Blue Highways | The TrueFire Collection

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At 12 years old, Josh Smith was already playing out at blues jams in South Florida. At 14, he was the lead guitarist in The Rhino Cats, the house band at Club M sitting in with the likes of Jimmy Thackery, Tinsley Ellis, Kenny Neal, Lucky Peterson, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Double Trouble, and other top artists playing the venue. Today, Josh continues to forge his legacy as one of the most vibrant, versatile, and sought-after players in all of contemporary blues. In this course, he will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches that he has learned along the way! Learn more or start the course with membership

Course Details
45 Lessons
2 Hour+ Runtime
Tabs (gpx, pdf)
Playalong Tracks
HD+ Video
90 day guarantee
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Meet Josh Smith

Blues rock guitar virtuoso, singer-songwriter, and producer, Josh Smith, is hailed the world over as a master guitarist with raw talent and power to spare. Blending his signature mix of blues, rock, and jazz into dynamic original songs, Smith is known for his incendiary live performances, whether at the Grammy Awards or the Kennedy Center Honors with Mick Jagger, Raphael Saadiq, and others. Along with touring the world, recording, and performing with renowned artists such as Joe Bonamassa, Eric Johnson, Andy Timmons, Kirk Fletcher, and others, Smith is also a producer and owns Flat V Studios in Los Angeles. He has produced artist's releases such as Reese Wynans's "Sweet Release", Eric Gale's "Crown", Joanna Conner's "4801 South Indiana Avenue", Joanne Shaw Taylor's "The Blues Album", Andy Timmons' "Electric Truth", Jimmy Hall, Larry Mccray "Blues Without You", Artur Menezes (winner of the Eric Clapton 2019 Crossroads Festival) "Anyday, Anytime" and "Fading Away", Seth Rosenbloom "Keep on Turning", Jamey Arent "The Back Burner" and many more! Josh lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Section 1


  • Phrasing and Time
  • Roadmaps
  • Goals for Blues
  • Exploring Outside the Pentatonics
  • Your Personal Style

Section 2


  • Blues Feels
  • Different Blues Keys
  • Common Blues Tempos
  • Approaches and Techniques
  • Soloing over Tracks



  • 8 Individual Solos
  • In-depth Breakdown of Each Solo
  • Full Backing Tracks and Notation
  • Illustrative Performances

Blue Highways

Interactive Video Masterclass for Blues Rhythm & Lead Guitar

Josh organized Blue Highways into two sections. In the first section, he passes on 11 key concepts and techniques that comprise his singular style and approach to blues guitar: The Basics, Phrasing and Time, Honoring and Disregarding Heroes, Roadmaps, Goals for Blues, Working Towards Goals, Exploring Outside The Pentatonic, Melodic Minor, Rhythm Approaches, The Right Hand, Building a Vocabulary, and Your Personal Style!

In the second section of the Blue Highways, you’ll play your way through a series of 8 soloing performance studies, across a variety of blues feels, keys, and tempos. Josh will overview the backing track and feel, and then solo over the track. After the performance, Josh breaks down the solo emphasizing the approaches and techniques in play. This course offers 45 lessons covering 2+ hours of material in step-by-step, digestible presentation.

Lessons in this Course

Blue Highways: Introduction

Hello, I'm Josh Smith and welcome to Blue Highways.<br><br>I've been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play and record professionally from a very young age, and to do so with so many great musicians, across so many diverse styles.<br><br>These experiences helped me develop my own sound, which while rooted in the blues, is also heavily influenced by jazz, country, rock and pretty much everything in-between.<br><br>Here in Blue Highways, I'll pass along many of the key concepts and techniques I've picked up along the way and we'll also work through 8 performance studies together spanning 8 of my favorite stylistic approaches.<br><br>All of the performances are tabbed and notated and you'll have the jam tracks to work with on your own. You can loop and slow down the videos so you can work with the lessons at your own pace.<br><br>Grab your guitar and let's get started!

1:36 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - SECTION 1: Essential Concepts: Overview

In this first section of the course, we're going to dive in to some of the things that make me "me", and some of the concepts that I use. Let's go!

0:39 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - The Basics: Course Primer

Let's talk about the head, the hand and the heart. These are the building blocks and basics needed for building your skill as an improviser: knowledge, technique and soul!

6:54 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Phrasing and Time: Concept 1

Phrasing and time is what seperates a good player from a great player. They're critical elements in telling your story as an improviser. Let's dig in to ways to improve them.

7:37 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Phrasing and Time : Application: Demo

Here we'll be working on phrasing and time exercises using devices like limitations, building themes, etc. These are the ways you start building a vocabulary.

4:30 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Honoring and Disregarding Heroes: Concept 2

It's important to honor and learn from your heroes! It's equally as important to let them go during the process of finding your own voice. Let's learn how to truly honor our heroes while still working towards that individual sound.

6:49 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Honoring and Disregarding Heroes: Application: Demo

Lets examine the difference between playing just like our heroes and playing things influenced and informed by our heroes as filtered through out own ideas.

3:56 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Roadmaps: Concept 3

The idea behind "roadmaps" is being informed so you're able to read the situation musically at all times. There are so many things that can inform your playing as an improviser if you just listen!

6:20 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Roadmaps: Application: Demo

This an example of reading the signs and reacting in a natural way to what's going on musically. There are tools you can use to do this - big ears are the key.

4:00 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Blue Highways - Goals for Blues: Concept 4

Let's talk blues. This is the foundation of everything I do and the heart of most improvisation. Let's dive deep on why this music is so special.

7:54 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Working Towards Goals: Concept 5

It's important to have goals. You need to have somehting you are working towards that keeps you motivated; a real sense of purpose.

6:35 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Exploring Outside Pentatonics: Concept 6

Everyone wants to get outside the pentatonic box. The concepts to do this are not rocket science. Lets explore a few ways to start adding new ideas to our improvisation.

7:47 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Exploring Outside Pentatonics: Application: Demo

Here's some examples of ways to break that box. These simple idead can lead you down many new paths!

3:39 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Melodic Minor: Concept 7

Melodic minor is an incredibly useful sound when trying to break out of the box. Let's quickly touch on ways to use it.

4:51 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Rhythm Approaches: Concept 8

Rhythm is the most overlooked but important aspect of music and guitar playing. It's hard to play anything if you can't play good rhythm guitar. Lets talk about what makes a good rhythm guitar player and part.

6:15 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Rhythm Approaches: Application: Demo

Here's some examples of rhythm guitar playing with the goal of making things feel good. Try these useful and economical shapes and make them feel good and groove unnacompanied.

2:42 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - The Right Hand: Concept 9

Let's talk right hand since we've got two of 'em! Picking techniques are half the battle and an important tool in developing your vocabulary and working towards the goal fo telling your individual story.

5:00 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Building a Vocabulary: Concept 10

Building a vocabulary is the longest lasting goal you have as an improviser. You never stop working on this. The key is putting in the time in all aspects to make your vocabulary as big and informed as possible. The more you have, the better you're able to tell your story as an improviser, which is the ultimate goal.

6:36 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Personal Style: Concept 11

Finding your own personal style as a soloist should be a goal early on. You want to find what make you "you". It's important to listen and learn and have influences while always working towards finding your own thing.

6:46 Runtime

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Blue Highways - SECTION 2: Performance Studies: Overview

Time to get to work! Let's apply everything we've been talking about to some music!!

0:37 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Minor Funk in D: Overview

This minor funk track in D features an eight note pulse and a dominant 4 and 5 chord, but a minor 1 chord. I'm digging in hard.

0:48 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Minor Funk in D: Performance

Check out the performance using many ideas we talked about in the first section of the course.

2:00 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Minor Funk in D: Approach

Let me explain a little what I was thinking and how I was building my story over this track.

5:42 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Walkin' Shuffle in A: Overview

A good old school walking bass line shuffle in A. This is an essential groove to be comfortable soloing over!

0:24 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Walkin' Shuffle in A: Performance

Now I'm getting My BB King on. I'm really laying hard into the shuffle!

2:07 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Walkin' Shuffle in A: Approach

Now let's break down some of my thinking on this shuffle. Here we move from a traditional approach to more of my own style halfway through.

6:14 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Slow Blues Eb: Overview

A slow blues in a tough key of Eb to not only working on feeling and expression, but work on being comfortable all over the neck.

0:32 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Slow Blues Eb: Performance

On this track, I'm showing you how I solo on a slow blues and how I deal with keys that aren't always immediately comfortable.

3:01 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Slow Blues Eb: Approach

The idea here is to be as direct as I can possibly be. Feeling comfortable in Eb all over the neck is something to work towards. I'm trying to convey my feeling in the moment.

4:58 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Nola Bb: Overview

This one is a syncopated New Orleans style groove in Bb. Syncopated grooves create so many rhythmic possibilities.

0:47 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Nola Bb: Performance

Really working my way in and out of the groove/beat. Dig the way im pushing and pulling the time.

2:49 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Nola Bb: Approach

I was tryng to play from the heart here, playing what I really hear and feel. I'm moving in and out of the beat over this syncopated groove.

6:04 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Garage Blues in E: Overview

Garage blues is like a 2 beat. You can impart country feels and hybrid picking here.

0:32 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Garage Blues in E: Performance

I'm really laying into this 2 beat, using hybrid picking and a real rhythmic approach. Lots of doublestops, trills, open strings, etc.

2:02 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Garage Blues in E: Approach

This shows a whole other side of my playing - dig in on the doublestops and hybrid picking.

5:37 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Rockin' Blues in A: Overview

Let's have some fun! I'm rocking out on the strat with a fuzz. Sometimes it's OK to just let it all fly.

0:37 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Rockin' Blues in A: Performance

Check out my approach to a heavy rock blues track. I'm letting it all go here.

2:31 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Rockin' Blues in A: Approach

Let's talk about how tone and gear inform my playing, and then listen what I play on a heavier track using different gear.

9:21 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Ray Slow Blues in A: Overview

Blues with changes baby! This is in the style of Ray Charles. Make them changes!

0:31 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Ray Slow Blues in A: Performance

These are Gospel type RC style changes. Listen and go slow, feel it.

3:27 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Blue Highways - Ray Slow Blues in A: Approach

I'm really trying to highlight the chords here and play like a singer or horn player would. These changes are essential to blues and soul music.

7:21 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Bb Jump Blues: Overview

A good old fashioned swing in Bb. My favorite!! Let's take a look.

0:43 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Bb Jump Blues: Performance

There are lots of things happening here, but don't be afraid to just play the blues!

1:31 Runtime

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Blue Highways - Bb Jump Blues: Approach

Now let's take a look at my approach to this jump blues track in Bb. Work those chromatics, turnarounds and diminished licks!!

7:23 Runtime

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Blue Highways: Conclusion

Thanks so much for checking out Blue Highways, I hope you found a few things in here to take home and add to your toolbox! See you down the road!

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