Warm Up Exercise

2-string blues riffs for beginners (step by step)

Lesson #271

Video lesson

PDF Print-friendly chord sheet available for Patreon supporters

Supporting me on Patreon gives you access to the PDF for this as well as 150+ other lessons. One month minimum ($3, cancel anytime) gets you access to everything... here's a free sample. Thanks for supporting me and this project!

Editor’s notes

Hey friends! In this lesson I’ll show you how to use 2-string fretboard patterns to play blues-flavored bass lines using the chords A, D, and E. The best part is, these patterns are repeatable: learn them once, use them in any of the three chords listed above. Whether you want to incorporate this into your strumming or only focus on the bass lines, there’s tons of fun to be had. In the end, this makes for a pretty great warm-up exercise to work into your casual guitar playing.

Tabs of some of the riffs I play

In my video, I show several different riffs using the variations on the prior page. Here are those same riffs in tab form, in case that helps. The main thing I want you to understand here is that the pattern being used in each riff works the same for all three chords. All that changes is the strings you are playing. But the pattern itself is always the same.

Variation 1: just started with the power chords. Use your index finger to play the 2nd fret note on each of these chords.

E –––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––
G ––––––2––––––
D ––2–––0––––––
A ––0–––––––2––
E ––––––––––0––
    A   D   E

Variation 2: adding the left ring finger (on and off) to the 4th fret of each chord.

E –––––––––––  –––––––––––  –––––––––––
B –––––––––––  –––––––––––  –––––––––––
G –––––––––––  ––2–2–4–2––  –––––––––––
D ––2–2–4–2––  ––0–0–0–0––  –––––––––––
A ––0–0–0–0––  –––––––––––  ––2–2–4–2––
E –––––––––––  –––––––––––  ––0–0–0–0––
    A            D            E         

Variation 3: bringing in the 4th fret of the thickest string, played with left ring finger.

E –––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––
G –––––––––––––––  ––––––––2–4–2––  –––––––––––––––
D ––––––––2–4–2––  ––0––4–––––––––  –––––––––––––––
A ––0––4–––––––––  –––––––––––––––  ––––––––2–4–2––
E –––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––  ––0––4–––––––––
    A                D                E          

Variation 4 & 5: adding the left pinky to the mix (5th fret of 2nd-thickest string).

E –––––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––
B –––––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––
G –––––––––––––––––  ––––––2–4–5–4–2––  –––––––––––––––––
D ––––––2–4–5–4–2––  ––0–4––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––
A ––0–4––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––  ––––––2–4–5–4–2––
E –––––––––––––––––  –––––––––––––––––  ––0–4––––––––––––
    A                  D                  E             

The songs that inspired this lesson

I should note, this lesson is inspired by these two Bruce Springsteen song, which feature the riffs I bake into this lesson.

Johnny 99:

Open All Night:

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $3/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).

Thanks!


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!


Recent video lessons:

πŸ“ Print-friendly PDFs now available for all new lessons I make, including all those listed below. Get a free sample Β»


← back to lesson list