Originating in the South of the United States in the late 19th century, blues music is often thought to be spiritual and filled with emotion. Learn how to capture the depth and feeling of blues guitar by trying out free tabs of some of the genre's most-loved tunes.
Where to Find Free Blues Guitar Tabs
Tab sites vary in quality, so try a few to see which formats you're most comfortable with.
- Ultimate Guitar features tabs by many blues artists like T Bone Walker and Albert King, though you'll have to search the site by song or artist to be able to find them. With no way to browse by genre, the site can be difficult to navigate unless you know exactly what you're looking for.
- The Blues Brothers aren't exactly traditional, but they are fairly popular. If you're interested in trying some of their songs visit tTabs.com.
- Guitar Alliance offers lessons and more, but they also have a nice collection of blues tabs. You'll need to register at the site to use their materials but registration is free. To get to the tabs for blues songs, click on the post title then scroll down to the bottom of the post to find the link to a downloadable .pdf.
- Blues-Tabs.net is a bit amateurish in design, but the site contains a good collection of tabs for blues enthusiasts. All tabs are created by users as their own interpretations of the songs, so there may be some discrepancies in quality throughout the site.
What Is Commonly Found In Blues Songs?
Blues music is generally acknowledged as the precursor for jazz and rock music. It also has certain similarities to bluegrass. As a result, many musical elements that are the foundations of blues may sound familiar.
These musical elements include:
- Twelve bar chord progressions
- Repeated patterns
- Blue notes (a note that is played higher or lower than it should be for a given scale). These notes are also sometimes called bent.
- Minor seven chords
- Call and response patterns (where a pattern is played out and another pattern of notes or chords answers it)
- Bluegrass repetition patterns
- The third, fifth and seventh notes in a scale progression are played flat
In looking through free blues guitar tabs, remember that you are likely to come across these musical elements in tabs for other genres of music. You can brush up on these types of elements on sites like Bluesforpeace. The site shows common types of blue guitar licks and tricks for mastering them. There is even a section featuring tabs by artist such as Joe Bonamassa, Allman Brothers, Kenny Burrell, Paul Gilbert and other established blues artists.
Another site for learning elements of blues guitar tabs is Torvund.net. The site has numerous blues guitar lessons and even features numerous tabs for the aspiring blues guitarist.
Popular Blues Artists to Check Out
- Muddy Waters
- Julia Lee
- Otis Rush
- Gus Canon
- Billie Holiday
- Ray Charles
- Big Joe Turner
- Ma Rainey
- Blind Blake
- Leory Carr
- Slippie Wallace
- WC Handy
- Son House
- Little Walter
- Buddy Guy
Music With Feeling
Since blues music has had an impact on most other styles, many people feel attracted to this sound. The emotional element in blues music also makes it easier for fans to relate to the style on an emotional level. Blues guitar is perhaps one of the most creative and enjoyable styles of music to play. Along with jazz, the style involves a certain amount of knowledge mixed with invention. Keep apprised of the basics, and blues guitar licks will come easily to you.