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A Mike Bloomfield Solo

Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”


By Stewart Knight

Guitarist Stewart Knight has analyzed one of Michael Bloomfield’s most iconic solos, creating this tab as a guide for those who would
like to play the guitarist’s improvisation. The piece is “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living” from “East-West” (1966, Elektra/WEA).
Stewart has kindly allowed us to post it here for visitors to www.mikebloomfieldamericanmusic.com. – Editor

To begin learning Mike Bloomfield’s solo on “I Got A Mind To Give Up Living,” first listen carefully to the original re-
cording. If possible, make a dub of it onto a casse�e or some other medium that will allow you to slow the piece down.

Three solos from the tune have been transcribed and analyzed; these are the introduction to the song, and the two solo
verses played a�er the second sung verse. Some of the runs played in these solos are fairly difficult, but by listening to
the individual runs played more slowly on the casse�e, you should be able to work them out for yourself. The subtlety of
Bloomfield’s timing and phrasing is difficult to demonstrate in tablature only. The best way to appreciate these features of
his playing is by repeated listening to the solos. The tab system used here is the Stefan Grossman style where strings are
represented by spaces between the lines (tabs more commonly today have notes wri�en on the lines).

The tune is a standard 12-bar blues song in 12/8 time, played in the key of C minor. The chord structure is:

Cmin Fmin Cmin Cmin


Fmin Fmin Cmin Cmin
G Fmin Cmin Fmin Cmin G

Follow this procedure for working on the individual runs: (a) listen to the run on the casse�e; (b) read the relevant section
in the analysis; (c) work out how to play it, using the tablature; .

1. Analysis of the introduction to “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

RUN A
This is a box A run at the VIIIth position.

RUN B
This is a box D run at the IIIrd position. The 14 notes played in bar two are not played as semiquavers, with equal time
values. Instead, each pair of notes is played in the following (“triplet”) rhythm:

i.e. the first note in each pair lasts for 2/3 of a quaver, and the second note lasts for 1/3.

RUNS C, D AND E
These are box E runs at the VIth position.

RUN F
The first 4 notes of RUN F (2 in bar 7, and 2 in bar 8) are played in the box E position. The next note played (0 on the 5th
string at the Xth fret) is obtained by sliding up on the 5th string, from the box E position into the box A position. The last
note of the run (Bb on the 4th string at fret XIII) is also played in the box A position.

RUN G
This is a box B run at the XIth position. The first note (Eb on the 4th string at the XIIIth fret) was not shown in the box B
diagram in Part I, but it can be thought of as an extension of box B.

RUN H
All but the first 2 notes of RUN H are played in the box A position. The first 2 notes are played in no particular box position,
but they link up the box B run just played with the box A run which is contained in RUN H.

RUN I
This is another box A run. The 4th and 6th notes (Bb on the 2nd string at fret XI , and Gb on the 3rd string at fret XI) are not
picked. They are made to sound by hammering the li�le finger onto the fretboard at fret XI. This is shown by the symbol
above the tablature staff, rather than or .

RUN J
This is a box B run at the XIth position.
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 2
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

1. INTRODUCTION

A B

= 66

D E
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 3
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

1. INTRODUCTION, CONT.

F G

H I

J
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 4
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

2. Analysis of the first solo verse in “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

RUN A
The first two notes are played in box A, and the rest of RUN A is played in box B.

RUN B
The first note of run B is played in the box A position. The ring finger then slides up the 3rd string from X to XII (followed
by a Bb on the 2nd string at fret XI), before RUN B continues in the box A position,

RUN C
This is a box A run which uses several notes not shown on the original box A diagram in Part II (viz. strings 2, 3 and 4
at fret IX, and string 2 at fret X). This demonstrates how the guitarist can use notes other than those which make up the
“skeleton” of the box. RUN C flows smoothly into ...

RUN D
This run begins with two notes in the “out-of-box” Xth position, leading up to box B, in which the run is completed ( in
position XI).

RUN E
This is a box A run, using the D on the first string at fret X not included on the basic box A diagram.

RUN F
This is another box A run. Notice the pa�ern of up and down strokes used.

RUN G
Another box A run. The 4th note (Bb on the second string) is not picked. It is made to sound by hammering the li�le finger
onto the string at fret XI. The Bb played at the beginning of bar 8 is emphasized, as shown by the symbol above the
note in the tablature.

RUN H
This is a box B run. The 3-note chord (C min 7th) played with a down-stroke at the beginning of RUN H is played as an
arpeggiando (i.e., the notes are played quickly, one a�er the other, from the lowest to the highest).

RUN I
This run begins with a slide up on the 1st string into the box C position at the XIIIth fret. A quarter of the way through
bar 9, the index finger slides back down the first string into the box B position. The last third of bar 9 is played in the box
A position. The last note of the run (Ab on the second string at fret IX), played at the beginning of bar 10, is a box A note
which is very rarely used. It fits in at this point, however, because the chord changes to F minor in bar 10, as can be seen in
the chord structure outlined above, and the Ab is one of the notes in the F minor chord.

RUN J AND RUN K


These are both box A runs.

RUN L
This is another box A run; the first part of the run involves the use of the ‘hammering’ technique to make the Bb on the
second string (at fret XI) sound without picking it, as in RUN I of the introduction, and RUN G of this first solo verse.
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 5
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

2. SOLO, VERSE 1

B C

D E

F G
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 6
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

2. SOLO, VERSE 1, CONT.


H

J K

L
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 7
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

3. Analysis of the second solo verse in “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

RUN A
This is a box A run at position VIII.

RUN B
A�er the first two notes, which are played in box A, the run is completed in box B.

RUN C
Up to the last quarter of bar 4, RUN C is played in the box D position. It finishes in box F at the XVIth position.

RUNS D AND E
These are also played in the box F position.

RUN F
This begins in the box C position. The index finger slides down the first string from the XIIIth to the XIth fret in bar 9, and
the run is completed in box B.

RUN G
This is a box B run.

RUN H
This begins in box B. The first note is an Ab, played on the first string bent up from the XIIIth fret. The run continues in
the box A position.

RUN I
This begins in box A; the end of the run is played at the 1/11th position.

3. SOLO, VERSE 2

B
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 8
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

3. SOLO, VERSE 2, CONT.

E
A Mike Bloomfield Solo, cont. Page 9
Guitar Tab for “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living”

3. SOLO, VERSE 2, CONT.

F G

© 2011 Stewart Knight