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Acoustic Blues Guitar - How To Write A Blues Song

Jim Bruce Bluesman du Capitole

OK, so you’ve been playing blues guitar for a long time now.

 You know all the blues chord progressions and the blues scales. You can copy the best of the pros and even add some little blues riffs that are really quite new (although you must know that there is nothing really new in the blues). Your chord turnarounds are slick and your end tags leave the audience drooling. Still there is something missing – what’s going on?

For the last twenty years or so, you’ve been quite happy nailing down the most complex songs out there and content to be able to reproduce the guitar sounds of your heroes, but now it’s just not enough. Face it – you are bored playing the same old blues guitar.

This can happen at any time, and sometimes occurs just before you step up a level, so don’t despair. I often turn to other styles of playing guitar in these times, such as Irish, folk or swing jazz (I can’t play the real stuff).


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However, inevitably, you come back to your big first love – you play the blues, so you just have to deal with it.

When you know all the stuff out there and are very adept at what you do, it’s often sufficient to hear a song and instinctively know how it is fingerpicked. You just know that you can play just about anything on guitar, once you analyze it and apply yourself for a few days, so where’s the challenge? You suddenly realize that it’s time to write a blues song and that’s when the fun really starts!

How To Write A Blues Song !

Elizabeth Cotton - Ragtime Blues Guitar Player
After studying the old blues guitar players for some years, we often find that anything we create leans towards a particular style, and often our first songs are a pale imitation of an old classic blues. How do we try to make the guitar playing and words unique, that's the 64 thousand dollar question.

Another problem with writing straight blues songs is coming up with something new in the way we pick the chords. Take a blues in E, for example. The basic blues has just three chords - and chords that are not very complicated at all!


Original blues is Good, but it's not that easy. Let's see why that is ...
What about your words? Perhaps you want to tell a story, but this is a difficult trick to accomplish - it often turns into a kind of cheesy country 'poor me' style of thing. Another certainty is that yet another 'Woke Up This Mornin'' song most definitely will not cut it.

No there's nothing else for it, you just have to come up with something of your own. Look into your own life and try to express your hopes, desires and fears. We all have them and it will have the ring of truth, which is what blues guitar music is all about. Have fun!