In this video guitar lesson I’m going to show one way you might embellish the chords of a blues in the key of A. I call it the “Amen Blues” because as you will see shortly, this borrows an idea from the last 2 chords found in church hymns. The chords used for the 2 syllables of the word A-men.
(Video Guitar Lesson)
Blues in A Guitar Tablature
The Amen Cadence (Plagal Cadence)
So if you had a hymn in the key of A, the 2 chords that would be used for the word “Amen” would be D going to A. The IV chord going to the I chord if you know anything about music theory.
Here are all of the basic chords in the key of A. D is the chord build from the 4th degree of the major scale.
In traditional music this “amen” chord progression that used as an ending for hymns is called a plagal cadence.
In the blues this chord progression is not just used as an ending like in the case of a traditional church hymn. But can be used as an embellishment for each of the 3 major chords in the blues.
So the 3 basic major chords in a blues in the key of A would be A D E.
Now we already looked at how the D chord is the chord build from the 4th degree of the A major scale. If I was looking for the 4th chord in the key of D, that would be a G. And the 4th chord in the key of E would be an A chord.
Now we are not actually going to be switching keys. But we are going to be embellishing each of our 3 chords with what would be the 4th chord if we were switching keys.
I know that can be a little confusing. But it’s hard to give a full blown music theory lesson here, and you can really play this without fully understanding why it works. Just know that it does work.
So in the example that I played in the video guitar lesson you are just going to be going back and forth between and A and a D/A chord. That’s a D chord with an A in the bass. So that D is a again the IV chord of that A.
For the D chord you are going to be alternating between a D chord and a G/D chord. The G chord would be the IV chord if we where in the Key of D. We are still in the key of A…so it’s kind of like pretending that we are in the Key of D for a moment.
Then for the E chord you are going to alternate between E and an A/E chord. A is the IV chord in the Key of E.
Guitar Lesson Downloads
Below is a PDF file you can print out to help you practice this blues in A as well as a jam track to play along with.
(Right Click the links below and choose “Save As” or “Save Target As” or “Download Linked Files As”)
PDF Music Stand Printout
MP3 Jam Track Download
Have fun with you new Rock ‘n Roll Blues in A