Blues Guitar Institute

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How to Use Triplets in Blues

Lesson ID: TB006

Triplets are the most important thing to learn if you want to play some sweet blues.

OK, maybe I’m overstating my case a bit, but trust me these little guys are incredibly useful. I find myself using triplets in nearly every tune I play or lick I write.

So, what are triplets you ask? It would be nice if triplets were some sort of special guitar gadget that made you a blues master shortly after purchasing one…or three. But, no that’s not it. Brace yourself though, because to talk triplets we have to talk theory.

The (Brief) Music Theory Behind Triplets

Triplets have to do with when you play notes. Think timing.

Basically a triplet is a subdivision of the main beat. For purposes of this lesson, each quarter note beat (counted 1 -2 -3 – 4) will now get three beats instead of just one. Count this out like this:

1 – trip – let – 2 – trip – let – 3 – trip – let – 4 – trip – let

The theory on triplets gets a little muddy as you get much beyond this. But, as I’ve said in the past, I learn just enough theory to make me play better. So, we’ll cap this triplet talk here.

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