2-string blues riffs for beginners (step by step)
Lesson #271 • Dec 14, 2019
Print-Friendly PDF 2 pages
- Support me on Patreon.com to get access to this and 200+ other educational PDFs I've made, plus new PDFs I make going forward (1-2 added each week).
- The cost is $5/month (one month minimum, cancel anytime). Annual plans also available. Here's a free sample if you're on the fence. Thanks!
After clicking the button and logging in to Patreon, look for the PDF attached to the bottom of the post.
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.
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).
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:
📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy my sheet music arrangements. Patreon supporters get 50% off each purchase. Learn more here »
Aug 8, 2022
Here's a few fun ways you can use alternating bass (and some optional percussive slaps) to play along with Bobby McFerrin's 1988 classic.
Aug 1, 2022
An easy-going bluesy sequence played over a 12 bar progression. I'll show how you add 2 distinctive notes to the bass lines of Am and Dm to really capture a blues vibe.
July 11, 2022
I've added some new features to FretMonster, the free web-based tool I created to help you navigate the guitar freboard. Select a key and scale, and it shows you a map of the matching notes. I've also added some new features I'll show you in this video.
July 6, 2022
I'll show you how to take an easy-going fingerstyle sequence, and easily dress it up with melodic licks & fills — all coming from the G major scale.
June 22, 2022
A beginner's guide to using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer tool to create custom drum beats! Even if you're a total novice when it comes to drumming (like me), I'll walk you through the basic steps to create rich-sounding drum tracks to play over while practicing or performing.
May 27, 2022
A few years after learning American Girl the way Tom Petty plays it, I returned to it — this time determined to work out a low-key, easy-going fingerstyle arrangement. Here's how it went!
Browse my all lessons
By lesson type
- Full Song Lessons
- Beginner Songs
- Backing Tracks
- Play-Along Covers
- Warm-Up Exercises
- Tips & Techniques
By song decade
By musical genre
By guitar technique
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Willie Nelson
- John Denver
- Guns N' Roses