Beginner Blues Groove (Key of A-minor)

Lesson #447 • Jul 29, 2022

Description

Hey there, friends! Today we’ll be looking at a beginner-friendly blues lesson, where I’ll show how adding only 2 special notes can create a dark, bluesy vibe. We’ll be using the chords of Am, Dm, and E7 — all played in a typical 12-bar blues progression. This will set the stage, but the real magic will be the bass notes played between each chord (flat third and flat seventh) — which immediately dial up the bluesy vibe we’re looking for. The sequence I’ll teach is something you can play by yourself, involving bass notes + strums + very basic fills.

In addition to my main tutorial, I’ve also included a separate video showing a slow playthrough with tabs on screen. A jam track is also included (audio file, you can listen on this webpage) if you’d like to practice & play along on your own. You also can download the jam track for offline practice. I hope you enjoy!

Timestamps for my main lesson:

  • 0:00 Lesson Overview
  • 1:38 Chord Shapes
  • 2:46 Adding “Flavor” Notes
  • 7:36 12 Bar Blues Progression
  • 10:29 Putting It All Together

Part 1: Main Lesson

Part 2: Slow Playthrough w/ Tabs

Includes tabs of the entire 12-bar sequence, plus a few additional tips to keep in mind when practicing & playing this exercise.

Print-Friendly PDF 3 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!
Download the PDF on Patreon

After clicking the button and logging in to Patreon, look for the PDF attached to the bottom of the post.

Jam Track

12 bar blues sequence, using the chords Am, Dm, and E7. See my PDF (linked above) for additional details.

The Inspiration For This Lesson

The idea for this lesson came from a few places. Most recently, David over on my Patreon page sent over a request for the song Bridle on a Bull by Chris Knight. I’d never heard the song, but immediately recognized the flat-3rd and flat-7th being used in the acoustic bass line. This song also put me in the mindset of the 12-bar blues structure, which it uses throughout. Note, you’ll need to put a capo on the 1st fret in order to play along with Chris Knight’s recording (using the chords A, D, and E7):

There’s also some Colter Wall influence here. Years ago, I did a lesson teaching a riff similar to what’s heard in Kate McCannon — which is also in the Key of A minor — and makes heavy use of the flat-7th (both as a passing bass note, and also as the root of the G major chord). Check out that song, as well as the lesson I made which explores that riff:

Finally, there’s the lesson I made looking at how you can add “grit” to your walk-ups and walk-downs with those flat-3rd and flat-7th notes. This video was made shortly after I connected these dots — which really helped me start to recognize the tones wherever they occurred. If interested, view my full notes for this lesson, which includes a link to my instructional PDF.

Meet the Teacher

Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

Subscribe to my Free Newsletter

Join the 20,000+ readers who get my new lessons dropped in their inbox each week. I teach a fun mix of songs, weekly riffs, practice ideas, and more!

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 $5/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:

📝 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

Alternating Bass Note Fun with "Don't Worry Be Happy"

Warm Up Exercise  •  Lesson #448

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.

Patreon PDF

Aug 1, 2022

Beginner Blues Groove (Key of A-minor)

Warm Up Exercise  •  Lesson #447

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.

Patreon PDF

July 11, 2022

Updates to FretMonster (Interactive Fretboard Tool)

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #444

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

Adding Melodic Licks & Fills to a Fingerstyle Groove (Key of G)

Warm Up Exercise  •  Lesson #443

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.

Patreon PDF

June 22, 2022

How to Make Drum Tracks Using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #442

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

Creating a Fingerstyle Arrangement of Tom Petty's "American Girl"

Practice Log  •  Lesson #438

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!

Patreon PDF

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist


← back to lesson list