Acoustic Blues Lesson

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Have you ever walked by someone playing bluesy music on an acoustic guitar in either a club or just on the street, and just felt them really pouring their heart into it? The blues is a powerful style of music, and one that you can definitely learn a lot from. But what is it about the blues that makes it sound so, well, bluesy? How can you get that same sound that professional blues players have? Today we have a great acoustic blues lesson for you to help answer that question.

The first thing you need to know to create a great blues sound on your acoustic guitar is about the notes themselves. That goes for both your chords and your scales. Regarding the chords, let’s take a look at the most popular chord progression, the twelve-bar blues. This progression follows a pattern using the I, IV and V chords over twelve bars and will make the rhythmic side of your playing very bluesy. Just take any key you like, grab the root, fourth and fifth chords in either major or minor, and start building your rhythm.


To also make the melodic side of your playing bluesy, you’re going to want to play the notes of a blues scale. For this lesson, we’re talking about the six-note blues scale, which is a minor pentatonic scale with an extra note, the flatted fifth. The minor pentatonic scale alone is great for the blues, but to get that extra blues sound, try adding in the flatted fifth note. Another scale that sounds great for acoustic blues guitar is the major pentatonic. If you’re feeling daring, why not try combining both minor and major pentatonic scales at once?


Of course, notes alone can’t give you the same sound you’re looking for. Listen to any acoustic blues guitar player and you’ll notice they’re using some additional techniques: slides and fingerstyle playing. To get the blues sound, form a chord and then play that form while sliding up and down the neck to play it in other positions. You’ll hear immediately how bluesy that sounds, and it will give your playing exactly the feeling it needs.

Similarly, another great technique to play the blues on your acoustic guitar is to incorporate fingerstyle playing. It will make you sound like a true blues player. Use your thumb to keep rhythm on the lower strings, and use your index, middle and ring fingers to pick or pluck the higher strings. Being able to play this fluently might take a bit of practice, but it’s a style that will certainly give your playing a great blues sound.

If you are into blues guitar, I recommend you to check out this great course in DVD: