Improve your Blues guitar techniques with our Buddy Guy guitar lesson and learn 5 essential guitar habits from the blues legend

We've put together this easy Buddy Guy guitar lesson and delved in to some essential Buddy Guy guitar habits and techniques. All courtesy of Leigh Fuge at MGR Music.

If you’re a fan of the blues, you’ll know all about the legend that is Buddy Guy and be familiar with his signature guitar techniques.

Currently in his mid 80s and still touring harder than ever, Buddy Guy is one of the last living blues legends. His style is based on all the expected blues, pentatonic principals, but with a unique flair and fiery playing style.

As guitarists, we can all learn a thing or two from this incredible musician and certainly benefit from adding some buddy Guy guitar habits into our own playing.

In this Blues guitar lesson we’ll be looking at some basic pentatonic ideas but with some Buddy Guy concepts and techniques applied to them.

Watch our Buddy Guy guitar lesson & techniques video

Buddy Guy Blues style Turnaround/Intro Lick

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The first step in our Buddy Guy guitar lesson is nailing the Buddy Guy Blues style Turnaround/Intro Lick.

This pentatonic lick is a key guitar habit amd makes for a great opening lick or a turnaround lick for in the middle of your lead breaks.

It starts in the second shape of the minor pentatonic in A and moves back to the first shape.

The lick then ends by jumping up to the fourth shape for a three note closing run.

Buddy Guy Blues style Turnaround/Intro Lick

This particular Buddy Guy inspired lick is very adaptable and you can add some flair to it by adding some hammer ons and slides to get into certain notes.

Buddy Guy Blues style Turnaround/Intro Lick 2

Pentatonic Flurry in the style of Buddy Guy

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This short lick is great for a burst of speed when you need it. If you link the first lick from this lesson onto the end of this you get a cool, longer Buddy Guy style lick. This blues style lick starts briefly in the first shape of the pentatonic before hitting the second shape. The bending phrase towards the end of the bar is played quite quickly. Don’t linger on the bend too long. This is an essential part of any Buddy Guy guitar lesson and will really add some awesome technique to your own playing style. 

Pentatonic Flurry in the style of Buddy Guy

Dyad Chords used by Buddy Guy

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A key Buddy Guy habit is his use of the Dyad chords. Buddy would often hit these Dyad chords as a way to add some aggression to a line he’s playing. You can really dig in on them and make them sound nasty. After the descending dyads, the lick ends on the 14th fret of the G which is an A note, thus resolving the lick and bringing it back around.

This makes for a great opening line to a song and it can also be used at the end of a turnaround. Try this technique with any Blues jam and you'll seriously turn some heads!

Dyad Chords used by Buddy Guy

Milking the Bends - bending a string like Buddy Guy

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The next part of our Buddy Guy guitar lesson talks about how he would extend his bended notes and make his guitar sing.

Buddy Guy would often apply bending phrases such as this to his guitar solos. This is based in the fourth pentatonic shape but you can take this concept and move it anywhere that suits you.

You’ll notice that there is a first finger bend on the 13th fret of the B before multiple bends on the 15th. With the 15th fret bends, don’t just bend the note a full tone, bend it repeatedly (as shown in the video) while increasing the pitch gradually. By the end of the phrase you’re hitting that full tone mark.

Buddy Guy string bends technique

Buddy Guy style Tremolo Picking

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The final part of our Buddy Guy guitar lesson is the tremolo picking technique - an absolutel essential guitar habit to learn if you want to play the guitar like Buddy Guy. 

This lick is 100% Buddy Guy! Get those dyad chords and tremolo pick them! This is where things get a little crazy and if you’re a fan of Buddy, you’ll be very familiar with this sound.

The lick ends with a short burst of notes conceived from the previous lick idea.

During the tremolo picked part, you want to slide back into the dyad chord at regular intervals. This has been notated for sextuplets (6 notes on a beat) but you can rhythmically go with whatever feels right here. Think of it almost like you’d imagine a slide guitar lick.

Keep the picking hand loose so the tremolo picking is consistent and even across both the B and E strings.

Buddy Guy tremolo picking technique

We hope you enjoyed our Buddy Guy guitar lesson and guitar habits blog! Let us know in the comments below if you think we've missed anything.

About The Author:

Leigh Fuge is a guitarist and guitar teacher with many years teaching experience. He works alongside a team of guitar tutors nationally at, helping students to learn to play from beginners upwards through individually tailored guitar lessons.

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