Blues backup in 3rds
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Blues Backup in 3rds. Common way to backup a blues. Do as a shuffle!. Next slide has the backup. This is all in 3rds. 3rds are intervals – from G# to B is a third (G# - A – B)

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Blues backup in 3rds

Blues Backup in 3rds

Common way to backup a blues. Do as a shuffle!

Next slide has the backup
Next slide has the backup

  • This is all in 3rds.

    • 3rds are intervals – from G# to B is a third (G# - A – B)

    • Can play entirely with a pick, entirely with fingers (thumb on 6th string – index plays 3rd string and middle finger plays 2nd string) or hybrid where the pick plays the bass and then the 2nd finger the 3rd string and ring finger the 2nd string (I use this quite a bit)

  • Do as a shuffle.

  • Will break down each chord.

  • In each of the following examples, I will give the backup pattern in tablature and then have a chord drawing of the fingering etc. Use both to get the full picture of what is going on.

Blues backup in 3rds

For E7 – Only play strings indicated. On the 1st one you might want to hold an E7 down as you play it (I do).

Blues backup in 3rds

For A7 – First finger stays at the 5th fret – may want to barre for most of this.

Now master try in other keys
Now master & Try in Other Keys

  • Following page has it in F.

  • Try to learn this in all keys.

  • Then do modifications to it.

Blues backup in 3rds
In G

  • At this point you should be getting the idea

  • Do work on this!

As you go up
As you go up

  • Now you will need to move some of the patterns down an octave.

  • Look at the next example in B.

Now finish out all 12 keys
Now finish out all 12 keys

  • This is really important to do in all keys.

  • Just take your time.

  • You will notice that after a few it becomes easy.


  • These are almost limitless.

  • First one starts with a hammer on beat one from the open to the 1st fret 3rd string.

  • The following 3 slides should help you.

  • Then vary these ideas. Play one for a measure then do another one for the next measure back and forth.

Blues backup in 3rds

Do similar for B7 but at the 7th fret.

Barre 5th fret then hammer.

Blues backup in 3rds

Now just repeating the 1st ½ of the measure over and over. Hammer on beats 1

And beats 3.

Another variation
Another Variation

  • When intervals of a 3rd are inverted they become intervals of a 6th.

  • This will also work very well to your advantage by doing this.

  • Clapton used this in a number of songs.

  • Next page has the same idea done earlier but now in intervals of a 6th instead of a 3rd.

Blues backup in 3rds

B7 has a number of variations but the E7 and A7 are pretty well set.

See the next 3 slides for ways to do the B7. It will take some time

for that chord. Again try in all keys.

Blues backup in 3rds

Various ways to do the B7. First line can be done with the 1st notes

doing a ½ barre at the 4th fret. Rest is in 1st position. See fingering

Finger 4 1 0 1 1 1 0 1

4 1 1 1


Barre the 4th fret – I prefer this one.

This one is tough for fingering but is


Blues backup in 3rds

Fingering 1 4 2 4 3 1 2 1

1 3 2 3

Note the 3rd beat can be a barre also with either the 4th or index finger!

Blues backup in 3rds

This last one is the same as the open E form. Just moved up. Barre at the 7th fret and the rest should be fairly easy. Starts with just a B7 chord at the 7th fret. For the 2nd beat use your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd string and your pinky on the 11th fret of the 5th string.

Come up with your own ideas
Come up with your own ideas up. Barre at the 7

  • This is just a start for you.

  • Make your own variations.

  • Change the timing to triplets as an example.

  • You can really milk this with blues songs.

  • But try it in other styles also.

Some songs to apply this to
Some songs to apply this to! up. Barre at the 7

  • Following are some songs other than just Good Morning Blues, to try this to.

  • Take your time and try variations on each song.

Blues backup in 3rds

See See Rider or C C Rider up. Barre at the 7

See See Rider or C C Rider

Repeat this line – and similar

Blues backup in 3rds

This is an 8 bar blues. You could do something similar to the previous songs on this.

Great song that Eric Clapton did along with others. Very traditional blues!