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Blues Guitar Chord Progressions • The Three Chord Progression • Part 2 • Chords, Tab, Video Lessons

Updated on December 19, 2016
Review by Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. This is for someone who wants to learn how to stand out.
Review by Karen: Starts at the beginning and breaks the blues down in a well articulated way. It exponentially grows from there. This is for someone who wants to learn how to stand out.

Learning Blues Guitar

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. Past students include four members of PROTEST THE HERO.

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

Johnny Lang DVD's And CD's

Jonny Lang: Live at Montreux 1999
Jonny Lang: Live at Montreux 1999

The songs featured in this concert are equally split between his two A&M albums released up to that time and are delivered with all his trademark maturity highlighted by some ferocious guitar work.

Tracks: 1. Still Rainin' 2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl 3. A Quitter Never Wins 4. Right Back 5. There's Gotta Be A Change 6. The Levee 7. Breakin' Me 8. Lie To Me 9. Rack `Em Up


Progression 1

This progression (as all the progressions in this lesson), is said to be in the key of C. Although the only chord in the key of C is G7, blues players would simply say '12 bar, key of C, quick change'. For the experienced player this would be enough information to jam with someone. Home base scale for this progression is Cm Pentatonic, or Cm Blues scale. C Major Pentatonic will work, but care must be taken when playing across the IV (four) chord: F7. This chord contains an E♭, and C Major Pentatonic contains a natural E. As mentioned, the quick change is in place. This is explained in Blues Basics 1. I have extended the C7 in measures four and eight to include the seventh interval (B♭) an octave higher. This gives the chord more bite and sounds great!. The turnaround is I IV I V. This is a very common chordal turnaround.

Progression 2

All the seventh chords have been replaced by ninths for this progression. The F9 and G9 are very common voicing for ninths and sound good sliding into the chord from either, the fret below or the fret above. Try it. Play the F9, then play it again, but slide into it from the E9 (one fret below) then the G♭9 (one fret above). The C9 shape is not so common, but very useful. The chord does not actually contain a root, that is, there is no C. I like to think of the root as the same fret as the fourth finger on the next string (C on the eighth fret on the high E string).

Progression 3

This version combines the elements of #1 and #2. The extended C7 moving into the F9 at the end of measure four sounds particularly good. In measures nine and ten, the G9 and F9 move into a seventh shape that is based on an open C7 chord. As long as the low and high E string are muted out, this chord can be played all over the fretboard. Of course, if you are playing this shape as an E7, the low and high E strings can ring. Once again, as in progression #1 and #2, Cm Pentatonic would be the home base scale.

Progression 4

This version will have you moving around the fretboard and is the most challenging of them all. It should be noted here, that since all the chords do not contain altered intervals (no sharps or flats), this progression can be played over top of progression #1, even though this is much more complicated. Play this slowly, memorize it, then work with it. Make up your own versions. After awhile, the chords will become so familiar that this can be improvised. This form of rhythm playing (substituting more elaborate chords) is called 'Comping'. Jazz and Blues players are constantly comping in behind soloists.


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