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Gettin' in the Mood Edit

You don't have to be sad to play the blues, but there are a few things you should know before attempting to learn them. First familiarize yourself with the techniques you'll need to know:

Once you know these techniques, understanding the blues becomes a lot easier.

I IV V BluesEdit

One of the most common arrangements of blues music is the One, Four, Five Blues. I=One Chord/Riff, IV=Four Chord/Riff, V=Five Chord/Riff. It comes in many variations but the Standard and Quick Change forms are the most common. I've also included the Quick Change II, just because I'm cool like that.

Standard Form

  • I, I, I, I, IV, IV, I, I, V, IV, I, Turnaround

Quick Change Form

  • I, I, IV, IV, I, I, I, I, IV, IV, IV, IV, I, I, I, I, V, V, IV, IV, I, I, I, Turnaround

Quick Change Form II

  • I, IV, I, I, IV, IV, I, I, V, IV, I, V or Turnaround

The Quick change is the same as the standard, it just has an extra I, I, IV, IV in the beginning, and then is the same after that. Each chord/riff should take up one measure.

Shuffle RiffsEdit

This is a standard form shuffle riff in the key of A.

E---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
B---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
G---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
D---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
A-----7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-----|
E-----5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-----|
      I                  I                I

E---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
B---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
G---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
D---------------------|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-----|
A-----7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-----|
E-----5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-----------------|---------------------|
      I                 IV                IV

E---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
B---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
G---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
D---------------------|-----------------|-9-9-11-11-9-9-11-11-|
A-----7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-7-7-7--7--7-7-7--7--|
E-----5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|---------------------|
      I                  I                V


E---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
B---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
G---------------------|-----------------|---------------------|
D-----7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-----------------|---------------------|
A-----5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9-|-7----5-6-7----------|
E---------------------|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-|-5-------------------|
      IV                I                 Turnaround

Blues ChordsEdit

These are Minor 7th chords for a sad blues in the Key of A

     Am7  Dm7  Em7
E-----5----5----7--------------------------------
B-----5----6----8--------------------------------
G-----5----5----7--------------------------------
D-----5----7----9--------------------------------
A-----7----5----7--------------------------------
E-----5----X----X--------------------------------
      I    IV   V

These are thumb chords and 9th chords in the Key of A, they are great for blues and funk. The thumb chord is particularly hard to finger, but don't give up, it's well worth it once you learn it. I have the first one spread out so you can get the fingering. The sound of these chords is so fat! I recommend alternating between the thumb chord and the 9th back and forth as an excercise, play it evenly, it will help you when you need to make the chord changes later.

     
       A Thumb        D9
E---------------X-----------5------------------
B-------------5-----------5--------------------
G-----------4-----------5----------------------
D---------5-----------4------------------------
A-------4-----------5--------------------------
E-----5-----------X----------------------------
      T i r m p     m i r r r
      Thumb         9th
    Thumb  D9   E9
E-----X----5----7--------------------------------
B-----5----5----7--------------------------------
G-----4----5----7--------------------------------
D-----5----4----6--------------------------------
A-----4----5----7--------------------------------
E-----5----X----X--------------------------------
      I    IV   V

Here's a "jump" blues chord to go along with the 9th chords.

      A?   D9   E9
E-----5----5----7--------------------------------
B-----7----5----7--------------------------------
G-----6----5----7--------------------------------
D-----5----4----6--------------------------------
A-----7----5----7--------------------------------
E-----5----X----X--------------------------------
      I    IV   V

TurnaroundsEdit

Here's a simple turnaround in the Key of E. Note the slide into the pickup note in the beginning and the hammer-on half way through.

E------4--3--2--0---0--------2-----------------
B------3--2--1--0------------0-----------------
G----/4---3--2--0h1----------2-----------------
D----------------------------1-----------------
A---------------------0-1-2--2-----------------
E----------------------------------------------

One more in the Key of E.

E------0----0----0---0----------2--------------
B-------3----2----1--0----------0--------------
G----/4---/3---/2----0h1--------2--------------
D-------------------------------1--------------
A------------------------0-1-2--2--------------
E----------------------------------------------

Blues Scale OneEdit

This is the pentatonic blues scale, the basis for playing blues leads.

E-----------------------------------5--8------
B-----------------------------5--8------------
G----------------------5-7-8-----------------
D-----------------5--7------------------------
A----------5-6-7------------------------------
E-----5--8------------------------------------

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