Spice Up the Blues

Genre and Style Guitar Course from Mark Kroos

Is your Blues playing bland? Does it feel like your playing is missing a few key ingredients? Well, it's time to spice things up with this comprehensive course as Mark Kroos offers several tools that will add variety to your solo playing over the 12-Bar Blues and beyond!

25 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.


Course filmed with 6 cameras for the perfect angles.

Guitar Pro

All tabs and notation provided in PDF and Guitar Pro formats.

Tabs & Info

Download tabs, helpers, JamTracks and docs included with lessons.


Access this course, along with all other courses with Membership.

Full Course Breakdown

Mark will start with a basic 12-Bar Blues form before progressing through the Minor Pentatonic shapes. We'll then work our way through the Dorian and Mixolydian modes, arpeggios, double stops, and bends! There are a handful of solos sprinkled along the way to help us master the shapes and skills required to spice up our Blues playing!


Introduction to 'Spice Up the Blues'

Mark Kroos introduces us to 'Spice Up the Blues'!

3:41 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty


What is a 12 Bar Blues?

Grab your guitar and let's get started with this basic form of the 12-Bar Blues.

4:11 Runtime

0.5 Difficulty


Alternating Major and Minor Pentatonic

We've all heard of the Minor Pentatonic scale, but in this lesson, Mark will dive in on tweaking the Pentatonic Scale to cover more ground and incorporate the Major and Minor Blues Scales.

21:13 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty


Solo: Alternating Major and Minor Pentatonic

Now that we have the Major and Minor Blues Scale under our fingers, Mark takes us through our first solo for this series utilizing both of these foundational scales.

15:05 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


The Dorian Mode

In this lesson, Mark shifts gears and dives into one of his very favorite modes: The Dorian Mode.

17:50 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty

View this Lesson

Solo: Dorian Mode

Time for another solo! In this solo, we'll incorporate what we've learned with the Dorian Mode and even add a new level of complexity by including the Major Blues Scale.

16:34 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


The Mixolydian Mode

Ok, let's move on and add another mode to our musical toolbox. In this lesson, Mark dives into the Mixolydian Mode.

18:18 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Solo: Dorian and Mixolydian Modes

Alright, let's get another solo under our fingers as we combine the D Dorian and D Mixolydian modes!

15:08 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Dominant 7 Arpeggios

In this next lesson, we'll move on to learning some key Dominant 7 arpeggio shapes for incorporating into our 12-Bar Blues soloing.

17:42 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Arpeggios: Staying in Position

Arpeggios are fun, but can often lead to losing our place on the fretboard. In this lesson, we'll take our arpeggios a step further by learning how to stay in position while using them!

12:56 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Solo: Arpeggios

Now that we have our arpeggio shapes down let's put them to the test with this arpeggio-based solo!

14:36 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


Chromaticism and Targeting Chord Tones

We have the Dominant 7 arpeggio shapes thoroughly under our fingers now, but what do we do with them? In this lesson, Mark guides us on how to use these arpeggios as a roadmap to connect our chord tones to build tension and resolution.

10:52 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Chord Changes Using Guide Tones

Now it's time to work on our chord changes over the 12-Bar Blues by using guide tones!

13:21 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Solo with Target Tones

Ok, now it's time to put everything we've learned about chord and target tones to the test by connecting the different chord changes in this solo!

13:14 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Harmony Double Stops

Looking for a quick and fun skill to incorporate into your solos? Here, Mark dives into harmonic double stops and how to use them at different intervals in our playing.

13:15 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty



Let's expand on our double stops as Mark incorporates sixths to create a very distinctive sound!

17:20 Runtime

2.5 Difficulty


Solo with Harmonies

Now let's take these harmonic double stops that we've got under our fingertips and incorporate them into a solo!

15:56 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Harmonized Bends

Moving on, Mark walks us through harmonized bends and how to tailor this technique for the specific chords that we're using in our 12-Bar Blues.

14:56 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Solo: Harmonized Bends

Alright, now let's take those harmonized bends we learned in the previous lesson and put them to use in this next solo!

11:59 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Diminished 7 Chord in the 12 Bar Form

In this next lesson, Mark breaks down what can be intimidating to some players: fully diminished 7th chords.

15:31 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Diminished Arpeggios

Time to take a look at a different type of arpeggio! Diminished Arpeggios can be tricky, but once we get them under our fingers they can be a lot of fun!

19:39 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Diminished Scale

In this lesson, we move on to the useful Diminished Scale, which is built from alternating half-steps and whole-steps.

10:10 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


Diminished Solo

Time for another solo! For this solo, we'll take the Diminished Scale and incorporate some tension and resolution to make this a well-rounded and dynamic piece.

14:57 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty


The Whole Tone Scale

Here, Mark takes us through the Whole Tone Scale, which feels a little different from other scales we've encountered due to the notes being a whole step apart.

13:59 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty


The Whole Tone Solo

Congratulations! For this final lesson of the course, we'll put our Whole Tone Scale to use in this unique-sounding solo.

14:33 Runtime

3.5 Difficulty

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Mark Kroos

  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Playing since 1998
  • 132 lessons at JamPlay
Mark Kroos plays 2 guitar necks at the same time. Originally from Lansing, MI but currently based in Williamsburg, VA he is one of the only people in the world touring his trade.

Mark Kroos plays 2 guitar necks at the same time. Originally from Lansing, MI but currently based in Williamsburg, VA he is one of the only people in the world touring his trade. His primarily instrumental style is characterized by open harmonies, polyphonic textures, incredible tapping technique, and is as entertaining to watch as it is to listen to. Live performances burst with energy and magnetism not typical of solo guitar music. Drawing influence from folk, Celtic, indie, and even punk rock artists as well as other great guitarists such as Michael Hedges, Phil Keaggy, Tommy Emmanuel and Leo Kottke, Mark Kroos has developed his own edge to the acoustic guitar.
Reviews & Feedback 70/100 with 20 ratings

Love his teaching style.