how to play the blues on guitar

Wazzzup my guitar friends, its Darrin Goodman again from bringing you a little guitar lesson to brighten up your day. So you want to know how to play the blues on guitar. That’s a question with many answers, too many for this short lesson today, but I will give you some stuff to get you started right away and with a little practice you will be playing some sweet sounding blues.

First let’s take a look at the most common chord progression found in blues, the 1-4-5 progression. Let’s use the key of E for example. The one chord would be E and then you would just count up from there alphabetically four, so E F G A, so the four chord is A. Then just count up one more to get the Five Chord, B. Pretty easy right? In blues a really common format for a song is called the 12 Bar 1-4-5 Progression. It works like this; four bars of the one chord, two bars of the four chord, two more bars of the one chord, one bar of the five chord, one bar of the four chord and then finally two more bars of the one chord or you can substitute a turnaround for the last two bars of one. So this gives you a total of 12 bars or measures.

In blues the chord voicings that are most common are Dominant Seventh Chords, which is just a major chord with the added flat seventh tone of the major scale. Let me give you the three Dominant Seventh Chords in the key of E.


The following is an example of a 12 Bar 1-4-5 Blues Progression in E.



Notice that there is no turnaround? The problem with not having a turnaround is that since it ends on E7 and also restarts on E7 it is difficult for the listener to determine when it’s done ending and starting over. By replacing the last two measures with a turnaround you can here when the progression is ending and then starting over. The turnaround is a staple of the sound of the blues. Here is an example of a turnaround that you can use to replace the last two measures of this progression.


This is just one example of a type of blues guitar playing, but there are many many more. Check out the course “How To Play Smokin’ Blues” for much more complete look at blues guitar. Here is the link

I hope you enjoyed this little lesson.


How to play your favorite songs from the 60's & 70's on the guitar


This free course expires in:


Get 2 hours of FREE Guitar Lessons.