Discovering Blues Guitar

Blues guitar is what you hear BB King and Eric Clapton play. It’s a style of music that has influenced many other music styles like Rock and Jazz

The blues music comes from the plantation workers(slaves) in the southern states of the U.S. As slavery was abolished many sought out new places to live. This is what gives Blues music it’s different styles.

Blues music is about having the Blues or depression. Many songs are about cheating spouses or being treated mean by another person.

Blues music from Texas is different than Blues music from the Chicago, Illinois area and the Delta area of Mississippi.

Blues Guitar Playing Styles

Slide Guitar

There are many playing styles but the slide guitar style is very popular. I don’t think they know who started this or if this idea was stolen from Hawaiian music.

Elmore James was one player who’s style is still kept alive by players like Johnny Winters. Elmore James style is also used in books for teaching slide guitar.

Duane Allman from the Allman Brothers was a very popular slide player who died before his time. He didn’t play in a strict blues style but more of a cross between Blues, Rock and Country music.

Dobro Slide

Bonnie Raitt comes to mind for this style. A dobro is a guitar that has resonators built into it and can be made of steel or wood.

The resonators have a sound similar to the little metal discs on a tambourine when you rattle them, to me anyway. This give the guitar a unique “steely” kind of sound. Dobro’s are usually tuned to an open tuning like E, D or G.

I have a page to get you started off into slide guitar.

How to Play Slide Guitar

Finger Style playing

Finger picking is good for blues on an acoustic guitar but can be used on an electric as well.

I believe Robert Johnson played using his fingers although his songs don’t sound like they were finger picked.

David Hamburger is another good acoustic blues slide player

Blues Scales

The Blues scales are essential for playing blues music but they are easy to learn after you understand the Pentatonic scales.

They have a major and a minor version just like the Pentatonic scales and their patterns on the guitar neck are almost identical.

Here is a link to the Blues scales page.

Blues Scales

Three Chord Blues Progression

This progression is the basis for all the different blues progressions. It’s a major chord usually a dominant 7th chord progression. There are many variations to it and it gets used in Rock and Country music which don’t really sound like a blues progression

Here is a page to learn more about this progression.

Three Chord Blues

Beginner Blues

You have to crawl before you walk. The blues can be very simple or very complcated as with all music.

The page below kind of sums up the above links on scales and progressions giving you a simple progression and scales to use. There is also a video link for beginning blues.

Beginner Blues

Minor Blues Progression

This progression is the minor version of the three chord blues progression. The only difference is the I and IV and sometime V are replaced with minor chords.

These also have many variations. The song “The Thrill is Gone” is one that has a variation from the basic progression.

Here is another page with some more info.

Minor Blues Progression

Good Blues Course

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