One of my favorite musical styles is the blues. Blues can be incredibly fun to play on the guitar, but many beginners start out not knowing if the blues are too difficult to learn.
Is blues guitar hard to learn? No, the blues guitar is not difficult to learn, but it is difficult to master.
A beginner can learn a simple blues shuffle in a few weeks while playing a blues song with soul and passion can take years to develop.
The reason blues is a great style to learn to play guitar as a beginner is that it is an easy style of music to learn.
Many great blues guitar songs are incredibly easy to learn. But blues is a style of music that is easy to learn, but difficult to master.
Great blues guitarists are always trying to improve. A great blues guitarist can still play simple licks that a beginner could learn, but they can add a lot of passion to each note.
In this short guide, I’ll answer common questions you may have about how difficult it is to learn the blues.
The guide contains tips on which guitars, pedals, and amps to use for blues, along with blues songs and techniques to learn.
Table of Contents
What is Blues Music?
Blues music is one of the most popular genres to learn to play the guitar. It’s fun, easy, and sounds great.
Blues has been prominent in modern music since the 1930s and has a rich, deep, and soulful sound.
Whether it’s a great guitar solo or a tight rhythm section working together; blues music has a great beat.
There is a feeling you get from playing blues music that you can’t get from any other genre of music.
There are two main parts of blues music that you should learn:
- Rhythmic guitar
- Lead guitar
Blues guitar is a style that either grabs you or you don’t. Some people just don’t get it, while others are bitten off from the start and driven to become the best blues musicians they can be.
When it comes to guitarists, even those who really don’t like the blues have great respect for the genre and some of the amazing guitarists that have come and gone over the years.
It doesn’t matter if you like the blues or not, if you are a beginning guitarist, you will soon realize that learning to play the blues can have a huge impact on your playing.
When you think of blues, you can think of B.B.’s classy style. King, or the fuzz-infused sounds of Jimi Hendrix, or the Texan style of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Or you can go back to Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson. The music of bands like Allman Brothers and ZZ Top is heavily based on blues, and even some pop stars like John Mayer are accomplished blues guitarists.
Those are all easy examples, but in reality, blues is everywhere and rock music relies on it like a crutch. Blues guitar permeates almost every subgenre of rock and roll, from country to metal and everything in between.
Is Blues Guitar Hard to Learn
The answer is no! Blues guitar is not difficult to learn, but it is difficult to master. A beginner can learn a simple blues shuffle in a few weeks while playing a blues song with soul and passion can take years to develop.
There are shapes, Licks, Riffs, and Turnarounds, that you need to learn. And once you learn these techniques and where to use them.
You will discover that the blues guitar is not difficult to learn. In fact, once you learn the steps, you can play hundreds of blues songs.
How Long It Takes to Learn Blues Guitar
As I mentioned earlier, blues guitar is an easy style of music to start learning.
But how long does it take to learn to play blues guitar?
A beginner can learn to play some simple blues guitar mixes in a few weeks. It may take a beginner a few months to learn a few simple blues guitar licks, and during the first year, a beginner can learn to play many basic blues songs.
If you already know the basics of guitar, it will take less time to start playing blues guitar songs and licks.
Blues is a style of music where it doesn’t take long to learn basic techniques.
This means that you can start learning blues as a beginner and it won’t be long before you can play some simple blues shuffles and licks.
But once you learn the basics of blues guitar, it takes a lot of time and practice before you can begin to express yourself and play with passion.
Blues is a style of music that you can keep working on and improving throughout your life.
You can learn licks and simple decks today and continue to find ways to play them with more passion in the future.
How long it takes you to learn to play the blues guitar depends entirely on your dedication to the practice.
If you practice in the right things every day, you can go from beginner to intermediate guitarist in a year.
If you don’t practice regularly or waste time in the wrong areas, it can take many years before you begin to trust your abilities.
Why Blues Guitar is Easy to Learn and Hard to Master
As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, blues guitar is easy to learn. A beginner picking up a guitar for the first time can immediately begin learning to play simple random blues.
But blues is also a difficult style of music to master. Blues guitarists can spend their entire lives working on their style and trying to improve.
If you listen to an experienced blues guitarist play the anterior part, he will be able to play it with passion and add a lot of feeling to each note.
This is why blues is a style of music that is easy to learn, but difficult to master.
The licks and riffs used in blues can be technically easy to play, but hitting the right notes is just the beginning.
Being able to make those notes speak and convey a feeling is why blues is such a powerful style of music.
The key point that I would like any beginner to learn from this is that you don’t have to worry if you don’t immediately sound like B.B. King or any other great blues guitarist.
It takes time and practice to develop the feeling and control necessary to play the blues properly.
How to Learn Blues Guitar
One of the easiest things to learn. When I started playing the blues. It’s the 12 bar blues. 12 bar blues can be found in more than just “the blues” music. You can listen to the blues in many genres. Rock and Roll, Country music, and even blues.
The 12-bar blues is a way in which you play chords across 12 bars. In case you don’t know, a bar in music is a measure of music.
If you are in sync with 4/4, you have 4 beats in one measure. Or a music bar. Basically, you are counting the times in a measure of music.
The 12-bar Blues
This chord progression is the backbone of most blues music. In truth, it is the foundation of rock music in general. Once you download it, you can move it to any key.
Whether you’re playing sleek Chicago Blues, sweaty Delta Blues, or SRV’s Texan style, the 12-bar blues chord progression will be the foundation of your music.
Boring? Maybe a little, but think of it as the foundation of a house that everything else is built on.
This foundation may be basic but it is solid, and there have been some incredible musicians over the decades who made their solo careers over the 12-bar blues.
Start With Easy Chords
Playing an Easy Blues. Start with the E5 chord. What you want to do is; Place your first finger on the second fret of the A string.
The way to play this chord is by playing the open E string. What is the sixth string and the B? What is the second fretted string? Playing both notes at the same time. Which means to play the sixth and fifth strings together.
After that, use the third finger. Placing it on the fourth fret. On the A string. The desired rhythm is played by selecting the E5 chord twice. Then placing that third finger down. Then, play the sixth and fifth strings twice.
In essence, you are touching the E5 1 and 2 and then placing your third finger down. Playing 1 and 2. You alternate back and forth.
You want to practice this before moving on to the A5 chord.
When you get to the A5 it is much easier. Because you’re doing the exact same thing as when you were playing the E5. Just everything moves up a rope.
Try the A5. Then practice playing the E5 and A5. Next is the B5 chord.
When you get to the B5 chord. You are playing the fifth and fourth strings at the same time. Again, your index finger is on the fifth string. On the second fret. Then your third finger is on the fourth fret of the fourth string.
Wrapping Your Mind Around Music Theory
Can’t stand the weather? Do you feel like you’re in a purple haze? Does the excitement end when you start thinking about music theory and all these scales?
Guitarists who get a little itchy every time they try to understand the theory should check out Bill Edwards’ book Fretboard Logic. Edwards explains in refreshing, easy-to-understand terms how to find any chord or scales anywhere on the guitar’s neck.
Think of this as a shortcut to find your way around the guitar. Of all the lessons I’ve read over thirty years of playing, this book helped me put things in perspective more than anything else.
Putting the Blues Together
While the importance of theory has been downplayed in this article, you can’t help but learn the basics. Memorize the 12-bar blues in different pitches, learn the different scale patterns, and know the notes on the fretboard. In time, you will begin to see how it all fits together.
Eventually, you should be able to listen to a chord progression and solos over it without much thought. Learning to improvise is a huge part of being a good blues guitarist.
This skill does not arise overnight, but only from hours of proper practice.
The Right Kind of Practice
In the old days, blues musicians learned by improvising with other musicians, exchanging advice, and watching others perform. If you want to be a good blues guitarist, you have to do it the same way.
Fortunately, today we have many resources to help us connect with other musicians and learn to drive.
Playing with other musicians is probably the best way to hone your skills. Get together with anyone you can tolerate and play with.
Even if they are not blues-oriented musicians, you can still work on your scales and chords and gain some experience playing with others.
Playing along with recordings is another great way to improve. Not long ago, what you had to do was record yourself playing a chord progression, then play it back and work on your solos.
Today, there are all sorts of tools that can provide backing music and help improve your performance.
To be a good blues guitarist you have to play, practice, listen and start over. But it is more than that. Leon Redbone said that the blues is nothing more than a good man feeling bad.
When you think of it that way, it’s not really about music at all. It’s about expressing what’s inside of you, be it sadness or joy, and exposing your experiences for others to relate to.
If you’re interested in learning to play blues guitar, it’s a great style of music to play. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced guitarist, blues can be fun to learn.