5 Simple Steps To Creating Fingerstyle Blues Arrangements On Acoustic Guitar

by Simon Candy 


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Tutorial ImageIn this video lesson, I am going to show you how to fingerpick the blues on your guitar in 5 simple steps.

This fingerstyle blues approach will have you playing both the accompaniment and melody parts to a blues song on one guitar.

A very satisfying thing you can do as a fingerpicker is to fingerpick your way through a blues on guitar, playing chorus after chorus without needing anyone else to play along with you. It sounds great and people love it!

Today, I am going to walk your through one way of fingerpicking the blues on your guitar that involves the constant pedalling or plucking of a lower open string with your thumb, while your fingers play riffs and melodies on the higher strings.

The lower open string you are plucking will be implying a chord of some sort, providing the accompaniment for the riffs and melodies your fingers will be playing on the higher strings. It really is quite a simple approach, yet the result is a full blown fingerstyle blues arrangement.

Sometimes it’s what you don’t play that makes what you do play sound great.

Check out the video below to learn how: 



Fingerpicking Blues Guitar Lesson Content

Step 1: Pentatonic Scale

Here is the pentatonic scale you will be using to create your fingerstyle blues arrangement:


Fingerstyle Blues Pentatonic Scale Pattern


Step 2: Low Open String

Next, add the low open E string to each note of the pentatonic scale:


Fingerstyle Blues Pentatonic With Low E String


Step 3: Swinging 8th Note Rhythm

Now it's time to get some separation between the notes of the scale and the low open E string. We do this by applying a swinging 8th note rhythm to the low E string while maintaining a quarter note rhythm for the notes of the scale:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Em Pentatonic With 8th Note Drone


Step 4: Blues Riff/Melody

Now it's time to come up with some blues riffs and melodies to play aginst the swinging 8th note rhythm of the low open E string.

Here is one such riff:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Em Riff 1 

And here it with the low Open E string:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 1 E7 Drone


The open E string implies the E7 chord of our blues.

To imply the A7 chord, the next chord in an E Blues, we can play the same riff against the drone of the low open A string:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 1 A7 Drone


Now we can imply the E7 and A7 chords with our riff, we can arrange it to cover the first 8 bars of a blues in E:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 1 8 Bar


Here is the process repeated with another blues riff:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 2


With the low Open E string:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 2 E7 Drone


With the low Open A string:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 2 A7 Drone


And here is the first 8 bars of a blues In E using this riff :


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Riff 2 8 Bar


Step 5: The B7 Chord

The last step is to address bars 9 - 12 of a blues in E which includes the B7 chord. Here we will use the open B7 chord, pedalling the root note while playing a melody on top, followed by the A7 and E7 chords:


Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Last 4 Bars 

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar Arrangement

The following is an example of putting everything together into one chorus of a 12 bar blues in E. I have used a combination of eahc of the blues riffs from above in this arrangement:


Fingerpicking Blues Guitar Arrangement Example 

Learn how to create your own fingerpicking blues songs on acoustic guitar