How to play blues guitar like Gary Moore


Gary Moore, born in Belfast in 1952, first picked up an acoustic at age eight. Like many other aspiring players at the time, Moore was influenced by the rock 'n' roll greats such as Elvis Presley and later on The Beatles. But when John Mayall's Bluesbreakers played in his home town, there was no going back...

Check out the video above for Gary Moore-style blues licks and scroll down for each example's tab (click to enlarge).

Example 1

Gary moore tab

Moore often establishes the mood of a solo carefully before tearing into anything blistering. As a result, this isn't one of the quick phrases - it requires lots of concentration in other areas, like the vibrato and those semitone bends that need to be perfectly in tune.

Example 2

Gary moore tab

Here is an alternative take over the same backing, this time with a more technical approach. This is more the way Moore would play later in the song or solo. Always begin your phrases confidently and don't worry about the odd bit of string noise. For the quick phrases in bars 2 and 3, try starting with an upstroke then 'sweeping' across to the second string - not like Yngwie Malmsteen, just use an economy-picking technique!

Next: Example 3 and 4

Example 3

Gary moore tab

Returning to a more laid-back feel, here is one way that Moore might approach the next section. It's very melodic with a composed feel, but then it breaks into a pentatonic flurry

Example 4

Gary moore tab

Here is the same section but in the style of how Moore would play it when in full flight. Even though he was a blistering alternate picker when required, Moore often prefers the slightly less frantic sound produced by this economy-style picking you've already seen in Examples 2 and 3, especially when in blues mode. There are more bends to test your accuracy and patience, too: Gary often holds a bend without vibrato (or applies it afterwards), so your precision here is essential.

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