Choose your equipment. You can play blues guitar on acoustic, electric or a semi-hollow body guitar. Your guitar does not have to look good, nor does your amplifier. All you need except a guitar and a blues method is the desire to squeeze the feelings of the blues out of your instrument.
Buy a beginner’s blues guitar method book to get started. You can also find much of this information for free online (see Resources). Blues chords are large and small triads. These are simple three-point chords. Sometimes the flat seventh note of a scale is added to the chord. A beginner’s blues method shows you how to make these chords and how to use the blues notes on a scale (flat third, fifth and seventh note scale) over these chords. A simple C-blues scale contains, for example, the notes CD-Eb-F-Gb-A-Bb. These notes will sound good over a 12-bar blues progression in C.
Jam until the fingers fall off. The best way to learn blues is to select a key and record a 12-bar blues progression in that key with the major and minor triads described in step 1. A 12-bar blues progression has four bars of the first chord in the key you record – this will be a C if you play a C major blues scale. Follow this with two bars in the fourth chord, two more bars in the first chord, a bar of the fifth chord, a bar in the fourth chord and the last two bars in the first chord. The chords you play will be CFG. You can play these as the seventh chord as well. Your Blues book starts to show more progressions, b out once you have mastered the patterns it will be easy to move from one key to another.
Manage the techniques that will help you make your notes cry. Sliding is one of the most useful techniques. The blues does not have to be perfect. You simply want to make your music feel authentic. Shooting from one note to another adds an authentic blues flavor. You can do it with your finger or you can use a metal slide that fits over your finger. Another useful technique, and one that you should practice regularly, is string bending. Play a note and push the string up or pull it down on your fretboard to sharpen your note. Add a vibrator angle (vibrating your finger gently makes the note wait) and you are home-free. BB King can make a single note say it all with this simple technique.
Blues is one of the most basic forms of music. Its influence can be heard in everything from rock to country to soul. Practitioners such as the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Aerosmith base their style on the blues. Legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn was one of the many guitarists who milked the blues for all it was worth. Here’s how you can learn to dig deep and make your guitar scream with the blues.