Blues Guitar Chord Progressions • The Three Chord Progression • Part 3 • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons
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I have been teaching guitar professionally since 1992, when Don’t Fret Guitar Instruction was established. Over the years, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops.
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This chord movement had me mystified for quite awhile. I had only heard blues players execute the move with two notes (over A7: A, F♯ to G, E). It wasn't until a keyboardist friend of mine added the third note (C♯ between the A and F♯, B between the G and E), that I understood the theory behind the change. In this key it is simply an AMaj6 to A9, DMaj6 to D9 and EMaj6 to E9. Chord spelling for the first change is: AMaj6 - root A, third C♯ and sixth F♯, A9 - seventh G, ninth B and fifth E. This is such a cool sound! Used extensively by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mike Bloomfield, etc.
It can be played over an A5 to A6 pinky pattern, or an A7 chord. Quite often, players slide into the sixth chord from the ninth chord, or out of the ninth chord to the sixth chord. Try different sliding combinations.
This piece starts with a riff (a short lead line that keeps repeating), in A Major Pentatonic. The riff modulates to D Major pentatonic and E Major Pentatonic with the chord changes. I have included three different turnarounds. The first two are very common, the third I composed myself. It is based in the A Major Blues scale. All the turnarounds move to the E in the second bar, then return to the riff to start again. Practise the progression with all three turnarounds. As a blues player, you can never have too many turnarounds in your arsenal.
Excerpt From Learning Blues Guitar
This version adds one more element into Rhythm Pattern #1. The Major 6 to Dominant 9 change is used all the time in blues and jazz. Many horn lines are written around this change. For years I was baffled by this. I thought it was a Major 6 to Major 6 movement, and I could not figure out how two Major 6 chords would fit over a single tonality. For example, in measure one, the Major 6 chords would be C6 and B♭6. It wasn't until I learned the dominant ninth shape we have been working with, that I realized the movement was to two forms of a C chord (C6 and C9). Theory aside, this is a great sounding chord change.
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