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Guitar skills: Start playing Texas blues with this 10-minute lesson

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Guitar skills (opens in new tab): Generally a high-energy style delivered with overdriven guitar tones, Texas blues grew out of the Lone Star State but is played all over the world today.

What you need to know

Key: Texas-style blues is often played in the key of E so that open strings can easily be mixed in with riffs you play. Check out Stevie Ray Vaughan Pride And Joy.

Tone:  Use a medium overdrive tone on your amp and select an 'in-between' single-coil pickup position on a Fender Stratocaster for a dirty but clear SRV-type tone. 

Tip: Get to know the E Minor pentatonic scale in the open position really well and try using some hammer-ons and pull-offs as an alternative to picking every note. 

Three key players to hear

1. Stevie Ray Vaughan 


2. Johnny Winter 


3. Kenny Wayne Shepherd 


The E Minor pentatonic scale 

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)
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This style of riff is played in a shuffle groove, so the downbeats sound twice as long as the upbeats. Keep your picking hand moving down and up constantly and keep your wrist loose and relaxed. The descending lick is based on the E minor pentatonic scale (E G A B D) and makes extensive use of the open strings.

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