Duke Robillard

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Slow Blues in C

Lesson 1

Duke Robillard Lesson >

Slow Blues in C > Lesson 1

This week we're re-issuing one of Duke's most popular lessons: Route Slow Blues In C.  We've updated the lesson with a full transcription of the solo.  We will add the 2nd chorus next week. Enjoy.

Hi Folks, This week we are going to start working on improvising on a slow blues in C. I talk at length about the aspects I consider important of soloing on slow blues. We go over points on phrasing, timing of riffs for emotional effect. I demonstrate a 4 chorus solo, building in intensity as I climb up from 1st to 2nd position adding different types of bends and flurries of notes. Then I show and explain some of the ideas I used in my solo.





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Chicago Blues

Backing Track

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 6:02 First Chorus Practice Loop


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 7:04 to practice the second chorus

Loop 7:54 Third Chorus Practice Loop

Loop 8:43 Fourth Chorus Practice Loop





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jean michel
jean michel Apr 04, 2018

   Here's my answer to the Duke's comment.I enjoy very much sexual inuendos in Blues...

jean michel
jean michel Jan 13, 2018

Hi Duke,

I tried to put some chords in my chorus, as you said.

...A little sloppy...I could do better. Well, after all, I'm here for that!

jean michel
jean michel Jan 13, 2018

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Apr 02, 2018

Jean Michel,You have a nice blues feel, good phrasing and a great vibrato. You should play along with a track or even a CD to get your timing in sync with your abilities. You sound great but should play along with a track for practice. Also playing with a metronome is a good habit to get into. Keep up the good work, Duke 

Boyd R
Boyd R Jan 08, 2018

Very nice

Bruce Dumes
Bruce Dumes Jan 06, 2018

Hey Duke! So here's my take on the Slow Blues in C. I would love to get your feedback on this. Thanks! Bruce

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Apr 02, 2018

Sounds good Bruce. You should try to make your solo more conversational and build slowly to a bit more dramatic conclusion. All very good playing here just trying give you a way to view building it. Duke

Bruce Dumes
Bruce Dumes Apr 03, 2018

Thanks very much, Duke! I will keep your advice in mind.

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Jul 02, 2015

Hi Steve, Sounds good! Too bad about Lady Gaga. Duke

Steve Lauder
Steve Lauder Jul 02, 2015

Thanks Duke

Looking forward to the next lesson.


Steve Lauder
Steve Lauder Jul 02, 2015

Hello Duke

Hope the surgery went well. This i am calling Blues for Lady Gaga. We adopted an 8 month old miniature doxie a few weeks back named Lady Gaga. But she suffered separation anxiety so for her sake we sent her back to her pack. There will never be another but perhaps soon one that's close. She was so sweet and adorable with currly locks.



Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Apr 17, 2019

Hi Steve, It seems somehow I missed this but you sound great here! 

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Apr 17, 2019

Hi Steve, It seems somehow I missed this but you sound great here! Duke

jean michel
jean michel May 03, 2015

Dear Duke,

As you can see, I was ready to go to bed when I decided to cut this little video...

I was a little tired to cut my teeth and ruin my fingers on this damn "honky tonk" so I did something I was more able to do, a blues in C.

I think I could be a little better but not too much..That's where I am right now...

Thanks for your comment!

By the way, I really appreciate your program! I even enjoy your mistakes, they make you more human !!

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard May 05, 2015

Hello Jean, That's very good playing. Nice feel and improvising and i like the pajamas! Sometimes I record in my home studio in pajamas, LOL!  

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Sep 25, 2013

Hi Steve, That is correct but as Mike said, I am bending it which is a T-Bone Walker trick. He bends a dimished chord so it almost gets up to the root key chord. which almost makes it a C here. It's a great bluesy effect and I use it all the time.  

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Sep 25, 2013

Hi Steve ... Mike here, I do the tab for Duke's lessons.  Yes, you got the chord exactly.  The one comment I would make is Duke bends that G string a bit to GREAT effect.  Thanks for giving the timecode, it really helps!

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Sep 23, 2013

Hi Steve H, I will review this in the morning and get back to you. Thanks, Duke 

Steve H
Steve H Sep 23, 2013



  Is this the chord your bending and shaking (@ 8:44) over what I think is the beginning I of the progression. Very cool.

I'm sort of living in the past with these old lessons. Sort of trying to catch up but just a wealth of awesome musical ideas here.




Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Apr 02, 2018

Yes that's it. Duke 

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Sep 07, 2013

Hi Scott, For now, you could check out the slow blues chord lessons for 3 Hours Past Midnight and Stormy Monday to learn some slow blues chord progressions voicings and tips until I do another slow blues. Hope that helps, Duke  

Scott Nowlan
Scott Nowlan Sep 01, 2013

Duke, can you tell me a song or songs where I would find these chord changes?  I can look them up.  I like this progression lots.  

Scott Nowlan
Scott Nowlan Aug 28, 2013

That would be great.  Looking forward to it !

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Aug 28, 2013

Hi Scott I will do a feature lesson on slow blues with lots of changes in it soon. It's coming! Duke

Scott Nowlan
Scott Nowlan Aug 22, 2013

I'm all over the place looking at your materials here.  

One thing I am really interested in is learning the art of the slow Blues from the stand point of good rhythm playing (i.e. chord substitution, chord shape selection, walking up to the chord, etc).  How do I learn these beautiful progressions and moves?  

You have an incredible grasp of how advanced chords go together.  I hope as you teach us you can show us more of the slow minor Blues and unlock some of those secrets.    

I grew up in Blues Chicago, Checkerboard Lounge (original, briefly), and Buddy Guy's Legends.  I think I must have caught the last of the true improvisational Blues guitar era in the 80s where a Blues musician would spend a good portion of the evening jamming over the rhythm.  Man, that spoke to me.  I crave it.  That's where I want to go.  I need the road map.  I haven't been able to find anyone that knows it willing to show it. 


cesar May 26, 2013

Amazing!!!Thanks Duke

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard Dec 21, 2012

Cool Tone!

Antonio Delgado
Antonio Delgado Dec 21, 2012

Many thanks Duke. I will most definitely post a new video. Grateful for the quick and kind reply. I've got the Tele out and plugged in so Three hours Past Midnight here I come! I look forward to making a video and hearing from you soon. -Tone

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