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Homework Answers

In the book Flatpicking the Blues Brad Davis assigned a number of "homework" problems for you to work through. On this page of the website we will provide you with some answers to those homework problems. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by clicking <here>. Please include "Flatpicking the Blues" in the subject line of all correspondence.

Homework Assignment #1: Find the Scales (page 10)

This homework assignment required you to figure out the scale degrees of several major scales (C, A, E, B, & F) using the half-step/whole-step formula for the major scale. To find out if your answers to this problem is correct, please simply turn to page 9 of the book and compare your answers to the chart at the bottom right of the page.

Homework Assignment #2: G Major Scales (page 13)

In this assignment you were required to find G Major scales with the starting point being at various G note locations all over the guitar neck. Click <here> to see a graphic an example of a number of the possible major scales which you can find by starting at the G note at the third fret of the low E string. If you try to find as many scale patterns as you can for each G note, your familiarity with the entire fingerboard will improve greatly.

Note: You will notice that the first G scale pattern is only on one string. While playing a scale in this manner may seem impractical, practicing scales along one string for a while (which would include playing some tunes using that scale and improvising) is a very good way to practice becoming familiar with how to move up and down the fingerboard. I heard about this idea from someone who had studied Mick Goodrick's book, The Advancing Guitarist. I haven't seen the exercise as explained in the book, but evidently the exercise entails practicing the guitar as a "uni-tar" single-stringed instrument, meaning that everything you play is along one string. When you get to the free-form improvisation practice later in the book, try improving using the G blues scale on one string only. Then try it on two strings only, etc. This exercise will help you learn how to jump up to higher positions (and back from higher positions to lower positions) on the fingerboard with quickness and accuracy.

The lesson here is to not let yourself get focused on scales that run across the fingerboard (in box patterns). Practice scales that move up and down the length of the fingerboard can also be very helpful (for practice with these scales see the "scales" section of this website). And note that when we refer to "practicing scales" that does not necessarily mean running mindlessly up and down the scale. The best way to practice is to learn the scale, become familiar with it, then use it in the conext of a song or free-form improv.

Homework Assignment #3: G Major Scales Revisited (page 15)

In this assignment you were required to explore the G Major Scales at various positions on the guitar fingerboard based on G-note patterns. In this answer, we will explore just one of those patterns and leave it up to you to examine others in a similar manner. We will explore the scale pattern created when using the G-note pattern shown at the bottom of page 14 (second G-note pattern example).  Play through the tab shown below. Recognize that this same scale pattern also applies to the G scale starting at the G note on the third fret of the low E string as shown in the graphic at the bottom of page 15 of the book.

Homework Assignment #4: G Blues Scale Upper Octave (page 27)

In this assignment you were asked to find various ways to play the G blues scale in the upper octave on the first five frets. Click <here> to view three different ways that you might play this scale.

Homework Assignment #5: G Blues Scale Ascending and Descending (page 29)

On the DVD Brad Davis played the G Minor Blues Scale in ascending and descending patterns in the lower octave (as shown on page 29 of the book). Your assignment was to play those same two patterns in the upper octave.  See below to view tab and standard notation of these two patterns.



Homework Assignment #6: Connecting the Patterns (page 30)

In this homework assignment you were called upon to connect the ascending and decending G minor blues scale patterns shown in the book with the ones you worked out yourself in homework assignment number 5. See the answer to both of these ascending and descending two-octave patterns below.



Homework Assignment #7: Listen to the Blues (page 57)

In this assignment we simply asked you to listen to some blues artists and some bluesy bluegrass artists. There is no real "answer" to this assignment, however, just so you can take a look at a great bluesy solo by a bluegrass artist, you can click <here> and get a cool blues inspired transcription of Charles Sawtelle's solo to "Rocky Road Blues." We will post more blues licks and phrases from other great blues artists and bluegrass artists in the future. Notice Charles' use of the blues scale in the first part of the solo. Also notice his great use of double stops. Charles said that the lick in measures 15 through 18 was something that he took from a Chuck Berry solo.

Homework Assignment #8: Nine Pound Hammer (page 73)

In this assignment you were called upon to come up with your own blues inspired arrangement of "Nine Pound Hammer." There is no "correct answer" to this one. I (DanMiller) worked up my own version while doing this homework assignment. It is a bit more straight forward than the examples Brad gives in the book and I tried to stay very close to the blues scale. Click <here> to view the version that I came up with. This will give you another example to work with.

If you look at the various blues examples and are still having trouble with the idea of song arrangement, I have provided a short step-by-stpe lesson on how to arrange your own solos using "Nine Pound Hammer" as the example. To work though the lesson, click <here>

If you are having trouble coming up with something on your own, send us an email. Maybe we can help. Click <here> to contact us. Please include "Flatpicking the Blues" in the subject line.

Homework Assignment #9: Give Your Tunes the Blues Treatment (page 81)

In this assignment we asked you to work on adding a blues influence to some of the tunes that you already know how to play. Again, there is no "correct answer" to this one. The more you do it, the better you are going to get at it. In order to give you a place to start, we have provided you with a couple of ideas that would work for the opening four measures of the tune "Salt Creek." Click <here> to check those out.

Once again, if you are having any trouble here, send us an email. Maybe we can help. Click <here> to contact us. Please include "Flatpicking the Blues" in the subject line.

Homework Assignment #10: Key of E Improvisation (page 85)

In this assignment you were asked upon to go through all of the exercises in the book in the key of E. This will take you some time, but it is well worth the effort. Try to transcribe all of the scales and exercises that Brad shows in the key of G over to the key of E. Then try to go through all of the free-form improvisation exercises in the key of E. Brad plays an improvised solo in the key of E at the very beginning of the DVD. Listen to that tune and then click <here>
to see a transcription of that solo. This tune might give you some ideas for the key of E. If you are having difficulty, maybe we can help. Click <here> to contact us. Please include "Flatpicking the Blues" in the subject line.