Learn the essentials of 12-bar acoustic blues

Eric Clapton
(Image credit: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Now and again, it’s good to put electric guitars and their associated paraphernalia aside and sit down with an acoustic to make some music. But keeping the rhythmic and melodic interest happening as a solo performer is a very different proposition to playing in the context of a band or, come to think of it, even a duo. 

I have unapologetically gone for E, the easiest key to execute these ideas, though it could be argued that I’m also following in the footsteps of the greats and playing to the strengths of the acoustic guitar! Of course, it’s perfectly possible to play in other keys while keeping lots of open strings by using a capo, but you do lose a bit of resonance that way. If anything, many prefer tuning down. 

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Richard Barrett

As well as a longtime contributor to Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, Richard is Tony Hadley’s longstanding guitarist, and has worked with everyone from Roger Daltrey to Ronan Keating.