3 Juicy Blues Chord Progressions to Be Prepared

When I learned my first blues progression it wasn’t something I really got excited about.

It was okay but it didn’t make me want to play it over and over again.

I would rather prefer cool or mind blowing. Later when I started adding a sprinkle of jazz to it things became more interesting.

Blues chord progressions start to change from mediocre to superb.

So why should you learn blues chord progression in the first place?

Well first off, blues chord progressions are the foundation of blues rhythm and essential for accompanying a great blues solo.

Or you could put it the other way around, where would a great lead guitar player be without some awesome accompaniment?

This is where you come in.

So now anytime you’re in front of a lead guitar player you are cool, confident and prepared because you’ve mastered these 3 juicy blues chord progressions.

Being able to play the blues is a great tool for guitar players and musicians in general to get together, jam, explore, evolve and have a great time.

I urge you to practice these chord progressions in every key through the cycle of fourths.

Experiment with playing different rhythms, different key signatures and tempos.

It’s important to learn all 3 chord progressions by heart.

You will develop a great skill you will use the rest of your musical life.

Enjoy!

MAJOR BLUES PROGRESSION

/ A7 / A7 / D9 / D9 / A7 / A7 /

/ E9 / D9 / A7 A#dim7 / Bm7 E7#9 /

Chords:
A7 =5x565x
D9 = x5455x
E9 =x7677x
A#dim7 = 6x565x
Bm7 =7×7777
E7#9 = x7678x

 

MINOR BLUES PROGRESSION:

/ Gm7 / Cm7 / Gm7 / Gm7 G#dim7 / Cm7 / Cm7 / Gm7 / Gm7 /

/ Eb9 / D7#9 / Gm7 Cm7 / Gm7 D7#9 /

Chords:
Gm7 = 3×3333
Cm7 = x3534x
G#dim7 = 4x343x
Eb9 = x6566x
D7#9 = x5456x

 

BlUES JAZZ PROGRESSION:

/ B7 / E9 / B7 / D#m7b5 / E9 / E9 /

/ B7 / D#m7b5 / C#m7 / F#9 / B7 / F#9 /

Chords:
B7 = 7x787x
E9 = x7677x
D#m7b5 = x6767x
C#m7 = 9×9999
F#9 = x9899x

 

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    29 Responses to “3 Juicy Blues Chord Progressions to Be Prepared

    • Curlybird:

      Good work, Klaus. I’ve been playing guitar for 47 years, professionally for 46 (on & off, mostly on, but sometimes a vacation is in order). I like your approach to rhythm guitar, try something different or keep a couple of progressions in your back pocket.

      Having a few progressions at the ready can open doors that will amaze you. I was backstage at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, in 1968, I think. (heh, heh) There was a guitar & practice amp available and I asked to use it.

      I started playing one of my many back pocket progressions for keeping the fingers loose and I hear some people joining in. To my lasting joy, David LaFlamme, violinist for It’s A Beautiful Day, & Carlos Santana picked up my groove and we played together for about 20 minutes.

      These things happen when you are ready and prepared, but not expecting it to occur. Music is magic and there is magic in music.

      Keep up the good work,

      BJ

    • As always on this wonderful guitar blog, your new post offer very valuable and rare teachings…Many thanks!!!
      But…
      I don’t exactly “feel” these blues progressions as essential as they are. Could you give us practical examples where they are played as it is shown here?
      Thank you very much…your site has a great impact on me and my guitar playing.
      AB

    • Man, that Gm7 is killin’ my index finger after about 5 or 6 progressions. Maybe I need some lighter strings or something. These are great though. I like the approach of learning some jazz based on the blues. Blues is more simple to understand, so it seems like a natural “progression” (pun intended) to build up to jazz from that foundation. Thanks.

    • Pat:

      Hey Clark, do you use your index on the low E or d string? The thumb on the low E always helps ease the pain.

    • Jean Pierre:

      i really appreciate all your work. i like your style of playing… but as i am a beginner i would really be glad if you could teach me/us beginers to the progressions u just showed.

      sincerely
      Jean Pierre

      from Brazil

    • Hi Jean Pierre,

      That’s a good idea. I will make up some beginners blues progressions in the near future.

      Thanks for the tip.
      Klaus

    • Hi Clark,

      For the Gm7 I use my ring finger for all four strings (D, G, B and high E string) and my middle finger for the Low E string. I automatically mute the A-string with my middle finger as well.

      It’s a bit tough in the beginning, but it’ll get better after some practice. Promise :)

      Klaus

    • Hi BJ,

      Don’t you just love the spontaneity that music brings into our lives.

      I like that “back pocket progressions” I’ll keep that in mind :)

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Best regards,
      Klaus

    • Ray:

      I think it would be cool if you could post a video “lesson” of the riffs and progressions you give. They are great, but to be able to watch would help a lot of people! Also, I’m sure you know of Joe Bonamassa. I’m kind of obsessed with him right now; his mix of blue and rock hits all the right spots. Just wanted to throw out the name. You da man!

    • Hi Alex,

      Well essential is a relative concept, but if you’re playing blues music, you can use these progressions for almost every standard blues song.

      If you listen to BB king, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and newbies like Joe Bonamassa, they all use these kind of chord progressions in many of their songs.

      Listen, try and you will see!

      Best regards,
      Klaus Crow

    • Ray:

      Joe’s only a newbie in comparison to those that were born before him, and not even always then! He plays like a legend and has for nearly 30 years now. He’s a beast!

    • Hi Ray,

      You are right. I didn’t mean to offend you or Joe. I was indeed comparing him to the ones before him, but he is no newbie indeed.

      Thanks for your comment.
      Klaus Crow

    • Ray:

      Hahaha no offense taken! I just wanted to make sure you weren’t underestimating him. :) Thanks for all your help and good advice!

    • pole:

      Hello Klaus
      So good to go for improvisation once the progressions are running on the looping device.
      More chord progressions pleeease.
      Keep going your good job!

    • Tiago:

      Hi Klaus,

      looks like i’m not the only one from Brazil reading your blog.

      Can I still use the minor pentatonic (+ blue note) to improvise on these progressions (specially the blues-jazz one)? If not, what would you recommend?

      Thanks.

    • Ale:

      Hey Klaus!

      I really like your posts, it has really helped me look playing guitar with another perspective.
      I’ve been playing for almost 6 years, and I was very young when I started playing. I got stuck though, in only learning the songs I wanted to learn.
      Now that I’m in college I’ve been getting together with some music major friends, and it has really motivated me to go a step higher, and spread my knowledge. We’ve been wanting to spread music and it’s magic through events and some open mic nights, but we would definitely need to practice more to learn how to improvise and enjoy jamming. Could you post a little bit more on improvisation!? I would really appreciate it!
      Anyways, thanks for introducing me to these cool chords!

      best,
      ale

    • Matthew:

      Hi Klaus, your website is very well thought out and informative. Thanks for everything. Ive been playing off and on for about 5 years and I have a question: I know how to read tabs, know a handful of chords, and can play a few songs. But I really want to be able to write my own music, and my knowledge of theory is not the greatest. I started reading your article on how to learn the fingerboard thoroughly. I was just wondering if you think this would be the best place to start learning? My goals are to be able to form chords and progressions throughout the neck as well as be able to improvise or write guitar solos. Thanks so much!

    • Connor S.:

      Hello Klaus! I am 15 years old right now and have been learning guitar for about 2 months and I was just wondering if you have any advice on strengthening my index finger. Will I just have to keep practicing bar(barre?) chords until I no longer have to use my middle finger to help push my index finger down, or will that just happen over time if I keep practicing?

      -Connor

    • Hi Connor,

      There’s a pretty good exercise that works quite well:

      First… Barre the the high E-string with your index finger, press firmly and hold for a count of 5.
      Then… Barre the high E-string and B-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      – Barre the high E, B and G-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      – Barre the high E, B, G and D-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      – Barre the high E, B, G D and A-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      – Barre the high E, B, G D, A and low E-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      and then go back…
      – Barre the high E, B, G D and A-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      – Barre the high E, B, G and D-string with your index finger and hold for a count of 5.
      etc.

      Besides this exercise, it takes time. Just practice your barre chords the best you can and overtime it’ll get easier and your barre’s will sound nice, smooth and crystal clear.
      They will.

      Best regards,
      Klaus Crow

    • Robert:

      I am go glad to know i can now play blues so many differten ways, cool thanks.

    • Sean:

      i like the minor thing, especially the Eb9 going to D7#9 … thanks !!!!!

    • Juan:

      Hi there! I’ve been playing guitar for just few years. I love the different rhythms. So, I’m wodering if anybody can tell me What the standard progression of blues are? I mean…. In mayor scale we have I Major IV major Vmajor VI minor etc. What is the progression in blues? major and minor… I just know 7th are very common… thanks!!!

    • zsolt:

      The first major progression is 10 bar long, which is not unheard of but quite rare. How would you develop it into a 12 bar blues?

    • Zsolt:

      @Juan: I7,I7,I7,I7,IV7,IV7,I7,I7,V7,IV7,I7,V7 is perhaps considered standard. Robert Johnson’s Sweet Home Chichago is an example of this. However, you can find almost all possible combination of the last four bars and still called standard.

    • Josh:

      @Zsolt. I thought the same thing, but it seems to work pretty well just by adding /A7/D9 at the beginning, it rounds it out to 12 bars and feels more like a typical 12 bar blues.

    • Glenn:

      Hi,
      Can you please tell me/us why the A#dim7 chords works from the first example?

      A7 A#dim7 / Bm7 E7#9 /

      Thanks

    • Nalin:

      I want to know a definate guide for chord selections…where to put 7th dimished 7th major 7th minor? i think as blues scale is pentatonic + blue note its chord progression develops from major/minor scale only but with a slight variation of the chords,will be super cool if you can throw a bit of light on that..:) apart from that you play quite well…how long have ya played??

    • Jim Cinnater:

      Klaus:

      Sehr gut! Two things: You’ve interjected jazz and even some funk into “typical” blues which makes this stand out beyond the ordinary and….here at least you’ve done this on acoustic! I’ll check your site out more carefully but do you have (or even plan to have) any complete courses on acoustic blues…especially with some Delta or even Chicago flavor??

      I shall consider your licks course although (as noted above) I’ve been recently much more inclined to learn acoustic blues. Nice Laravee as well!!

      Jim

    • Philip:

      Hey man,

      Just wanted to say that your site is really helping me out finding new energy to start exploring the guitar more.
      I was looking for some nice chord progressions and these are just amazing.
      Really got my guitar sweating again.
      Thanks a lot!

      Btw. Is there any way of an easy way of understanding the theory of making these progressions, I would like to try it aswell.

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