Nearly all blues guitarists start out as rock or country guitarists, only developing their interests in blues at a later date. Thus, there are many blues guitar players who don’t have all of the necessary education and background requisite to play traditional blues who rely on altered rock licks and scales to sort of “fake” a blues sound.
For the guitarist who’s serious about developing his or her skill as a blues musician, there are several things that can be done to heighten and accelerate this process.
Learn some techniques and methods of playing that are specific to blues music. This can mean learning specifically blues-oriented scales, and licks. Especially valuable techniques that are a bit harder to master, but well worth it are playing with a slide and playing in altered tunings. Many fantastic blues soloists will play in an open chord tuning to facilitate slide playing.
Don’t think of just major chords either, minor chord tunings are extremely versatile when it comes to blues.
2. Learn from the masters. If you’re more into modern blues, than start your quest with Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Keb’ Mo’ and Buddy Guy. Once you’ve absorbed these giants, than start working your way backward with such artists like Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf.
3. Build up your skill with the acoustic or classical guitar. Remember, blues started as an acoustic art form, so to discover pure blues, pick up an acoustic guitar, a glass slide, put on a few recordings by the old blues masters, and take yourself back to the Delta!
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