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Blues Guitar Lessons • Rhythm Guitar Strum Patterns • Part One • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on March 22, 2020
Review by Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. Doesn't keep it safe but goes for that blues-jazzy feel throughout. Not your average blues book.
Review by Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. Doesn't keep it safe but goes for that blues-jazzy feel throughout. Not your average blues book.

Learning Blues Guitar

With this book, my goal is to relate the scales with chords and rhythms as opposed to just learning solos or licks and having no idea how to apply them. Good rhythm playing and knowledge is crucial to good soloing and vice versa. This comes through understanding the relationship between chords and scales. This book provides that important foundation.

The book is unique in the fact that each chapter is based around a different key signature and an open (contains unfretted notes), pattern of the pentatonic scale. There are five chapters covering the key signatures of E, A, D, G and C, and the five open ‘box patterns’ (scale patterns) of the pentatonic scale. Eventually all the box patterns are covered, from the open strings to the fifteenth fret.

There is no endless scale practice or useless licks to learn. Instead, each chapter begins with a chord progression, moves into various rhythm patterns derived from the chord progression, and then culminates with solos based on the scale and key covered. These solos tie in with the chord progression and rhythm patterns to form a complete lesson for each chapter.

The book is progressive. Upon completion, the student will have a solid foundation in blues guitar, and will understand the rhythm, lead connection.

The book is best studied from beginning to end, without slighting any material. All theory is explained in the simplest terms. There are fretboard diagrams for the scales, chord grids, and photos of hand positions as well as videos posted on YouTube to aid in the learning process.

It is best, but not necessary, to have a knowledge of barre and open chord shapes before beginning this course. All the chords have fretboard grids associated with them.

Good luck and have fun. Music is a celebration. Enjoy!

Lorne K. Hemmerling

Pattern One

These rhythms work well at a medium to fast tempo (100-140 beats per minute: bpm)

The expression mark at the beginning of each of these patterns denotes a swing rhythm. This is a very common way of notating this. Two eighth notes equal a 'broken triplet'. Instead of counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, the rhythm has a triplet sound: 1 and ah 2 and ah 3 and ah 4 and ah. The '1 and' are used up by the quarter note, while the eighth note is the 'ah'. This results in a heartbeat sound. There is a huge difference between straight eighths and swing eighths. The x notehead means to mute the chord, while the slash is a held chord. The result is a 'chuck' (for the x) and a full chord sound for the slash. To achieve this, release the pressure on the mute and quickly put the pressure back down for the slash. This may be difficult at first, but will eventually feel natural. This is much easier to do with barre chords, than open chords.

Pattern Two

The next pattern starts with two full chord strums at the beginning of each bar. I find this is easier to execute, as it keeps the bars separate in sound. Once again, hold the pressure for the first beat (1 ah) then release the pressure for the chucks. Don't forget the heartbeat sound of the swing!

Pattern Three

This is the most complex and challenging of the three patterns. The '1 ah' is the full chord followed by a chuck for the 2, full chord for the ah, chuck for the 3, then full chords for the 'ah 4 ah'. Practise slowly at first, then gradually increase the tempo, but don't lose the feel!

Here is a Junior Wells tune to work on. This is transcribed solely with pattern #2. Try this with all the patterns, then mix and match. Try playing with the actual song. This transcription is in the key of the recording, provided you are tuned to standard pitch. Note the turnaround, the V (five) chord comes in halfway through the twelfth bar.

Junior Wells DVD

Junior Wells: Blues Legends
Junior Wells: Blues Legends
SONGS: Look Over Yonders Wall - Crazy About You - I Just Want To Make Love To You - Everything's Gonna Be Alright - Tribute To Muddy Waters - Trouble No More - Juke - My Younger Days - Got My Mojo Workin' - Super Bad - I Got You [I Feel Good] - Little By Little SPECIAL FEATURES: The Channel, Boston March 11, 1989 - Bonus Song: Better Than I Love Myself - Backstage Interview: Buddy Guy & Junior Wells - Full color booklet complete with an essay and never-before-published photos

When My Baby Left Me


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This so good because a) it is a jolly tune b) there are some wonedrful sentiments but most of all I'm so glad to see' you all again! I do hope you will be able to do some more blogging in the New Year!

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      9 years ago from Oshawa

      Thanks dzethmayr. Great to get feedback!

    • dzethmayr profile image


      9 years ago from Mauston, near Dells, Wisconsin, US

      Real meat for a blues beginner like me. Your teachings use my time well, Lorne. Thank you.

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

      Lorne Hemmerling 

      9 years ago from Oshawa

      Thanks. Words every musician should live by........ 'Music is a celebration, not a competition'

    • raxit02 profile image


      9 years ago from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

      wonderful. Its time to revival of the blue rhythm. Lets celebrate.


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