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[by Zack Roberts] The blues is a kind of music that can be vocal, instrumental (blues guitar) or both. It applies the 'blue' notes which are established on a 'minor pentatonic' scale almost all the time, otherwise accepted as the blues scale.

Blues music was deducted from the African-American communities in the U.S. out of job songs, spiritual songs, field hollers, chants, shouts and elementary ballads that rhymed. A lot of aspects of the blues are indicitive of African roots

The call-and-response aspect of the music came straight from African origins and there were a lot of lines that would get duplicated three times or more. This later developed into a line repeating twice and then on the third time around there would be an 'answer line.' You will be able to still discover these characteristics of early blues in modern day music, especially hip-hop.

The term 'The Blues' refers to the 'blue devils' which means down spirits or unhappiness.

The blues guitar brings an essential role in blues music as well as contemporary music. It has influenced Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Bluegrass and even heavy rock genres The original blues of the early 1900's, otherwise known as "poor man's blues" was commonly affiliated with hard times, oppression from white folk, ruthlessness of the police, gambling, economic depression, floods, magic, farming and dry periods. This music was fueled by a lot of grief and depression. Usually a lost loved one or an overall harsh environment invigorated the lyrics and the tone of the blues guitar.

After the world war, you began to see blues songs that were about family relationships and sexual activity. Also, wit was expanded to the mix. Here is a funny example:

"That must be your woman, cause mine don't look like that... I said That must be your woman, cause mine don't look like that... Have you seen my baby? She's so big and fat..."

The blues guitar style came forth from the American South's instruments of the time which were the banjo and the Diddley Bow. This was a home made one stringed instrument that was best-selling in the early 20th century. Figures such as Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Son House and Blind Willie McTell were a part of the delta blues style which used a lot of finger picking proficiencies and slide guitar innovations.

Eventually, after WWII 'electric blues' became more and more popular where the blues guitar was played on electric guitars as were the bass guitars. This was most prevalent in the Chicago area.

The history of blues guitar and poor man's blues is rich with culture and chronicles of good times and bad. I could go on for days about the history of the blues guitar but let's make this part 1 so you don't fall asleep on me!

More Information:

Do you want to learn how to play blues? We have tons of lessons on blues chords in e and many more. With videos, articles and backing tracks to go along too!


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