Are you interested in learning to play the blues?
This is a great style to learn, regardless of your current level with the guitar.
One of the things that makes the blues so powerful is that it’s structure is very, very simple, but allows for as much expansion and variation as your skill and creativity will allow!
At it’s heart, all blues, whether a 12-bar blues or an 8 -bar blues, breaks down into three basic chords: the dominant chords of I, IV, and V.
While dominant chords aren’t usually the first chords learned by beginning guitarists, if your ultimate goal is to become a blues player, I recommend you start with these chords as soon as possible. The keys of G and E are great places to start if you want to play blues guitar.
Within these three “simple” dominant chords lies endless room for variation and creativity.
Remember that one of the most defining characteristics of the blues is that it plays between major and minor keys, often obscuring the two.
Some styles of blues, like the Chicago shuffle, focus more primarily on the minor version, while other styles, like New Orleans or West Coast blues, tend to be more major and open in nature.
There is not single right way to play these blues chords. While every chord has recommended and beginning fingerings, innovation and individuality is a core trait of every single famous blues artist, and that innovation extends to finding new voicings and fingerings for chords, which can help open up your playing and allow you to create a greater variety of styles on demand.
That means that although the base of the style is only three chords, the mastery of the relationship among these chords and scales is a lifelong journey.
If you’re going to learn the blues, take the time to master one or two keys first, and don’t feel pressure to move on and play in all twelve keys immediately. While you’ll eventually want to cover this over time, it isn’t the best route to start out with. Focus and master, and then move on from there!