Saturday Songwriting: The Blues

Every week, I aim to dig up a tidbit to share with you about music. I do a lot of that digging in Rolling Stones list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” This week my proverbial shovel hit “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ’n Roses with a clunk. 

It’s an undeniably great song. One I grew up with. I remember hearing it for the first time on MTV. I also remember my older brother’s disdain for Axl’s teased and spayed loft of blond hair. At some point I ended up with a felt Guns N’ Roses poster on my wall. There were a million hair bands in the late eighties. Guns N’ Roses always felt different.  

Last week I started listening to and looking at the chords and tabs for it. There’s a lot going on. In the process, I realized that we haven’t talked about the blues. If we’re going to make any headway digging out “Welcome to the Jungle,” we need to talk about the blues. That’s what we’re doing this week.  

The Blues is kind of like Zen. It seems simple, easy to master, yet you could spend a lifetime dedicated to either and still have more to learn. The simplicity of the blues is why it ends up in method books for beginning guitarists. It’s also why often the first song a person writes is a blues song. Everything from Jazz, to Rock, to Gospel, has borrowed from and built on the blues. That includes “Welcome to the Jungle.”

BEAD Guides Chord Flow offers a simple way to understand how a simple blues progression is be put together. You could even use BEAD GCF principles to play around with, explore, and build off that form if you wanted to.  If you decide you want to dig deeper with the blues, Ethan Hein’s blog is a great resource. 


The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Peter Ferguson’s art. Find out more about Peter’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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