Guitar Styles - Jazz & Blues

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Examining the 12-Bar Blues Pattern

If you've ever spent any time around a serious blues musician or music aficionado, you've probably heard the phrase "12 bar blues" tossed about. A bar is a musical phrase, a way of measuring the music [more…]

Playing Quintessential Blues on Slide Guitar

Slide guitar may have become a stylistic choice over fretted guitar out of necessity by players who didn't have the skills or patience to fret the guitar and found it easy to slide a smooth, rounded object [more…]

Playing the Blues Guitar: Acoustic Meets Electric

Electric guitars came on the scene only in the late 1930s, and then only to those who could afford them. Thus, the acoustic guitar in blues had a long run, and the style continued even after the advent [more…]

Discovering the Blues of John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) is firmly established as one of the true giants of the blues, along with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Howlin' Wolf. Hooker is often called the [more…]

Exploring the Delta Blues

Delta blues also goes by the moniker Mississippi blues, but either term refers to the blues style of playing that came out of the Delta region of Mississippi, the fertile cotton-producing area of the state [more…]

How to Use Repetition When Playing Acoustic Blues Guitar

Although blues guitar is usually heard on electric guitar, it started out as an acoustic style. An important aspect of acoustic blues (and electric, too) is [more…]

Two Acoustic Blues Guitar Techniques

You can use two simple acoustic blues techniques to give your blues guitar playing more variety. Alternating the texturecreates an unexpected, less homogeneous sound. And combining open strings with fretted [more…]

What is the Robert Johnson Progression?

Robert Johnson (1911–1938) is universally recognized as the King of the Delta Blues, and for good reason. Robert Johnson's playing style, which is called the Robert Johnson Progression, has influenced [more…]

How to Get the Blues Sound

Blues guitar can take many forms, which means that learning how to get the blues sound is an evolving process. However, by identifying specific techniques, notes, and patterns to follow, you can begin [more…]

Techniques for Playing Authentic Blues Guitar

One of the best things about the blues is that it isn’t all that hard to play, technically speaking. However, learning how to use expression when you play blues guitar is the best way to bring your guitar [more…]

How to Play the Jimmy Reed Blues Guitar Move

If you have the basic 12-bar blues under your belt, it’s time to learn how to play the Jimmy Reed move on your guitar. This move will help you shake things up a bit. The Jimmy Reed move has been a blues [more…]

How to Use Pick-Strum Patterns to Add Variety to Blues Guitar

Knowing how to read and use pick-strum patterns is a great way to provide rhythmic variety and introduce different textures into your guitar playing. Pick-strum patterns separate the bass and treble so [more…]

How to Use Left-Hand Muting to Create a Crisp Guitar Rhythm

When it comes to rhythm guitar, you need to learn how to stop the strings. Just listen to blues rhythm guitar and you'll hear that it’s not one repetitive wall of sound, but an open, varied sound with [more…]

How to Create the Six-Note Blues Scale on Guitar

The pentatonic scale is a wonderful invention for guitarists — and can save you from sounding bad during a guitar solo. On the flip side, because this is such a [more…]

Expanding the Blues Scale with Sweet Notes

In blues, rock, and jazz guitar, there are times when you want to add extra interest to the blues harmony. You can do this by adding a sweet note — an extra chromatic note not found in the six-note blues [more…]

Adding Intros, Turnarounds, and Endings to the 12-Bar Blues Progression

Although the 12-bar blues progression has a signature blues sound, if you plan to play blues, rock, or jazz guitar on a regular basis, you'll want to learn how to accessorize the 12-bar blues. Intros, [more…]

Guitar Tablature: "Chicago Shuffle"

B.B. King once said, “I have a right to sing the blues,” and if you’re ready to try playing a couple of authentic blues songs, you have that right too! As you first attempt to play the [more…]

Guitar Tablature: "Mississippi Mud"

"Mississippi Mud" is an old blues song that was first recorded by Bing Crosby back in 1927. This song features many acoustic blues concepts: E pentatonic minor scale in open position, steady bass notes [more…]

Guitar Tablature: "The Articulate Blues"

“The Articulate Blues” is a short guitar solo, in the form of a 12-bar blues, that employs all the forms of articulation. Learning how to play "The Articulate Blues [more…]

How to Play a 12-Bar Blues on the Guitar

The 12-bar blues is by far the most popular form for the blues. Once you learn to play the 12-bar blues on the guitar, you can play such classic blues pieces as [more…]

How to Play Jazz Guitar Using Chord-Melody Style

Chord-melody style, as its name implies, is a jazz guitar solo style that incorporates both the melody and harmony (chords) of a song. When you learn to play a chord-melody style, you can jazz up an existing [more…]

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 [more…]

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: [more…]

The Power of Slide Guitar

Slide guitar is an important addition to blues-guitar technique. In playing slide, you don't use your left hand to fret the guitar by pressing the strings to the fretboard, as you normally do. Instead, [more…]

Jazz Guitar Basics

Jazz guitar can be difficult to master because improvisation (making up music on the spot) is such an important part of the style. Normally, making up the music is the job of the composer. But in jazz, [more…]


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