3 Songwriting and Performing Tips for Aspiring Blues Rockers

Looking to channel your inner Jimmy Page or Jack White and have absolutely no idea where to start? Don’t freak out.

Blues rock represents a genre with so much soul and personality; however, it also represents a style that’s deeply rooted in technical skill and a highly specific sound. That said, writing, recording and performing blues rock doesn’t have to be rocket science. By paying attention to proper aspects of your practice and playing style, you can write your own blues rock jams that sound just like something the pros would come up with.

But what does it take to master the art of blues rock? Consider the following three tips as a solid starting point if you’re totally new to the genre or just want to hone your rock repertoire.

Get Your Tone Right

This perhaps seems obvious, but you’re going to need to put in the hours if you want to “wow” a crowd with your sound or write music that comes off as remotely professional. This means practicing alongside backing tracks and spending time tweaking your tone. With the help of free VSTs and sample packs, you can both practice keeping a beat and get that sort of fat, crunchy guitar tone necessary when it’s time for a killer solo or rocking riff.

When it comes to your live sound, don’t obsess too much over your gear. Sure, a crunchy guitar pedal combined with a clean Fender amp would be ideal, but that’s obviously not in everyone’s budget. So much of your sound ultimately boils down your playing style: while some crunch and reverb can help, it’s how you play the matters most.

Know Your Scales

Learning the ropes of blues rock can seem daunting, but the process of blues songwriting is so much easier when you know your scales. For example, mastering the minor pentatonic scale, the natural minor scale and the traditional “blues” scale should be your top priorities. Once you understand how scales work in the context of blues rock, you quickly realize the formulas behind your favorite solos.

Learn from the Best

As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Arguably the best ways to better understand the in’s and out’s of a genre is by studying its most important players and practicing their best words.

This means listening to classic blues rock albums from the likes of Cream and Led Zeppelin to get a better pulse on the sort of songs you should learn and how to play them yourselves. If nothing else, learning some classic covers is a surefire crowd-pleaser that will likewise influence your own songwriting.

Also, you can learn a thing or two from the stage presence of such artists as well. Watch some live performances on YouTube to get a better idea of how your idols play to the crowd and what they do to command the stage. These overlooked aspects of performing live can set you apart once you hop on stage yourself.

Becoming a better blues rocker is more than possible when you pay attention to the proper details. Sticking to these tips can lead you on the path toward becoming a better musician whether you’re just starting out with blues rock or want to hone your skills as a guitarist.

Susan Melony

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One Response to “3 Songwriting and Performing Tips for Aspiring Blues Rockers”

  1. CJ Rooney says:

    Nice tips, in general! Don’t we all wish we can be blues rock stars! I like your idea of focusing on your sound and not being too caught up with the gear and technical details. Imitating role models– for informing your own sound– is also sound advice. Nice tips!

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