Essential Blues Technique - Hit Every Note (feat. LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS LICKS)

Here are three essential Blues Licks to help you better understand one of the most critical techniques  needed when performing Blues ideas on guitar, "Hitting Each Note with Conviction."

For these examples, I'm going to focus on a master of this. His playing style is one of the greatest in the world of Blues - I'm talking about, "Mr. Lightnin' Hopkins."


Lightnin' Hopkins was one of those blues players that had a unique style and flair to the way he played and if you'd take some time to study his guitar ability, you'll discover fairly quickly that he had a real knack for being very purposeful about the way he hit into notes.

To put it bluntly, he meant every note that he played. There was a force and a connected purpose to his style of blues guitar, and we're going to explore that in this video, by learning three essential "Lightnin' Hopkins" style of guitar licks.

Lick #1).
In our first idea we're breaking down the flow of notes in Lightening Hopkins' favorite key, the key of "E Blues." This first lick rips out a series of triplets, followed by his signature fast grace-notes played with fret-slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs.

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Lick #2).
The next lick organizes greater use of double-stops and promotes a few of his fast signature lines. Lightening Hopkins loved fast passages played up at rippin' speed. If you are not used to playing this way, you'll have to get used to controlling the speed bursts. They can be a little difficult to phrase (due to the combination of both his unique style and his solid connection to hitting each note with soul and purpose).

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In Lick #3).
This lick is very close to how some of his lines are performed from the song, "Back to New Orleans." I want to say up-front that this piece is a must learn song of his that really has a lot going for it in terms of exactly how he had developed a way of playing phrases with an extremely solid connection to each note.

Hopkins applied a ton of purpose to his playing style and it really shows through in all of the lines of this classic blues piece. Of particular importance, are all of the grace-note slides that are performed all over the place in this guitar part.

As you can tell, working on essential blues sounds (like those of the legendary "Lightnin' Hopkins") will not only give you a fantastic understanding of one of the most influential blues artists of the; 50's, 60's and 70's... But, you'll also start getting used to one of the most critically important skills (involved with solid guitar playing) and that is learning to really connect with every single note you play.

Even if this practice, becomes something that you only begin paying more attention to at home (as you study different songs), this (as a technique), will slowly bleed over into more and more of your daily guitar playing style.

I guarantee you, that this skill (of solidly connecting into every note with real purpose), will be extremely beneficial for you and your own guitar style as time goes on.

Thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at

My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be. I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find.

The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense.

I look forward to helping you further at ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next video. Bye for now!



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