Blues chords

Blues music has a certain feeling and the guitar is an excellent instrument for playing in this style. In this guide you will learn the “must-have” chords and typical blues progressions.

The must-have chords in blues

The first chords you should learn if you want to get a bluesy guitar sound are those that give another color to the sound than the usual major chords and are known as Dominant 7th chords.

E7

  • Cmaj7 chord diagram

A7

  • Dmaj7 chord diagram

B7

  • Fmaj7 chord diagram

Common blues progressions

The standard type blues progressions are extremely common and are, with some slight variations, present in other styles as well. When you play it the change is big what it sounds familiar to you...


E – A7 – E – B7 – A7 – E


Hopefully you get some bluesy sound from it, if not try to strum four times at each chord and lay emphasis on the first and the third beat.

As mentioned, we are using so-called dominant chords here, which are common in blues. Try the same chord sequence without a seventh note and you will lose the blues sound.

You could also play blues chord progression in minor - if you really want to sound "blue":

The following sequence is almost similar to the one above, but with the key chord in minor instead for in major:

Em – A7 – Em – B7 – A7 – Em

Blues guitarists

Listen to blues music would be a great benefit for you in the quest for the real blues feeling. Among the classic blues guitarists are names like:

  • Robert Johnson
  • Lead Belly
  • Muddy Waters
  • Howlin' Wolf
  • John Lee Hooker
  • T-Bone Walker
  • Elmore James
  • BB King
  • Earl Hooker

The "next generation" of blues guitarists incorporated such names as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Tips for more in-depth readings:
   

Read also Give your chords more blues feeling.