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.