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!!!