Guitar chords can produce either cheerful or melancholic tones depending on their underlying structure, as each chord consists of intervals with differing lengths.
An example would be a major chord that contains its root, major third and perfect fifth notes; on the other hand, minor chords containing those same intervals can sound somewhat melancholic.
1. A minor blues progression
Add the minor blues progression to your repertoire for additional chord options when playing blues. It follows the same 1-4-5 relationship as its major blues progression counterpart, only with minor chords instead of dominant 7th chords.
Dominant seventh chords create dissonant sounds with the tonic note of their scale, making them the ideal way to build tension in music. Additionally, minor blues scale contains a note known as the blue note which when played solely adds another harsh sound!
This variation on a 12 bar blues can be heard in Fleetwood Mac’s Black Magic Woman. This variation is particularly helpful as it avoids the awkward transition from V to I in a traditional 12 bar blues progression. As with all blues guitar, string bending plays an integral part; you should experiment to find your ideal balance of chords and bends.
2. G major blues progression
Learning new chord shapes is fantastic; but even more rewarding will be understanding why and how they fit into the context of your music.
One of the most commonly employed acoustic blues progressions uses this G major triad, making it suitable for use in many different situations.
A triad is one of the easiest chords to form, allowing for effortless movement across your fretboard once established. Additionally, this chord utilizes one of the first shapes from minor pentatonic scale which makes fingerboarding much simpler than many others.
Piedmont style acoustic blues players would often use chords like these to build songs up until musical breaks, before switching over to inversions and single string runs derived from basic chords for added variety and variation. This way they could keep the feel of their songs while giving their fingers time to stretch out a bit and bring the music alive!
3. C major blues progression
This key is an ideal starting point for basic acoustic blues guitar playing, as chords in this key are relatively straightforward and simple to play if you know how to open position major chord shapes already. All of these chords can easily become dominant 7th chords required by blues music with just one flat seventh added onto them – providing plenty of opportunity to practice!
Playing simple acoustic blues progressions using these chords, even without using barre chords, is possible; however it would be beneficial to develop familiarity with fingering to be able to play more complex and engaging blues songs.
String bending is an advanced guitar technique and should be approached carefully; when playing fast tempo music, however, string bending becomes even more crucial. However, ensure that this particular chord progression allows enough room for string bending without sounding forced or forced-sounding unnatural.
4. F major blues progression
F major chords are among the easiest chords to form on your fretboard, requiring minimal dexterity or strength from your fretting hand, as they work across the neck. Yet even though they appear basic at first glance, F majors actually boast something unique – they are known as dominant 7th chords which is important when playing blues.
A dominant 7th chord can be formed by adding a flat seventh to an otherwise simple major triad, creating a chord with an unsettling and dissonant sound suitable for blues music.
Blues fans frequently encounter dominant 7th chords paired with secondary dominant chords, because any dominant chord can be replaced with any that lies a tritone away – an essential aspect of learning the blues! Tritone substitution is often employed when learning blues.