In this free guitar lesson, I have another installment of “How Does This Song Work?” featuring Still Got the Blues (For You) by Gary Moore. I’m going to take a look at the general chord progression and key as well as the scales used for the solos and how the main lead line connects to the chords. If you’re a student of my Fretboard Theory program and you’ve advanced to Volume II, you’re going to see many of the concepts I teach in the course at play in this song. Let’s dive in…
Still Got the Blues Verse Chords
The main chord progression is:
Dm7 Dm7/G Cmaj7 Fmaj7 Bm7b5 E7 Am
The tonic chord is Am. The music is in the key of A minor or A Aeolian mode. This means you use notes and chords from the C major scale but center on the 6th degree, A and its chord Am.
In their simplest form, the chords are Dm, G, C, F, Bmb5, E, and Am.
This type of chord progression is commonly called a circle of 4ths. Am to Dm is a 4th interval, Dm to G is a 4th, G to C is a 4th, C to F is a 4th, F to B is a sharp 4th, which occurs naturally in the scale (there’s no Bb in this key), B to E is a 4th, and finally E to A is a 4th.
Normally, the E chord is minor in the key of A minor, but here you make temporary use of A harmonic minor which changes the Em chord to E major. The E major creates a dominant push to the tonic chord, Am.
To make the harmony more complex and add color to the chords, you add 7ths to most of the chords. You also play a Dm7/G instead of a plain G chord. So, the specific chords you hear in the song are:
Dm7 Dm7/G Cmaj7 Fmaj7 Bm7b5 E Am
Still Got the Blues Guitar Solo
Now let’s talk about the lead line.
This lead line makes use of the chord tone soloing technique I teach in Fretboard Theory Volume II. Notice how each phrase ends on a note that is in the underlying chord. F is part of the Dm chord, D is part of a G chord (and also Dm7/G), E is part of a C chord, C is part of an F chord, D is part of Bmb5, B is part of E, and finally A is part of Am. So, you can see that this lead line is connected closely to the chords, which is why it’s such a strong melody.
Still Got the Blues Chorus Chords
Once you get to the song’s chorus, the music shifts from A natural minor to A Dorian mode. The chords in use here are:
Am Em Am D7
The D7 is your giveaway that the music is using A Dorian mode. A Dorian is the second mode of the G major scale. G major has a D major/D7 chord in it.
The chorus finishes with the chords F9 and E7#9. It’s common in blues to use 9th chords with half-step chromatic movement. And the E7#9 creates the perfect amount of tension to produce a harmonic minor push back to the tonic chord, Am.
Still Got the Blues Bridge Chords
Later in the bridge, you play a type of 2-5-1 using the chords:
Bm Bm/E Am
You can think of this as borrowing from A major or A melodic minor. The bridge finishes with descending melodic voice leading using the chords:
F C/E Dm7
The music returns to Am from there.
So that’s Still Got the Blues (For You) by Gary Moore in a nutshell.
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