Skip to content

Blues Improvisation 2: Playing “Outside” The Beginner’s Box

    Featured Video Play Icon

    In our previous lesson, we learned the “beginner’s box”. Today we’re going to take things a step further and learn to think “outside the box”.

    Visually, these extra notes appear in the box on the fretboard but are outside the key- therefore outside the box.

    So, basically, I’m asking you to play the wrong notes. I know that sounds crazy. Your guitar instructor is telling you to play wrong notes, but it’s part of the master plan.

    See, one of the fun things to do when improvising a lead part is grabbing a note or two that are inherently wrong, but sound good as a passing tone.

    Imagine a lead phrase as a trip to your friend’s house. You depart from your home (for example a note from the beginner’s box), pass a few houses on the way (the outside notes), and then end up at your friend’s house (another note from the beginner’s box).

    The trick is not to stop on the outside notes. They’re the quick, in-between notes, that travel to more important notes.

    Fig. 1

    Fig. 2

    Fig 3.

    Fig. 4

    Fig. 5

    Fig. 6