Chord Progressions in Blues Guitar

It’s imperative for people to learn basic information and apply the same information to an array of musical situations in your guitar. This is one of those opportunities that is too good to miss. Getting to learn and understand blues chord progressions is one of the most important aspect while playing your guitar. You may have probably played some blue chord progressions without noticing. This is highly probable and almost next to impossible to miss or avoid.

Blue chord progressions are usually found in folk music, jazz, country, rock and any other type of music in between. Here are basic examples:

Basic Blue Chord Progressions

When it comes to blues, the most common style or format is twelve bar blues chord progression. You should keep in mind that there are four variations of this type of progression. The key here is to learn how to play all these progressions with all keys. You should also be able to recognize each of the progression by feel and also sound.
Here’s a good example;

12 bar blues chord progressions:

Blues 1

1 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
4 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
5 /// | 5 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// ||

Blues 2 
1 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
4 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
5 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// ||

Blues 3
1 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
4 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
5 /// | 5 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// ||

Blues 4 
1 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
4 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// |
5 /// | 4 /// | 1 /// | 1 /// ||

When you take a look at the first time, it will all seem complicated. The best thing to do is to break down everything you see into small bits and pieces. Have a look at Blues 3 and you will notice how they are the same with Blues 1 only that bar two is different.  Here is what it sounds like.

You will also note that Blue 4 apart from the second bar the same as Blues 2

The example provided presents each progression with numbers instead of chord names. This makes it easier to change or convert each progression into different music keys.
The basics of blue lessons include artists to understand the typical blues introduction. This is achieved by understanding the A key along with alternatives and variants. It’s imperative to note that harmony and melody precedes the blues groove.
If you are the type of newbie who knows and understands guitar tablature and know all basic guitar chords, you should be introduced to chords such as blues movable barre chords.
Learning blues guitar chord is simply learning how each chord interacts with the other. This means learners have to know and understand chords by sets or chord progressions. Continue training will help learners master and attune their listening to the guitar and the sound it produces.

Where Did Blues Music Come From?

The Roots of Blues

Blues is a genre of music whose origin is the Deep South of United States of America. This form of music came up in the 19th century. Its root is traced from African music cultures, African American work songs, folk music, of folk music and spirituals as this most important to a number of people.

Styles of Blues

Blues are an incorporation of work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and spiritual music. The first publication of blues sheet was done in 1908. Since then, Blues has undergone evolution to from unaccompanied vocal music and slaves’ oral traditions to a vast variety of subgenres and styles.

There emerged several subgenres of blues including; Piedmont blues and Delta Blues. There also emerged urban blues such as West Coast Blues and Chicago Blues. In the 1960s and 1970s, Blue Rock, a hybrid form of blues came to be. This particular type was a blend of blues and Rock music.

‘Blues’ is a name that is said to have originated from Blue Devils, which me and sadness or melancholy.  It is also suspected to have come from Britain the 1600s. By then, this term was taken to mean intensive visual hallucinations such as those that can attack someone who is under the influence of alcohol.

In the 1800s, the term Blues was associated with alcoholism. ‘Blue law’ for example, was a term that was taken to mean a law that prohibits alcohol drinking. Traditionally, Blues often consisted of a single line, that was sung repeatedly. However, in the early decades of the 20th century, most of the structures being used to date were standardized.

Two of the standard Blues, called AAB were published as follows;

Some memorable blues personalities include Ma Rainey, also referred to as ‘The Mother of Blues’ and Robert Johnson, who used to combine of guitar skills, singing, and songwriting, and was therefore considered highly talented in the Blues world. He used his talents to influence many generations of the music industry.

In the early days, African-American Blues singers used their music to air their tribulations. Some of them would sing about their love stories, oppression by the Whites, experiences of police brutality and other hardships.
Over the years, the gap between Jazz and Blues became narrower and narrower. However, each of them later became defined.

Besides, many Country music songs were borrowed from the Blues world especially in the 1970s, meaning Blues have been a great influence on other forms of music.