Few genres of guitar music can match the universal appeal of acoustic blues. Plucked with the fingers, this timeless style is the earliest form of blues guitar. Before acoustic blues evolved in various directions (including instrumental acoustic blues), the guitar was just a convenient instrument with which to accompany yourself while you sang. Initially, the guitar style was defined by the singer’s accompaniment approach. But gradually, the guitar went from being just a rhythmic accompaniment instrument to having an equal voice—one that could more than handle the melodic duties between vocal phrases. Specifically, the guitar provided the “response” in the call-and-response vocal/guitar interplay (a musical practice that has clear links to the African music of many early blues players’ ancestors) that has forever been a defining characteristic of blues. The guitar later evolved into other roles, including that of solo instrument delivering the blues entirely instrumentally.
Jon Chappell has written many instructional books on guitar, including Blues Guitar for Dummies [Wiley Publishing].
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