How Do You Start Playing Blues on the Guitar?
The blues is a hybrid of a major and minor tonality, so it’s like its own world. One of the most important things about playing the blues is that it allows you to express yourself and learn a couple of small things. Once you’re comfortable with playing the blues, you can then start to pull it up in other styles of music.
The reason why blues is a great style to learn is that it is a simple way to start. Although blues guitar is not hard to learn, it is very hard to master. Learning a simple blues shuffle can be done in a couple of weeks while learning a song with passion and soul can take years.
Many great blues songs are incredibly easy to learn. However, blues is a style that requires a lot of practice and dedication to become a great guitarist. A great blues guitarist will still play a simple song, but they will also add so much passion.
When it comes to playing blues, you’ll notice that the songs that are written by some of the most prominent guitarists, such as B.B. King, Jimmy Page, and Chuck Berry, have similar harmonic structures. The 12-bar blues progression is also a fixed 3-chord progression that features similar rhythmic patterns and notes. These elements are the foundation of many of the great blues guitar songs.
In this guide, we will talk about some of the common questions people have about how hard it is to learn to play the blues. We also talk about some of the equipment you should use to start playing the blues.
How Do You Start Playing Blues on the Guitar? | A Short History of Blues Music
The origins of the blues trace back to the plantations in the South during the 19th century. During this period, enslaved people and their descendants would sing and dance to the music that their ancestors from Africa had brought with them. This mixture of chants, rhythm and dance music was referred to as the “blues.”
The blues started in Mississippi Delta and then moved to New Orleans. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the blues started to spread outside the South and into the rest of the country. Some of the blues’ most prominent individuals include John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. The Chicago blues is a type of rhythm and blues that combines elements of jazz and blues. The message of the blues started to shift as the genre started to represent hope and change. Instead of being negative, the blues started to represent a more positive and uplifting image.
During the 1920s, many of the blues’ early pioneers, such as Charlie Patton, Son House, and Blind Lemon Jefferson, performed with a guitar at social gatherings and plantation camps. The idea of forming a blues band eventually took root alongside jazz bands. Besides the traditional instruments, blues also evolved into a more complex form of music with the addition of various other instruments, such as kazoos, electric bass, and washboards.
What is Blues Guitar?
The blues guitar is an important style of rhythm guitar that’s influenced by the 12-bar chord progression. It’s commonly used in rock, metal, and even country.
To be a successful blues guitarist, you must master the following three elements:
The 12-bar chord progression is the first. The 12-bar blues is the chord progression that runs through much rock music, not only blues.
The minor pentatonic scale is the second. Similarly, in blues, pop, and rock, the minor pentatonic scale—a musical scale with five notes per octave instead of the standard seven—is the most widely utilized scale.
The blues scale is number three. The blues scale is similar to the minor pentatonic scale, but it adds one B5 interval to make it a six-note scale.
How Do You Start Playing Blues on the Guitar? | What Guitar Do You Need for Blues?
When it comes to learning how to play blues, most people have the first question they ask: What kind of guitar do I need? There are various types of guitars that can be used to play the blues, such as Les Pauls, semi-hollows, and Stratocasters.
Some people find the Stratocasters and the Les Pauls to be the best instruments for playing the blues, while others think that the case-built Les Pauls are the true blues guitar. However, the truth is that there are many different types of blues guitarists, such as B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. All of these individuals play very different styles of blues.
The reason why I want to point out this is that there is no one best guitar for playing the blues. Some people prefer to play on strats, while others prefer to use the Les Pauls. Many excellent blues guitarists play on cheap instruments.
If you are a fan of blues guitarist Jimi Hendrix, you would probably want to buy a strat style guitar. However, this depends on your budget and what you feel like playing. If you are a little bit conservative, then you might want to go for a more modern Squier or a Fender Stratocaster.
Although you may not have to follow the same style as your favorite guitarist, it does not mean that you have to stop developing. Just because a certain type of guitar is used by a certain artist doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.
Blues Guitar Chords
A chord is a building block in music. The simplest way to think of them is like words on a page. When they’re put together, they create a sentence and then a book. Similarly, when chord progressions and song creation are combined, a song is formed.
The Nashville numbering system classifies the scale pitch on which a chord is generated and is used to write guitar chord progressions in Roman numerals. For instance:
The I is the chord’s root note and its foundation.
On a scale, the IV is the fourth note.
The fifth note in a scale is the V.
The one-four-five one chord progression is commonly referred to as the I-IV-V-I progression. The one-four-five one chord progression is a popular chord progression that can be played in any key. It allows for various sounds and combinations.
Common Chord Progressions
Understanding which key to play is important for playing a chord progression in blues music. People commonly use the key A and E in blues songs.
The key of E is commonly used to play blues guitar. To play in this key, you require three chords: E7, A7, or B7. You can also play a D7 chord by placing your index finger on the 1st fret of the B string and your ring finger on the second fret.
Now, a conventional 12-bar blues progression might sound like this:
/ A7 / A7 / A7 / A7 / D7 / D7 / A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /
You can check out this example of a similar blues progression played using Deplike Guitar FX amp sim & effects app for computers, tablets and smartphones:
How Long Does It Take Master the Blues Guitar?
A beginner can start playing some simple blues guitar shuffles in a couple of weeks. It can take a couple of months before a beginner can start learning how to play many basic blues songs.
If a beginner already knows how to play the guitar, it will take them less time to start learning to play blues guitar songs and blues guitar licks.
The simple blues guitar shuffles and blues guitar licks that you can learn as a beginner are not hard to master. This is because blues is a style of music that doesn’t require a lot of knowledge to learn.
However, once a beginner has learned how to play blues guitar, it can take them a long time to feel passionate about the music.
Learning how to play blues guitar is a lifelong passion that you can continue improving and developing over the years. With the right technique and blues guitar shuffles, you can easily become a better player.
The length of time it takes to learn to play blues guitar depends on how dedicated you are to practice. If you consistently practice the right technique and areas of your body, you can eventually go from beginner to intermediate in a year.
In this guide, I will provide you with a realistic estimate of how long it takes to learn various guitar techniques and styles. The examples in this section come from my students, so I hope you can learn from them.
Why Is It That Blues Guitar is Simple to Learn Yet Difficult to Master?
Although blues guitar is relatively easy to learn, it is also hard to master. Learning how to play a blues shuffle is very simple, and you can do it in just a couple of steps. However, blues players can spend their entire lives trying to improve their skills.
Learning to play the right notes is the most important step in developing a strong blues voice. Having the ability to convey a feeling through the various parts of the song is also very important to the style.
One of the most important things that beginners should remember when it comes to learning blues is that it is not always possible to immediately sound like blues greats such as BB King. It takes a lot of practice and dedication to develop the necessary skills to play the blues.
The Most Effective Way for Learning Blues Guitar
Anyone can learn to play blues guitar, and you may begin right now, regardless of your skill level.
These instructions will show you how you can start learning blues guitar:
1. Learn how to play the blues shuffle.
2. With a drum machine or background track, practice performing the shuffle.
3. Learn a few basic blues guitar licks.
4. Over a backing track, practice those licks.
5. Choose an easy blues song and learn it from beginning to end.
6. Learn how to play the Pentatonic and Blues scales.
7. Learn to improvise while playing with backing tracks.
To start, blues players should first learn basic rhythm and blues licks. They should then gradually work their way toward developing their ability to create their own unique style.
While learning a lot of blues songs to learn from great blues guitarists is a good idea, keep your focus on learning to improvise.
Newbies who focused on learning to improvise learned faster and established their own distinct voice sooner.
How Do You Improve Your Blues Guitar Skills?
One of the essential factors that you need to consider when it comes to getting good at blues guitar is putting effort into each note. Not only is it about technical ability, but it’s also about putting your soul into what you play.
Getting good at blues guitar is hard, especially since everybody wants to learn a lot of songs and blues guitar licks. Unfortunately, there are many advanced players who can’t play any of the songs that they have learned due to their lack of feeling.
One of the most important factors that you need to consider when it comes to becoming a good blues guitarist is taking your time. Instead of learning hundreds of blues licks, focus on one specific technique.
If you want to improve as a blues guitarist, try to keep improving what you have already learned. Doing so will help you become better than playing hundreds of songs and blues guitar licks. The goal is to play one note with passion and not feel like you are playing a hundred notes. You’ll get good at blues if you take your time and concentrate on refining every note you play.
The blues is a hybrid between a major and minor tone. It’s very expressive and you can learn it in just a couple of small steps. One of the best things about playing the blues is that it allows you to express yourself and put on a show for yourself. If you’re not good at playing the blues, you can still learn other styles of music.
Even if you’re not a fan of blues guitar, there’s still a lot to learn. Besides being good at playing the blues, learning other styles of music can also help improve your guitar playing. If you’re interested in learning more about blues guitar, it’s a great style to start.
Now, how to get the guitar tone you want?
Advancing your way throughout the guitar journey is a wholistic process which includes two main pillars: 1. Improving your playing skills; 2. Tweaking the guitar effects and amps to shape your guitar sound.
We all have a guitarist idol that we dig the sound of, right?
Getting the guitar sound of your favorite guitarists/band can be very costly and frustrating. It can require years of expertise to achieve your desired guitar tone.
Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to spend that much money and effort to get any guitar tone you want. Deplike Guitar FX Amp Sim suite plug-in got you covered on all Windows, macOS, iOS and Android devices. All you have to do is plug your guitar and play!