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Blues Guitar 1 - Introduction

 

This is the first episode of my blues guitar series of lessons, which will introduce you to the blues and show you how to play the blues, step by step.

 

Playing the blues

Blues is a music that has a very strong connection to the guitar. Blues guitar playing has influenced just about all guitar styles that came after 1940, including rock, jazz, metal, and many more.

 

What makes the blues such a good match for the guitar and vice versa? Well, the guitar is a very expressive instrument. The sounds it can make and the possibilities to manipulate notes are limitless. Blues is about expression as well. It started with singing and guitar playing (Robert Johnson was an important early blues musician) and the singing and playing were equally emotive, capable of expressing feelings of grief, joy, anger, love and just about everything else. Expressive guitar techniques such as bending and vibrato come directly from the blues.

Why learn the blues? Learning to play the blues is an important step towards mastering other kinds of (guitar) music. If you learn the blues you'll be able to say something with just one note, where a thousand other notes won't do.

 

Start listening to some good blues players and pay attention to how their playing answers their singing and to the way they can make the guitar sing.

 

Here's a list of great blues players.

blues guitar freddie king
Freddie King ripping it up

 

10 Great blues guitar players

These blues musicians all made important contributions to the music and have influenced tons of players since.

 

There are many great blues players in history, making it difficult to pick just a few, but here's 10 blues guitar players that you HAVE to check out:

 

Robert Johnson (1911 – 1938)

John Lee Hooker (1917 – 2001)

Albert King (1923 – 1992)

BB King (born 1925)

Albert Collins (1932 - 1993) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxMYChh4ytQ

Freddie King (1934 – 1976) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGLmZCZ1sXY

Buddy Guy (born 1936)

Jimi Hendrix (1942 - 1970) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-oRZjB7Ikw

Gary Moore (1952 – 2011) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXYjEMTQRm0

Stevie Ray Vaughn (1954 – 1990)

 

There you go. Of course, Hendrix and Moore were not strictly blues guitar players but they've certainly contributed to blues guitar!

 

In the next blues lesson we'll take a look at the traditional 12-bar blues form.

 



blues guitar bb king introduction