TrueFire's Guitar Blog

5 Insightful Blues Rhythm Guitar Performance Studies

These 12 free guitar lessons are from Corey Congilio’s Blues Guitar Fakebook: Rhythm, in this course you’ll play through 30 rhythm guitar studies and learn the chords, rhythm patterns, fills, and comping approaches for the blues progressions and rhythm parts found in the most popular blues standards.

Each rhythm guitar study is also charted with chord grids illustrating the exact chords that Corey plays throughout the study. Reference the charts and play along with Corey to expand your chord vocabulary and develop your comping skills. You can also use the playalongs to practice improvising solos over these popular blues progressions.

1a. Cuttin’ Wood

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I always love a good blues rhumba, and “Cuttin’ Wood” is a rhumba based on the song “Crosscut Saw”. Albert King is famous for this tune and it’s been covered by just about every blues artist you can name. This is a fun example because the two choruses are totally different. In the first chorus, I mimic the piano part in the original recording, then I create something a little more “guitaristic” in the second. Have fun!

1b. Cuttin’ Wood (Breakdown)

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I really like these ideas that I’ve played for this tune. I’ve played this song hundreds of times, and I’ve probably played it differently every time. Feel free to do the same. That’s what a fakebook is all about…take the roadmap and go!

2a. Just Won’t Work

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“Just Won’t Work” is an up tempo blues based on the song “I Got My Mojo Workin'”. These up tempo versions can be heard by Muddy Waters and even The Paul Butterfield Blues Band with Mike Bloomfield on guitar. This is a fun one because the first chorus consists of a guitar line mimicking the melody.

For the next 12 bars, we do one of my favorite moves, which is using two note chords to comp the rhythm. This one is fast so take your time with all the pieces before moving on. Have fun!

2b. Just Won’t Work (Breakdown)

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Don’t worry about getting too tricky with this one as the up tempo nature can be daunting enough. I think the small chord inversions lends itself well to this type of speed, but as always, experiment with your own voicings.

3a. Rainy Weekday

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Perhaps the most famous slow blues song of all time is “Stormy Monday”. “Rainy Weekday” takes its changes from the T-Bone Walker version and the Allman Bros Band version. I put these two together because you’ll most likely hear these versions on blues gigs. Spend a good amount of time on the back half of this progression as there are some changes you may not be as familiar with. This is a staple of all blues setlists, so learn this ASAP!

3b. Rainy Weekday (Breakdown)

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It’s a good idea to consult with the band about what version of this song you’re going to play. I wouldn’t just spring the Allman Bros changes on them without chatting about it first!

4a. Shoulda Quit You

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“Shoulda Quit You” comes from the tune “Killing Floor”. The first part is close to what you’d hear on a Howlin’ Wolf or Albert King version. The second pass is a twist on the first part using small two note chords. I like this tune because it’s using more major ideas and not 7ths. This one is super fun and a great song to call out on the jam.

4b. Shoulda Quit You (Breakdown)

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Pay attention to my right hand on this one. You’ll really wanna make sure you’re playing this strum accurately as it will really help the part flow.

5a. Call It What You Want

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“Call It What You Want” is from one of my favorite songs, “Messin’ with the Kid”. I love Junior Wells’ version, but you can even hear the original Blues Brothers covering this one!

5b. Call It What You Want (Breakdown)

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I want to reiterate the point about playing the signature lick all over the neck. This riff is fun to play and it really works for a nice ending to your solos. You never know where you’ll end up on the guitar during a solo, so make sure that you’re ready to pull off this lick at a moment’s notice.

Dig these Blues Guitar Fakebook: Rhythm guitar lessons? Download Corey Congilio’s Blues Guitar Fakebook: Rhythm for much more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!