Blues Guitar Institute

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Finger Picking Blues Over the A7 Chord

Lesson ID: TB002

What do you love about finger picking blues?

For me, it’s because finger picking is self-sustaining. One person, one guitar.


I love playing with others, don’t get me wrong. But, sitting down with an acoustic guitar and playing music with rhythm, bass, and melody on one guitar is incredibly fulfilling.

To help you get there, I’d like to show you a bar or two that blends rhythm and melody over an A7 chord.

The A7 Chordy Lick

These two bars are part lead, part rhythm – all finger picking.  The key here is to keep your thumb going the whole time pumping out the bass line.  If you need a little practice on alternating bass lines check out this lesson:

Cracking the Piedmont Blues Picking Code – Alternating Bass

Make sure to warm up and then, dive right in to the A7 Chordy Lick.

Performance Notes

This lick uses the A7 chord shape covered in Lesson 1 of the Tuesday Blues series. I love this shape because its incredibly versatile.  It’s right in the middle of the fretboard and it has a full sound without locking into a full barre chord.

Keep in mind, that you really should be practicing this thing with a metronome. I know it’s fun to grab the guitar and go, but you have to play with a super accurate sense of rhythm.

The metronome is a mid-evil torture device, but it helps develop an incredible internal time clock.

Once you have the rhythm down, really focus on the melody. The melody of this piece – and really any finger picking piece – is what people latch on to.  It’s what you’ll hum or whistle long after you’re done playing.

So this is a little example of combining melody and rhythm shows what I love about finger picking some blues. But, I’d really like to hear from you.

What do you love most about acoustic blues?

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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