7 Blues Guitar Intros, Turnarounds & Endings You MUST Know!

7 Blues Guitar Intros, Turnarounds & Endings You MUST Know!

In these free guitar lessons taken from David Hamburger’s 30 Blues Intros, Turnarounds & Endings, David will take you through a series of intros, turnarounds and endings that can be used over many different types of blues jams – whether it be a shuffle, boogaloo, slow blues, jazz blues, etc. These licks will help you take the leap from jamming along with the blues to developing actual songs and sound good doing it! Let’s take a look:

Open Minded – Shuffle Turn

We’re in the open position, where we kick off this turnaround move with a unison slide to a B at the start of measure one. The double stop at the end of the same measure leads you headlong into measure 2 by anticipating the A7 chord the rhythm section is about to hit. There’s a Charlie Christian-esque vibe to the way the descending lick that follows spells out the A chord, and the blues licks in measures 2 and 4 are an open-string version of the conclusion to Shuffle Intro 2 above.

Meade Lux Deluxe – Shuffle Ending

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this blues lick on TrueFire.

This is an adaptation of the classic A9 move from William Brown’s 1942 “Mississippi Blues”. In its original context, it’s played on the I chord as part of a fingerstyle arrangement in A. Here, we’ve got a more flexible electric guitar version of the same idea, transposed through all three chords of a turnaround in E.

All the Hits – Boogaloo Intro

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this blues lick on TrueFire.

You could drop this stop-time intro into the first four bars of the blues form. The spare, three-note Freddie Green-style voicings for the half-stepping chord hits are answered by pentatonic licks with half-step bends to the b5, which themselves have a call-and-response pattern which culminates in the double-stop bend lick in measure 4. From here, you could roll right into the IV chord, or measure 5 of the blues.

Double-Time – Boogaloo Ending

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this blues lick on TrueFire.

For this ending, we’re combining the Buddy Guy single-note boogaloo move (the front half of measures 1 & 2) with the “Killin’ Floor” chromatic climb (the back half of measures 1 & 2) and taking the whole thing into double-time overdrive for the extended two-measure conclusion in measures 3 and 4. Watch out for the quick jump from third to first position and back again on the last three notes of measure 4!

You Say Diminish, I say Demolish – Slow Blues Ending

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this blues lick on TrueFire.

For this ending, we’re sneaking a little squared-off, sixteenth-note double time into the slow blues groove. While we’re at it, we’re using that double time to spell out a bit of the dread diminished sound, using it as a passing chord from IV back to I (D to D#º to A7). That’s all bookended by basic minor pentatonic licks, to keep things from getting too uncontrollably jazzy.

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this blues lick on TrueFire.

This turnaround combines single-note phrases with root-targeting and chord fragments, with some raked double-time thrown in for good measure. For that first Gmin voicing at the top of bar 1, yes, grab one note per finger and give the whole chord some vibrato. With a little practice, you’ll be saying “Bigsby? Bigsby who?”

Toronto Tele – Jazz Blues Turn

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this blues lick on TrueFire.

The first half of this lick feels like a Kenny Burrell type of move, both the compact chord voicings (and the semi-suspended sound of the ii chord) and rapid, syncopated strumming of same. The back half comes straight out of Ed Bickert, the tele-wielding Canadian jazz master. These voicings are an essential part of his sound, and make great blues chords when you want to pack a lot of color into just a few strings.


If you’re looking for more ways to get from point A to point B in a blues, there are 23 more intros, turnarounds & endings to learn in the full version of the course. You’ll also get all the tab, notation and jam tracks for each video guitar lesson, with the ability to slow it down and work with it at your own pace. Check it out now!