Beginners Lead Blues Guitar

Once you have mastered some Blues rhythm in a couple of keys, you will want to start adding licks. Although the overall theory behind blues music is simple, their is a relatively large amount to learn on the guitar before you can competently perform a blues solo; either covering a classic or improvising in the moment.

This lesson will guide you to what you need to learn when starting your lead blues guitar adventure; will give you tips to making your solos sound bluesy; and give you examples of blues licks.


 Before you begin playing blues licks, you should be familiar with all shapes of the Major/minor Pentatonics and the Blues scale. (Major and Natural minor would also be beneficial, but not necessary)

Although this may seem like a lot at first glance; the minor Pentatonic is the 5th shape of the Major Pentatonic and the Natural minor is the 5th shape of the Major scale. So in learning one, we essentially learn the other.

minor Blues is the most common scale for Blues music, consisting of the notes from the minor Pentatonic scale with an added ♭5.

As an additional note (passing tone) a Major 7th interval is often added to the mix, usually placed between your ♭7 and tonic.


Blues Bends!

Their are typical choices with bends in Blues music, and particular ways of performing them.

2 typical Blues bends are:

  • A quarter bend from your Major 3rd down to your Root note (or vice versa).
  • A full bend from your ♭7 to your root note (or vice versa).




As with learning any genre of music, learning from others is essential to your practice routine. With every new lick mastered, you have a new trick up your sleeve which can be molded and shaped to get the sounds you so desire.

Now, lets get down to learning our first Blues riffs!

For this lesson our licks will be in C to go over our Blues Rhythm Guitar Exercise

Example 1:


This is a very basic ascending run of the Blues scale starting on C, with an added Major 7th interval. Before learning basic lead lines, we need to make sure we can play something simple like this smoothly before adding extra complications.


Example 2:

Blues riff 2-1

This one also starts on C, descending through the intervals of the minor Blues scale. on our walk down the notes, give the minor 3rd a quarter bend (as mentioned earlier) down to your root note.


Example 3:

MeYou Blues riff 3-1

This simple pattern is pretty cool, starting on F (our 4th), we ascend to the minor 7th, jump up a string to our minor 3rd (quarter bend) down to our root note.


Example 4:


This descending jazzy/blues line starts on E♭ (minor 3rd) and walks down the octaves back to our root note.


Example 5:


When you get to the G and B string playing the 8 and 10 together, keep a firm grip on the 8 while you give the 10 a full bend up.


Okay so that ends this lesson up, if your ready for our other blues lessons, click here!

Alternatively, if you want to see all of our other Guitar lessons, click here!