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Free Online Guitar Lessons

Blues Guitar Lessons

Caught, not taught

Famous American Rock 'n Blues Guitarist Warren Haynes once said: "It's really better to approach the blues through playing rather than theorizing."  What a shame, since everyone loves learning sheets of music theory peppered with Italian adverbs...

I am of course being sarcastic to emphasize a point.  I love blues precisely because it is so natural.  Blues is one of those genres that will be caught rather than taught.  Aside from basic theory (most of which intermediate guitar players will know in any case), Blues is all about improvising, mixing and matching licks, riffs, techniques.  Combine these with your own creativity and you'll soon discover your own unique blend of blues...

What will you learn?

These Blues Guitar lessons will start by focusing on the 12-bar blues which is blues in it's most basic form and forms the foundation of most other types of Blues music.  We'll then look at a couple of blues scales in different positions on the fretboard.

Once you are able to play basic 12-bar blues using scales, you should learn some turnarounds. The turnaround is the bit at the end of the twelve bars that sets you up for the next verse.  During this lesson you can also try to imitate what you hear on records. Even if you think your solo's don't sound very good, you will be amazed at how much better they sound once you have mastered a few turnarounds.

Next we'll have a deeper look at string bending, which play a very important role in blues.

Once you've worked through some of these Blues Guitar lessons, a big section with a dozen or so Blues Guitar Licks awaits for your practice.  All with free video lessons, as usual.

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Everybody knows it sounds amazing, but not everyone can manage to produce the bluesy sound from a guitar.  It's not that difficult though, so get learning...

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In blues you need to learn to listen. Not just in the way we usually listen to music, but as a part of your guitar practice. Half an hour or so of listening to the great blues guitarists will soon make itself felt in your playing.

When you are learning the art of improvisation you can play single notes on a guitar or you can play chords. For a solo guitar player there's a choice between playing an improvised solo over a chord progression or you can play single note melody accompanied by base notes on open bass strings.
For a more in depth at Blues Guitar in general, I highly recommend you have a look
at what I've written on Jamplay (free access provided).  It provides (by far) the
best value for money when it comes to learning Blues Guitar, or any other genre for
that matter.  If your serious about learning more Blues guitar and going deeper
than just the absolute basics, check out Jamplay.
Blues Guitar Lessons
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A little bit of theory on Blues Guitar

Certain genres of music are simply hard to play on the guitar.  Metal is a good example:  It requires a high level of guitar proficiency and advanced technical skills like shredding and sweep picking.  Other genres like bluegrass require advanced finger picking technique.

Well here's the good news: Blues is not like that!  Blues guitar is one of those genres that combine a couple of easy techniques with improvisation and the result is jaw-dropping smoothness.  To illustrate this fact, look at the following example:  Blues player Albert King became famous for 4 - 5 note solos!

Again, Blues is not a 'proper' style like the classical style; you really don't need lots of technique.  But you do need lots of time to fiddle around with what you do know and to try and imitate what other Blues guitarists (from your own music collection) is doing.

Despite the fact that Blues lead guitar sounds so great, you do not need to be a guitar god to master it, all you need is some basic technique, know your scales and add a little bit of improvisation.  All of which you will be taught in the following lessons.

Enough Theory.  Grab your Electric Guitar, crank up a mild bluesy distortion and let's teach you how to play blues guitar...

Let's get to it

With that intro behind us, you're welcome to jump into the first "How to Play Blues Guitar" lesson.  If you're a new Blues player I recommend following these lessons in Chronological order as listed below, starting with number one.