Blues guitar chords primer

Guitars, to our mind, are made to play the Blues. Here's how to get started with blues guitar chords.

Since the first Mississippi bluesman left the Delta and made his way north to Chicago almost a century ago, the guitar as we know it has been synonymous with the Blues. Sure you can play Blues on a piano, a harmonica, or pretty much anything else, but the guitar gives the Blues expression like no other instrument.

Fortunately for us, playing Blues guitar chords on a guitar is not difficult. You need three chords, some practice, and a little patience.

Whether you play on an acoustic or electric guitar, you should start with E, A, and B (or E7, A7, and B7); in other words, the root, fourth, and fifth notes in the key of E, or their seventh variants. Why? Because those three chords are easy to play, can all be played with open strings, so no barring, and because they allow for lots and lots of experimentation, adding notes, bending, and hammering on.

If you start with a twelve bar blues, you'll play four bars of E7, two of A7, two of E7, then one of B7, one of A7, and finally, a two-bar turnaround.

Once you’ve mastered the chord changes, you can start to think about adding notes, bending, and changing the rhythm. Even subtle changes can make a big difference.

But enough of all this talking (or rather, writing). It's much, much easier to learn the chords by watching videos than it is by reading text.

Below is a video from Marty from GuitarJamz, who does a great job of explaining and demonstrating it. Once you've got the hang of it, click on the video to go to YouTube and check out the related videos.

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