Welcome back! In this article I wanna show you the blues guitar basics.
If you are looking for an easy way to play blues, look no further. When you are just starting out, even the simples barre chord seems extremely complicated, which why in this lesson I’m not going to use any skill demanding chord. All I will use are open chords, the ones you first learn when you pick up a guitar!
Blues is not really about playing overly complicated guitar parts, it is more about the feeling. The very basic blues is 12-bar blues. The progression is very simple. Let’s say we are in the key of A, you would play an A7 for 4 bars, a D7 for 2 bars, an A7 for 2 bars, an E7 for 1 bar, a D7 for 1 bar, an A7 for 1 bar and an E7 for 1 bar; very easy. And you can totally transpose this progression to any key you want as long as you maintain the structure.
There are many ways to play the chords I just mention, but right now we are gonna check out the most basic ones:
Once you learn them, I would suggest using your thumb to play them, just to get used to the rhythm I’m about to show you.
We are gonna take the basic 12-bar blues progression I showed you and play it using the chords I just gave you. Let’s check it out:
As you may have probably noticed, the rhythm is basically all quarter notes. This is a very old school blues rhythm which is performed with your thumb only; no picks or nails. The idea of this rhythm is to play the chord with your thumb, from the lowest string to the highest string (e.g from the 6th string to the 1st string) and right after you play the chord, you mute it. You have to strum the chord in a very smooth way; just using the thumb will make it very smooth but still, you should learn to control the dynamics.
The are many other blues progressions, but this is the most popular one. If you want to improvise over it, you should just use the A minor pentatonic scale or the A blues scale.
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