Are you struggling to find EASY & timeless blues guitar riffs? Wondering how Henry Ford’s barn has anything to do with acoustic guitars? Are you looking for more acoustic blues guitarists to listen to? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m currently in the middle of running my 5-Day Blues Challenge, and to help reinforce the work you’re doing, I’m reviewing how the 5-Day Blues Challenge can help your guitar playing.
Now, in today’s episode of Acoustic Tuesday, I’m going over each of the 5 exercises in the 5-Day Blues Challenge. Specifically, I’m talking about how each exercise will improve your guitar playing.
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday.
This Week on Acoustic Tuesday
Blues guitar riffs are incredibly useful for guitar players.
If you haven’t noticed, the entire month of January has been dedicated to learning different aspects of the blues.
Whether it was artists, ways that playing the blues helps your guitar practice or specific guitars the emit bluesy vibes, January was all about the blues.
To end the month of January, I launched my 5-Day Blues Guitar Challenge on January 27th.
If you’re a Tony’s Acoustic Challenge member, you’ve been doing the challenge within TAC.
If you’re not a member, you can join the challenge by visiting our pop-up Facebook group.
Now, here’s what we’ve learned so far…and a sneak peek at what’s coming next!
5 Blues Guitar Riffs You Cannot Miss
In this section, I’m breaking down exactly why you cannot miss these 5 blues guitar riffs.
5. Monday — Blues Jitter Bass
Taken directly from a blues bassist’s repertoire, the blues jitter bass guitar riff is incredibly effective for two very distinct reasons…
First, this guitar riff helps you practice your picking hand. You’re going to be playing a steady stream of eighth-notes. You need to have control and consistency in your picking hand to pull this riff off.
Second, this blues guitar riff will give you an idea of how chromatic lines work within a blues form.
Typically, a lot of guitarists shy away from chromatic lines, but this blues guitar riff is a great example of how chromatic lines are effective.
4. Tuesday — Triple Threat
While simple, this blues guitar riff shows some effective techniques you can do with your guitar.
This exercise is great at pointing out the commonality between shapes within the blues form. Through this whole progression, your middle and index fingers are going to be doing the exact same thing.
Additionally, this riff is a great gateway to fingerpicking. Because the only fingerpicking change within this line is the thumb, it’s a great way to start practicing fingerpicking.
3. Wednesday — Kodachromatic
Whether you like the blues or not…you should REALLY know this guitar riff.
The reason why this guitar riff is so effective is because of the string skipping.
To get laser-focus on your flatpicking and your fretting hand, this guitar riff is a must-know. The more you start to get into the groove and understand how your pick needs to move, this guitar riff will help you tremendously.
2. Thursday — Shapeshifter
There are three things that this particular blues line is good at teaching…
- The fingerpicking pattern is extremely simple, and it can be used over any chord.
- You’re taking the same chord shape and moving it around to different parts of the neck.
- The one-fret slide can transform how you approach playing chords over the blues.
1. Friday — Funkified
This riff is almost 100% inspired by “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” which if you haven’t heard…you should listen to.
Again, this blues guitar riff uses a moveable shape that can go almost all over the neck — definitely handy to have when learning the blues in different keys!
The next component of this blues riff is the double-stops. Now, double-stops are the two notes played together. It’s punchy, bluesy, and gives the blues your playing attitude.
The last part of this riff that will help you in your guitar journey is the percussive element. This is the “dead strum” part of the riff that gives this line its mojo.
Located just outside of Missoula, Sean Kochel has been making some serious blues machines.
Now, I’d never heard of Kochel guitars until I went to the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulpher Springs, MT.
I had a chance to play some of Sean’s guitars…and, I gotta say, these are some of the most interesting guitars I’ve ever played.
Kochel builds resonators, electric guitars, cigar box guitars, and more. You can really tell that Kochel is inspired by things from an earlier time.
We’re talking salvaged barn wood, found objects, shotgun shells, bullet casings, antlers, and so much more.
In fact, Fretboard did a profile of Kochel Guitars last year. You can read the full story here.
As far as my relationship with Kochel Guitars goes, I asked Sean if he would build a lap steel guitar for me.
Without hesitation, Sean started putting together a Ford themed lap steel guitar complete with salvaged barn wood from Henry Ford’s ranch in Michigan.
To hear more about Sean’s dedication to using salvaged barn wood, be sure to check out this mini-documentary here.
In addition, please check out Kochel guitars if you’re in the market for a punchy guitar that can take on any blues guitar riffs!
Stefan Grossman — Blues Guitar Extraordinaire
For an artist that links together the past, present, and future, look no further than Stefan Grossman.
As a guitarist, historian, teacher, and guitar geek, Stefan Grossman is the real deal.
Here’s a quick clip of him playing the “Dallas Rag.”
Along with his insanely long pinky, Grossman’s technique is impressive. From the fingerpicking to the dynamic control, I can’t help but wonder and marvel at him.
Stefan Grossman also has a great song titled, lovingly, “The Assassination of John Fahey.”
Now, there are some incredible blues guitar riffs within that song!
If you want to hear more of Stefan Grossman or learn how he plays those blues guitar riffs, be sure to check out his albums and instructional material on Amazon.
To see the extensive knowledge that Stefan Grossman has on the blues and acoustic guitar in general, here’s a clip of him discussing Mississippi John Hurt and a few other blues legends.