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Blues Guitar Institute

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How to Make Your D Chord Sound Bluesy

Lesson ID: TB009

Have you ever wondered how to make your D chord sound bluesy?

For some reason, I always felt like I couldn’t do much with the D chord when it came up.  I could power through it by relying on the tried and true shuffle pattern, but after a while you need a little more.

Fortunately, Keb’ Mo’ taught me a different way to look at the D chord (he has no idea he did this, by the way). In blues, we need to stick to the dominant seventh chords. That part made sense to me, but here’s what blew my mind.

Instead of making the 4th string (the D String) the lowest note in the chord, play the F# note on the 6th string.

Keb’ does this in Perpetual Blues Machine, if you want to hear this in action.

Thank you Mr. Mo’.

How to Make Your D Chord Sound Bluesy

This lesson takes what I learned from listening to Keb’ and tweaks it slightly. Instead of playing the bass note on the 6th string with your middle finger, I show you how to play that note with your thumb. This is actually quite a common way to play the D7 chord in acoustic blues.

Even though this might be a little awkward to play at first, I really want to encourage you to play the chord with your thumb handling the bass note. The reason is simple. It leaves the rest of your fingers free to move around when you fret the chord using your thumb.

Check out the video for a closer look at how to play the D7 chord in this manner.  Plus, I’ll show you a quick little melody over the D7 chord that fits quite nicely with the A7 Chordy Lick from Tuesday Blues Lesson #002.

Click here to check out Tuesday Blues Lesson #002 – The A7 Chordy Lick

What Next?

If you join together the A7 Chordy Lick from Lesson #002 with this little melody over the D7 chord, you are two-thirds of the way toward a cool sounding 12 bar blues in A. The only thing missing is the E7 chord.

We’ll cover that next, so stay tuned!

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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