Blues You Can Use Book of Guitar Chords

I found this book while visiting one of my favorite guitar stores. It turned out to have a great deal of usable information on chords and how they are put together. The book contains 120 pages and is broken into four sections.

The first section is Music Basics; notes, intervals, basic scale theory, Tertian Harmony and the I-IV-V blues progression, along with explanations of how triad chords are constructed. Kind of dry stuff at this point (for me, anyway), but useful.

The second section, Chords, I found both fun and interesting. Here, the author provides a treasure trove of chord shapes with common finger positioning and also noting on which string the root note is located in each inversion. He starts with triads using the lowest strings (4-5-6), then gives you a root chord shape as well as the first and second inversion of that chord in Major, Minor, Diminished and Augmented forms. He then gives all of the same information using strings 3-4-5, again for strings 2-3-4, and on we go. This continues on to cover chords in the 6th, 7th and many others. The author does not stop with the triads; he provides the same kind of information for chords using four, five and six strings to build chords. The section goes on for twenty-six pages and contains hundreds of chords. This is a tremendous resource to expand your playing. Honestly, it can be seen as intimidating! Makes my head hurt if I do not take it in small doses! But you certainly will learn a lot and can use this section alone as an extremely valuable tool.

The third section, Exercises, helps you put this mountain of information to use. This section is full of exercises in the form of chord progressions to practice your new found knowledge. Once again, starting with the triad shapes in a major chord and moving to progressively more difficult chord shapes and arrangements helps you learn, and find ways to use what you have learned. This section contains thirty-nine pages, and, as mentioned, a lot of exercises!

The fourth section, Appendix, includes chord nomenclature, note scales to build chords, chords in each key, and fingerboard diagrams.

This book is full of tools, but if you are looking for more songs, you won’t find it here. It does not come with a companion CD, so no jam tracks to use while you work through the many pages of exercises. Bummer! I would say that this book would be useful to anyone who is looking to expand their chord library or just to spice up their playing. I would expect that anyone from beginner to more experienced players could get something from these pages.