10 Free Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Lessons

10 Free Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Lessons

Fingerstyle Blues Handbook introduces you to “steady bass,” the key technique in many contemporary and classic blues styles. You will learn how to quickly achieve finger and thumb independence so you can play chords and solos with your fingers while your thumb maintains the groove.

Check out this selection of lessons from David Hamburger’s Fingerstyle Blues Handbook, and quickly achieve finger and thumb independence.

Lesson 1: Overview

The position of your right hand over the strings can make a big difference in the kind of strength and volume you’re able to pick the strings with. Also, when you get your thumb out in front of your fingers, closer to the fingerboard, it makes it easier to do palm muting. Palm muting means resting the thumb side of your palm on the bass strings, right where the strings meet the bridge. It gives your bass notes a dry, thumpy sound while leaving the high strings free to ring out.

Lesson 1: Performance & Breakdown

Click to download tab & notation for this fingerstyle blues lesson.

Lesson 2: Overview

When you’re picking three strings at a time with your fingers, check to make sure all three strings are ringing out at about the same volume. It’s easy for the middle string of the three – in this case, the second string, which you’re picking with your middle finger – to get lost in the shuffle. Try picking just the second and first string, then just the second and third string. Then add back in the first string to pick all three, and listen for the sound of the second string in the mix.

Lesson 2: Performance & Breakdown

Click to download tab & notation for this fingerstyle blues lesson.

Lesson 3: Overview

Throughout these lessons, we’re assigning a specific picking finger to each string: index for the third string, middle for the second string, ring for the first string. If you’re playing a three-note chord on top, as in lesson 2, you have to do this, but it’s a good idea even when you’re picking single notes on top, as this lesson. Having a specific finger playing each string simplifies your right hand choices and your fingers’ muscle memory becomes part of how you memorize each tune.

Lesson 3: Performance & Breakdown

Click to download tab & notation for this fingerstyle blues lesson.

Lesson 4: Overview

The first three lessons have been in what guitarists call open position, meaning that we’ve been playing just open strings, plus notes played on the first four frets of the guitar. For this lesson, we’re in third position, which means you play the notes at the third fret with your index finger, the notes at the fourth fret with your middle finger, the notes at the fifth fret with your ring finger, and so on.

Lesson 4: Performance & Breakdown

Click to download tab & notation for this fingerstyle blues lesson.

Lesson 5: Overview

In this tune, your left hand moves back and forth between third and open position, changing position with each phrase. Knowing which left hand finger you’re going to use for the first note of each phrase can really help you make those changes quickly and accurately. For the open position phrases, think of it as first position: use your index finger for any notes at the first fret, middle finger for notes at the second fret, and ring for notes at the third fret.

Lesson 5: Performance & Breakdown

Click to download tab & notation for this fingerstyle blues lesson.

Along with these lessons, the full course offers key learnings like: single note and double stop blues licks, blues chord voicings, descending bass lines and vamps, and how to play eight, twelve and sixteen bar blues in the keys of E, A, D, A minor and E minor. Each of the 20 tunes will provide your technique work musical context. Check it out on TrueFire!