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Blues Rhythm Guitar Strum Patterns • Part 3 • Shuffle Patterns In A • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on February 5, 2014
Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010 (Two-Disc Super Jewel Case)
Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010 (Two-Disc Super Jewel Case)

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Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2004
Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2004

The unprecedented gathering of dozens of the world's top rock, blues, country, jazz and folk guitarists featured artists such as Eric Clapton, Santana, ZZ Top, James Taylor, John Mayer, Joe Walsh, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Jimmie Vaughn, Robert Randolph, Eric Johnson and many more.

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Pattern #1

Pinky Patterns are a very common way of playing blues rhythms. The open Power Chord shapes of A5, D5, and E5 represent the easiest way to play these patterns. The closed shapes (which will be addressed in another lesson) involve a large stretch with the fourth finger of the fret hand, hence the name 'Pinky Patterns'. Execute this progression with the 1st (index) and third (ring) finger. Hold the first finger on the second fret when the third finger is placed on the fourth fret to form the six chord. Although these patterns are played as 'straight eighths' and 'swing eighths', the expression mark at the beginning of each progression denotes the swing rhythm. Also, try light 'palm muting', a technique that requires the palm of the strum hand to be placed on the strings just ahead of the bridge. This gives the strings a muted sound as opposed to letting them ring.

Pinky Pattern In A #1

Pattern #2

This pattern adds one more chord to pattern #1. The A7, D7, and E7 are played with the pinky. Hold the first finger on the second fret when placing the third finger on the fourth fret, hold the first and third finger when placing the fourth (pinky) finger on the fifth fret.

Pinky Pattern In A #2

Pattern #3

Much more interesting than #1 and #2, Pattern #3, adds a lot more 'meat' to the original. Even though the chords are still basically A5, A6, and A7, the overall tonality for these chords is simply A7. An accompanist could simply strum A7, D7, and E7 while all these pinky patterns are being played. This version also contains the first non-chordal turnaround of these lessons. As stated before, blues players know countless standard turnarounds. This is one of them. Movement involves an open A7 chord moving chromatically (one fret at a time) up the neck to another A7 voicing on the fifth fret. Try hybrid picking, a technique that makes use of the fingers as well as the pick, sometimes called 'Chicken Pickin', because of it's prevalence in country music. Pick the bottom note of the chord with the plectrum, then the top note of the chord with the middle finger. The chromatic climb from the C sharp to the E in the twelfth bar is a standard way to complete the turnaround. After learning all these patterns, try creating your own. Possibilities are almost endless. Have fun!

Pinky Pattern In A #3

Blues Turnarounds In A

Play through the progressions, substituting a different turnaround on each pass.
Play through the progressions, substituting a different turnaround on each pass.


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    • profile image

      Richard Bourne 

      6 years ago

      get a guitar player to memorize those three patterns and play them would be cool indeed.


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