Sugar Mama. Introduction
Who recorded it?
Nine Below Zero are an English Blues band who were at their height in popularity in the early 1980s but continue gigging to this day, having built up a cult following throughout Europe.
Sugar Mama is a departure from their normally hi-energy style, but is an introductory riff that the majority of us would consider pure blues.
This is a particularly great riff to learn if you are apt at both singing and playing – especially on your own. It can easily be transposed to any key and is full of simple hammer ons, pull off and slides. The end of the riff ends with a sliding chord (Eb9 to D9) again, a classic blues “move” and rolls effortlessly into the verse.
The techniques used in the riff itself are not too difficult to master; the key here is being able to learn the structure of the riff and remembering the changes. Once you have learned it, use it as a warm up before you start playing – whether that be at a gig or in the comfort of your own home – because it won’t stretch your fingers too much, but will definitely get the blood flowing through your veins.
For gigging, give your guitar a tiny bit of gain, distortion and reverb, to try and imitate the sound of Dennis Greaves’ 1976 Burgundy Gibson ES 335cr. Clean, but with a growly overtone!!!