Coffee Blues

Posted by Michael M. on 29th July 2010 in General

For our third class, the new core song was “Coffee Blues.” It has the familiar chord progression for blues songs in A. It is A-D-A-E-A. There are some differences in the style, though, that add to its sound. Next is a recording of the class.

“Coffee Blues” and Key of A with Review of G and C (mp3)

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“Coffee Blues” is a standard for me. I have played it out at open mic nights several times. Posts here and here on my main blog have video and audio, respectively. Below is my version.

“Coffee Blues” (mp3)

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The bass line features a particular way of playing with the D chord. For other chords, the bass alternates between the root note of the chord, such as a G note when playing a G chord, on the down beat alternating with a note a third, fifth or octave above. For the D chord, play an A note on the 5th string unfretted on the downbeat alternating with a D note on the 4th string unfretted. This pattern carries to many other songs.

“Coffee Blues” bass line (mp3)

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Here is a version of the melody alone. As a basic variation, slide into the A and D chords from the first fret.

“Coffee Blues” melody (mp3)

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I have broken the tune into smaller phrases with each one looped for about a minute. This song can be played with four small sections rearranged several ways to make the whole thing. You can work on each small part and then patch them together.

Sliding into the D and A chords adds syncopation. Start with each chord form played one fret below. Strike the 5th string open A in the bass simultaneously with the melody note. For the D chord, the first melody note is an F on the first fret of the 1st string with a slide up to the second fret for the F♯. The next melody note comes between bass notes toward the end of the section. It is a D played on the third fret of the 2nd string. Here is the D slide looped for practicing.

“Coffee Blues” D slide (mp3)

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For the A chord, the first melody note is a C on the first fret of the 2nd string with a slide up to the second fret for the C♯. Again, the next melody note is played a string lower between bass notes after a short rest. It is an A played on the second fret of the 3rd string. Here is the A slide looped for practicing.

“Coffee Blues” A slide (mp3)

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The licks above are D and A versions of the same thing. Your right hand index and middle fingers do very similar motions, just shifted to different strings. The right had thumb does the exactly same thing for both chords.

The section on the E chord is different. Pick the open Es on both the 1st and 6th strings. Then pick the 4th string open and hammer on with the index finger on the first fret for syncopation. Here it is in a loop.

“Coffee Blues” E hammer on (mp3)

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A clean version of the whole E section has a following a third fret 2nd string D and then open B. Here is the whole E section of “Coffee Blues” in a loop.

“Coffee Blues” E section (mp3)

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Give the individual sections attention and then work on stringing them together.

One Response to “Coffee Blues”

  1. Robert says:

    Thank you so much!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.