Blues Guitar Institute

Play Video

Dropped D Blues Groove

Lesson ID: TB049

If you’re outside your comfort zone, you’re growing.

In my playing, the key of E is definitely a comfort zone. I have practiced scales in E incessantly, learned as many finger picking blues tunes as I can in E and I improvise much better in E.  It’s a little safe.

I’m not certain if there are more great blues tunes in E or if I simply gravitate to them since I am at home in E.  Chicken or the egg thing, I suppose.

I’ve been on a mission in the last few years to become as comfortable in the other popular blues keys (A, D, G and C) to help round out my playing.

For this lesson, we’ll take a look at a little groove solidly in D.

Dropped D Blues Groove

As a finger picker, I rely heavily on the open E string and A string to provide the low end thump. You can’t easily do that in all keys since those notes aren’t naturally in every key.  While the A note is in the key of D and does make for a nice thump, another option is to detune your 6th string a full step from E to D.

This way, you have a nice low D note perfectly suited for pumping out the bass line.

It’s called dropped D and it’s a finger picker’s delight.

Here’s a cool little video on how to tune to dropped D:

Once you’re there, that low droning D ringing in the bass register just begs for some sweet blues.  This lesson is a high octane chugging groove that makes heavy use of the dropped D note and will challenge your rhythm skills.

Grab the TAB for this one and start out slowly with a metronome or backing track and build to the stompin’ tempo that you see in the lesson and just with the recent Open G groove, get your body into it!

I can’t stress that enough, it is nearly impossible to play in time if you don’t tap your foot (stomp in my case), bob your head or something. Get into it!

Expand Your Comfort Zone

A great way to grow on the guitar is to practice outside of your comfort zone. Maybe your comfort zone is strumming G, C and D chords, the blues shuffle in E or maybe its even Piedmont Blues in C.  Whatever your comfort zone, work to expand it.  You’ll become a more confident player and that’s worth the effort and frustration of branching out into new territory.

Good luck with this lesson!

Play On!

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.

Subscribe to Tuesday Blues​

Join 14,000 Tuesday Blues subscribers for weekly lessons.  You’ll get strategies, tips and tutorials to help you play better blues guitar.

    Hey, Before You Go...


    Unlock the fretboard so you can play great blues guitar.