Watch the Shufflin' Fool online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Play Blues Guitar 4: Rhythm Approaches
Shufflin' Fool - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Robben Ford and is sourced from Rhythm Revolution.
I'm very fond of finding blues that I like, not your typical standard 12 bar blues progression, in fact I almost always never play those. However, when I do, it has to be something that I really like because I'm always looking to expand the music. But this particular progression is just a joy. So here we have a blues bar with a bridge. I begin with playing this basic and it's very convenient here having the open strings. We've got the open low A, open D. Bass players should never do this, it takes away some of the swing. I enjoy staying on the root chord. Then it's the bridge, still keeping that same rhythm. After we've played one full chorus, open it up and the drummer goes to a right cymbal. I'm keeping the chord voicings tight and close. This creates consistency. Now I didn't play the walk up in this particular performance but that is something you could do. You can walk up to the bridge. This is now the same thing because here we just don't have the luxury of the open strings. A seven, then the four chords. Then when you go to the fourth chord you have that minor voice thing. Now I've taken my voicings higher and it's later in the song so you don't want to remain stagnant. You want to move forward. Then there's the altered five chord we can put in there - E raised nine, raised five with the root on top. These are the things I've been told that made my style so distinct. I'm playing basic Chicago blues but every now and then I throw something in there to spice it up, and it's different and they feel something different. But I'm not demanding the audience to listen to me. Rather I am just inviting them along for the ride and then I surprise them with something that is exciting, energetic, and takes you on a journey. You are not just impressing them with your brilliance, you're taking them for a ride. So that is a very basic 8 bar blues with a bridge but it's got that upbeat swinging feeling to it. I've shown you a few different ways to approach the chord progression and then a way to build into it.