Give your chords more blues feeling

When you are playing blues on the guitar, you can do lots of more to get a bluesy sound than just playing the regular dominant chords. There are many alternative chord shapes that brings blues feeling to the music. Some of them will be presented in this article.

Alternative barre chord shapes

Let’s begin with comparing a normal F7 barre chord with an alternative F7 chord.

f7 chordf7 chord alternate
Standard F7                            Alternate F7

In the second chord, the extra D# on the fifth string gives us more of that blues sound. The same thing can be done than playing barre chords in the second position with A shape. Let's look at a Bb7 in two different ways.

Bb7 chordBb7 chord alternate
Standard Bb7                        Alternate Bb7

Alternative open chord shapes

If you still have troubles with barre chords you can of course use open chords as wel, based on the same pattern from the last diagrams above. All you have to do is to remove the index finger:

A7/E chordB7/F# chord
A7/E                                             B7/F#

Notice the difference in fret positions for the two chords above. To use the shapes above you will get possibilities to vary the usual 12 bar blues. You could play these chords together with a common open E or E7. Since the chords shapes are similar, you could use A#/F as a chromatic in-between chord when going from A7/E to B7/F# (or the other way around).

Dominant 9 chords

To give our blues experiment some extra flavor we can add 9th chords. These can also be played as moveable chords and here’s the shape to use (notice the similarity with the open B7 chord).

chord shape 9th chord

These were some easy tips for making more of your blues guitar playing.

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