Learning the Blues

Steve Smith posted this 22 August 2015

Hi everyone. I new to learning the guitar and my main interest is in the blues and learning to play the blues on guitar.

My question is is it ok to start with the complete beginner blues dvd's by Danny Gill and progress from there or is it recommended to start with a basic beginners course first and then move onto the blues learning

Kind regards and thanks in advance,

Steve

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Mark Badham posted this 22 August 2015

Danny's Absolute beginners Blues series cover all the basics so yes... in the meantime just look up your first open chords and position one of the minor pentatonic scale...this will help you get the idea of what is needed to play Blues guitar.

Fretmagic6

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Steve Smith posted this 22 August 2015

Thanks for the reply Mark. Sorry for another newbie question but what do you mean with regards to looking up your first open chords.

I understand about Position 1 of the Minor Pentatonic Scale so can incorporate that into my practice plan.

-BluesJourneyMan

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Mark Badham posted this 22 August 2015

[quote=Steve Smith;111051]Thanks for the reply Mark. Sorry for another newbie question but what do you mean with regards to looking up your first open chords.

I understand about Position 1 of the Minor Pentatonic Scale so can incorporate that into my practice plan.

-BluesJourneyMan[/quote]

No probs Steve open chords are your first chords you learn to start playing guitar.. E major, G major, A major, C major and D major you may already know these... if so try E minor, G minor, A minor and D minor. The difference between the two is Major chords sound happy and minor chords sound sad so train your ear whilst playing these chords to notice which is which!!!...

Quick tip don't rush everyone learns at a different pace it really helps if you know another beginner who you could either help or play these chords with you.

Fretmagic6

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Steve Smith posted this 22 August 2015

Thanks for the reply Mark. That makes total sense to me now.

I haven't really learned any chords yet so will work on the Major chords that you mentioned first and then i can move on to the others.

Unfortunately i haven't got anyone else that is learning the guitar as well as me so may find a way of recording myself so i can play them back to get used to the different sounds.

-BluesJourneyMan

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Mark Badham posted this 23 August 2015

[quote=BluesJourneyMan ;111053]Thanks for the reply Mark. That makes total sense to me now.

I haven't really learned any chords yet so will work on the Major chords that you mentioned first and then i can move on to the others.

Unfortunately i haven't got anyone else that is learning the guitar as well as me so may find a way of recording myself so i can play them back to get used to the different sounds.

-BluesJourneyMan[/quote]

Recording is a vital part of being a musician so many ways to record... even if you use a app on your iPhone it's all about getting to playback and listen for good and bad moments... mistakes will be made but this is the only way you learn!!!

What guitar and amp do you have?... Are you using guitar f/x?

Fretmagic6

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Steve Smith posted this 23 August 2015

I've just got a squire bullet strat a little practice amp at the minute Mark. I'm not use any effects either at the minute but will look into that side of things at a later date maybe.

I'll definitely look into the recording side of things even if it's just like ya say recording my efforts on my iPhone

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Mark Badham posted this 23 August 2015

[quote=BluesJourneyMan ;111055]I've just got a squire bullet strat a little practice amp at the minute Mark. I'm not use any effects either at the minute but will look into that side of things at a later date maybe.

I'll definitely look into the recording side of things even if it's just like ya say recording my efforts on my iPhone[/quote]

Guitar f/x can make you sound better than you really are... so many guitarists drown their playing in f/x and think they sound great...switch off the f/x and through a clean channel they quickly notice they need to improve just the basic chords. When starting out playing guitar it's all about building strength in your fingers, apply equal amounts of pressure whilst holding the strings down. This finger strength is built up over time and depends how much you practice.

I recommend practice about 15-30mins a day to start.... just make sure each chord sounds clear and don't be afraid to use your fingers to pluck the strings instead of using the pick... a big part of playing guitar is using both fingers and your pick to get the desired sound you require. Also the flesh of your fingers on the strings gives you a more mellow feel compared to a pick!!... Explore the different thickness of picks available and materials they are made from, this will help you feel comfortable if you know the pick is just right for your playing.

Timing is where I see a lot of guitarists struggle just a simple 4x4 rhythm and most don't realise they are out of sync with a simple drum beat...yet again apps on your iPhone can help Tuner/Metronome apps usually free a easy way to get tuning and rhythm issues sorted.

Most of all have fun playing and learning guitar!!!

Fretmagic6

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Steve Smith posted this 23 August 2015

[quote=Fretmagic6;111057]I recommend practice about 15-30mins a day to start.... just make sure each chord sounds clear and don't be afraid to use your fingers to pluck the strings instead of using the pick... a big part of playing guitar is using both fingers and your pick to get the desired sound you require. Also the flesh of your fingers on the strings gives you a more mellow feel compared to a pick!!... Explore the different thickness of picks available and materials they are made from, this will help you feel comfortable if you know the pick is just right for your playing.

Timing is where I see a lot of guitarists struggle just a simple 4x4 rhythm and most don't realise they are out of sync with a simple drum beat...yet again apps on your iPhone can help Tuner/Metronome apps usually free a easy way to get tuning and rhythm issues sorted.

Most of all have fun playing and learning guitar!!!

Fretmagic6[/quote]

Thanks for all the help and tips you've given so far Mark, it's been gratefully appreciated ;-)

I'm gonna get a Base set of 3 chords to begin with I think and work on getting them sounding cleanly by strumming and picking each note and then in my practice routine I can include changing between one chord and another and then I can add in other basic chords that we talked about earlier once I'm confident with the first three. I will also include the position 1 minor pentatonic scale into my practice routine to begin with and then move onto the other positions. If I can I may try and incorporate some of danny gills Blues for Absolute Beginners into the practice routine as well.

As for the timing issue I've got one of those tuner/metronome apps installed on my iPhone but not too sure as to the best way of incorporating the metronome into my practice schedule, maybe I could start by using it to practice the scales with.

Thanks for all your help once again Mark,

-BluesJourneyMan

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Mark Badham posted this 24 August 2015

You're more than welcome Steve.... glad I could help!!!...

Yes, use the metronome for scale practice when going down a scale and back up it helps you focus and after a while becomes second nature. A Minor pentatonic as five different positions just remember only move on to the next position when your comfortable and confident and ready to advance to the next... Perhaps you will keep the forum informed on how you're progressing?... Other beginners will read and digest how you are achieving your goal and this will also benefit them!!!...

Fretmagic6.

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Steve Smith posted this 24 August 2015

Yeah I like the idea of maybe keeping a sort of learning blog, both as a motivational tool for me as well as possibly helping other beginners along the learning path as well.

Off to have some practice time now so well see how things turn out

-BluesJourneyMan

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TiEsQue TiEsQue posted this 25 August 2015

Learn songs. There are lots of things that are beneficial to becoming a better guitar player but learning and practicing real music is superior to everything else. There's not even a close second. I suggest picking a blues song or artist you like and learn that.

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Steve Smith posted this 25 August 2015

Thanks for the advice PorQueNo. Might have a search around for some Blues Song that would be recommended for beginners

-BluesJourneyMan

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TiEsQue TiEsQue posted this 26 August 2015

I suggest starting with some of the classic electric blues players....BB/Freddie/Albert King, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, T-Bone Walker, etc. It's the best possible foundation for an aspiring blues guitarist. And the notes don't come at you very fast so it's a great place to start.

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Jack Daniels posted this 02 October 2015

I agree with TiEsQue, the classic electric blues artists are indeed a good place to start. Rhythm for some players can be the weakest link in their skill sets, and we all know how important rhythm is to the blues. Something that is challenging but not too overwhelming so as not to lose interest. The slower blues tunes are great because you can perfect your rhythm, lead, and even slide chops. Then your speed gradually builds over time if you concern yourself with accuracy first. Many guys will try to play fast initially but, only succeed in reinforcing their bad practice habits.

You've got to walk before you run. Many of the modern blues artists will tell you that you need to go back to the origins of blues listening to the blues artists of old f.e., what older blues artists did say SRV, Jeff Healey, Johnny Winter, and Ronnie Earl listen and practice to?

Last edited 02 October 2015

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