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B.B. King Blues Master Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Every guitarist should know at least the basics of how to play like B.B. King. His approach is amazingly simple fundamentally; you don't need a ton of technique to do what B.B. does. What most people have a problem with is understanding, and replicating B.B.'s thoroughly musical approach; communicating non-verbally with an audience, making a guitar "speak", and knowing that four or five notes, played a certain way, are all that are needed to make an emotional impact.

To help us get a glimpse into the way B.B. plays (and thinks), Warner Bros. Video has released the truly insightful instructional guitar video B.B. King Blues Master that documents the guitar style of this true American legend. What follows is a review of the B.B. King Blues Master instructional DVD.

What Is Included in the Instructional Video?

Although this DVD is filled with documentation on how King approaches soloing, with specific examples, it is broken into a number of distinct themes. The videos are broken down as follows.
  • Theme 1: Includes documentation of B.B.'s vibrato, bending, picking, influences, phrasing, and equipment.
  • Theme 2: Illustrates the style and technique of B.B. King, his use of chords, arpeggios, dynamics, warm-ups, and his signature phrases.
  • Theme 3: Covers B.B.'s use of scales, slides, harmonic concepts, classic licks, and his methods of playing over changes.

B.B. King's style is clearly on display throughout the video - even if he's not discussing, for example, his use of vibrato, it is plain to see and understand whenever he plays his guitar. Even novice guitarists will find something to learn from here. To get a better insight into this instructional DVD, have a look of a clip of the Blues Master DVD posted on YouTube.

The box set itself is very nicely put-together - it includes different pictures of B.B. in various poses with Lucille (the name for his guitar, a variant on a Gibson ES-355). It's safe to say that the appearance of this package will certainly please fans.

Is Bluesmaster Worth Buying?

The fundamental question remains - is this instructional DVD a must buy for all guitarists? For loyal fans of B.B. King, the answer is an emphatic "yes". The extensive interview footage of King alone makes the package worth the price. So humble and friendly is B.B. King, you'll surely find yourself a bigger fan after watching the video. How about for casual fans, and for guitarists not as familiar with B.B. King? Certainly, all guitarists could find something to learn from this DVD. The retail price tag of $39.95 (which is ridiculously cheap for three videos this attractively packaged) shouldn't keep many people away.
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