Something that will really take your playing to a different level are blues runs or piano runs. No matter if you are soloing over blues, funk, soul, rock or even jazz, being able to pull a cool run will always have a great effect and impress. It is actually a lot easier than you might think to learn a good run if you think of it as two or three licks pasted together.
So here’s a blues run in the key of C. It sounds great in a solo, and it spans over more than two octaves.
Confused? Don’t worry – the more you break it down, the easier it gets. So let’s have a closer look.
Breaking down the blues run into licks
All notes are part of the C blues scale. If you know this scale, you’re halfway there.
The C Blues Scale
Next, you might have noticed, that the run repeats after coming down the first octave, so it’s basically two times the same lick pasted together with a little change at the end. Here is the lick in different octaves.
If you break one of these licks down even more, you have two pieces that are actually not to hard to play and easy to learn.
If you bring it all back together, you have the whole run. Now that you know that it repeats itself, you can even start one octave higher and make it longer. Once you have it down, you can add in the small variation at the end.
Adding your own touch
You can also add in more variations for yourself. But most of the time that’s not even necessary, because there is no problem with repeating sections if you’re playing fast. Everybody does it!
By breaking down this piano run, you could see how you can come up with your own runs as well. Take a cool blues lick or improvise something using the blues scale. Then play the same lick one octave down and somehow connect the two. If you try around a bit, you can come up with your own cool blues runs and use them in your piano soloing!