#1
I'm interested in playing the blues, but when I look on google, the hits I get are pretty undescriptive, or just trying to sell me something. Can anyone tell me how to learn to play blues?
#2
... basically no. Blues guitar isn't one thing, nor are any of the things that could be blues easily explainable in one single forum post.

Look up some of your favourite songs on this site and learn some theory so you know what's going on, if you can do that you should be able to get it under your belt.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#3
Can you at least explain blues theory to me then, i guess? I know it has its own scales and chords (i think chords)
#4
Quote by Iblis92
Can you at least explain blues theory to me then, i guess? I know it has its own scales and chords (i think chords)


You're wrong. Theory encompasses all western music, it is descriptive and not prescriptive.

Like I said: learn some theory and learn some songs. There are plenty of both on this site.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#5
Transcribe solos of blues players you want to emulate. You'll build a library of blues licks and eventually be comfortable/familiar enough with them to link them together musically as you improvise.
#6
Actually I got this awesome book on blues guitar today, I think its call "A Guitarists Guide to Blues"

Something like that, I dont know.
you're a stone fox
#7
If you want a good place to start, learn the pentatonic and blues scales, and learn the 12 bar blues pattern. If you google those, you should find some good resources.
Gear:
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Fender MIM strat with dimarzio pups
JCM800
Egnater Rebel 30
Takamine Acoustic
tons of pedals
#8
Blues does have chords, and it does have scales! I'm not sure what this guy is on about.

The basic blues progression is twelve bars long. Here is an example in the key of E:

E7 for four bars; A7 for two bars; E7 for two Bars; B7 for one bar; A7 for one Bar; E7 for two bars.

There are two main scales for blues: major pentatonic and minor pentatonic.

For more help, browse the Internet for hundreds of hours, or, buy some books (I suggest Rock Shop 1 by Aaron Stang as a start), or get a guitar teacher! Good luck!
#9
Quote by TurboPubx16
Blues does have chords, and it does have scales! I'm not sure what this guy is on about.


Yes it does. But they're not "it's own" chords and scales, they're the same chords and scales as everything else uses, they're not somehow separate from everything else.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#11
Theres a series of books called "blues you can use" avaliable on amazon, Ive got one about jazz but havent worked through it yet.

You just gotta listen to a lot of blues music really. Thats the first thing to do.

Read the Wikipedia article about blues and learn where it comes from.
Listen to old Delta and Mississippi blues players like Robert Johnson and Fred McDowell (and lots more) and look at how the blues progressed;
Listen to early electric blues players like Muddy Waters and T Bone Walker and later guys like Buddy Guy, BB King, Freddie King and if you've got time left Albert King.
Then you could take a look at more modern blues players and how they were all influenced by those guys and fused them with other influences such as rock (clapton, hendrix, srv, rory gallagher, mike bloomfield http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues-rock) and jazz ( i recomend Robben Ford, Matt Schofield) etc

Learn how to play the rhythm for a 12 bar blues in a few different keys and styles (shuffle, straight, slow and fast, using full chords or just the cliche guitar shuffle). Play along to some blues songs by different people working out what key they are in and try play the rhythm true to the style, or at least get used to the changes in the contect of a song.

Once you got a good grounding of the rhythm (which in reality is more important than lead and is no easier to pull off well) play the relevant minor pentatonic (blues) scale over the chords. Experiment with just playing the notes of the scale over a backing track and listen to how it sounds, try coming up with phrases and learning cliché licks. It will take a lot of practice and a lot of playing and experimenting with the notes untill you are comfortable with what to play over each chord, and do it tastefully.

Youll develop awareness of how to structure a solo building and releasing tension using note length, note choice (chord tones, chromatics etc) and dynamics (how soft or hard you are picking - be conscious of that) etc - some people call it 'feel'. Thats where listening to great bluesmen is so important - steal their licks (they dont mind) and ideas.

It takes a bunch of learning and playing to become great but youll get there, and Its a fun thing to learn IMO. Unlike some other genres you don't really need amazing technique (although it helps), its more about the feel and phrasing, so you dont have to play fast or cleanly but you gotta pick the right notes and squeese as much feeling out of them as you possibly can.

One last thing, dont underestimate how important (or difficult to nail) vibrato and bending are, so pay close attention to how you shake a string while practising.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#12
Quote by Hydra150

One last thing, dont underestimate how important (or difficult to nail) vibrato and bending are, so pay close attention to how you shake a string while practising.


THIS + 1000

A guitarist who's bends are out of tune or just downright off and who's vibrato sounds rushed, sloppy or horrible is NOT a good guitarist. This is stuff everybody should be able to do and it takes a long time to truly master.
I do not want to have a signature anymore.
#13
Step one.... Listen to a lot of blues. I always suggest going to the source. YouTube is full of clips and recordings of all the great bluesmen who influenced nearly everyone who plays today.
Muddy Waters and Son House and Furry Lewis and Elmore James and Lightin' Hopkins... If you look up just those few YouTube will link you to dozens more. LISTEN to this stuff.
Blues isn't about theory and scales, virtually none of those guys were trained musicians in any sense.
They learned the guitar and the music by listening to other people and improvising their own styles.
The essential structure of blues is pretty simple; it's "folk" music after all. 12-ish bars, three chords and a lot of emotion.
#15
Blues is a lot about feeling. It helps to play the blues if you're sensitive, creative, and maybe a little depressed. You think I'm kidding but the best blues players to me are those that are capable of producing the same note with many different flavors. It takes a particular type of person to wrench out three feelings from one note. A lot of it is about expression.

It's also about flavors....which requires theory. It's good to be able to play a nice expressive lead but the more you know about theory, the more you see the bigger picture of how scales, their modes, and chords interrelate. I don't much like John Mayer's pop songs but when he's up on stage just doing a blues improvization he reveals a theoretical mastery that only elite blues players possess. Basically...when you introduce chords into your lead playing (or lead into your chord playing) you can carry more feeling into it. Stevie Ray did this well...adding flavor by adding harmonizing notes into a solo. "Riviera Paradise" on the live album comes to mind as a good example of this.
I read Emerson on the can. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...true...but a consistent reading of Emerson has its uses nevertheless.
#16
You can watch some videos about it on YouTube. Look up "Marty Schwartz"! He IS trying to sell something but the blues videos are AMAZING - scales, licks, etc. Just expect his sales pitch at the start of each video...I've never bought the eBook thingy but I've learned a lot from him :P
Ibanez GRG170DX
Line 6 Spider IV 15
#17
1. Lose job, home, wife/girlfriend, dog.
2. Become a drug addict. Heroin is best, but just about anything will suffice.
3. ????
4. Profit
Quote by SonOfPest
Its the Lydian mode; formed in Eastern Arabia when the Persians invaded England.


Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
try the sexolydian scale.
#18
No
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do