Please note: before you read any further, you should either check out Guitar Lesson #467 at WholeNote: 12-Bar Blues: What is it?
by Jim Burger, or be thoroughly familiar with the form of twelve bar blues. But hey, even if you're too lazy to check out Jim's excellent primer and don't know a thing about the blues, keep readin'. The worst that'll happen is not that bad. Anyway, on with the lesson...
People come to me all the time asking two things. First, "Maciek, my fingertips just don't bleed enough. How can I change that?" and just as importantly, "Maciek, having to learn three chords to play the blues is hard work. How can I play it using just one chord?"
Well, I have a solution that will fix both problems!
I came up with this after my friend Dan pointed out to me that the open C7
is just one muted string away from being a movable chord.
The chord I based this blues on is C#7
(that is, the key is C#), but one of the neat parts of this approach is that you can move this around as far as you can reach with the V chord (which will be easier on electrics or cutaways). Basically, you just take the chord and move it up and down the neck. The key is to make sure you're muting the E's--the high E with your palm and index finger and the low E with your thumb. This method also builds up your calluses like crazy (hence the lesson name; don't worry, I haven't had my fingertips bleed per se