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Pri ae Els aren HANDBOOK Adam St. James SATALS GNV SANOINHD3L NI 3SYNOD 3137dWOD V cheer oe eB aloe ae Fe Sen MLE ta Toy Penta eee Cee eee ted F Ce eee ee ae. cn eee eo 5 ae Dee eR Mee ee et) K EMG Lo! 4 The basics of music theory IF a major oF minor chord is built using a root, third, and fifth, can you complete the pattern to create a seventh chord? If you sald “root, third, filth, seventh,” you are coneet. We can continue on in this fashion to create a ninth chord, 11th, and 13th, A type of 7th chord: Root, 3rd, Sth, 7th Root (1) of couse few extra rules and ercumstanees a musician noeds to Farr 1g chords. touch on just few of the more important issues here. A deeply detailed understanding of chord construction is beyond the scope oF ‘needs of this book, s0 Il stick to some basics Lets start with seventh chords: There ate basically thece diferent types of seventh chord: major sevenths, dominant sevenths, and minor sevenths The most ‘common types of seventh chords used in blues are the dominant seventh (which ‘most people jus calla seventh chord, written C7, and the minor seventh chord, ‘written Cm7 of Cmin7, Both ofthese chords feature a root, tind (flat thind forthe minor chord, fith, and a flat seventh. Major seventh chow, witten Cra, ude a root, third, fifth, and major seventh, and have a prety sound that ist ft used in blues Se T1@ Nis 73 Example 2.16 80 The basics of music theory Here are the three main types of seventh chord: Beginning on any note, a root, major 3rd, Sth, and major 7th make a major 7th chord: Cmmaj7 Root(1) 3nd Beginning on any note, a root, major 3rd, Sth, and fat 7th >, make a dominant 7th chord: co ‘at 7h Beginning on any note a root, flat 3rd, Sth, and flat 7th make a minor 7th chord: cm? Root (1) flat 3rd Example 3.17 Occasionally we leave a note out of a chord. It is not required that every chord Include the root, third, fifth, seventh, etc, paticularly If another instrument in the band often the bass or piano) s playing that note. For example, if the song calls for an A7 chord, and your bass player is playing the A root note, you don't necessarily need to play that note on the guitar. You could get away with playing lust the third, fith, and seventh of the chord. This allows a gultarit to play more interesting "Woicings” of chords SET WN 2 The basics of music theory Bi Here isa common blues chon shape, played as an A7 chord with no root note Example 3.18 “The root and the fifth of a chord are sometimes let out Ar ‘often in sheet music, we come across chords such as A7/G oF Dyts, sometimes called “slash” chords due to the slash between the letters, These chords at technically known as inversions, and are fairly common, An invetsion is simply a ‘chord thats played with a note other than its root note in the bas. The note after the slash Is the bass note In this example, we would play an A7 chord over a G bass note, or a D chord ‘over an Fr bass note, Here notation showing these common inversions: Example 3.19 ANG Dire Another type of chord you'll often come across Is the suspended chord Suspended chords are fun and easy, and something every guitarist needs to know. “Most guitarists are familar with the chord D suspeacled or Dsus4. This i a chord In which we have substituted the fourth of the chord for the third. But this is usually only temporary, a8 a $ust chord almost aways “resolves” toa regulae major ‘chord, the fourth of the chord (the suspended note) releasing its musical tension ‘or resolving to the third You can see the fourth resolve to the third ofthe chord in the example overeat SECTION 3 82 Dsust Example 3.20 Example 3.21 The basics of music theory {Chords with cont xing names such as flat fith, sharp ninth and minor seven fla fifth include “altered” sale steps. Remembering that all music theory i, based on the major scale, you can understand what Is meant by a fat fh ora sharp ninth, These are chords which inelude notes that have either beet raised or lowered one halfstep from the normal fifth or ninth in a major scale Altered chords are very common in jazz music, and are found occasionally in blues and other styles of pop music. Fortunately, knowing usta handful will cover ‘most of your blues needs, an! youl find them seattered throughout this book. Here we show four & chords: regular A major chord, then an A chord with a fat fith and a sharp ninth, Notice also that the sharp ninth chord includes a seventh. Then follows an A minor seventh chord and an A minor seventh flat fifth chord, which is ly a minor seventh chord with a Matted filth APs Am7 Ams ‘That'll the razy chord stuf I'l cover here, though vou may find some other fdas in various sections inthis book. Again, I recommend that you concentrate fm playing the music and the guitar pars, and don't worry so-much about all the funny names and tricky rules. SECTION 3 The basics of music theory 83 Chord progressions, chord scales, and the all- important I-IV-V As a blues enthusiast, you have probably heard musicians refer to a chord progression as a “one-foursive.” What exactly des this mean? Just ike chords themselves, chord progressions ate built oF based on the ‘musical scale, To understand a chord progression, musicians often ascribe numbers to each chord, jst as we assign numbers to the scale steps in the chord. And we tse Roman numerals when discussing chord progressions, to differentiate them from chord tones such as a ith of seventh, Here isa diagram of a “harmonized” C major scale, that i, a C major scale on ‘whieh swe have built chords on each scale step, Notice that each chord is assigned {1 Roman numeral, Upper case Roman numerals (IV, and V) indicate major chords. Lower case numerals (i i vi, vi) indicate minor chords Example 222 Chords in the key of C major c Dm Em F G Am Bdim 1 ii iit Vv v vi vii 1 It also important to beable to understand a chord sale in a minor Key. Here is. chord seale for the key of A minor Notice thatthe iv, and v chords are all ‘minor in a minor key. This would be the basis for a minor bes: Example 3.23 Chords in the key of A minor Am Bdim Dm Em F G Am i ii m wv y vio vi i All songs—and | spoken of in terms of ‘hor progression i by far the most common progeession in all musi, not justin blues, Buti is completely dominant in blues “Most blues songs are FIV-Y, though there are several other common chord progression patterns used in the blues, which we will cover in The Blues Gultar Harsook ‘One such pattern that shows up in the music of the Delta blues, and isa huge part of most jazz music isthe iV progression, In the key of C major this would Se T | GaN B chord progresions—can be analyzed, broken down, and ese Roman numerals. The onefour-five—written LIV-V— 84 ‘Example 3.24 The basics of music theory bbe Dm-G-C. Another common chord progression, sometimes found in a gospel blues tunes Li-IV-V In the key of this would be C-Em. ‘Common chord progressions, shown in C major c FG pm G ¢ com F G Example 3.25 Rek {Venema vermet 1 i woyv ‘Once you understand this system of numbering chord progressions, you'l find that you can much more easily play in any’ key, or transpose songs from one key to another, Also, if you are a fairly competent lead guitarist, you'l find that you can improvise equally in various keys using the knowledge of these chord progressions as your guide. Soloing over a L-IV.V blues song is largely the same no ‘matter what key the songs In. AS a guitarist, all ou have to dois slide your leks and seale patterns up and dovsn the fretboard to land atthe appropriate tes for IVA in that key and you're ready to soar Relative major and minor keys [Now that you know a litle about keys and scales and chord progressions I want | to explain one more thing that sometimes comes into play in blues musie—In all, styles of must, for that matter. All major keys havea related minor key, and vice versa, These are called “relative” keys, If we were to analyze the formulas of hal and wholesteps for both a major and minor scale, and then apply those formulas tall 12 chromatic notes we would find that each major key shares the exact same notes with one specific minor key—its “relative minor: For example, if we were to start on C and follow the formala of haf and whole: steps for a major scale (W.W-H-WAW.W-H), we would get the notes C-D-ERG-A-B C-And we would get those exact same notes if we started on A and used the formula of half-andl wholesteps fora minor scale (W-H-WeW-H-W-W), No other major and ‘minor key share these same particular notes, so C major and A minor ae relative ‘keys. In sheet music they shate the same key signature of no sharps oF flats. The fe major and minor keys: C major and A minor share all the same notes. Axwo octave C major scale. includes all the notes for A minor wer S EC TION 3 The basics of music theory relative minor i always three halfsteps down from the keynote of the major scale. ‘The relative major is always three half-teps up from the keynote of the minor scale, For example, G major shares the same notes—and key signature (one sharp, F2)—with E minor. G major and E minor are relative major and minor keys Relative major and minor keys: G major and E minor share all the same notes. ‘A two octave G major scale, Example 3.26 includes all the notes for E minor Relative major nd minor keys sometimes come into play during a bridge ofa song—though more often in styles of music other than blues. For example @ song, In the Key of € major may shit to the relative Key of A minor during the bridge laypically eight measures), and then back to the key of C major for the remainder ‘of the song, It's important tobe awate ofthis relationship between relative major and minor keys for this reason, and also to understand why a scale pattern you know as A minor pentatonic can also be used as C major pentatonic 1 demonstrate later inthis book, Another, somewhat similar occurtence is that of playing in “parallel” major and minor keys. These are the major and minor key stating on the same note: A major and A minor for example. Its not unusual for a more advanced guitar player to ‘move back and forth between the major and minor versions ofa key when soloing. Many a solo, and many a blues solo, wil, for example, play some notes in the key of A major, and then a few notes in A minor, and then slide back to A major again—even possibly touching on a few notes from the A Mixolydlan mode ot A Dorian mode along the way. Understanding how to find the parallel and relative minors and majors ofa key (n0t to mention knowing a few other scale tricks, such as playing modally) can seriously improve your gultar playing Relax, this Isn't a test! You shouldn't fee that you have to memorize and master allthis music theory stuff Just knovsing that It exists will help you understand and play guitar better Musi theory ancl how it applies to the music you want to play will sink in over time, And rest assured, very few ofthe bives masters we'll cover in The Blues Guitar Handbook kneve anything about music theory If you can buckle down and learn it, It will definitely help youbut don't let not understanding it stop you from playing guitar and Jearning the great blues songs and techniques inthis book. SECTION 3 PART 4 Byer 1| walnte MASTERING A BLUES SOUND Blues rhythm guitar Every great blues song is based on a solid rhythm. In this seetion of The Blues Guitar Handbook we'll explore playing rhythm guitar Inthe various forms ofthe blues, including the ubiquitous 12-bar blues, as well asthe lesser known eight- bar and 16-bar blues progressions, blues ballads, gospel blues tunes, and ‘others. We'll also examine common chords, rts, and fretboard patterns used in blues rhythm guitar playing, witha look at common strumming patterns, blues ‘rooves, turnarounds, and more. This section of The Blues Guitar Handbook includes two halves, covering. two intetocking clements of blues rhythm guitar playing: 1) understanding how the songs are laid out, and 2) knowing how to play common blues chord, ritfs, and ‘other gultar techniques as used in those songs. The first half of this section ‘examines the blues song formats. The second half demonstrates gultar techniques that can be applied to the various song formats Song formats ‘The 12-bar blues. ‘The most common form of the blues isthe 12shar blues. This 12-bat—or repeating 12-measure—format is the basis for countless thousands of blues songs (not to ‘mention innumerable blues based rock, country, and jazz songs) and is the meat of the working blues guitast’ repertoire, There ate two basie forms of the 12-bar blues, and you should knov both, The fist you must lesen, and the most common format of 12-bar blues, ‘ncludes 12 measures (bars) which fllow a strict formula: four measures of the 1 chord, two measures of the IV chord, two more measures of the I chord, one measure ofthe V chord, one measure of the TV chord, and two final measures of the I chord. (Ifyou don’t know what Is meant by “HIV-V" chords, go back and look again at Section Three: The Basics of Music Theory.) Te doesn’t matter what key the song Is in, the 12-bar blues always follows this of slight variations and V chords would be A, D, format, oF something very dose to i (show you a coup bblow). Using the key of as our example, the 1 1 and E respectively, Here sa 12-bar blues in A: SECTION 4 87 Agr’ 88 Blues rhythm guitar zi EW) Dav) AW Example 41 In the key of E, the 1, 1V,and V chords are E, and B, respectively: Here isa 12- bar blues in Example 42 The second most common form of the 12-bar blues is one musicians call the ‘quick-change” 12-bar. In the quick-change 12-har blues we simply replace the I chord in the second measure of the song with a 1V chord. This quick change can sometimes trip up the uninitiated, but you'te not one of them, because you have Example 43 ‘ow been initiated. Here isa quick-change 12-bar blues in A: Aw Dav) Aw s pay) Aw x EW) Aw wrorg SECTION 4 Dav) Blues rhythm guitar ao And here fa quick-change 12-bar blues in E: EO Aay) 0) 4 Bw) Adv) EW ‘The turnaround Example a4 The final four bars of a 12-bar blues song are known as the turnaround. The turnaround, coming toward the end of the pattern, gives us a strong push back to the beginning ofthe song, “turning” us around to get us started allover again for another time through the song, oF chorus, as each pass is sometimes called {especialy by soloists) ‘The Tumaround: Measures 9 = 12 EW) Dav) Aw There are many variations of turnaround that can be substituted for the basic | Example 45 fending shown above, and blues guitarists pre themselves on knowing many. In {act the goal of many a veteran bives guitarists never to use the same turnaround twice in one night—a tall order, cons ing they may go through the 12 bars a dozen times in a single song (with singing and solos), and a working musician may play 30 oF 40 12-bar blues songs atone fig In this section of The Blues Guitar Handbuak | wil demonstrate a comple of basic turnaround variations, more as concepts than as actual gultar parts. In other Sections ofthis book I will further detail some specific, classic guitar turnarounds 23s played by the legends ofthe bes, SECTION 4 90 Blues rhythm guitar ‘The most basic—and most common—vaation on the turnaround shown above involves inserting a V cord inthe final measure ofthe song. This V chord can be played on diferent beats ofthat measure, depending on the player and the specific ‘urnaround nif, Here Is one common turnaround variation with a V chord in the Example 4.6 final measure: The Turnaround: Measures 9 - 12 EW) pay) Aw EW) | An here is another variation: ‘The Tumaround: Measures 9 = 12 EW) Davy) Aw EW) Example 4.7 ‘This final move tothe V chord at the end of the 12-bar pattern leaves us with a very strong urge to return to the I chord, ether to start the next chorus ofthe song, ‘or to end the song with one final measure ofthe I chord (almost all songs end on their I chord) This is because, regardless of the style of musi, a V chow, also known as the “dominant” chord in music theory, provides an ieesstible need for resolution tots I chord, Another common occutrence in the turnarounds of 12-bar blues songs is t0 replace the IV chord in measure ten with a V chord—so thatthe V chord played in herby two measures ton of the final 60 measure nine continues into measure ten, then i followed fof the I chord (in measures 11 and 12), oF by some othe va measures, as demonstrate! above 5 EACLE LON: 4 Blues rhythm guitar ‘The Turnaround: Measures 9 - 12 E() EW) AW Again, countless turnarounds have been concocted by blues guitar legends over the ‘years, and since each player had his favorites, many turnarounds canbe considered | 4 trademark of a certain legendary player. I'll throw many more at you in the ‘chapters ahead. Some are more challenging than others, but advanced blues ‘guitarists often consider themselves collactors—so to speak—of turnarounds. So start your collection today—that’s part of the fun of playing blues guitar. ‘The eight-bar blues Te eight-ba blues less common than the 12:bae blues, but does pop up in the playing ofthe blues legends fequentiy enough that you should acquaint yourself with st, ‘Key To The Highssay’ and “Howe Long tlues’ are examples of blues standards in the eight-bar format, ‘There are many varieties of elght-bar blues, a few of which are detailed below Te typical eight-bar blues song will often change rapidly from chord to chord, and can easily be confused with a quia surprising the 12-bar veteran with its sudden turnaround, Stl, almost all versions Of the elghtbar stick with the LIV-V chords—the same chords used in a 12sbar blues song—so learning the pattern is simply a matter of learning when to change ‘chords, and which chord comes next. The most common form of allelght-bar blues progressions Is embodied in the blues standard ‘Worried Life Blues, originally recorded by pianist Big Maceo Merriweather (with Tampa Red on guitar) in 1941, and subsequently covered by many blues greats -change 12-bar blues—before completely “Worried Lit buy aw EW Blues" style: H-IV-IV--V-VIV-VV 91 EW) Example 48 Aw Day Ad) EW AC DAA AAA ATA LAPA TAPP PPT LLIA LILES Originally made popular in 1941 by Big Bill Broonzy, later a hit for Little Walter, and recorded as an impromptu jam between Erie Clapton and Duane Allman on. Derek & The Dominos’ Layla And Other Assorted Love Sas album, ‘Key To The Highways one of the most widely known elght-bar blues songs. The song moves, quickly from the Ito V chords in the nly tip up the unprepared, 5 2aeT | Gace st two measures, which will et Example 49 PART 2 92 Blues rhythm guitar Eight-bar blues, “Key To The Highway" style: I-V-IV-IV-I-V-L-V. Am Ew baw Am EM AM EM Example 4:10 Another popular variation on the standard eight-bar blues shown above can be found in Elvis Presley's “Heartbreak Hote’ This elght-bar form starts out much lke 1 12-ar, with four measures ofthe I chord, before going into a sudden turnaround, ight-bar blues, “Heartbreak Hotel’ style: Hl--I-IV-IV-V-l aw paw) Ew Aw Example 4.1 | Just one more: "Walking By Myself’ as recorded by Freddie King and many others. This eight-bar format again starts out with four measures of the I chord, ust ikea 12-bar blues, before moving into its four-bar turnaround ightbar blues, “Walking By Myself style: l---IV-VA-V Aw by EW AW EW GEA LLLDALAL ALLL A LAD PALL APPL Example 32 The 16-bar blues Yes, there i also a Lémeasure format of the blues ‘Im Your Hoochie Coochie ‘Ma,’ written by Chicago blues legend Wille Dixon and frst recorded by Muddy ‘Waters in 1954—and since covered by a Who's Who of the blues—is an example ‘of a L6-bar blues, as Albert King’s ‘Oh, Pretty Woman, Again, there are many varieties of 16a blues, but perhaps the most common, version ofthe format simply involves playing a 12-bar blue, with a doubling of the frst four measures of the song, So instead of playing the | chord for four rmeasutes, as na typical 12-bar blues, we play the I eord freight measures, before Example 4.13 continuing through the remainder ofa egular 12-ba blues pattern, 16-bar blues, common style: +L THLIV-IV-LEV-IV-H1 aw, GEL APPEALED PEEP EPE LEP PLED . Daw Aw Ew Davy Aw morms CTION 4 Blues rhythm guitar 93 10s important to note that, n a L6cbar blues song, it Is not uncommon forthe trumntal sections of the song—as in the guitar solos—to be played as straight 12.bat blues, betore reverting back tothe 16:bat format when the singer again kicks the vocals Rather than extending the beginning ofthe 12-har format with eight bars of the 1 chord, some 16-bar blues songs instead extend the turnaround of the 12-bat. In {his type of song, the frst eight bars are played as in a normal 12-bar blues: four ‘measures ofthe I chord, two measures ofthe IV chord, and two masutes ofthe chord But the remaining measures ae all doubled, Instead of one bar of the V chord In measure nin, followed by one bar ofthe IV chord in measure ten, andl two bars fof the {chord in messutes 11 and 12, this type of 1-bar blues consists of two bars ‘of the V chord, followed by two bars ofthe IV chord, and then four bars ofthe 1 chow Example 4.14 16-har blues, extended tumaround: HL---IV-IV-FI-V-VAV-1 VEEL Aw Daw) Aw Fw pavy aw In jst a sight variation on the progression shown above, in which the turnaround is doubled, some I6-bar blues songs ate created by repeating the V-IV section of a 12-bar blues turnaround, and then extending the final two bars f I chord to fo 16-bar blues, repeated V-IV section: HLI-TIVAV-FLV-IV-V-IV-A-EE1 Aw baw) Aw EW) Davy EW) Dav) aA Example 415 SECTION 433 94 Blues rhythm guitar Also, a 16-bar blues is occasionally based on an elght-bar blues, rather than a 12: bar blues, In this scenario, each measure ofthe eight-bar bes is repeated, This can bbe done with any version ofan elght-bar blues. Here is one example, using the ‘Key To The Highway” format 16-bar blues, doubled eight-bar blues style: HI-V-V-AV-IV-IV-IV-LI-V-V-FLV-V Aw EW Davy Example 4.16 ‘The shuttle While the blues song formats shown above may have thelr differences, the typleally have one thing in common: each is usually played with a shuffle beat. Understanding the term shutfle and how a shuffle rhythm fees is essential t0 playing blues, and in understanding how to shuffle, itcan be helpful to have some understanding ofthe concept of groove. ‘The groove of a song isan all-important element of musi, not just the Blues, ‘When musicians talk about groove they are referring to the fel of the song, which can be broken down into two basle parts first, what type of recurring rhythmic pattern is use to perform the song? Far example, i the primary’ chythmic figure a funk pattern using T6th-notes; maybe a syncopated Latin jazz thythm; possibly a stiaighteighths rock beat? And second, how does the rhythm fee? Is the song's sroove laid-back or Is It hurced? Is it aggressive or relaxed? Is it on the beat or | behind the beat? Understand aso that this is different from whether o not the song is played at | a fas or slow tempo. Tempo isthe speed ofthe song, offen measured in beats per ‘minute. slow blues song might have a tempo of just SO beats per minute, while ‘an up-tempo jump blues may cruise along at 140 beats per minute Any variety of groove of feel can be played at any tempo. And like any other groove, shuffles can be played at clther a fast ora slow tempo. But regardless of tempo it is the shuttle fel that i tthe heart of most blues music But not al blues music is played with a shuffle groove, ‘The slow blues or blues ballad The shuttle may dominate the blues world, but not al blues songs are played as shuts. The blues n exception. Rather than using the skipping o lurching shutfle groove or even the more rock-lke straight eighths SECTION 4 tor slow blues—is the ms Blues rhythm guitar 95 eat so popular in-upstempo blues tunes, the slow blues song otten employs a triplet fel, ora groove that has a definite 1-2 typeof fee, with an accent on the fist ofeach group of three beats In fact, slow blues songs are usually written in 12/8 time, which means there ate twelve eighth:-notes in each measure. We break these 12 eighth-notes down lint four groups of three. A measure of 12/8 time is counted 1-2, 4.56, 7.8.9, 10 11-12, with a stong accent on 1, and slighty ess emphasized accents alle “sub: 0, At tre st may fee! slightly awkward to count to 12, accents") om beats 4,7, a ut with a little practice, breaking the 12/8 slow bles measure down into four ‘equal sections, each with thice beats, comes naturally to most players Applying this 12/8 slow blues count to a 12shar blues patter, we might play the yt this way Example 4.17 Accent first strum in each group of three, with strongest accent on 1 Count “Most slow blues songs don’t do anywhere near that much strumming. Its not luncommon to ee 12/8 slow blues iythm patterns written with a strum only on ‘each accent (as when playing quarternotes in 4/4 time), or only on the fist and °. Example 417 seventh beats (as when playing halfnotes in 4/4 Accent beats | and 7, with strongest accent on a 1234 s6789 OND |12345 6789 02 Regardless of how much strumming is required to complete a giver measure in 12/8, youl stil want to keep counting 12-3, 45-6, 748-9, 10-11-12. I you play with a good drummer, you'l easily be able to lock in with this count. Examples of SECTION 4B 96 Example 418 | Blues rhythm guitar 12/8 slow blues tunes include “The Sky Is Crying’ written by Elmore James and covered by Stevie Ray Vaughan among others, and ‘Five Long Years. slow blues standard recorded by countless artists, including Eri Clapton on his 1995 From The Cradle album. Other common blues chord progressions As ve made abundantly clear so far in this book, most blues songs are built on I 1-V chord progressions (or 8 fora minor blues), Occasionally we gt to change things up sith some different combinations of chords. One such pattern that shows up in the music of the Delta blues, and isa huge part of most jaz musi, is the iV progression, In the key of C major this would be Dm-G- A\i-V-1 chord progression in C major Dm (id) Gu co Example 4.19 common method of throvsing in the sound ofa H-Vl progression, particle in fingerstyle bives, is to simply play an alternating bass tine off the V chord. ts the ey of F sth af as our V chord, a quick move to an Fs in the bass gives us the i va 1 to play the fll i chord. Playing thei chord with 4 simple alteznating bass note off the V chord was a common practice of many Delta and! Piedmont blues players ound, without ever hav ‘An implied i-V-I chord progression in E major BTW) BIIFF implied iy BI) Ew MS EC TION 4 Blues rhythm guitar 97 Another common chord progression, sometimes found in a gospel-tinged blues tune, is Li-AV-V. Inthe key of € this would be C-Em--G. Freddie King used this progression in his classic Palace Of The King inthe key of D—with the chords D- Fem-Ge ‘Example 420 A Fii-lV-Vehord progression in D major Do Pim gy Aw OF course the classic “gospel climb” playsa part in many a blues song, and isa key clement in one of the most widely known blues songs of al, “Stormy Monday written by T-Bone Walker and covered famously by Bobby “Blue” Bland and The Allman Brothers. The gospel climb goes Ls-1V | exami 21 AL " i-1V “gospel elim” chord progression in G major Gw Am (i) Bm iy cay See T Lo Nat 98 Blues rhythm guitar ‘One more common progression—though in some uses it’ just a couple of notes played off the I chord, rather than a seres of chords—Is the MIILIV progression, ‘whieh follows a minor scale (in A minor, , C, D) but uses major chords or power chotds without either a major oF minor third. Often played as a boogle—think John Lee Hooker and 22 Top—this progression can be played with any number of Example 4.22 | strumming patterns A LAIILIV chord progression in A Aw ca Davy Major or minor chord? tis not uncommon fora blues song to play major chords where the “chord scale” calls fora minor chord, A very common instance ofthis is found in @ minor blues, In which the IV and V chord ate played as major chords rather than minor chords In the key of A minor, for example, the actual scale calls for a D minor and an F Example 429 ‘minor chord. But in many songs we change those minor chords to major chords. AVAV- ‘nord progression in A minor, with the V and IV chords played as major EW Daw Am (i) sree Te A 4 Blues rhythm guitar Guitar techniques The absolutely essential shuttle rhythm A good shut rhythan is fairly easy for most nsckans to achieve, thong it may take alittle practice, especially if the player is coming from a rock'n'roll background, tn fac, Its helpful to compate a asic rock rhythm pattern with 3 shuffle rhythm when learning how to shut n particular its the rock'v'roll hth pattern known as straight eighths that {most comparable o a blues shutfle. This ype of rhythm is called straight eighths because it includes complete measures of eighth-notes (eight eighth-notes per smcasure, played ima steady, even fle, Here isa staight eighth rock ebythn ‘A “straight eighths” rock rhythm A 99 co track 2 Example 424 Unlike the steady, diving very even and consistent straight eighths rock chythm, the blues shuttle has a sort of lurching fel. This fel can be thought of as ae torte human heartbeat imaybe thats why # suel a popula groove), srt of tab- ub, lub-dub,lub-dab, tub-dub feeling, with a stronger emphasis placed on the secon ofeach pair of notes (he “ub) leis this second part of each pat of notes that actually falls on the beat ‘he sheet musi fora shulfle pattem is usual Straight cighths pattem —ssith solid measures of eighth-notes—but Important distinction: the blues shuffle sheet music typically will say "shuffle" at the top, ancor might have a notation indicator showing that each Beat is to be thought of as a tpl. ywrtten the same way as the rock th one T SECTION 4 100 A shuffle rhythm with indication that eighth Shuitle A Blues rhythm guitar notes are tobe “swung” or played asa shuMe cp Track 2 Example 4.25 cp rnack 2 Example 4.25 Playing this groove will come naturally overtime, but if you struggle with getting 4 consistent shuffle going, It may make more sense to see the shutfle ehythm pattern written another way, one in which you can clearly see that one ofthe notes in each pairs slightly longer than. ‘This can be written as a series of triplets (actually a quarte-note ad an eighth ‘note lumped together on one beat), with each beat having one slightly longer note (the quarternote) and one shorter note (the eighth-note). The longer note Ist “dub" of the shuffle heartbeat, and the shorter note isthe quicker, antieipatory “lub,” which pushes us quickly to the next beat, Sheet music fr blues shuttle songs 's sometimes written this way, rather than with the more common eighth-note ‘method shown above, A shuffle rhythm written as triplets, one note clearly longer, no special indication needed A In the remainder of The Blues Guitar Handbook | will primarily use the straight eighths notation rather than the triplets notation to illustrate examples of shuffle blues songs—because itis generally easier to read—but I wanted you to be aware of ott notations, Saas 1a NA Blues rhythm guitar Common shuttle guitar techniques ‘Now that you understand the fee ofthe bles shufle—and the variety’ of 12-bar, cightbar, and 16-bar blues chord progressions routinely used in blues musie—It's time to examine some specific guitar moves as they are applied to these patterns, Call them fingerings, voicngs, techniques, or what have you, but the follssing guitar skills ean be found in countess blues songs. Te easiest form of blues guitar shutfle requires only two fingers when played Jn an open position—using open strings for some of the notes. You probably co already know how this works. If you do already know how to play this bask blues shusfle, don’t jump ahead—instead, stick with me and shift your thinking to concentrate on the sirple music theory or the sheet music that goes along with these chord voicings, rather than the fingerings themselves. Iiues shutfle songs played i) andl both routinely ae this easy twootinger technique, and I have taught absolute beginners—asho hal never touched a guitar betore—to play this form of blues shutfle song within a matter of minutes. I's so easy, even a child ean do it. il show you this basic blues technique in both keys, starting with the key of Remember that weave going 10 be us blues songs. The I chord in Ais of course, A. The IV chor is D; the V chord i E In the key of A we place the frst finger on the second fret of the fourth string and strum the open A (fifth) string and the fourth string. This is an A chord (technically it isan AS power chord, but I'l refer to it as A to keep things simple). ‘We wil then alternate between the second fet on the fourth string, ad the fourth fet, played with the tied finger The note at the fourth fret i Fs, which i the sixth rote in the A major scale. That makes this an A6 chord Using the more common, straight eighths style of sheet musie notation, we'll be playing and counting “one-and.two-and-threeand-fout-and” while we play this shuffle groove. May the A chord on “one-and.” Then play the AG chord on “two an.” Then repeat this same patter for beats three and four, with the A chord on beat three and the A6 chord on beat four. We need four measures of this repeating patter, he LV, and V chords—as we will in most A typical shuffle guitar patter, Notice chord change on beats wo and four ShusMle A A6 A . Count: 101 op Track 3 Example 4.27 AG Se T or ‘oe 102 Blues rhythm guitar In measure five of 12shar blues we move to our 1V chord, in this case, D. The great ‘thing about this easy blues shuffle Is that to change from the A chord to the D chord we simply move over a string and play’ the exact same fingering, To alternate between the D and Dé chord we'll be playing the open fourth sting (D), and either the fest finger on the second fret (the D chord), or the third finger co Track 3 fon the fourth fret (the D6 chord, using the exact same rhythm and strumming Example 4.28 that we used om the I chord. The shufMe guitar pattem continues on the IV chord, changing chords on beats two and four Shuttle Dd De Dd De. Count Inthe 12:bar blues we would retutn tothe I chord (A and A6) for measures seven nd eight, and then goto the V chord (E and E6) for measure nine. To play the E and £6 chords we will place our frst finger on the second fret of the fifth string co TRACK 3 nd strum the open & (sisth) string and filth string together, alternating with the Example 4.29 third finger on the fourth fret ‘ShuiMing on the V chord in A Shuttle Count In a typical 12:bar blues we would now return to the IV chord (D and D6) for ‘measure ten, then the I chord (A and A6) forthe final two measures, The complete song is shown in Example 4.80 (opposite page Sew eae: Blues rhythm guitar The complete 12-bar blues shuffle in A Shui A In the preceding song we alte beats one and the ted between two strum of the main chord on andl two strums of the 6 chord on beats two and four In et common variant of th basic blues, whieh ‘of E, sve will change this up slightly. A LIV-V blues song in the key of FE includes the E(D, AAIV), and B () chords. ford sixth an fifth strings. But ave will only pay femonstrate in the key blues shuffle in E we'll tar with the E and £6 chords played on the 16 chord on beat 180 (not on 1") anal beat four (not “Fourand”), Since we are playing, basally straight eighth strumming the E chord six ythim-—wshich would include eight eighth-notes per measure—se will be nes, and the B6 chord only twice per measur 103 cp TRACK 4 Example 4.20 SECTION 45m 104 Blues rhythm guitar Another common shuffle guitar pattern, Notice the 6th chord is played only on the third and seventh strum: Shuttle E E6 E 6 co TRACKS Tw pilay the A and A6 chords we simply move over one string to strum the fifth and Example 431 fourth strings, Remember to play the A6 chord only for one steum on the second beat of the measure, and for one strum on the fourth beat ofthe measure. The shufMle guitar pattern moves to the IV chord. Shuttle A 46 A a6 A co TRACK 5 In the key of F, the V chord Is B. Unfortunately, we can't play a two finger 86 Example 432 ‘chord, so we are left with two basic choices: play the Bt chord asa power chord using the fist and third fingers (either atthe seventh fret on the sixth string or the co TRACKS second fret om the fifth string) and then use the pinky to change the B t0 86; ot Example 433 play an open 87 chord, The V chord in the key of Fis B. Here are three different potential fingerings: Shute BR BOB RGB B B6B BOB BT Play one bar ofthis fingering lor this fingering. cor this fingering peers < Cara ins Blues rhythm guitar 105 ‘he complete easy bes shuffle in E-might look lke this: co TRACK 6 rhe Example 4.38 Knowing how to play this eay blues shuffle in both the keys of A and Eis an | absolute must forall blues players, Countless blues songs ae based on these chord | progressions, using these fingerings In fact, knowing how to play this basi shutle | fn every key—for which well need barre chords (or power chords played up the nneck}—is a must, Well tackle playing this technique up the neck, away from the ‘open positions of Eand A, in just abit, but fst, S Em T | CooiNieet 106 Blues rhythm guitar The 5/6/tiat-7 shuttle ‘Once you know the easy shuffle shown above, you can quickly earn to spice it up 4 bit by adding one additional note, As described above, the basic wo-inger A chord, which includes the notes A and E, is technically a power chord or AS chord—because it includes the note A (the root note of the chord), and (the fit of the chor By adding the Fs atthe fourth fet on the fourth string we changed that A (or AS) chord to A6. Now well use our pinky to play the ith fret on the fourth sting This s the note G, the flatseventh of A, giving us an A7 chord, co TRACK 7 [Notice the ehythm of this song, with two strum for each chord A‘on beat one, Example 4.35 ‘A6 on beat two, A7 on beat three, and back to A6 on beat our. A blues shuiMle utilizing A, A6, and A7 chords. Play the G in the A7 chord with your little finger. Shute A AG AT AG Agu, for the IV and V chords we'll use an identical fingering, using our pinky to create the D7 and E7 chords. The entire song might look like this. The complete 12-bar blues shuffle in A ShuiTle A cp TRACK Example 4.36 > BRC OP lai No + Blues rhythm guitar ‘The basic shuttle in other keys While a huge percentage of gutarbased blues songs are in the keys of E and A— lowing us to play in the open postions shown above—we routinely nee to play blues in other keys as well, or sometimes in the keys of A and F, but somewhere ‘other than open postion. Many blues songs fallow the same shuffle pattems you jst learned, but play the chords higher on the neck, using either power chords or barre chords, instead ofthe open strings. If you'r a veteran barre chord player or basic power chord rocker, you'll have little problem tackling these next examples—though you may struggle to get your pinky to cooperate and stretch out far enough to hit the sixth and flat-seventh notes, It is definitely easier to make this stretch the higher on the neck you play, ve 1 the decreasing distance between fet, For this reason I'll wate ths example fou up at the eighth fet, in the key of C, which would include the Cas our chord, Fas out IV chord, and G as out V chord, Use the elghth-fet barre or power chords for the C (root note on the sixth string) and F chords (root note on the fith string), andl then play the G at the tenth fret (rot note onthe fith string.) Pay close attention to the tablature in these next ‘examples to see where you should be fingering these chords. Also notice that in some measures the song calls for the main chord, plus is sixth and its seventh variants, while in othee measures the seventh chord Is not used. Blues songs routinely change it up from measure to measure in this fashion, SERET [IN 4 107 cb TRACK 8 Example 498 (continvec) PART 2 108 Blues rhythm guitar ‘The 12-bar blues shuffle in C, using barre or power ehords Shuttle z co TRACK 9 Example 4.37 [PRO TIP: in general, when playing chords up the neck on the guitar, itis a good habit to play fll barre chords rather than power chords most ofthe time. However, ‘when faced with the pinky moves required to pul of this type of blues shutfe, even ‘experienced pros relax this rule a bt, and tend to favor two-string power chords. you find itt aicult to hold down a barre while reaching with your pinky forthe ‘Sith and fla-seventh notes ofthese shuffle chords, go ahead and et goof the bare, ‘stand your frst and third fingers up on ther tips, and just play it as @ power chord, ‘Common keys for playing this type of blues shuffle include F, A, G, Bs, B,C, D, and E-with the lat keys favored by hozn-based groups. You can use the chord method lust shown to play in all 12 chromatic keys. Here is a chart showing where to play SECO ION 4@ Blues rhythm guitar the I 1V, and V chords in each key, using an E shape (root on the sixth string) as the | chore: Finding the frets in all keys: E shaped I chord Key (chord) |(Eshape) [IV chord (A shape) | Vehord | (A sh E ‘open ta open 8 2nd fret F ‘istfeet Ais tattret re eat re Bod tet 8 ‘2nd ret (CHD) thtret a aed iret aed ret [sth tet or ‘airet CHD) ath ret OES th et a [smtet sthtet Trin tet ABs Tot tet Osi ontret _|F 8 Trmtret Tn tret | FAG c ‘ain tret OF ath fret CHD ‘oth iret IGS oth fret | GHB toth tet oth tet 7 Uith iret GAS T1th ret Ai ath fret ath trot Alternately, you might find it advantageous to use a arse or power chord based ‘nthe A shape chord (root on the fifth string) to play the same progeession. ln this case your I chord will be on the fifth sting, and your TV and V chords will be on the sisth string. Here isa chart which shows where to play each chord in all 12 chromatic keys using the filth-tring I chord Finding the frots in all keys: A shaped | chord Key (chord) (Ashape) | IVechord | (E shape) _|Vehord | (E shape) a pen 2 sthtet pen AB) tat het eth ter ‘at fret a ana tet open FaG 2nd tet c sea tret_F atte G Sed ret cabs amet FG 2nd tret GAD ath ret, 2. she Bea trot A th fet Dues Gthtret GAS ath rot IBS eth rat Thre A Sth iret B 7h tet F ath fret ASI sthtret “ath ret Fe othfet 8 Tih tet Cu) Sth ret 6 oth ret ath tet oth fret Gun “th tret CDs 9thiret | DsiE 11th et a ‘ath iret 0 ‘oth fret “ath fret * Use sth fet A shape chord for D Use eth fet A shape chord for Dsl SECTION 4 109 a4 110 cD TRACK 10 Example 4.38 ‘The most basic “boos PART 2 Blues rhythm guitar ‘The boogie-woogie roll There Is one more common shutfle technique a blues player must know. I call this technique the boogie woogie roll, because is rolling musical movement was borrowed-—initially by Delta blues pioneers such as Robert Johnson and later by ‘whole generations of blues greats—from carly 20th-century boogie woogie blues iano players such as Albert Ammons, Pinetop Smith, Jimmy Yancey, and Meace Lux Lewis, Though you ate a gultarst, these early blues plano greats definitely deserve a ister—it's really fun music Just like the basic sixth and flat-seventh shuafle patterns shown above, the bboogle-woogle roll can be quickly transposed from one chord to another—or one key to another—simply by changing strings, or sliding @ power chord up or down the neck and repeating the fingering in anew location Using the basle A (or AS chord) a8 our stating point, we will use our second finger to play the third fet onthe fith string, followed by our third finger on the fourth fret ofthe fifth string. The note C at the third fet s the minor or lat third and the note Ce at the fourth fret isthe major third of the A scale. Also, when ‘utilizing this technigue, in some songs we pick both notes: while in others we hammeron the third Hinger, When necessary throughout this book I'l tell you whieh technique to use. Go ahead and pick the notes for these initial examples, ‘ather than using a hammeron technique. “This rolling rhythm can prove tricky to master inthe beginning, but eventually will become second nature to most guitarists, which is good because this technique Js used in thousands of classic blues, rock, county, and jazz songs. The easlest version of this pattem can be understood using a single string and a straight cighths rock rhythm, rather than the shuffle rhythm youl eventually want to use, Inthe second measure we'll play the open A note as chord to thicken up the sound abit: roll” S ERC T WN: 4 Blues rhythm guitar Sha) Many times the boogie-woogle roll alternates with sixth andor the flatseventh notes from the shuffle techniques you learned above. Following are two different ‘musical examples illustrating how the boogie-woogte roll alternates with sixth and Mat-seventh notes, Notice how the rll is played on beat two inthe frst measure ‘of example one, sort of Kicking the rhythm off, and in beat four in the second casure, wrapping up the two-measue rif, so to speak, co TRACK 10 Example 4.39 ‘The “boogie roll” with added notes A 6 AT A AGA ‘The boogie rll i regularly uscd in a musical phrase which requlees reaching over {wo strings to play the octave root note, as in the A note at the second fret on the third string fora boogle roll on the A chord, For this feason you should barre across the second fret with your frst finger, with your fist nger holding down both the Eat the second fret on the fourth string, and the A atthe second fret on the third steing op TRACK 11 ‘Example 4.40 The “boogie rol” with added notes, played with a first finger barre A MA OAT A SECTION 4 112 Blues rhythm guitar ‘This same barre technique works and is routine y used on the E chord The soogie roll” with a frst finger barre, on the E chord E fe OE ET E co TRacK 14 |. Unfortunately, due to the tuning ofthe second sting, the barre doesn't work with Example 4.41 the open position D chor Ifthe song calls for that octave D note (at the third fet fn the second string), reach your second finger over to play that note. ‘The “boogie rot” on the D chord. Use the second finger to play the octave D on the second string D DD Ot D ep TRACK 14, Example 442 mrs EC TION 4 Blues rhythm guitar 413 ‘Now that you've mastered playing the boogie-woogie roll using a straight elghths tock groove, it's tee to apply the shufMe feel We'll play all the same notes asin the examples above, but with the lurching shuffle fel, instead of the straight, elighths rock groove. ep TRACK 12 ‘A complete song featuring the “boogie roll” in A Example 449 Shute A Sie T ho IN 4 114 Blues rhythm guitar | another common lr his technique involves plying the olan aloping | Glee grove Tis pater cal fora gly qucter ling fhe at ae thed nes than the previous example n which xy ere played seg notes The counton hist veston of the boople ol would bean, 2, Sad pt wth the fa hn note played on 2, the marti on "tp. co TaAcK 19 tod the chord payed an "le" Use aca pig 10 bet scomlih U Bangle 4a | Samm ‘The “boogie roll” played with a faster, triplet feel Shuttle A zi : ‘This shythm pattern, which FM demonstrate in E, was famously used by Le Zeppelin on their 1969 blues-based recording ‘Bring It On Home, which borrowed 'berally from the Willle Dixon song of the same name, initially made famous by cp TRACK 13 Sonny Boy Williamson (Hl) in 1963. 1S a very familar pattern to most guitar Example 445 players, whether they come fo ckground. blues ora rock ‘The “boogie rol” in E, “Bring It On Home’ style Shule E S EMCO | -O N- 4 Blues rhythm guitar ‘Jump blues rhythm patterns Uptempo blues songs are often eategorzed as jump blues, a style that initially grew fout of the piano-based boogie-woogie prevalent in the 30s and 40s, Early practitioners of jump bives inchided lone Walket and B.B. King (when they ‘weren't playng Slow blues songs), as wel as jazz artist such as Lionel Hampton and! Louis Joudan. Many blues and jazz arsts straddled the line in the 40s, playing either genre asthe occasion required. And the jump blues groove has long been a mainstay of both blues and mainstream jazz performers, primarily because it gets people dancing A really hot jump blues song can be alot of fun to play. Because the tempo on 4 jump tune can be very fast, the old axiom “less Is more” definitely comes into Ply, and works to the guitarists advantage. ‘One of the most common jump blues guitar figures involves nothing more than 4 twoestring barre and a hammeron. In this example, demonstrated asthe I chord inthe key of A, we simply bare the fith fret ofthe third and fourth stings with the frst finger, then hammeron the second fing a the sixth fet of the tied string. When playing this “if” uses quik slashing strum of the two strings, hammer niger, then make another quick slash at the two strings. The timing, isa bit “syncopated,” withthe second hit coming on the “and” of beat two. Ie’ just, like riding a bike: Once you've got it, youtl have it forever A cornerstone of jump blues rhythm rts AT DT , Because this “chord” is played in the same basic position where you would pay 3 full sicstring barre chord, albelt barring only two strings, ts easy to transpose to anny chord, Ina 12-ba blues in A, we wl imply slide this hngering up to the tenth fet forthe D (IV) chord. This sight where we would pay a full D arte chord, Then nove the figure up two more frets, to the 12th fret, to play our V chor, ‘Once you've got the hang of {to the complete 12-bar tune SECTION 4 Example 448 E7 115 116 Blues rhythm guitar A full jump blues 12-barin A, AT 60 TRACK 16 Example 447 pb? Ay ‘A more advanced version of this jump blues technique (Example 4.48, opposite) Involves adding a quick third-finger barre tothe pattern. The third finger comes in ‘on beat four all other beats remain the same asin the previous examples. ‘When using this pattern, we sometimes jump ahead tothe next chord position ‘on beat four ofthe final measute ofeach chord in our 12-bar pattern (Example 449), For example at the beginning ofthe song, in the fourth and final measure ‘of the I chor, we'll jamp our hand up Into postion to play the IV chord on beat fou, playing the thd finger barre that launches us into the complete 1V chord Jump technique in measure five (On beat four of measure six, just before returning to the I chord in measure seven, we'll lide back to the | chord postion, in anticipation of that seventh- measure downbeat SECTION 4 Blues rhythm guitar 17 ‘A common variation on a basic jump blues rhythm riff AT D7 £1 co TRACK 16 This anticipatory move continues throughout the 12-bar song when using this | Example 4.48 popular jump blues figure A full jump blues 12-bar in A alleen o xample 449 ET br Ar SECTION 4 orm 118 Blues rhythm guitar This more advanced jump pattern can also be given additional forward motion by ep TRACK 18 | iting that thize-inger bare two times in quick succession, rather than just once Example 4.50 | pee measure as shown above ressive variation of the basie jump blues rhythm rift AT mes enhanced with addtional The basic jump blues figure shown above is somet co TRACK 19 rifs, creating endless variations on the theme, Here are two more common Example 451 versions ‘Two more variations of the basie jump blues rhythm rift AT Maemo ECTION 4 Blues rhythm guitar | could go on and on with inventive ways of adding on to the basic jump rhythm, Some of which begin to lean toward lead guitar playing. Ill cover some fun ‘methods of combining this basi jump blaes patter with lea guitar playing in the Lead Guitar section of The Blucs Guitar Handbook, and with ef-based shyt playing later in this section, ‘Common blues seventh chord shapes Regardless of the tempo, or whether the song is a jump blues, a slow blues, or something in betwcen, seventh chords are very common in blues guitar playing, In fac, they are far mote common than a straght major or minor chord. If you ‘needa reminder of what makes.a major or minor chord, ora seventh chord, revisit Section Three ofthis book, in whieh F explain how chords are bil, particularly the entries on “How Chords Are Built” and *Specal chord rules. In this section I examine a variety of seventh chord fingerings andl show how these chord shapes might be used In blues rhythm guitar playing. There ae two baste types of seventh chords blues players typically use: dominant seventh chords, built off a major chord (these are so common, we usually just refer to them as seventh chords), and minor seventh chords, built off a minor chord. explore the dominant seventh chor tr. Different fingerings ofthe dominant seventh chord can be created using any of| the five “CAGED” chord shapes. Here are dlagrams of the most basic of these shapes, and examples of their common use inthe blues: SECTION 4 119 ler 120 Blues rhythm guitar C-shape seventh chords Using barre chords, or otherwise siding these basic shapes up the neck of the guitar, we find additional forms of the seventh chord. For example, a Cshape seventh chord, slid up the neck—as an eighth-tret FY in this lustation—can be Played two different ways: Using that C-shape seventh chord, we often find blues thythms such as the vamp fn measure one, Another cool and common move with the C7 shape involves cp TRACK 20 sliding the chord up to the IV chord chromatialy, hitting every fret on the was, Example 452 asin measure two: ‘A common vamp and chromatic climb featuring the C-shape 7th chord co cl CH DT Da ET OFT ‘The C7 shape (some might think ofthis fingering as a B7 shape, since it is often used as B7 in many blues songs in the key of F) Is offen slid down chromatically during tumaround: SECT @N 4 Blues rhythm guitar 121 ‘A common turnaround move in E & BT suring the bottom three notes ofthe C-shape 7th chord ‘A-shape seventh chords cD TRACK 20 ‘An Ashape chord, slid up to the thi fet and played as a C7 in this example, | Example 453 ‘offers us these three common seventh chords pe seventh chord can be used for general comping, meaning to play | CD TRACK 24 simple aecompaniments. Often ths is done using the following rhythmic patern: | Example 454 A.common vamp featuring the A-shape 7th chord cr B7 C7 SECTION ‘oe 4122 Blues rhythm guitar Another great use of the A-shape seventh chord isin the turnaround of a blues ep TRACK 24 chord progression. Avery common fingering, shown here in the key of F, would Example 4.55 Took tke this: ‘A common turnaround in E featuring the A-shape 7th chord ET BT Dr E G-shape seventh chords [AG shape seventh chord Is easily payed ase Strings, oF asa partial barre chord on SECTS ‘The lower pitched voicing was a favorite of Abert King, andl can be easly sli from the | chord directly to the IV and V chords (Fig. 1) and it can also be moved chromatially (ig. 2): SECTION 4 Blues rhythm guitar 4123 ‘This thick-sounding version of the G-shape 7th chord was a favorite of Albert King, ar D7 &7 AT A#7 BT BHT CH DT ‘The higher-pitched chord shape offers a sparkly high seventh chord tone that | cD TRACK 22 works sell for comping Example 4.56 ‘A common vamp featuring a higher-voiced G-shape 7th chord AT E-shape seventh chords cb TRACK 22 ‘An E-shape seventh chord, slid up the neck and played as a barre chord—as an | Example 4.57 ‘ighth-fet C7 inthis lustation soften played with one ofthese three fingerings: o WN IT 124 Blues rhythm guitar op Track 23 "he barted E-shape seventh chords work great for simple blues comping. Here isa Example 458 ‘commonly found comping pattern: ‘A common comping patter featuring the E-shape 7th chord, played as an eighth-fret C7 co a 7 played witout he pinky and wih the pinky This version of the bared E-shape seventh chord, withthe seventh played by the pinky on the fifth string whieh Isa bt of a stretch and may take some pr ‘works ell and is commonly used fora bus shuffle away from open position: Power chord style E-shape chord, with the pinky adding notes to make a C6 and C7 chord ca 6 cL 6 (ep TRACK 23 Example 459 SECTION 4 Blues rhythm guitar Here are a few bonus seventh chord shapes derived from the Eshape bate chord The fist two are a mainstay of both jazz and blues guitarists, andthe third shape Js one we covered in the jump blues discussion above. TA FT SRR Any of these three chord shapes work well with a simple comping pattem, or with a more active strumming pattern. Notice how you slide into the chords from one fret behind inthis example 125 cp TRACK 25 ‘Example 4.60 Tis version of the E-shape 7th chord is easily slid and works well with 1éth-note rhythmic patterns Br c7 SECTION 4 126 cp TRACK 26 Example 461 Blues rhythm guitar D-shape seventh chords. (OF course, a D-shape seventh chord can also be played up ane! down the neck and Js often used in blues turnarounds. The fourth-string raot note s optional, and fingering can be adjusted to either include this note, or play the chord with just three notes. This chord shape is shown here asa G7 chor, in both theee- and four- note varieties or Here isa great comping rhythm using this D-shape seventh chord for ou I chord, nd the Geshape seventh chotd for the IV and V chords. In this example G7 is our { chord, with C7 and D7 as our IV and V chords. A tumaround in G featuring G-shape 7th chords on D and C, and a D-shape 7th chord on G D7 cr Gr be bee SECTION 4 Blues rhythm guitar 127 ‘and of course that D-shape seventh chor is egulany used in blues turnarounds “Try this one for size: cb TRACK 24 Example 462 A common tumaround end phrase in G featuring the D-shape 7th chord Gr BT FT G As a recap, all the above seventh chords are those we regularly refer to simply as ‘seventh chord, but which technically should be called dominant seventh chor, to distinguish them from athe types of seventh chords. Blues guitarists also have a need to know a variety of minor seventh chords, Let's take a look atthe common Fingerings of minor seventh chords, and some ways in which they are typically sed in blues There are no particularly common minor seventh chords based on the C or G ‘chord shapes, bt the EA, and D-shape chords do provide us with minor seventh ‘chords often used in bes rhythm guttar playing, E-shape minor seventh chords ‘The E-shape barre chord, played asa minor chord, provides us alternatives, shown here 35a seventh-fet minor seventh (Bm?) chord th three common SECTION 4 128 Blues rhythm guitar ep TRACK 38, Using the full barre shape of this chord, and a strumming pattem reminiscent of ‘Example 4.63 BB. King’s ‘The Thrill s Gone, we ind a common minor blues groove: ‘An E-shape minor 7th chord played as Bm? Bm? Bm7 Bm? > bg cp TRACK 25 ‘Aadding the pinky to the second string and sliding it from the sixth to the Nat Example 464 seventh of the chord provides a nice alternative to the shytha above, Another variation on an E-shape minor 7th chord comping pattern Bm6 Bm? Bm6 A heavier minor bues sound can be achieved using the third variety of the Eshape co TRACK 25 ‘minor seventh chord, Here is a thythm pattern straight out of the Billy Example 4.65 Gibbons/2.2. Top blues songbook: A thicker-toned E-shape minor 7th chord, played as Gm in the style of Billy Gibbons of Z.Z. Top Gm Blues rhythm guitar ‘A-shape minor seventh chords: The A-shape barre chord, played as minor, also Includes three common alternatives, shown here as. third fret Cm7 chord: ewe This (shape barre minor seventh chord, played inthis example a a thicd fret C7 chord, can provide us with a slightly jazzy blues groove, in the style of some West Side Chicago blues players such a Otis Rash —or even a bluesrock groove such as Santana might play: 129 cD TRACK 26 Example 4.66 ‘The A-shape minor 7th chord, played as C minor inthe style of Black Magic Women" cm? Bm? 130 Blues rhythm guitar co Track 26 This same type of groove can be spiced up by simply adding the pinky to the fs Example 4.67 string. In this example well again side from the sixth to the flat-seventh: Use your pinky on the first string to create higher-voiced Cm6 and Cm7 chords m7 cms The lighter sound of this A-shape minor seventh chord is due tothe fact that we have left off the fifth of the chord, which would have fallen on the fourth string cp Track 27 “The openness of such chords provides a nice change-up toa power-hord or barte- Example 462 chord heavy sets Eliminating the Sth from the A-shape minor 7th chord provides @ more open, jazzy tone Slow blues m7 Bm? Cm7 Bm? Cm7 Fm7 Em? Fm7 cm Bm? Cm7 Blues rhythm guitar a Gm? Bin? Fm? Bm? Cm? Pin? Gm? Bm? ts D-shape minor seventh chords co TRACK 27 ‘And the shape chotd provides us with a sweet-sounding minor seventh | Example 468 fingering shown here a Gm7. (continvec) EET ‘We might find this chord voicing used in a minor blues in 6/8 time: co TRACK 28 {A slow blues utilizing the melodious D-shape minor 7th chord Example 469 Slow blues Gm? Fim? Gm? Fim? Gm7 Sia 7 | aoe Eo