstract and there is often more than one definition and/or correct answer to any question on phasing. We're dealing with the expression of ideas here. Ideas that change and are interpreted in different ways.

Most beginning guitarists concern themselves with everything but phrasing. Consequently, many of their solos sound nearly identical to one another. Often times when we become frustrated with our soloing, we think the answer is to keep on learning things, like new scales, when what we really need to work on is our phrasing. While notes are a very important part of phrasing, guitarists too often get wrapped up in them. You can know all the scales in the world, but if you can't play those notes with dynamics, rhythm, and articulation, your solos will be dull and lack meaning. It's a bit like memorizing words of a foreign language but being unable to use them to converse. You must connect to the music if you are to speak through it. Let the words feed through your fingers and out your strings.

Unfortunately, guitar phrasing is something that is rarely taught well or learned effectively. As a result, most players lack the ability to fully express themselves on the guitar. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of phrasing is instinct, which comes with time and practice. There are many things you can work on to help with phrasing though. Here are a few suggestions and basic exercises to get you started.

First of all, when learning to solo, don't copy someone else. You don't speak exactly like the person next to you, do you? Everyone has a unique voice and perspective, and this is what needs to come through in your guitar playing. Dig deep.

Start equating your playing with speech. Think about all the things that make up speech and try to implement them into your playing. Think in terms of sentences when you play a phrase. Try pausing more often as you do when you are speaking. Think about how you can use your instrument to make notes sound more like speech by using inflections, volume, vibrato, bending, legato, staccato, etc.

One of the best things you can do to create better guitar solos is to listen to and carefully study your favorite singers. Learn every little nuance of their vocal phrasing and vibrato, and most importantly, the musical contexts in which they made various phrasing and vibrato choices when singing. Notice the difference between their vocal phrasing (how they sing their notes and phrases) and your guitar phrasing (how you play your notes and phrases). Then listen carefully to how these singers construct their phrases and compare that to how you create your guitar solos. When you start to pay attention to this, you'll probably make some very cool and powerful observations that you can apply to your own guitar solos.

You can also improve your phrasing by actively listening to some of your favorite guitarists. Many of us make the mistake of thinking that music can be learned and mastered simply by reading books and articles on the matter. As helpful as these resources can be, music is an aural art form. Active listening involves full engagement with the music. This is not the kind of listening you do when you're driving down the road with your friends. Use a good pair of headphones or good speakers and limit your distractions. Listen for things like dynamics, articulation, how the players respond to each other, textures, rhythms, tone, etc. And don't limit yourself to only the genres, players, and instruments you like. Branch out.

Another idea you might try is call and response. Play a short lick, let it hang a little on a tense note, and then reply to it. Make a conversation of your phrases.

Work on bending slowly. Bends start somewhere and go somewhere. Don't rush them. There is a time and place for fast bending, but try bending slowly to hear and feel all that bend has to say.

Work on vibratos. They add life to sustained or held notes that would otherwise sound vapid. Vibratos intensify the impact and the emotion of the music and help give it character. The best time to apply a vibrato is when the note is going to be held for a period of time. Slide your finger back and forth rapidly along the string within one fret. Even though the finger is not sliding or moving outside of the fret, the sound becomes slightly sharper when you move it towards the nut of the guitar, and flattens when you slide your finger towards the bridge of the guitar.

Develop dynamic variation when playing your scales. Dynamics refers to changes in volume. Amateur guitarists tend to play in monotone, never changing their dynamics at all. Take a familiar scale pattern that you are very comfortable with. Play the scale starting off at a very low volume and try to steadily increase it until you are at the top of the scale pattern. Then steadily decrease the volume on your way back down the scale pattern. Try to be as drastic as possible with this exercise. Then experiment with more subtle variations. It's far more difficult to decrease volume steadily than it is to increase it, so be aware of that while you're practicing.

Articulation brings your music to life. It involves many guitar techniques like bends, slides, legato, staccato, vibrato, hammer-ons and pull-offs. To help you improve your articulation, find a simple melody that's easy to play, like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Choose one of the techniques listed above and use it to embellish and enhance the melody. Try playing it as smoothly as possible once, then as staccato as possible after that. Try sneaking in a few bends wherever you can. See how many variations of this simple melody you can come up with.

Let the notes breathe a little bit. Slow down the phrase and maybe stop playing all together. The silence in music is just as important as the music itself. Silence, or holding a note a little bit longer, draws the listener in and creates a sense of anticipation.

Change the meaning of a song by accentuating certain notes. For instance, thinking in terms of speech now, consider the phrase "Take me there." Three short words. But if you accentuate and put emphasis on different words within that phrase, the meaning drastically changes. "Take me there." "Take me there." "Take me there." If you say those phrases out loud, accentuating the italicized words, you'll hear the difference. The meaning of the phrase changes. Now apply this to your lead playing. Stress a few notes by making them louder or softer, longer or shorter, and you will change the whole context and meaning of a phrase.

Phrasing is a vast subject and one worth devoting time to in your practice sessions. I've only scratched the surface of the concept here to try and give you an idea of what phrasing can do for your music in terms of self-expression. Do yourself a favor and delve further into it. Killer phrasing is what stands between you and greatness.

Give a listen to what Anders Mouridsen has to say about phrasing in his tutorial, Intro to Blues Phrasing.


Image Source: Shane @ Omotesando FAB, Tokyo, Japan. Playing his signature model guitar by Nil Guitars. copyright 2007 Satoshi Asai / Shane Gibson

#1



Music is a medium of communication. There's something inherent in each of us that recognizes and responds to music and allows us to connect and understand one another, despite language barriers. As guitarists, we speak to our listeners not only through what we play, but how we play. The more articulate and emotive we are, the more effectively we're able to express ourselves.

When thinking about phrasing as it relates to the guitar, it helps to consider how we speak. We use words to convey meaning. We combine these words to make sentences. But it's not only word choice that gives meaning to what we say and how the listener interprets what is being said, it's also how we say those words—the modulation in our voices and the rhythm of our speech. If we're angry, for instance, we might raise our voice and speak with pointed words. If we have a secret to convey, we might whisper it in haste. We may pause for effect or to take a breath, and put emphasis on certain words to give them added meaning. The way we use words when speaking is called phrasing.

To further understand this concept, let's imagine what it might be like to read a book that has no punctuation, no capitalization, no paragraphs or chapters. A passage might read something like this: There were dead faintly seen in offices to either side he climbed out over a fallen wall and made his way slowly toward the voices in the stairwell in near dark a woman carried a small tricycle tight to her chest a thing for a three year old handlebars framing her ribs they walked down thousands and he was in there with them he walked in a long sleep one step and then the next there was water running somewhere and voices in an odd distance coming from another stairwell or an elevator bank out in the dark somewhere. You get the picture. Pretty tiresome and confusing stuff, no? Well, the same principle applies with music. A guitar solo that consists of two minutes of non-stop sixteenth notes will sound like a bunch of gibberish, and you will eventually lose your audience. It takes phrasing to make your sound interesting and meaningful.

When it comes to soloing, most guitarists focus on what to play instead of how to play. Fact is, the nuances of phrasing, how the notes are played, is the most important aspect of creating dynamic guitar solos. So why do so very few guitarists learn to develop this key element of their playing? And what exactly is phrasing anyway?

Phrasing, as it applies to language, is defined as a word or a collection of words that the mind focuses on momentarily as a meaningful unit, and is preceded and followed by pauses. In musical terms, it refers to the grouping of notes in a line of music into distinct phrases. Phrases can contain any number of notes, possibly even a single note played in a distinct rhythmic fashion. To think of phrasing in vocal terms, it is a length that doesn't exceed what the lungs can handle. What fits in the space of a breath. Phrasing is instinctive—it isn't just something you understand, it's something you feel. It's the punctuation of music. The lifeblood of a song. The beginning of the subjective and interpretive aspect of being a musician and making music. Phrasing is what distinguishes a solo from just a bunch of scales and arpeggios. It's what you do with all those notes and licks you already know.

A rather bloated yet oddly vague definition, but phrasing is an inexact term. Music can be abstract and there is often more than one definition and/or correct answer to any question on phasing. We're dealing with the expression of ideas here. Ideas that change and are interpreted in different ways.

Most beginning guitarists concern themselves with everything but phrasing. Consequently, many of their solos sound nearly identical to one another. Often times when we become frustrated with our soloing, we think the answer is to keep on learning things, like new scales, when what we really need to work on is our phrasing. While notes are a very important part of phrasing, guitarists too often get wrapped up in them. You can know all the scales in the world, but if you can't play those notes with dynamics, rhythm, and articulation, your solos will be dull and lack meaning. It's a bit like memorizing words of a foreign language but being unable to use them to converse. You must connect to the music if you are to speak through it. Let the words feed through your fingers and out your strings.

Unfortunately, guitar phrasing is something that is rarely taught well or learned effectively. As a result, most players lack the ability to fully express themselves on the guitar. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of phrasing is instinct, which comes with time and practice. There are many things you can work on to help with phrasing though. Here are a few suggestions and basic exercises to get you started.

First of all, when learning to solo, don't copy someone else. You don't speak exactly like the person next to you, do you? Everyone has a unique voice and perspective, and this is what needs to come through in your guitar playing. Dig deep.

Start equating your playing with speech. Think about all the things that make up speech and try to implement them into your playing. Think in terms of sentences when you play a phrase. Try pausing more often as you do when you are speaking. Think about how you can use your instrument to make notes sound more like speech by using inflections, volume, vibrato, bending, legato, staccato, etc.

One of the best things you can do to create better guitar solos is to listen to and carefully study your favorite singers. Learn every little nuance of their vocal phrasing and vibrato, and most importantly, the musical contexts in which they made various phrasing and vibrato choices when singing. Notice the difference between their vocal phrasing (how they sing their notes and phrases) and your guitar phrasing (how you play your notes and phrases). Then listen carefully to how these singers construct their phrases and compare that to how you create your guitar solos. When you start to pay attention to this, you'll probably make some very cool and powerful observations that you can apply to your own guitar solos.

You can also improve your phrasing by actively listening to some of your favorite guitarists. Many of us make the mistake of thinking that music can be learned and mastered simply by reading books and articles on the matter. As helpful as these resources can be, music is an aural art form. Active listening involves full engagement with the music. This is not the kind of listening you do when you're driving down the road with your friends. Use a good pair of headphones or good speakers and limit your distractions. Listen for things like dynamics, articulation, how the players respond to each other, textures, rhythms, tone, etc. And don't limit yourself to only the genres, players, and instruments you like. Branch out.

Another idea you might try is call and response. Play a short lick, let it hang a little on a tense note, and then reply to it. Make a conversation of your phrases.

Work on bending slowly. Bends start somewhere and go somewhere. Don't rush them. There is a time and place for fast bending, but try bending slowly to hear and feel all that bend has to say.

Work on vibratos. They add life to sustained or held notes that would otherwise sound vapid. Vibratos intensify the impact and the emotion of the music and help give it character. The best time to apply a vibrato is when the note is going to be held for a period of time. Slide your finger back and forth rapidly along the string within one fret. Even though the finger is not sliding or moving outside of the fret, the sound becomes slightly sharper when you move it towards the nut of the guitar, and flattens when you slide your finger towards the bridge of the guitar.

Develop dynamic variation when playing your scales. Dynamics refers to changes in volume. Amateur guitarists tend to play in monotone, never changing their dynamics at all. Take a familiar scale pattern that you are very comfortable with. Play the scale starting off at a very low volume and try to steadily increase it until you are at the top of the scale pattern. Then steadily decrease the volume on your way back down the scale pattern. Try to be as drastic as possible with this exercise. Then experiment with more subtle variations. It's far more difficult to decrease volume steadily than it is to increase it, so be aware of that while you're practicing.

Articulation brings your music to life. It involves many guitar techniques like bends, slides, legato, staccato, vibrato, hammer-ons and pull-offs. To help you improve your articulation, find a simple melody that's easy to play, like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Choose one of the techniques listed above and use it to embellish and enhance the melody. Try playing it as smoothly as possible once, then as staccato as possible after that. Try sneaking in a few bends wherever you can. See how many variations of this simple melody you can come up with.

Let the notes breathe a little bit. Slow down the phrase and maybe stop playing all together. The silence in music is just as important as the music itself. Silence, or holding a note a little bit longer, draws the listener in and creates a sense of anticipation.

Change the meaning of a song by accentuating certain notes. For instance, thinking in terms of speech now, consider the phrase "Take me there." Three short words. But if you accentuate and put emphasis on different words within that phrase, the meaning drastically changes. "Take me there." "Take me there." "Take me there." If you say those phrases out loud, accentuating the italicized words, you'll hear the difference. The meaning of the phrase changes. Now apply this to your lead playing. Stress a few notes by making them louder or softer, longer or shorter, and you will change the whole context and meaning of a phrase.

Phrasing is a vast subject and one worth devoting time to in your practice sessions. I've only scratched the surface of the concept here to try and give you an idea of what phrasing can do for your music in terms of self-expression. Do yourself a favor and delve further into it. Killer phrasing is what stands between you and greatness.

Give a listen to what Anders Mouridsen has to say about phrasing in his tutorial, Intro to Blues Phrasing.


Image Source: Shane @ Omotesando FAB, Tokyo, Japan. Playing his signature model guitar by Nil Guitars. copyright 2007 Satoshi Asai / Shane Gibson

maggior

Registered User

Joined: 01/26/13

Posts: 1722

Awesome article

This an amazing article! Better late than never, but I wish somebody would have told me this 10 years ago!! :-).

I fell into the trap of feeling the need to learn more scales and techniques to make my solos less repetetive and boring. I have a pile of books to prove it :-). Watching some of Anders' lessons made me realize I was barking up the wrong tree. What drove it home was when he was demonstrating solos using nothing but the single pentatonic scale shape we all know and love and it sounded utterly awesome!!! It was a moment of enlightenment...and of depression; depression because I realized I pocessed the tools all along but just didn't know how to use them.

I asked Anders for help, and he suggested many of the things talked about here.

Now I have a new primary focus - phrasing. Anders has some great techniques and exercises to help you focus just on that. One of them was doing a one note solo. Sounds rediculous, but it works.

It's been about a month that I've been focusing on this and I've already noticed an improvement in my improvisation.

Thanks for this very useful article.
Go here to check out some of my playing
Go here to check out some of my duo's work

#2

Awesome article

This an amazing article! Better late than never, but I wish somebody would have told me this 10 years ago!! :-).

I fell into the trap of feeling the need to learn more scales and techniques to make my solos less repetetive and boring. I have a pile of books to prove it :-). Watching some of Anders' lessons made me realize I was barking up the wrong tree. What drove it home was when he was demonstrating solos using nothing but the single pentatonic scale shape we all know and love and it sounded utterly awesome!!! It was a moment of enlightenment...and of depression; depression because I realized I pocessed the tools all along but just didn't know how to use them.

I asked Anders for help, and he suggested many of the things talked about here.

Now I have a new primary focus - phrasing. Anders has some great techniques and exercises to help you focus just on that. One of them was doing a one note solo. Sounds rediculous, but it works.

It's been about a month that I've been focusing on this and I've already noticed an improvement in my improvisation.

Thanks for this very useful article.
Go here to check out some of my playing
Go here to check out some of my duo's work

wildwoman1313

Full Access

Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303

So glad to hear that you've been enlightened, Maggior. And you're right—better late than never. Some guitarists have never even heard of phrasing let alone begin to employ it in their playing, so don't feel bad. And I know that one-note solo you mention from Anders. Pretty cool, huh? Keep focused on your phrasing as doing so will make a huge difference in your sound. And thanks so much for your kind words. :)

#3

So glad to hear that you've been enlightened, Maggior. And you're right—better late than never. Some guitarists have never even heard of phrasing let alone begin to employ it in their playing, so don't feel bad. And I know that one-note solo you mention from Anders. Pretty cool, huh? Keep focused on your phrasing as doing so will make a huge difference in your sound. And thanks so much for your kind words. :)

haghj500

Registered User

Joined: 10/22/11

Posts: 453

I enjoyed reading that, I liked how the wording drew me through your thoughts and set me up for the points you made at the end of each.

So much knowledge shared and done general enough the words could apply to anyone trying to be creative on an instrument. Another must read for new players.

#4

I enjoyed reading that, I liked how the wording drew me through your thoughts and set me up for the points you made at the end of each.

So much knowledge shared and done general enough the words could apply to anyone trying to be creative on an instrument. Another must read for new players.

LisaMcC

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 11/02/06

Posts: 3312

Another amAZing article, my dear. You are a wonderful writer, and a goldmine of musical wisdom. Thank you!!
Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Blues

Full Catalog of Lisa's Guitar Tricks Tutorials
Find Lisa on Facebook!

#5

Another amAZing article, my dear. You are a wonderful writer, and a goldmine of musical wisdom. Thank you!!
Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Blues

Full Catalog of Lisa's Guitar Tricks Tutorials
Find Lisa on Facebook!

wildwoman1313

Full Access

Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303

Thanks so much for your comments, Haghj500 and Lisa! Glad you liked.

#6

Thanks so much for your comments, Haghj500 and Lisa! Glad you liked.

PeterNY

Full Access

Joined: 06/13/09

Posts: 13

Phrasing of the States

Here's a mental exercise to help with musical phrasing. It's based on the American states—No instrument required! If you vocalize the states, take your breaths between the words and not between the syllables of one word. Say them slow; then say them fast. Then apply them to repetitive 2, 3 or 4 note phrases on your instrument depending on the beat. Let your fingers breath for a fraction of a second between each word. When you master this, break each beat into two eighth notes and begin your phrase on the various offbeats. Finally, add rests and SWING your phrasing back and forth between starting on the upbeats, downbeats and offbeats. Now you're smokin'.

2/4 Beat; begin on first beat... TEXas, U-tah, KANsas
2/4 Beat; begin on second beat... New YORK, VerMONT

3/4 beat; begin on first beat... I-owa, FLOrida, ORegon, WASHington
3/4 beat; begin on second beat... TennesSEE, IlliNOIS
3/4 beat; begin on third beat... KenTUCky, New JERsey, WisCONsin

4/4 beat; begin on first beat... INdiana, NORTH Dakota, SOUTH Dakota
4/4 beat; begin on second beat... KalamaZOO (Sorry, couldn't find a state)
4/4 beat; begin on third beat... CaliFORnia, ColoRADo, AlaBAMa
4/4 beat; begin on fourth beat... New MEXico

Here's an adventurous 5/4 word... LouisiANa Dave Brubeck would be proud.

#7

Phrasing of the States

Here's a mental exercise to help with musical phrasing. It's based on the American states—No instrument required! If you vocalize the states, take your breaths between the words and not between the syllables of one word. Say them slow; then say them fast. Then apply them to repetitive 2, 3 or 4 note phrases on your instrument depending on the beat. Let your fingers breath for a fraction of a second between each word. When you master this, break each beat into two eighth notes and begin your phrase on the various offbeats. Finally, add rests and SWING your phrasing back and forth between starting on the upbeats, downbeats and offbeats. Now you're smokin'.

2/4 Beat; begin on first beat... TEXas, U-tah, KANsas
2/4 Beat; begin on second beat... New YORK, VerMONT

3/4 beat; begin on first beat... I-owa, FLOrida, ORegon, WASHington
3/4 beat; begin on second beat... TennesSEE, IlliNOIS
3/4 beat; begin on third beat... KenTUCky, New JERsey, WisCONsin

4/4 beat; begin on first beat... INdiana, NORTH Dakota, SOUTH Dakota
4/4 beat; begin on second beat... KalamaZOO (Sorry, couldn't find a state)
4/4 beat; begin on third beat... CaliFORnia, ColoRADo, AlaBAMa
4/4 beat; begin on fourth beat... New MEXico

Here's an adventurous 5/4 word... LouisiANa Dave Brubeck would be proud.

wildwoman1313

Full Access

Joined: 11/17/08

Posts: 303

Hey, PeterNY! Cool exercise. Thanks for sharing. ;)

#8

Hey, PeterNY! Cool exercise. Thanks for sharing. ;)

Kasperow

Registered User

Joined: 10/09/12

Posts: 693

Great article, Wildwoman.

I like how you suggest trying slow bends instead of bending the strings quickly. Too many guitarists I've heard just bend the note in less than a 16th-note's time, so you can't really hear that the string is being bent. They might as well just use hammer-ons and pull-offs instead. I normally only bend strings slowly, though, except when trying to learn other peoples' songs. Why? Because I like to hear that smooth transition from, say, a C# to a D, or even better, the other way around (pre-bend the string, pick it, then slowly release the string). Gives a very nice sound, in my opinion.

Overall, though, this article is a must-read for anyone trying to take the step from being a good guitarist to becoming a great guitarist.

#9

Great article, Wildwoman.

I like how you suggest trying slow bends instead of bending the strings quickly. Too many guitarists I've heard just bend the note in less than a 16th-note's time, so you can't really hear that the string is being bent. They might as well just use hammer-ons and pull-offs instead. I normally only bend strings slowly, though, except when trying to learn other peoples' songs. Why? Because I like to hear that smooth transition from, say, a C# to a D, or even better, the other way around (pre-bend the string, pick it, then slowly release the string). Gives a very nice sound, in my opinion.

Overall, though, this article is a must-read for anyone trying to take the step from being a good guitarist to becoming a great guitarist.

Steve Barrow

Full Access

Joined: 04/20/12

Posts: 132

Love this article

Hey Wildwoman,

I can't understand why I didn't see this article earlier - 'cos its one of your very best. I'm a big blues fan and I love the way sensitive phrasing adds so much to the emotion in the song. You explain this so well - and also why we don't have to play a trillion notes at the speed of light. Why don't you collect all your articles into a book, 'cos I'd certainly buy it?

Best wishes, Steve

#10

Love this article

Hey Wildwoman,

I can't understand why I didn't see this article earlier - 'cos its one of your very best. I'm a big blues fan and I love the way sensitive phrasing adds so much to the emotion in the song. You explain this so well - and also why we don't have to play a trillion notes at the speed of light. Why don't you collect all your articles into a book, 'cos I'd certainly buy it?

Best wishes, Steve