Basic Blues Guitar Lesson 1

Today we’re going to begin our series of Basic Blues Guitar Lessons. The aim of this series is to get your blues guitar playing up and running from a beginner’s start.

In this week’s video I show you how to play a basic blues progression, complete with a live demonstration. Just follow along with your guitar and start playin’ the blues!

The Chart

In the video I promised a structural chart to show how the three chords fit into a 12-bar blues. I’ve included the chord names and numbered the bars so you can follow along with the video example.

Remember that each ‘bar’ (or ‘measure’, if you prefer the American terminology) contains four counts. After twelve bars, we go back to the beginning of the sequence (bar 1) and start over. (The video section that explains this starts at 3 mins 22 secs).

One time through the whole structure, from bars 1-12, is commonly called ‘one time around the form‘ or sometimes ‘one chorus‘. So if you’re jamming with a musician and he asks you to play ¬†an intro ‘one time around the form‘ or ‘play one chorus‘ he wants you to play through bars 1-12 as an introduction to the song.

Sometimes, mid-performance, a singer might encourage you to take an improvised solo (we’ll cover how to do that in a later lesson) and will call for you to ‘take a couple of choruses‘ or ‘take a couple forms‘. He means for you to take 24 bars (twice around the 12-bar form) to play a guitar solo.


That’s it for this installment, please do comment below if you have any questions on the lesson (or requests and suggestions for future lessons).

See you next time for the next Basic Blues Guitar Lesson installment!