Blues chords are a crucial part of learning blues guitar. Although this blues guitar lesson includes printable guitar chord charts and a guitar video lesson, I recommend reading through the tutorial first for a better understanding.
note: You'll need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended) installed on your computer in order to download these PDF files. You can get Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page).
If you want to open the file in your browser window, just click on the link. However, if you want to download the file to view later, then right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save File As." Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive.
Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open.
In order to print, open the downloaded file, and select the print option from the menu.
Blues Chords: The printable chord diagrams are by no means ALL of the blues chords. If you're a "sharpie", you might even notice that these chords are related to the key of A. However, this grouping of 9 different blues chords is enough to get you started. See the video below for more insight.
note: My chord diagram creation software labels the 2nd degree of the scale as the 2nd degree. It also uses a "delta" to symbolize "major." In chords with a 3rd and 7th, the 2nd is called the 9th.
Blues Chords, Jazz Chords, Funk, Rock and RnB
The guitar chords used in blues guitar music are very similar -- and in many cases the same -- as those used in jazz, rock, RnB and funk music. If you've seen any of my other blues lessons such as 12 bar blues you'll know that blues chords are dominant 7ths.
In many cases, dominant 7ths along with some 9ths are all many players ever use. You need to be familiar with some of the different ways to "grip" these chords. This would depend upon which string the Root of the chord is on.
The way the notes in chords are organized is called a "voicing." With blues guitar chords, there are a few different voicings that are commonly used. Some of them don't have a Root in them. This is because the Root is being handled by another instrument such as the bass. It doesn't HAVE to be a bass guitar. It could be a keyboard player or even a tuba. In most blues these days it's a bass guitar.
Very Cool Information: Did you know that you only need to play 2 notes from the dominant 7th chord -- and the listener will automatically "fill in" the missing notes? This is a very powerful guitar playing device. Why? Because we only have a few fingers to grip chords with. Not like on a piano where we have 10 fingers to voice chords with.
As long as we have these 2 notes -- the 3rd and b7 -- we have the basic dom7th chord covered. In context with this particular blues guitar lesson, that means we have a blues chord covered! This is exciting because we now have our other fingers available for chord extensions such as 9ths or 13ths. We can also add in tasty fills and runs if we wish. And, if we're playing solo we can work up a bit of a bass line to go along with our chords.
How To Practice Blues Chords
Here's a practice guideline:
Memorize one version of A7 and D7.
Practice switching between them a bit. Set up a little groove.
Add in a V7 chord -- in the key of A that would be E7.
Work out a 12 bar blues in the key of A. There's a free jamtrack on that page to practice along with.
It's also a good idea to write out this basic blues chord progression yourself on a sheet of paper. Make it 3 lines of 4 bars.
Try working in some of the other versions of the chords. Try D9. Try using A6.