Blues Improvisation - An Introduction

If you are a guitar player that likes the blues and would like to learn how to play it, this exercise was created for you. I wrote it several years ago and have worked on it with many of my students.

This exercise is in the key of A. It starts easily but progressively gets more and more challenging. Each 12 bar chorus focuses on a specific element, technique or lick. For a beginner, it could take months to master. For an intermediate player, it may take a few weeks. To download a copy of the complete exercise which includes tabs and musical notation, click here: A Blues Exercise.

The accompanying video is primarily for play along purposes. In it, I play through the entire exercise at full tempo. I recommend using this video first as a visual accompaniment to the tabs - so you can see how it's played. Sometimes just looking at lines and numbers on a page can feel insufficient when learning to play something and of course many people have a more visual style of learning. Once you have started to get the notes under your fingers, you can then use the video to play along with.

I strongly recommend taking advantage of the video playback speed control in the YouTube settings. This is a feature that YouTube added not long ago and it is amazing for learning songs. If you are not familiar with how to do this, I actually include a quick tutorial at the beginning of this video. Try slowing the video down as much as 50% when you begin working on this exercise. As you progress, you can increase the speed. When you can play along with the video at full speed, then you've mastered it!

I have also included links to each individual 12 bar chorus in the video description, so if you want to focus in on a specific chorus, you can go right to it. For some reason these links seem to work on desktop computers and not on mobile devices. I'm not sure why that is. Changing the playback speed of the video does work on both desktop and mobile devices.

I hope you find this exercise useful and fun. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me:

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