I thought I’d throw together a list of blues tunes I consider classics. These are as much fun to play over as to listen to so I offer some tips on what part of the neck you can play the first position blues scale for each song.
Here’s a diagram of the first position blues scale for those wondering about it. This collection of notes can be moved around and built off various frets on the guitar, depending on the key of the song. The black notes on the linked diagram are the root note of the scale. So if a song is in A, you would play the scale such that the black note is on an A note (For example: 5th Fret, 5th string.) And keep in mind that you can use this scale for both a major and minor blues (examples of both below.)
BB King – Everyday I have the Blues
This is a major scale blues (as most are) in B flat. So playing the blues position off the 6th fret will work.
BB King – The Thrill is Gone
This is a minor blues in the key of B minor. You play this scale off the 7th fret.
Albert King – The Sky is Crying
A blues in C#, so use the blues scale off the 9th fret.
Susan Tedeschi – Little by Little
A great tune with great vocals and playing! In A so use the 5th fret blues scale.
Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
This isn’t technically a 12 bar blues but it’s all about the blues feel. You can use the Blues scale up around the 9th fret again.
Eric Clapton – Before You Accuse Me
A Blues in E. You can use the blues scale either down on the open strings (e.g. 0 Fret) or up around the 12 fret.
Blues in A
This is just a fun blues practice track. In the key of A so you can use the 5th fret Blues position.
Lowell Fulson – Reconsider Baby
One of my all time favorites. This is in G so you’d play the blues scale off the 3rd fret.
Bonnie Raitt – Love Me Like a Man
A great acoustic blues in E, Play off the open strings or up at the 12th fret.
Freddie King – I’m Going Down
I couldn’t compile this list without my favorite blues guitarist, Freddie King. This is in D, so you play the scale off the 10th fret.
Freddie King – Sweet Home a Chicago
Probably the most overplayed blues song of all time but a great jam along.