Warm Up Exercise #1

Two-finger blues in Drop-D

July 24, 2018

Video Overview

Simple blues riff

After tuning your thickest string down from an E to D, start with these foundational riffs. Accent the 1st and 3rd counts in each 4-count sequence.

E –––––––––––––––    –––––––––––––––     –––––––––––––––      
B –––––––––––––––    –––––––––––––––     –––––––––––––––      
G –––––––––––––––    –––––––––––––––     –––––––––––––––      
D –––––––––––––––    –––––––––––––––     –––––––––––––––      
A ––0–––0–2–––2––    ––5–––5–7–––7––     ––7–––7–9–––9––   
D ––0–––0–0–––0––    ––5–––5–5–––5––     ––7–––7–7–––7––      
    D                  G                   A                

And for each chord below, play the corresponding riff one time. E.g., begin by playing the D sequence four times in a row, then move to the G sequence four times in a row (etc).

D  D  D  D     G  G  G  G     A  A  G  G     D  D  A  A

Jack Johnson-style riff

Very similar is this riff, which I demonstrate in the video. Here, you’ll only press your additive finger down on the 3rd count of each sequence (and be sure to accent that count). Also, there’s a transitional walkdown sequence that is used when going from the A to the G (which I mark as “A*”). Watch my video for context.

E ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––          
B ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––          
G ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––          
D ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––  ––––––––––––––          
A ––0––0––2––0––  ––7––7––9––7––  ––7––7––6––6––  ––5––5––7––5––       
D ––0––0––0––0––  ––7––7––7––7––  ––7––7––6––6––  ––5––5––5––5––          
    D               A               A*              G             

And for each chord below, play the corresponding riff one time. E.g., begin by playing the D sequence four times in a row, then move to the G sequence four times in a row (etc).

D  D  D  D     A  A  A  A*    G  G  G  G    D  D  A  A

How to practice these

First, understand these foundational chord positions we’ll be using. 5th and 6th strings only for all three chords. For the G and the A, use your left index finger to barre the 5th and 6th strings on either the 5th fret (for the G chord) or the 7th fret (for the A) chord. See my video lesson for a demonstration.

E ––––––– ––––––– –––––––
B ––––––– ––––––– –––––––
G ––––––– ––––––– –––––––
D ––––––– ––––––– –––––––
A –––0––– –––5––– –––7–––
D –––0––– –––5––– –––7–––
     D       G       A

Next, the idea is to add a single note on top of the existing chord positions you know – and to get comfortable going back & forth between the main chord position, and the with-added-note chord position. For the D, you’ll want to add a single finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th fret (left index is fine). For the G and the A, you’ll want to use your left ring finger to play the additional note – while your left index is barring the 5th or 7th fret. Again, see my video lesson for a demonstration.

E –––––––––– –––––––––– ––––––––––
B –––––––––– –––––––––– ––––––––––
G –––––––––– –––––––––– ––––––––––
D –––––––––– –––––––––– ––––––––––
A –––0––2––– –––5––7––– –––7––9–––
D –––0––0––– –––5––5––– –––7––7–––
     D          G          A   

Once you have this worked out, you’ll be able to tackle the riffs shown above. Good luck!

Enjoy this lesson? Buy me a beer!

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

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


Monthly email updates

If you want to keep posted of new lessons over email, sign up for my newsletter. I'll email once a month with a digest of all my new videos. I promise: no spam.


← back to lesson list