The Blues

The Blues, a musical genre with deep roots, emerged in the Mississippi Delta shortly after the Civil War. It represents a rich blend of influences, including elements of African music, field hollers and spirituals. As the guitar gained popularity, the Blues underwent a transformative evolution, characterized by the call-and-response dynamic between vocal phrases and expressive guitar licks.

Blues Styles: Delta Blues, Country Blues, Memphis Blues, Texas Blues, Chicago Blues, Jump Blues, New Orleans Blues, Louisiana Blues, Modern Acoustic Blues, Modern Electric Blues, British Blues

Recommended Listening: B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, John Mayall, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Howlin Wolf, Steve Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Eric Bibb, Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Essential Blues Bassists: Willie Dixon, Russell Jackson, Johnny Gayden, James Hutchinson, Jerry Jemmott, Reggie McBride, Darryl Jones, Pino Palladino, Roscoe Beck, Tommy Shannon.

Getting the sound: You need a deep and full sound. Boost the low (+2), add some low mids if you need (+1) and get rid of that top end (-3), flatwound strings will help and use the neck pickup.

Building Blocks: The Pentatonic with the Blues scale and the Mixolydian mode are the key of blues playing.


In the early 20th century Blues chord progressions were quite varied, but by the 1930s the 12 bar become the standard. Today to be a competent Blues bassist you must know all the different progressions, substitutions and the different bass lines for each Blues style, its not a rare situation where things are changed on the spot while playing in a pro Blues gig/session, above all remember to lay down a strong foundation for the rest of the band.

12 Bars Major Blues

12 Bars Minor Blues

8 Bars Blues

Shuffle Grooves

Here some fills I transcribed from different players.


(Visited 390 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply