Playing Blues With Skills

Blues is one of the most popular forms of guitar music.It has easy rhythms, expressive melodies and lyrics from the soul. Blues isnt technically demanding and you can play your best by using your ear!

8
We will get started with some rhythm guitar playing.To put chord playing in some kind of context you will want to start off with 12 bar blues.Ok lets get started with a 12 bar blues form. Taking the key of A for an example. This 12 bar blues progression consists of four bars of A,two bars of D,two bars of A,one bar of E,one bar of D,and two bars of A.For a example./=How many times you play that chord.So on bar would be 4 beats.
A                                              D 
----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|
---/-/-/-/|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|
--/-/-/-/-|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|
-/-/-/-/--|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|
----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|
A                      E           D           A
----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|
---/-/-/-/|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|---/-/-/-/-|
--/-/-/-/-|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|--/-/-/-/--|
-/-/-/-/--|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|-/-/-/-/---|
----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|-----------|
Lets move onto I,Iv,V chord progressions. For an example take the key of A. The A chord is the I,the D is the Iv and the E is the V.
Key    I         Iv      V
---------------------------------------
A      A         D       E
 
C      C         F       G
 
D      D         G       A
 
E      E         A       B
 
F      F         Bb      C
 
G      G         C       D
Now lets go into Triplet feel.This is something the blues relies on.Using a triplet feel you can divide each beat into three parts(instead of a normal two)Lets use a very simple triplet feel in a 12 bars progression.
e----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
b----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
g----------------|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|----------------|----------------|
d-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|
a-o-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|----------------|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|
e----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
 
e----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
b----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
g-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|----------------|----------------|
d-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|
a----------------|----------------|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|
e----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
 
e----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
b----------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
g----------------|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|----------------|----------------|
d----------------|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|----------------|
a-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|----------------|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4|
e-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|----------------|----------------|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0|
Ok now lets move on to Lead playing.
Scales or boxes (which ever you prfer to say) that blues players like to use to solo with.
Box 1
e--------------------5-8-5---------------------|
b----------------5-8-------8-5-----------------|
g-------------5-7--------------7-5-------------|
d---------5-7----------------------7-5---------|
a-----5-7------------------------------7-5-----|
e-5-8-------------------|------------------8-5-|
Box2                    Box3
e--------8-10-8-------|----------10-12-10--------|
b---8-10--------10-8--|----10-12---------12-10---|
g-9------------------9|-11---------------------11|
d---------------------|--------------------------|
a---------------------|--------------------------|
e---------------------|--------------------------|
 
box4             box 5
e---------------|--------------|
b----13-15-13---|--------------|
g-14----------14|--------------|
d---------------|--------------|
a---------------|-----3-5-3----|
e---------------|-3-5-------5-3|
Use the boxs to create licks also. FOr an example.( b=bend note) (Lick with a triplet feel) (a box 5 lick that moves to box 1)
e-------------------------|--------------------------|
b----13-15-15B-13---------|--------------------------|
g-14--------------14------|------------5-------------|
d-------------------------|---------5-7--7-5---------|
a-------------------------|---3-5-7----------7-5-3---|
e-------------------------|-5----------------------5-|
More boxs that have addition of flat fives
box 1                         box 2           box 4
e-------------------------5-8|--------8-10-11|-----------|
b---------------------5-8----|---8-10--------|---13-15-16|
g---------------5-7-8--------|-9-------------|-14--------|
d-----------5-7--------------|---------------|-----------|
a-----5-6-7------------------|---------------|-----------|
e-5-8------------------------|---------------|-----------|
Some more use full licks for practice and playing( also a double stop riff)
Lick using box 1              Lickusing box 2
e-5-------------------------|----8-10-11B-10-8-10B-8---|
b---8-5---------------------|-10---------------------10|
g-------8-7-5---5-7-7B-7-5--|--------------------------|
d-------------7------------7|--------------------------|
a---------------------------|--------------------------|
e---------------------------|--------------------------|

A lick using major third in box 1    A double stop riff
e-------5--|---------------------|-------5-5-5-5-5------|
b-----5---8|---------------------|---5-7-5-5-5-5-5-7-5--|
g-5-6------|---------------------|-6---------------7-5-6|
d----------|---------------------|---------------------7|
a----------|---------------------|----------------------|
e----------|---------------------|----------------------|
Here is riff showing typical blues phrasing.( good for solos)
e------5-8-5------5-8-5|
b----5----------5------|
g-7B----------7B-------|
d----------------------|
a----------------------|
e----------------------|
Use All these I just showed you in this section to create licks and riffs Here is a riff I wrote based off what I just showed you
e-5----------------|
b-5-----7---5-5----|
g---8-5-7---5-6----|
d---------7-----7-5|
a------------------|
e------------------|
The last thing I will show you in this how to is steady bass notes withfinger picking bass notes open posiyion E scale.
e------------------------0-3|
b--------------------0-3----|
g--------------0-2-3--------|
d----------0-2--------------|
a----0-1-2------------------|
e-0-3-----------------------|
THis is a box 1 open position scale! For the left hand fingering play first position. That is the same finger number as the fret number, Because your thumb will usually steadily plucking away at the low strings. You usually take your melody notes from the high strings. Now lets use that scale.
e-3--0-------------------------------0-3-|
b------3--0----------------------0-4-----|
g------------3-2-0--------0-2-3----------|
d-------------------2---2----------------|
a----------------------------------------|
e-0----0-----0---0------0---0----0---0---|
Now what we have going on here is a simple exercise that demonstrates the basic blues acoustic style by using the E blues scale.First descending and the ascending. Make sure you play in a triplet feel.You canheel and see how you can play both the melody and the accompaniment at the same time. (Here are a few more examples to close out on) repeating a motive at the same pitch as the chord changes
   E             A
e---0-3-0-3-0------0-3-0-3-0---|
b------------------------------|
g------------------------------|
d------------------------------|
a----------------0---0---0---0-|
e-0---0---0---0----------------|
Moving a motive to a new pitch as the chord changes
   E                      A
e-----0----------0-----------5---------5-----|
b----------3----------------------8----------|
g-0-1------------------5--6------------------|
d--------------------------------------------|
a--------------------------------------------|
e---0----0----0-----0-----5-----5----5-----5-|
Thanks for checking this out. I hope it helps you improve your blues guitar playing!!!

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    getthefloydout
    This is an excellent guide for aspiring blues lead guitarists. Sure, as cds+stereo said, there is a lot more to the blues (such as the aforementioned 7th chords, 11th chords, et cetera.) However, for beginner blues guitarists who want to try their hand at some leads, this is fantastic. Great work.
    webber243
    g0dd4rd wrote: you've got the strings in reversed order against the convention - E, A, D, g, b, e
    Fuck Off!!
    jpohl
    xicetraex wrote: webber243 wrote: g0dd4rd wrote: you've got the strings in reversed order against the convention - E, A, D, g, b, e Fuck Off!! It's the truth, don't get so butthurt. If you're going to write a tab of any kind it should be in the order this gentleman stated.
    Tab is read this way: e b g D A E I thought this was common knowledge, you're on a guitar tabs website for ****s sake, go look up any other tab!
    K!!LsWiTcH
    basic ok but redundant and possibly obstructive to further youre learning of music by playing in boxes. theyre not the same as scales, theyre a lot less intelligent.
    RandyRhodes7777
    As you can see I looked more into playing with scales and what not. I shall do another soon looking into blues chords and progressions
    Danjo's Guitar
    Boxes are scales, you just have to learn to expand your box. And dude, I'm sure you've heard it a million times, but its Rhoads, not Rhodes. Pretty good article though.
    xicetraex
    webber243 wrote: g0dd4rd wrote: you've got the strings in reversed order against the convention - E, A, D, g, b, e Fuck Off!!
    It's the truth, don't get so butthurt. If you're going to write a tab of any kind it should be in the order this gentleman stated.
    RandyRhodes7777
    Danjo's Guitar wrote: Boxes are scales, you just have to learn to expand your box. And dude, I'm sure you've heard it a million times, but its Rhoads, not Rhodes. Pretty good article though.
    I had to do that because I didnt know if it would take the article lol And I had to spell my username like that because there was alot. But thanks man
    g0dd4rd
    you've got the strings in reversed order against the convention - E, A, D, g, b, e