Blues Guitar – Basic Aspects You Need To Know

Yo guitar peeps! What up? Darrin Goodman here with another little guitar lesson for you on beginner blues guitar. A question I get asked a lot is where to begin when learning blues. The blues is has many sub genres and would take a lot more than I can cover in this article, so I am going to focus on some fundamental aspects of the blues. Everything that I cover is going to be in the key of E, which is a very common key for the blues.

First lets look at the chord voicing’s that are a staple in the sound of the blues; the dominant 7th chord. The dominant 7th chord is a four note chord that consists of the first, third, fifth and flat seven notes of the major scale. The following chords are based from the common 1-4-5 chord progression.


The next thing we’ll look at is the 12 bar 1-4-5 chord progression. This progression is a total of 12 measures and consists of; 4 bars of the I chord (E7), 2 bars of the iv chord (A7) and then another 2 bars of the I chord, followed by one bar of the V chord (B7), one bar of the iv chord and then finally either 2 bars of the I chord or the “turnaround”.

Next let’s look at a turnaround. Without using a turnaround the progression would end with two bars of the I chord and then when the progression starts over also on the I chord it’s hard for the listener to determine when the progression has ended and started over. By using a turnaround it is easy to tell when the progression has ended and started back over. The following is a 12 bar shuffle with a turnaround.

The last thing that we will look at is the minor pentatonic scale. This scale is what most blues licks are based out of, as well as many other genres. The pentatonic scale is a five tone scale with five positions; we will look at the first position which is very easy to use.


This lesson by no means covers all of the aspects of the blues, but it is a place to start. If you really want to dig in and learn the blues check out one of the many blues courses available at such as “How To Play Smokin Blues”.

How To Play Smokin Blues

Well that’s all for me, off to practice,


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