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The Blues
  • Overview
  • Basic Blues Form
  • The Chords
  • The Blues Solo

About Blues

Much has been written about blues music and while a complete history of the blues is well beyond the scope of this website, here are a few things I believe to be true about this music I love so much.

Blues is an american form of music that originated in southern African-American communities. Rock, folk and jazz guitarists owe a great deal to the early blues musicians like Son House and Robert Johnson. In the mid 1900s, blues recording artists like and Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and B.B. King set the stage for what was soon to become rock-n-roll music.

Usually, blues music is based on a specific form or arrangement of chords, certain lowered tones or "blue notes", and a specific feel. The blues can actually be played in a multitude of styles from Jazz to Rock to Latin to Reggae. Although the name Blues could be a reference to sadness and despair, blues can be happy, sad, fast and exciting, or slow and completative. Above all else, blues music is really fun to play.

How This Lesson Works

In this lesson, we'll focus on a very simple type of blues, the twelve bar blues. Specifically, we will focus on the form, or the layout of the chords, the chord shapes themselves (7th, 9th, and 13th chords), the scales that can be used to improvise solos, and lastly, the techniques that can be used on the guitar to help capture the feel of the blues.

An example of the 12 Bar Blues Form in the key of A

12 bar blues

Video demo of 12 bar blues chord progression

Chords that can be used in the form

Root note on the sixth string:

dominant7 and 13 chords 6 string root

Root note on the fifth string:

Blues chords root on the 5th string

An example of me playing blues in Ab Major






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