Blues Guitar Institute

Add Life to Your Acoustic Blues Rhythms

The blues is the groove.


Whether you’re into acoustic, electric or whether you favor a particular style of blues, one of the basic tenets of the blues is it’s driving rhythm. The groove.

As guitarists, we like to skip over learning rhythm parts and jump right into the solos. The flashy stuff.  It’s hard to resist a nice bluesy lick.

Ok, so really it can’t be resisted and I get that.  But today I want to spend a little bit of time talking a bit about an acoustic rhythm technique that I use a ton in my blues.

The Brush Up Technique.

Add Some Groove with the Brush-Up Technique

I’ve talked about the brush up technique before, but I use this so frequently and I hear it in many of my favorite tunes that I think it deserves a deeper look.

In this lesson we’re going to work on putting the brush-up to work in a nice fingerstyle shuffle rhythm. We’ll combine the thumb downstrokes with some well-placed index finger upstrokes to create a full and driving shuffle groove.

Using the Brush Up Rhythm

The brush-up technique really helps me to get this classic acoustic blues rhythm to swing. I find that when I’m in this mode, my playing is very laid back and relaxed…like me 🙂  Sometimes you’ve just got to relax and let things come to you.

To sum things up, keep these three things in mind when you’re using this technique:

  1. The thumb handles the down strokes
  2. The index takes all the upstrokes
  3. Relax!

That’s it!

So, if you’re stuck in a rut rhythmically, give this a shot.  And if you have a friend that could use a little help adding some life to his or her rhythm playing, please be a good friend and share this lesson with them!

When you are ready, there are two ways I can help you:

Back Porch Blues Course:  A proven system to fingerpicking the blues.  This step-by-step course guides you through building fundamental fingerpicking skills.  Plus, you’ll learn three levels of a delta blues style performance study to put your new skills into action.

Become a myBGI Member: Membership comes with access to Back Porch Blues plus over 70 step-by-step courses.  Get proven results with one of myBGI’s structured Roadmaps.

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