Boom Boom Guitar Lesson – John Lee Hooker

Genre:

Difficulty: Level IILevel II
Length: 11:54


Boom Boom Wikipedia pageWikipedia page
Boom Boom music videoArtist website
Boom Boom music videoMusic video

With our guitar tutorial on Boom Boom, you will learn these guitar skills:
  • 12 bar blues
  • blues shuffle rhythm
  • chord changes
  • hammer-ons
  • minor pentatonic scale
  • pull-offs

If you love the blues, you're going to love today's lesson. You'll be learning to play a call and response style blues song in the style of John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom. He played it hundreds of different ways, and after the lesson, you'll be able to play it in many ways as well.

This is a relatively simple lesson, as it's all about the rhythm and really feeling the blues. No fancy licks or chords needed today.

Our guitar lesson on Boom Boom will start out with a quick blues theory recap, namely the 12 bar blues form and the I - IV - V chords you use in the key of E, so E - A - B.

Next, you'll learn about the call and response style of music, which is basically a succession of 2 distinct phrases. You have a call phrase, which is sort of answered with another phrase. It's loads of fun to play like this by yourself, and even better with another musician, be it a guitarist or singer.

And with all that out of the way, the real meat of the lesson will start. You will learn to play 6 call and response phrases you can use to play a full 12 bar blues song. What's more, you'll learn the underlying theory behind it all, so you'll be able to take things further and make up your own phrases as well using the minor pentatonic scale.

Here is an outline of the 12 bars:

  1. 1st call - slides in minor pentatonic and land on E
  2. 1st response - simple E0 - E3 - A0 - E0 or better yet, the lowest strings of the chords E - G - A - E
  3. 2nd call - still on E chord of 12 bar blues, repeat 1st call
  4. 2nd response - repeat 1st reply
  5. 3rd call - on the A chord, use the 1st call phrase but land on A note
  6. 3rd response - same reply idea, so reply the same way but 1 string higher A0 - A3 - D0 - A0 or with chords
  7. 4th call - back to an E chord riff
  8. 4th response - same response as before
  9. 5th call - now we're on the B chord, vary it up on the E minor pentatonic scale, land on the B
  10. 5th response - could do A2 - D0 - D2 - A2 or simple B7 strums followed by A strum
  11. 6th call - back to E chord riff
  12. 6th response - E minor pentatonic riff

You'll see that all of the riffs in the song are played in 1 position of the minor pentatonic scale. You can vary the licks any way you like on the E minor pentatonic blues scale, just land on the note of the chord.

Towards the end of the lesson, I'll even show you a chord progression and strumming pattern you could use if you play along with the original track.

Boom Boom song details

John Lee Hooker was a blues legend. He wrote and released Boom Boom in 1961.

The Animals released a cover version of the song in 1964.

Boom Boom charts and rankings

The song went on to be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.

It was a chart success in the USA in 1962, and in the UK in 1992.


If you want to refine the skills you learned in Boom Boom, check out these lessons on songs by clicking these links:
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Download tabs for Boom Boom

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Download backing track for Boom Boom

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