Minor blues chords

The step between major and minor in blues are little and sometimes flowing. For a simple 12 bar blues with three chords all that have be done is to change the I and IV chords from major and minor and keep the V chord as it is.

Blues in E minor

The E minor is probably the most common minor key in blues and the following diagrams shows the main chords to learn:


  • Em chord diagram


  • Am chord diagram


  • B7 chord diagram

Substitutions such as Am7 and B9 are options.

12 Bar Blues in Em

On way to play the chords in a 12 bar progression. Start from top left and play four beats per measure.

Em Em Em Em
Am Am Em Em
B7 Am Em Em

You could play the E Pentatonic minor blues scale in 1st position over the chords.

16 Bar Blues in Em

This example but include some additional chords:

Em A7 Em Em
Am7 Am7 Em Em
C#m7b5 F#7 B7 Am
Em Am C7 B7

The last measures are a turnaround and the idea is to repeat the full progression and finally end with an Em chord.

Blues in A minor

Next to E minor, A minor is the most common key for minor blues considering the guitar.


  • Am7 chord diagram


  • Dm7 chord diagram


  • E7 chord diagram


12 Bar Blues in Am - example 1

A simple 12 bar blues approach:

Am7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
Dm7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
E7 Dm7 Am7 E7

The last E7 is a turnaround and ending chord should instead be Am7.

12 Bar Blues in Am - example 2

Another progression, but slighly more complex:

Am7 E7 Am7 A7
Dm7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
Bm7b5 E7 Dm7 Am7

Short notation for Bm7b5 is X2323X.

Go back to the main section of Blues guitar.

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