Lesson 1: The Blues In A

The guitar is a highly expressive and powerful instrument. It’s capability of endless tones is astounding. No matter what style of music you choose to play it’s all found within the 12 notes on the guitar. The fundamental elements such as scales, chords and especially rhythms are really what define a style. However, through my hours of practicing the most important aspect has been feel. Without emotion the guitar is simply chords and scales. A few simple notes played a certain way can be very moving.

Consistent focused listening to music and learning parts off of the record will help to develop feeling. Notation and tablature are excellent ways to learn songs in a precise way. However, try figuring parts out by ear. Using a combination of tab and your ear is a great exercise too.

This will not only develop your musical ear, it will also help to develop dynamics and phrasing in your playing. You will also become more familiar with the notes on the guitar neck as well.

One style of music which is all about feeling is the blues. A great blues guitar player can take only a few notes and be highly expressive and vocal with them.

The basic blues chord progression below allows space for improvisation. This is a basic 12 Bar Blues. Play this progression until you have it memorized. This is a great place to start as this progression is the base of tons of rock, country, jazz, and blues songs. Start out playing this rhythm part really slow. Once you have it, try speeding it up. Have fun!


Click on the TAB for an MP3 audio example.

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