Blues Guitar Rhythm Lesson 3: Riffs

How To Play Blues Rhythm Guitar Part 3: Riffs

This next rhythm technique is similar to the shuffle, but instead of moving around a harmonic pattern, we will moving around a riff.  There are countless blues riffs available and many hit rock songs are based around applying a riff to a twelve-bar blues pattern (Sunshine Of Your Love and Daytripper for example).  To match the shuffle idea we just used, we will use a riff with a perfect fifth and major sixth, while adding the minor/major3rd toggle for which the blues is famous:  

If we apply this to the first four bars of a twelve-bar blues in A, we get: 

Just like we did with the blues shuffle, we can play the riff over the IV7 by moving it to the fifth fret of the A string, giving us the following figure for the middle four measures:

Finally, we can play the example riff over the V7 chord (E7) by starting it on the seventh fret of the A string: 

Thus, the whole twelve-bar blues in A looks like this:

Just like the previous two examples, we should construct a twelve-bar blues using this riff in at least five different keys to truly get the concept down.