I’ve had a few requests about how to play acoustic blues guitar  and since I already teach this style to some of my students over Skype I thought it would be a good idea to start a series on this style.

Don’t worry I’ll still be writing many lessons on how to better your jazz guitar chops, but seen as though many jazz guitarists come from a blues background I figured some folk would enjoy this lesson too.

The acostic blues guitar style is a big genre of music with many different subgenres and musicians. Guitarists like Fred McDowell and Son House were mainly bottleneck players who played in open tunings, Texas-based guitarist Lightnin’ Hopkins was played in a standard tuning and guys like Robert Johnson, Charley Patton and Mance Lipscomb mixed the different styles together.

In today’s instalment of the Acoustic Blues Guitar series I am going to be showing you how to play a solid bassline with chords in standard tuning.

This technique is essential when learning to play acoustic blues guitar and will give you a firm foundation of acoustic blues no matter what player you want to sound like.


Groove and Time


When learning the acoustic blues guitar style the most fundamental aspect to the music is the time and groove. When listening to the blues great they sometimes don’t always stick to 12 bar forms.

Quite often Lightnin’ Hopkins would add or remove bars during performances, but this didn’t matter.

Although you should practice sticking to the form when you’re playing acoustic blues, truth be told if you can play with great groove and time the audience won’t notice and it never stopped the greats.

This first exercise is great for developing your blues guitar right hand technique.

Play the quarter notes palm muted with your thumb and play the chords with your fingers. I only use my first finger to play the melody but do whatever feels comfortable to you.

The only thing I would say is that I have never being able to play this style convincingly with a plectrum. You might be able to make it work, but I can’t think of one acoustic blues musician who uses one.


Acoustic Blues Guitar Exercise



Acoustic Blues Video Lesson

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