Watch the C Minor Blues online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Rhythm Revolution
There are a few ways to play C minor blues and I chose to go the most basic route here which was very instinctual on my part because it feels good when you play something so basic, so simple. It feels good and as a minor blues there’s a lot of open territory harmonically. It's enticing, it wants you to go to a lot of different places and in fact we did go to a lot of different places. It begins simply with a minor triad, a very basic one, C minor. Minor third in the root. You can use your fingers which I did a lot of in this example. I’m just playing those real simple triads, for c minor, and I'm playing them with my fingers. People ask me about my technique and how I decide which finger to use but I simply tell them that I hit the string with the finger that's closest to it, it's just very natural. So there's my C minor and my F minor. It would be a good idea to play a great rhythm like this. This is something I do often, C minor voicing, you want to hear the chords. Whichever note you're playing on top is special, meaning it's intentional and wants to go somewhere. I use this for a minor chord voicing - a flat triad over F is F minor 7 so I play to the F minor which acts as my theme so my theme works well when playing other chords. The one I'm playing right now I'm sure a lot of people would know. I used the same voicing on F as the G minor. I keep gravitating toward that voicing because it's so solid and earthy and even with the minor third in the root, the bass is playing on the C. Another chord voicing I use a lot especially in a minor blues - tonic fourth, seventh major third, these are called fourths. You go up a fourth, and continue stacking fourths. C minor 4, C minor sus. Sus always means suspended fourth, so whenever you see that you play a C with a fourth instead of a third. My favorite minor chord voicing, C minor, minor third, six nine, there’s the fifth and the tonic, C minor six nine, you can move it up a half step, now major third thing, C raised nine, raised five, tonic is on top. Don't be afraid to step out, if things are remaining pretty basic, don’t be afraid to jump out there. That's how interaction happens - somebody has to step forward and do something and people will react. Their energy will go up, you have inspired them, and then they’ll be tempted to play something and you’ll step back because someone else is stepping forward, and this is how musicians interact. The instruments seem to be playing off of each other, and you are saying something while you're playing. You're expressing something, you're not just performing a function. It's one of the pitfalls that musicians doing solely studio work, or working as an accompanist for someone that makes them perform a role or function instead of playing music that inspires.