Cheat Sheet

Blues Guitar For Dummies

From Blues Guitar For Dummies by Jon Chappell

To play blues guitar, first you have to know the basics of guitar in general, which means identifying the parts of a guitar and being able to translate a chord diagram. Then you can get familiar with common open and moveable chord forms and create your own blues guitar style.

Guitar Parts, Chord Diagrams, and Tablature

To play blues guitar, or any style of guitar music, it helps to be able to identify the parts of the guitar, which are identified here. It also helps to be able to read chord diagrams and the six-line guitar tablature that tell you which frets press on which strings. A sample chord diagram and tablature are shown here as well:

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Common Open-Position Chords for Blues Guitar

Blues guitar is about style, not about hardware. Blues guitar doesn't use different chords than any other style of guitar playing; you just use them in different configurations to create different effects. Twenty of the most comment open-position chords used in playing blues guitar — or any guitar style — are illustrated here:

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Moveable Chord Forms for Blues Guitar

Moveable chords have no open positions. Blues guitar playing uses moveable chord forms as much as any other type of guitar style, including the common 6th-string root chords shown here:

Moveable chords with the root on the 6th string.
Moveable chords with the root on the 6th string.

Common moveable chords rooted on the 5th string include these:

Moveable chords with the root on the 5th string.
Moveable chords with the root on the 5th string.
Some more complex moveable 5th-string-root chords.
Some more complex moveable 5th-string-root chords.
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