Blues Guitar Lessons

The free blues guitar lessons at are a combination of chord progressions, scales and licks. Video instruction is also added on the relevant pages and will continue to be added over time. There are now also some more videos on the blues guitar instruction page that will hopefully help to clarify some uncertainties surrounding blues guitar. Those videos will also continue to be added to over time.

If you're a complete beginner I suggest that you read the following text and also the accompanying text to each aspect or relevant page of blues guitar on this site. This will help to clarify the basics of playing blues guitar so you have a greater understanding. In general, blues guitar is in fact relatively simple from a musical perspective. It consists of three basic chords and a simple box scale known as the pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale can be played as a minor or a major pentatonic depending on what flavour you want to create.

Photo by Eric Draper [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

BB King has been one of the most influential and certainly the most famous blues guitarists of all time.

His simple, and basic approach proves that you don't have to play lots of notes to sound good. 

BB King injects passion and meaning into every single note that he plays.

Why not take a look at some other blues guitar legends such as Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson or Son House. Their early influential playing has inspired many famous blues and rock guitarists that we all know and love.

Generally speaking, playing the blues on the guitar is probably the simplest form of guitar playing there is. All popular forms of music come from the blues and if you study and practice the following lessons for blues guitar you'll be able to play along to many popular songs including country and rock tunes. Once mastered, these guitar lessons will give you the ability to sound great while playing the blues guitar alone, or when playing with other musicians too.

The great thing about playing blues guitar is once you have an idea of what to do, it not only sounds great, but it also allows a lot of room for error. By that, I mean it is quite difficult to sound bad, providing you are playing in time of course. Playing the blues doesn't require a tremendous knowledge of scales, chords or musical theory, and once you know how to play the blues guitar scale and various blues guitar chords or only some of them as shown in the blues guitar lessons that follow, you can almost hit anything and everything and it sounds good or at the very worst OK.

Before watching the videos for the blues guitar lessons below, be sure to read the text description before each video first. That way you'll have a better understanding about the content of the video of the blues guitar lesson as you're watching it.

Basic Blues Guitar Theory - blues guitar lessons

The 'blues' is characterized by specific chord changes based on a I, IV, V, twelve bar progression, or 'order'. Hence the well-known name 'twelve bar blues'.

What this means is, the chords that are played are built on the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of the major scale. Therefore, the 1 chord (I), the 4 chord (IV), and the 5 chord (V) of a major scale are played in a creation order (progression) and repeated over twelve bars or 'chunks' of music. This chord progression is strummed in a basic 4/4 time (beat) also known as 'Common Time'. Basically speaking, this means there are four beats to each bar or 'chunk' of music. 

Just click on one of the blues guitar lessons below to view. All these pages can also be seen on the side bar menu to the left.

If you're a complete beginner, I suggest that you get to grips with the first 'open' blues guitar chords and some of the basic blues guitar chord progressions before practicing the blues guitar scales and pentatonic guitar scales followed by the blues guitar licks. Having said that, its usually best to go with how you feel so its up to you I guess.

The blues guitar lessons consist of the following elements. Click on any of the links below or on the side bar menu to the left to go straight to the individual lessons.

Blues Guitar Chords 

Blues Guitar Scales

Pentatonic Guitar Scales

Blues Guitar Licks  

Blues Guitar & Blues Music History

It is generally recognised that the blues originated in African-American communities primarily in the "deep south" of the United States around the end of the 19th century from work songs, chanting and simple rhymed ballads.

The true origin of the term "Blues" possibly derived from the blue Indigo plant, which was grown in many southern US slave plantations, and was used by many West African cultures in death and mourning ceremonies where the mourner's clothes were dyed blue to indicate suffering. I am guessing that this was because it was the only dark dye available at the time.

This associated sadness towards the blue indigo plant in combination with the West African slave's sad existence who sang as an expression of their suffering, and also as a way of keeping up their spirits, as they worked on the cotton that the indigo dyed, possibly and likely resulted in these songs being known as "The Blues."

I don't know this but have read about it and thought that it made sense.

There is nothing quite like one man and a guitar and nothing else. The great blues guitar players of old have actually quite literally changed and directed the course of music through their innovative, insightful and meaningful blues guitar playing and singing. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, and every other famous rock and pop star and jazz musician ultimately all came from the blues, not only from an historical evolutionary view point, but also from the fact that most of these famous musicians actually listened to and learned many of the blues riffs and guitar techniques from the old blues players when they first started playing their instruments.   

Playing the blues on the guitar is a very relaxing and often fulfilling experience, and like all music requires a 'feel' for the beat and chord changes taking place. You may have this naturally, but if not, with practice it will develop over-time. Whether a beginner or intermediate player, the blues guitar lessons and information on this site will hopefully help you to improve as a blues guitarist or whatever style of music you prefer playing on this fantastic instrument. Happy practicing!

Back To Top

Guitar Lessons for Beginners | Home