Blues Lessons Course

 

Blues music is the foundation of contemporary western music (jazz, rock, pop, soul, funk, RnB and more). The importance of Blues music can’t be overstated. That’s why we’ve put together the Blues Style page. In these blues guitar lessons you’ll learn how to play the genre from top to bottom.

If you ever get tripped up with any of these techniques, you should definitely head to Blues Style Course 1 and Blues Style Course 2. In these courses you will be shown everything Blues guitar from fundamentals to advanced techniques in an easy to follow step-by-step curriculum. Need a refresher on the fundamentals? Check out our beginner guitar lessons for a rundown of everything you need to know to get started playing guitar.

Blues Rhythm Guitar Beginner Topics

In the following rhythm guitar lesson sections we will take you through the classic 12-bar blues progression using straight forward power chords and barre chords and other Blues chords. Then you’ll learn deeper concepts like rhythmic variations, strumming patterns and how to play with “feel.” We’ll then take you through some advanced techniques like walking basslines, turnaround variations and combining bass lines with harmony chords and upper melodies.

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Anders Mouridsen
Power Chords in the Blues

In this tutorial we will through the basics of voicing, left hand muting, strumming and palm muting power chords. Getting comfortable with this will ultimately enable you to play the 12 bar form in any key as well as adapt your rhythm playing to different blues grooves!

Published: 01/01/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
More Blues with Power Chords

In this tutorial we will be using the power chords that you learned earlier to play some blues. We are gonna talk about how to find the power chords for the 12 bar form in any key and try it out the "the band". We are also gonna cover a really useful blues "riff" played with power chords that you often hear in slow blues tunes.

Published: 04/08/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Playing Blues With Barre Chords

In this tutorial I will show you how to play basic barre chords and how to use them in a blues context. The basic barre chord shapes can be very hard to play at first, but if you fight through the pain, I will show you how to use them in a blues context. These are really useful guitar skills that you are going to use for years and years to come, in blues and in all other styles of music, so don't give up on it just because it seems difficult at first!

Published: 01/25/2010 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
12 Bar Blues Form

The <i>First Law of the Blues</i> is the <i>12 Bar Blues Form</i>. By the end of this tutorial you should understand what the 12 Bar Blues Form is and be able to play a simple example of this important idea.

Published: 07/17/2008 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
12 Bar Blues in E for Beginners!

In this set of beginner blues lessons, I'll teach you how to play a simple blues in E. I'll start off with the riff and the triplet shuffle rhythm in E, then move it to A. Next I'll show you how to change those chords in time, then we'll learn the B7 chord. I'll go over the 12 bar form before I show you some fills you can play to spice things up. Then we'll put everything together, and finish up with a play along.

Published: 04/21/2006 Upgrade

Blues Rhythm Guitar Intermediate Topics

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Rhythm: Groovy Dominant 7 Chords

In this tutorial we'll boost your blues rhythm playing by exploring a handful of extremely useful dominant 7 chords and combine those with a simple but powerful right hand approach. The dominant 7 chords are the ones we write out by simply adding the number 7 after the letter name. They hold a lot of bluesy tension and they're some of the most common chord type used in this style of music.

Published: 05/24/2024 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Rhythm Shell Voicings 1

In this tutorial we'll level up our blues rhythm playing by exploring some extremely precise and punchy voicings of our dominant 7 and 9 chords. These chords are stripped down to a minimum number of notes for a maximum impact, and they're often referred to as shell voicings. These little clusters really cut through the mix and only take up a minimum amount of space in the sonic picture, which is particularly useful when there's a lot going on in the music and you're having a hard time finding a place to sit in the mix.

Published: 05/16/2024 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Rhythm Riffs

In this tutorial we'll examine different types of basic blues rhythm riffs: the classic blues riff with triads, one and two note riffs, using "outside" triads, and a funky horn section style riff.

Published: 06/21/2011 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Feels, Rhythms, and Grooves

In this tutorial we're going to look at three different rhythmic feels that are used in the blues. For each of these "grooves" I will explain what the drummer and the bass player are most likely to be playing, and I will show you a guitar part that fits it. This will give you a good understanding of the different types of blues grooves and what to play over them!

Published: 04/08/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Advanced Blues Rhythm Techniques

While soloing is an ever important part of playing the guitar, roughly 90% of the time as guitar players we are playing rhythm. In this tutorial, we are going to take a look some advanced rhythmic concepts and chord licks that you can use in your rhythm playing in not just blues, but in all styles. It is important to note too that you can use these skills in your soloing as well. Let's take a look.

Published: 08/10/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Strumming Patterns

In this tutorial we're going to focus on your right hand by breaking down a couple of really useful strumming patterns for the blues. Chord voicings and left hand technique is very important, but right hand chops and different rhythmic approaches are just as important!

Published: 04/08/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Boogie Pattern and Rhythmic Variations

This tutorial shows how to play a basic shuffle boogie blues, plus some rhythmic variations using 2 and 3 note chord voicings.

Published: 06/25/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Playing with Feel in Blues

In these lessons I will introduce you to some really useful techniques like bending, vibrato and hammer-ons and pull-offs, so that you can start working on your feel. Great feel doesn't come from these techniques alone, but learning them will help you get in touch with that side of blues playing.

Published: 01/01/2010 Upgrade

Blues Rhythm Guitar Advanced Topics

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Christopher Schlegel
Blues Orchestration Series 4

Christopher will show you how to move the familiar pattern of the earlier solo guitar blues orchestration tutorials to any fretboard position by barring with the index finger and using it as a sort of movable capo. These new options will give us new skills and tools to play more varieties of blues type patterns!

Published: 09/10/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Blues Orchestration Series 5

Christopher will show a new way to play a blues type arrangement for solo guitar. We'll move the standard boogie diad pattern up an octave to have motion in the upper register while making the bass notes more static.

Published: 10/14/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Blues Orchestration Series 6

Christopher will show you a new way to play a blues arrangement for solo guitar. This involves combining a bass line with middle chord tones as well as upper chord tones. In this way we get a very full sound and suggest three separate voices or things happening at once!

Published: 11/11/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Blues Orchestration Series 3

Christopher will show you new ways to play a blues type arrangement for solo guitar. To orchestrate means to put many parts together. In this tutorial we'll combine a walking bass line with upper chord tones. The end result is two parts playing together at the same time. We'll also add a variety of classic blues walking bass lines.

Published: 07/15/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Blues Orchestration Series 2

Christopher will show you new ways to play a blues type arrangement for solo guitar. To orchestrate means to put many parts together. In this tutorial we'll combine a walking bass line with upper chord tones. The end result is two parts playing together at the same time. We'll also add a variety of classic blues turnarounds.

Published: 06/14/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Blues Orchestration Series 1

Christopher will show you how to play a blues type arrangement for solo guitar. To orchestrate means to put many parts together. In this tutorial we'll combine a walking bass line with upper chord tones. The end result is two parts playing together at the same time.

Published: 04/15/2019 Upgrade

Blues Lead Guitar Beginner Topics

The following sections is all about how to play lead Blues guitar. We’ll show you everything from the basics including Blues scale guitar lessons, easy beginner blues riffs and licks and concepts like ‘less-is-more.’ Continuing through intermediate lead Blues guitar techniques like vibrato, bending and a plethora of licks. Then finishing off with advanced lessons covering major notes in the minor Pentatonic scale as well as the 12-bar form in all 12 keys.

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Anders Mouridsen
The Most Important Notes

Whenever you want to learn to play a style of music, the most important thing to do is to listen to it and imitate what you hear. But in order for you to be able to imitate what you hear, you need a basic understanding of the notes and techniques that are used. The good thing about the blues is that it ultimately comes down to just a handful of notes, played in different octaves and places on the neck, and in this tutorial I will break that down for you.

Published: 01/07/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Less Notes, Even More Blues!

In this tutorial we're going to "up the ante" a bit. We'll take another blues lick that's slightly more challenging and go through a similar process as in the previous tutorial, changing the lick up and playing it along with a backing track.

Published: 12/13/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Owning Your Blues Licks

In this second "building blocks" tutorial on blues, we'll take longer fragments of licks and how to creatively put them together. Then we'll look at how to change up the rhythm and timing, repeating notes, and other variations and play them along with a backing track. We'll also look at playing in different keys, and how the same note can be played different places on the neck.

Published: 12/13/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Building a Blues Lick

In this blues level 2 tutorial, we'll take a look at some basic building blocks to get you started on creating your own licks and building a blues vocabulary. We'll look at the importance of the root note, adding hammer-ons and pull-offs, a bend, combining these ideas, and playing them with backing tracks.

Published: 12/13/2010 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Less Notes, More Blues!

In this series of blues course lessons, we'll take a simple A minor pentatonic scale and explore how much music can be made with one lick. We'll break down the lick, work on making it your own, then try trading fours with a backing track!

Published: 12/13/2010 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Basic Blues Licks Series 1

Christopher will show you some basic blues licks that form the foundation of blues soloing vocabulary. This includes the following characteristics of blues lead playing: using the blues scale (minor pentatonic scale with flat 5th "blue note"), triplet swing phrasing, dynamics and articulations like sliding and bending. This is essentially a primer on playing single note melody lines in a blues style to start building a repertoire of blues licks.

Published: 03/15/2018 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Basic Blues Licks Series 2

Christopher will show you some basic blues licks that form the foundation of blues soloing vocabulary. This includes the following characteristics of blues lead playing: using the blues scale (minor pentatonic scale with flat 5th "blue note"), triplet swing phrasing, dynamics and articulations like sliding and bending. This is essentially a primer on playing single note melody lines in a blues style to start building a repertoire of blues licks.

Published: 04/13/2018 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Basic Blues Licks Series 3

Christopher will show you some basic blues licks that form the foundation of blues soloing vocabulary. This includes the following characteristics of blues lead playing: using the blues scale (minor pentatonic scale with flat 5th "blue note"), triplet swing phrasing, dynamics and articulations like sliding and bending. This is essentially a primer on playing single note melody lines in a blues style to start building a repertoire of blues licks.

Published: 05/15/2018 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
E Blues Rhythm & Lead: Series 1

Learning to switch between the wide strumming of a whole chord and the smaller motions of playing one string or note at a time is an important skill to develop. In this tutorial we'll use a simple blues rhythm and some fills as an exercise to learn that technique!

Published: 08/10/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
E Blues Rhythm & Lead: Series 2

By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to play a basic 12 bar blues using simple open chords and combine it with simple lead fills by alternating between the rhythm chords and single note lead fills.

Published: 08/21/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
G Blues Rhythm & Lead Series 3

Learning to switch between the wide strumming of a whole chord and the smaller motions of playing one string or note at a time is an important skill to develop. In this tutorial we will learn to play a basic 12 bar blues using simple open chords and combine it with simple lead fills by alternating between the rhythm chords and single note lead fills.

Published: 09/21/2019 Upgrade

Blues Lead Guitar Intermediate Topics

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Christopher Schlegel
Bread and Butter Blues Licks Series 3

Bread & butter means the central or fundamental part of a thing. It also means how you earning a living; how you earn you bread to pay for your bread & butter! In this tutorial we'll learn another, more advanced major pentatonic lick that you've heard many times.

Published: 11/20/2013 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Spiced Up Blues Series 1

Christopher will show you how to really spice up your blues rhythm and lead playing with some interesting chord progressions, chord voicings and lead licks! First we'll look at a chord progression that's not the standard 12 bar form. Next we'll add some extended chord voicings. Next, we'll add some licks that are more chord tone based than standard pentatonic. Finally, we'll put them all together in some play alongs to practice these new ideas.

Published: 01/15/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Spiced Up Blues Series 2

Christopher will show you how to really spice up your blues rhythm and lead playing with some interesting chord progressions, chord voicings and lead licks! This time we're going to use the 12 bar blues form as a standard, but add more chords to the progression. Next, we'll add some lead licks to play over our new chord progression. Finally, we'll put it all together in some play alongs to practice these new ideas.

Published: 02/15/2019 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Spiced Up Blues Series 3

Christopher will show you how to really spice up your blues rhythm and lead playing with some interesting chord progressions and lead licks! We'll take a complex blues chord progression and learn some next level licks that build on the previous tutorial in this series. We'll put them all together in some play alongs to practice these new ideas.

Published: 03/15/2019 Upgrade
Ry Kihn
Major and Minor Lead Within a Solo

In this set of lessons, Ry Kihn will teaching you how to play major and minor pentatonic scales in a solo. Ry will introduce you to the tutorial, then examine major pentatonic licks. In the next lesson, we'll be learning how to switch between these scales; then Ry will take a look at the extended major scale with the flat third, making things bluesy. To conclude, we'll put it all together and play with a custom backing track.

Published: 03/22/2012 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Bread and Butter Blues Licks Series 2

In this next set of lessons on bread and butter blues licks, I'll teach you a major pentatonic lick. I'll introduce you to the concepts and lessons and show you the basis of the lick, then how to apply the picking and bending. We'll then play the lick over the IV and V chords, then add some variation. We'll do play alongs in two different tempos before we examine the lick in a straight 8th rhythm. We'll conclude with 2 more play alongs.

Published: 03/21/2013 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Additional Techniques in Blues Soloing

As many techniques, scales, and chords that are used in blues music; at it's core blues was developed by players whom were self taught and played without these concepts in mind. In this tutorial, we are going examine some unique techniques and ideas that are used often by blues players. This will include using a capo, blues shredding, using your fingers to solo, along with hybrid picking techniques. All of these ideas will help you sound more authentic when playing the blues and will carry over into other areas of your playing as well. Let's get started!

Published: 07/28/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Creative Bending

A technique unique to the guitar, bending in blues is almost as key as the 12 bar form itself. Used primarily in soloing, this technique can be explored in a variety for different to create vocal like lines and memorable hooks. We will be exploring multiple techniques with bending in this tutorial, including bending major/minor thirds, bending up one note and down another, among others. All examples are in the key of C and we will play along to some backing tracks to hear how these sound in our solos. Let's get started.

Published: 06/29/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Slide Guitar Techniques

Using a bottleneck slide is an expressive technique often used in blues. In this tutorial, we'll look at basic slide technique, open D tuning and standard tuning, some Duane Allman approaches, how to play slow blues slide, and pedal steel 3rds. We'll conclude by jamming along with a backing track.

Published: 08/10/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Blues Vibrato

The use of vibrato is an effect that is unique to all string instruments and all the more effective when used on the guitar. In blues playing, the use of vibrato is key and each blues player has his or her own vibrato. When used wisely, it can make even the simplest phrases and solos sound very effective. In this tutorial we are going to take a look at a few different types of vibrato that are both artist specific and usable by any guitarist at any level. Let's get started!

Published: 07/29/2009 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Bread and Butter Blues Licks Series 1

In this set of lessons, I'll teach you a "bread and butter" blues lick that you can use in almost any blues solo. I'll start with an introduction to the lick, then how to do the tricking picking and bending. The we'll play the lick using the IV and V chords, then we'll review the whole 12 bar form before we do two play alongs in different tempos. Next we'll look at straight 8th rhythm, and finish up with two more play alongs.

Published: 02/11/2013 Upgrade

Blues Lead Guitar Advanced Topics

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Christopher Schlegel
12 Bar Blues In All 12 Keys

In this tutorial I've created a 12 bar blues backing track in every key and at two tempos (80 BPM and 120 BPM). I play each blues with a different rhythm guitar and lead guitar approach to show how much variation is possible within the 12 bar blues form. This is a valuable way to get used to playing in every key and comfortable with playing anywhere on the fretboard.

Published: 12/22/2010 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Major Notes In Minor Pentatonic Series 1

Christopher will show you how to spice up your blues licks by adding major scales notes to the minor pentatonic "box" blues shapes. For these example exercises we will use the A minor pentatonic scale and a 12 bar blues form in A major. The central idea is to use the pentatonic box as a visual reference while targeting chord tones.

Published: 04/15/2017 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Major Notes in Minor Pentatonic Series 2

In this tutorial we will learn to spice up the minor pentatonic "box" blues shape with notes from the major scale. For these example exercises we will use the A minor pentatonic scale and a 12 bar blues form in A major. The central idea is to use the pentatonic box as a visual reference while targeting chord tones. The lessons in this series are based on a lot of the ideas we already learned in the previous tutorial "Major Notes in Pentatonic Minor".

Published: 05/13/2017 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Major Notes In Minor Pentatonic Series 3

In this third tutorial of the series we will focus only on targeting chord tones in order to learn more ways to spice up the minor pentatonic "box" blues shape with notes from the major scales. The lessons in this series are based on a lot of the ideas we already learned in the previous tutorials from the series on "Major Notes in Pentatonic Minor". For these example exercises we will use the A minor pentatonic scale and a 12 bar blues form in A major.

Published: 06/15/2017 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Major Notes In Minor Pentatonic Series 4

In this tutorial we will learn to spice up the minor pentatonic "box" blues shape with notes from the major scale. For these example exercises we will use the A minor pentatonic scale and a 12 bar blues form in A major. The central idea is to use the pentatonic box as a visual reference while targeting chord tones. The lessons in this series are based on a lot of the ideas we already learned in the previous tutorials in the series "Major Notes in Pentatonic Minor".

Published: 07/14/2017 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Advanced Blues Licks

Christopher will show you how to really spice up your blues lead playing with these advanced licks! First we'll look at the basic pentatonic minor box as scale degrees. Then we'll do the same for the mixolydian mode. Then we'll start building licks from combining those two scales and play them over the changes of a 12 bar blues in A.

Published: 06/15/2018 Upgrade

Regional Blues Styles

Here we’ll go over the different geographical Blues styles like Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, Texas Blues, British Blues and others. You’ll see that each region has its own spin on the genre, which results in slightly different techniques leading to very different sounds and feels.

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Anders Mouridsen
British Blues

British Blues is a style of music that was not only important musically, but had strong social impact as well. The popularity of American blues artists such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters in the U.K had a huge impact on the culture, and eventually the blues was no longer strictly a black style of music. The player with the strongest impact on the British Blues Movement of the 60's and 70's was Jon Mayall, whose band the Bluesbreakers went on to springboard the careers of Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, and Peter Greene amongst many others. In this tutorial, we are going to take a look at these players and their influence on this ever important movement in blues history. Let's get started.

Published: 08/17/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Texas Blues

Texas is home to many legends of the blues such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, and many more. In this tutorial, we will examine both the acoustic and electric sides of this style; focusing on players in the genre and their approaches to the instrument. All examples are in the key of E.

Published: 06/23/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Chicago Blues

The roots of electric blues are found in the sounds of the Windy City; also known as Chicago. The sounds of Chicago Blues trace back to when migrant workers from the south moved north to bigger cities to seek employment. What they brought with them was a rich tradition of Delta blues, but than amplified that with an electric guitar along with added instrumentation. Some key players to this style include Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and many many more. In this tutorial, we will look at the grooves and chordal concepts of this style; focusing on rhythm guitar techniques and artist examples. Let's get started!

Published: 06/27/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Delta Blues

The roots and origin of the blues language are firmly planted in the players of the Mississippi Delta area. Players such as Robert Johnson and Son House shaped the style to come and paved the way for a musical tradition that changed the entire world. The roots of almost every style of modern music can be traced back to the Delta, and our lessons today will give you an introduction to this all too important region. Using an acoustic guitar, open tunings, and a slide; let's explore this style.

Published: 06/27/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
New Orleans Blues

The blues of New Orleans is most often rooted in the signature rhythms played by drums and piano. The grooves and "second line" rhythms in this style are true to the region all their own and are a mixture of many styles of music. The coming together of these styles and it's unique groove (rooted in the "clave") account for a blues style that is both unique and fun to play. While not often associated with guitar, I am going to show you in this tutorial how I would approach this style in a live situation. We will be taking licks and ideas from other instruments and applying them to the guitar to try and mock this style.

Published: 06/23/2009 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Jazz Blues

Jazz, like most modern music styles, is rooted in the blues tradition. Having an understanding of Jazz Blues is a great introduction to the world of jazz and it's wide world of possibilities. In this tutorial, we will break down how to turn your standard 12 Bar Blues into a Jazz Blues via a step by step process. Each lesson will take the form a step further, introducing you to some new chords and ideas within the blues. Explore each lesson thoroughly and work to fully understand how to turn your standard blues into a Jazz Blues.

Published: 06/25/2009 Upgrade

Blues Musicianship

The following sections delve into the nuances of Blue guitar. Knowing where to place your Blues scale or Pentatonic scale licks in the 12-bar Blues progression is only one piece of the puzzle. There are ‘intangibles’ that aren’t written on sheet music. Things like feel and pocket or musicianship and playing with others will be best developed through real-world experience. Come prepared by watching these lessons. We’ll also go over Gear and Tone topics to help you sounds like the legends themselves.

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Christopher Schlegel
8 Bar Blues

In this tutorial we will learn and play an 8 bar blues. We'll use a classic ascending chord progression, then add some circle of fifths motion to give it a slightly R&B or jazzy sound. We'll also learn some classic bluesy licks to play over the progression following the chord changes.

Published: 08/10/2023 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
16 Bar Blues

In this tutorial we'll learn a 16 bar blues in C. We'll play rhythm and lead guitar parts. We'll also use some jazzy elements to spice up the turnaround.

Published: 08/21/2023 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Jingle Bell Blues Holiday

Christopher will show you how to turn the old Christmas standard tune "Jingle Bells" into a swinging blues tune with a harmonized diad melody, some fun bluesy licks for a solo and a rocking rhythm guitar.

Published: 12/12/2014 Upgrade
Anders Mouridsen
Elements of Better Blues Musicianship

In this tutorial we'll zoom out and look at the big picture of blues musicianship: improvisation, using backing tracks, playing live, and writing music. These aren't playing lessons per se, although we use a couple of backing tracks for demonstration; these lessons are intended for you to step backk and take a look at the big picture, and put your playing into a context.

Published: 06/21/2011 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Building A Blues Arrangement Series 2

In this tutorial we will learn to build another blues guitar arrangement. We'll use various rhythm and lead guitar techniques and combine them in a dramatic way to build and release tension over the course of many repeated passes at a 12 bar blues form. We'll experiment with loud & quiet dynamic levels, various approaches to alternating rhythm and lead guitar parts.

Published: 03/08/2022 Upgrade
Christopher Schlegel
Building A Blues Arrangement

Christopher will show you how to build a blues arrangement. We'll use various rhythm and lead guitar techniques and combine them in a dramatic way to build and release tension over the course of many repeated passes at a 12 bar blues form. We'll experiment with loud & quiet dynamic levels, various approaches to alternating rhythm and lead guitar parts.

Published: 07/13/2018 Upgrade

Blues Special Topics

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Christopher Schlegel
3 Whammy Bar Blues Tricks

In this tutorial we will learn 3 whammy bar tricks to spice up your blues playing technique.

Published: 05/26/2011 Upgrade
Lisa McCormick
Acoustic Fingerstyle Blues, Step-by-Step

Jorma Kaukonen started here. Taj Mahal, and Keb' Mo' too, plus dozens of other acoustic blues masters. Even if you're new to fingerpicking, this tutorial will walk you step-by-step through learning to play the fingerstyle blues, and load you up with an impressive collection of tricks and riffs you can toss in at any time. You'll even learn to write your own blues song!

Published: 05/09/2012 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Mississippi Blues

In this set of lessons I'll give you some ideas for playing the blues with a drop D tuning and a bottleneck. I'll cover the drop D tuning, talk about the basic technique, then get into some chords. Then I'll teach some melodic ideas and groove examples, and give you a summary of ideas to create an entire tune.

Published: 12/17/2011 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Bad Blues

"Bad Blues" will give you some ideas on how to play blues in a rubato style - without real timing. This gives you freedom to play blues with full expression and dynamics. I'll teach picking technique, then show you several licks to play. I also talk about sound settings, because they are also part of your dynamic expression.

Published: 12/16/2010 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Bad Blues 2

In "Bad Blues 2", I'll teach you to play a theme I composed. I'll talk a bit about the theme, then show you a vibrato exercise. In lesson 3 I'll show you the first part, using the vibrato. In the next lessons I'll show you parts 2 and 3 and how you can create variations. To conclude I'll put it all together and play the theme for you.

Published: 02/10/2011 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Arizona Blues

In this set of lessons I'll teach you a short simple original song, "Arizona Blues". I'll introduce the tune to you, then show you how to play the two main parts. Next I'll put the two parts together for you, then get into the hammer-on and bluesy licks. I'll play the song through for you, then finish by explaining a bit of my philosophy behind it.

Published: 02/29/2012 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Slow Blues

In this tutorial you'll learn to play a minor blues with some rock elements, and you'll learn to play dynamically by using specific sound settings and playing techniques to create feeling. We'll talk about sound and tone, then look at the chords. The next four lessons will focus on licks you can play over the minor blues progression, and in the final lesson we'll put it all together and play through the whole song.

Published: 04/14/2011 Upgrade
Hanspeter Kruesi
Slow Blues II

In these lessons you'll learn some ideas about how to play an orchestral slow blues and solo licks in the key of E. We'll work on some rhythm ideas, talk about timing, sound and feeling, and good combinations of solo licks. Last, we'll put these elements together as we play through this slow blues progression.

Published: 08/27/2011 Upgrade

Blues Artist Studies

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Tom Finch
Buddy Guy Artist Study

Tome will show you essential aspects of Guy's playing style and music across many decades has inspired players to learn about the blues of the past, bring those traditions to the present and expand on them into the future! Through his playing and showmanship, he directly influenced the early rock legends of the 60s. Clapton, Page, Beck & Hendrix all took a cue & a few licks from Buddy Guy!

Published: 03/15/2017 Upgrade
Dave Celentano
Stevie Ray Vaughan Artist Study

Dave breaks down Stevie Ray Vaughan's style into several key factors, showing you what makes it special, and then teaching you to play some licks in his style!

Published: 09/05/2017 Upgrade

Blues Gear & Tone

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Andy Gurley
Blues Tone: Amplifiers

There are many different kinds of amplifiers to choose from. These are 3 primary amp styles on which most models are based, and here we'll look at 2 tube amps and a solid state amp. Use this demonstration by a pro to get a good idea of what kind of amp best suits your style.

Published: 05/05/2010 Upgrade
Andy Gurley
Blues Tone: Effects

This tutorial will give you the know-how to identify and put together great gear to get the tone you want. With these lessons, we hope to take away some of the work it takes to find the right effects and make the most of your hard-earned dollars. We'll look at overdrive, distortion, tremolo, delay, wah, fuzz, and vibe pedal.

Published: 05/06/2010 Upgrade
Andy Gurley
Blues Tone: Getting the Right Setup

These non-playing lessons will do a side-by-side comparison of guitar tones, amp tones, and the difference in tones created by the most common effects used by blues guitarists. We'll look at several tone configurations to give a good overview of the variety of choices available to get killer blues tone.

Published: 06/12/2010 Upgrade
Andy Gurley
Blues Tone: Guitars

In this tutorial we'll walk you through the sounds and electronic configurations available on the most popular guitars in the market: semi-hollow body, Les Paul, SG, Telecaster, and more. You will have a great idea of what guitar will give you the sound you want, to become the blues player you want to be.

Published: 05/05/2010 Upgrade
Andy Gurley
Blues Tone: Odds and Ends

In this tutorial we'll answer questions about the tonal differences between using your fingers instead of a pick. We'll also look at the bottleneck slide, then how to use a capo. All these are important components of getting great blues tone and style.

Published: 06/15/2010 Upgrade

Essential Blues Songs

Here at Guitar Tricks we understand the value of Blues music across the musical landscape as well as on the guitar itself. When learning an artform such as Blues guitar, knowing the ‘why’ is just as important as knowing the how. Understanding this will help you play the style more authentically. Blues guitar is renown for having some of the best guitar players in history playing the style. Some of the legendary masters include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton and B.B.King. Take a look at some of the songs which truly highlight why these guitarists have earned the title of ‘Blues masters.’

Artist / Title / Progress
Difficulty / style
Led Zeppelin image
I Can't Quit You Baby Led Zeppelin

Tom will show you how the guitar weaves super tasty lines and occasional chords between and around the vocals to create an exciting and dynamic arrangement of a simple form!

Published: 05/05/2015 Upgrade
T-Bone Walker image
T-Bone Shuffle T-Bone Walker

Tom will show you all the parts to this classic blues tune: the intro, the melody, the sax solo comping and the verse comping.

Published: 10/26/2015 Upgrade
Howlin' Wolf image
Smokestack Lightning Howlin' Wolf

In this blues tutorial, Anders Mouridsen will teach you "Smokestack Lightning", by Howlin' Wolf. This is a one-chord blues based around a repeating riff, and after an overview of the song and talking about the gear and tones Anders will break down that main riff. Next up will be the supporting rhythmic line that's played along with the riff; then you'll learn some variations to the main riff. We'll cap it all off with a play along, then you take over in the jam along.

Published: 05/23/2012 Upgrade
Sonny Boy Williamson image
Bring It On Home Sonny Boy Williamson

In this tutorial Tom will show you the guitar parts to this iconic blues tune. You'll learn the swinging groove that forms the verses and the outro. The song is in the key of E and is 4/4 time with a quarter note of 110BPM.

Published: 07/26/2016 Upgrade
Stevie Ray Vaughan image
The Sky Is Crying Stevie Ray Vaughan

"The Sky Is Crying" is a widely-covered blues standard; in this tutorial we're going to take a look at Stevie Ray Vaughan's powerful version of the song. We'll break down some key elements in his playing style, take you through some tricky spots, and finally play through the whole song "note for note". Take anything you like from this blues classic and use it in your own playing!

Published: 10/27/2009 Upgrade
Muddy Waters image
Hoochie Coochie Man Muddy Waters

In this tutorial you'll learn how to play the classic blues song as made famous by the one and only Muddy Waters. This song is an absolute blues classic and it's been covered by pretty much any blues artist to ever walk this earth. It's also very much a part of the "standard" blues repertoire that every blues player is expected to know.

Published: 08/21/2014 Upgrade
Howlin' Wolf image
Killing Floor Howlin' Wolf

Tom will show you both guitars in this iconic blues tune, including the verses and the solo.

Published: 08/08/2016 Upgrade
B.B. King image
Every Day I Have The Blues B.B. King

Mike will show you killer blues licks in BB's distinctive style, a swinging blues feel, and playing in call and response in the 12 bar blues form.

Published: 04/08/2016 Upgrade
Eric Clapton image
Before You Accuse Me Eric Clapton

Before You Accuse me was written in 1958 by Elias McDaniel (also known as Bo Diddley). In this tutorial, we take a gander at an acoustic version of the song made famous by Eric Clapton, focusing on right hand fingering techniques, the middle and outro solos, the rhythm guitar parts, then lay it all down to a backing track.

Published: 10/27/2009 Upgrade
Jimmy Reed image
Bright Lights, Big City Jimmy Reed

In this set of lessons, Jinx Jones will teach "Bright Lights, Big City", as made famous by Jimmy Reed. We'll look at the 12 bar blues progression after a song introduction and the gear and tone; then learn the song intro. The verse rhythm guitar comes next, and an alternate verse rhythm. We'll adapt the harmonica solo to guitar, then do full and single guitar performances and a jam along.

Published: 05/01/2014 Upgrade
T-Bone Walker image
I Got The Blues (Made Easy) T-Bone Walker

We’ve arranged this 12 bar blues classic in a made easy format for acoustic guitar with simplified chords and strumming. If you’re up for a challenge, we’ve also included a bonus lesson to learn how to play the song with a boogie diad approach. This song uses open 7th chords, the 12 bar blues form, and a steady strumming pattern.

Published: 03/23/2022 Upgrade
Gary Moore image
Still Got the Blues Gary Moore

In this tutorial, Tony Lee will teach "Still Got the Blues", by Gary Moore. Tony will introduce the song then talk about gear and tone before launching into the clean rhythm parts: intro, chorus, verse, bridge, and the parts under the solos. Then it's on to the lead parts (guitar 2): the fills in the intro, verse, and bridge, then all the epic soloing. We'll conclude with a full performance, then do 2 jam alongs.

Published: 01/15/2015 Upgrade
Eric Clapton image
Sweet Home Chicago (Made Easy) Eric Clapton

Caren will show you a made easy arrangement of this Robert Johnson classic based on a version by Eric Clapton. The 12 bar blues form is fundamental to the genre, and has been used repeatedly for countless songs.

Published: 05/16/2017 Upgrade
Robert Johnson image
Sweet Home Chicago Robert Johnson

Tom will show you the basic rhythm guitar parts as well as short solos in the style of three great players: BB King, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Published: 04/02/2015 Upgrade
Stevie Ray Vaughan image
Mary Had A Little Lamb Stevie Ray Vaughan

Anders will teach you the iconic blues-rock song "Mary Had A Little Lamb", as made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is a really fun song, packed with classic SRV blues/rock vocabulary, and even though this song is somewhat short and concise, there's rhythm and lead material enough in it to last you a lifetime. This song is performed as a "power trio" meaning the guitar only has bass and drums backing it up, and it's the perfect exercise in seamless switching between rhythm and lead playing as well as strumming and single note picking.

Published: 07/03/2018 Upgrade
Muddy Waters image
Baby Please Don't Go Muddy Waters

In this song tutorial, Henrik Linde will teach "Baby, Please Don't Go", as made famous by Muddy Waters. Henrik will open with a song introduction and a look at the gear and tone, then launch in with the main guitar lick that plays off the vocals. Next up is the short but sweet solo, then the rhythm guitar part that's underneath the solo. We'll do full and single guitar performances, then you'll take over in the jam along.

Published: 04/30/2014 Upgrade
John Lee Hooker image
Boom Boom John Lee Hooker

In this blues song tutorial, Anders Mouridsen will be breaking down the song "Boom Boom", by John Lee Hooker. First we'll talk a bit about the gear and getting the darker, "muffled" tone, then we'll pick apart the main riff and talk about John Lee's unique right hand technique. There's a lot of "free" jamming and soloing in this song, and Anders will break all that down for you. To close, we'll do a full play along performance, and then mute the guitars to you can jam along on your own.

Published: 05/02/2012 Upgrade
T-Bone Walker image
I Got The Blues T-Bone Walker

In this tutorial Tom will show you the guitar parts to this iconic blues tune. You'll learn the tasty call and response guitar parts for the intro, verse 1, verse 2, & verse 3. The song is in the key of A-flat and is in 12/8 with a quarter note of 75BPM. Let's get started!

Published: 08/15/2016 Upgrade

FAQ

What type of guitar is best for blues? Playing the Blues is all about feeling, so any guitar that is playable is great. Most early Blues greats only played acoustic guitars. But single-coil or humbucking, any guitar that enables you to express yourself is the best for playing the Blues.

What makes a guitar a blues guitar? It's all about that soulful, expressive sound, often achieved with single-coil pickups.

Is blues guitar easy? Blues guitar starts off simple, making it a good starting point for anyone learning how to play guitar. But it will get complex as you dive deeper, so advanced guitarists can keep with the lessons for a long time.

Which is harder blues or jazz? Jazz is typically harder than blues due to more complex song structures, leading to more theoretical improvisation.

Which guitar is hardest to play? Classical guitars can be tough for beginners due to their wider fretboards.

Which guitar style is easiest? Blues guitar is a great way to get started learning to play guitar. It’s universal song forms make the style accessible to beginner guitarists.

What's the easiest instrument to play? Guitar is probably the easiest instrument to play. Once you know 3-4 open chords, you’ll be able to play hundreds of songs.

What genre is easiest to play on guitar? The Blues genre, while steeped in history and nuance, is very straightforward to pick up with beginner concepts.

Should you learn blues guitar first? Absolutely, it's a solid base that introduces fundamental guitar techniques and feel.

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