Watch the Robert Johnson Chord Vamps online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from Fingerstyle Blues Factory

This lick is an excercise to get you familiar with two of Johnson’s classic chord moves in the key of A - check out “Me and the Devil Blues” or “Kind Hearted Woman” to hear them in action. The first voicing, in measure one, is like an open D7 shape slid up the neck to the 8th and 9th frets, and as such is basically the same chord shape as we used for the Rolling E7 lick (at the 3rd and 4th frets). The second voicing, in measure 2, is basically just the 2nd, 3rd and 4th string of an fifth-fret, 6th-string-root A7 bar chord.[new paragraph] For more on Robert Johnson’s music and life, I highly recommend Elijah Wald’s 2004 book Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues.