Playing the blues is all about getting a feel for the shuffle, learning the basic structure, and mastering those chord transitions. Even though you may have just started playing guitar, we’re going to introduce a new topic for you: the blues bassline.
Now, a lot of acoustic guitar players are going to say, “Woah, slow down, Tony! I just started playing!”
Fortunately, playing a blues bassline on guitar isn’t insanely hard. In fact, it will give you a strong foundation in fretting position, finger position, posture, learning string names, holding the pick, and learning to read tabs.
If you’re looking for more lessons on how to play the blues, be sure to check out Tony’s Acoustic Challenge. Whether you’ve never touched a guitar or you’re shaking off some rust, it will get you having fun while you build your guitar skills every day.
Originally published on March 22, 2019, this article was republished on September 14, 2022.
Guitar Bass Lines for Beginners
Because we are looking at guitar bass lines through the lens of the blues, we already know the chords, which strings you’ll be playing, and the general blues shuffle feel.
Adding a bass line that you can play on your guitar will help enhance your understanding of the fretboard while developing your technique and dexterity.
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Learning a blues guitar bass line will also teach you a little bit about reading tabs and how those tabs relate to the chords you play.
For example, the tablature will tell you to play the 5th and 7th frets. Those notes are either the root, the 5th scale degree, the 7th scale degree, or the octave. This will help open up your ear to how different notes and scale degrees sound against guitar chords.
Learning a blues guitar bass line will also help develop your understanding of the blues shuffle rhythm.
As you listen to the bassline being played, you’ll notice it’s not just quarter notes being played — although, quarter notes will work just fine. Instead, the shuffle rhythm is implied while playing the guitar bass line.
Once you combine this with a backing track or alongside another guitar player, you’ll be able to lock into the blues shuffle rhythm with greater confidence and bravado!
While some of the lessons are free, you can access different speeds of the videos and even more backing tracks when you sign up for Tony’s Acoustic Challenge. Curated and developed by Tony Polecastro, this course is designed to help acoustic guitar players of all levels of experience.
When you access Tony’s Acoustic Challenge, you’ll find even more videos and tablature that you can download and print.
Watch the FREE guitar class to learn the three things that will help build a life of consistent guitar playing in just 10 minutes a day.