Blues for WCET Guitars

An introduction to the Blues

What is The Blues?

The Blues is a type of musical style which was started in the Southern states of America around the 1870s by African-Americans.

Over the years the Blues style grew and developed and spread through all America and Europe. You can hear the Blues style in a lot of other types of music like, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and also Rock and Roll.

Click on the next slide to these three examples of the Blues through the ages.

Robert Johnson 1936

John Lee Hooker 1969

Eric Clapton 2011

Where did it come from?

Africans brought their music with them when they were captured and transported to work as slaves in the North American colonies.

They had to work in the fields and began to sing songs to the beat of the task being done. These were called work songs. They used call and response in which phrases from a lead singer were followed by the other singers, just like we do our copy backs in class.

African music combined with the folk music of the white European settlers to produce new styles of music.

Early types of African American music included spirituals (religious songs using vocal harmony) and work songs.

In your guitar books you will find the song ‘Raise your voices high’. This is a Blues song that we are going to learn.

Listen to the song and the guitar solo that you will play


Watch the video below to learn the guitar part.

Putting together the whole piece

How you gonna sing your song? Raise your voices high!

How you gonna sing your song? Raise your voices high!

How you gonna sing your song? 

Sing out loud and sing out strong

How you gonna sing your song? Raise your voices high!

With some note help


A very important part of the Blues is called improvising. This is when the guitar player starts to make up the tunes as they go along.

Listen to famous guitar and Blues players B.B. King and John Mayer improvise.

We are going to learn to improvise. You will be making up your own patterns using certain notes that ’fit’ well.

Notes that work well are the open strings E, B and G as well as high G and ‘yellow spot’ D.

Listen to the next extract and have a go at improvising:

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