2 Hot Blues Riffs to Spice Up Your Playing

In this guitar lesson, I’m going to show you 2 blues riffs you can use to create a cool blues guitar rhythm groove. These type of riffs are used by SRV, Clapton, and Derek Trucks as well as countless other blues guitar giants.

You can use these riffs to create a monstrous sounding rhythm groove. They will also really fill in the space needed for a tight blues rhythm. This kind of rhythm guitar is more piano based, and it’s one of the first types of blues riffs I learned when I started playing piano. I never got really good at playing piano, but I incorporated these types of piano riffs into my own rhythm guitar style. You’ll often hear Chuck Leavell, Dr John, or any blues piano player playing these kind of riffs and improvising through them.

So here is the first riff played in the key of C.


Add 2 notes to the pattern to give some more drive to the riff.


Be sure to mix and match these riffs when playing through a 12 bar blues progression. You can also combine them with chords to create a nice blues guitar rhythm. Try blending different riffs and chords over each of the I, IV, and V chords in the blues progression. In the key of C these chords would be the C, F, and G chords.

Learning these type of rhythm riffs can be invaluable when playing the blues in a band. Often times you will need to listen to the band to determine what you need to play to make the tune swing, so to speak.

Here’s a video of me improvising this type of blues riff and adding the Rake technique. Learn more about the rake in my Blues Techniques Course  Check it out here.

Listening to your band members is one of the key things you need to be doing as a member of any style of band. Reacting to what you hear is what truly makes a great blues tune. Listen to any great blues band and you will hear each instrument change depending on what part of the song is being played, and what other band members are doing.

I have also created a full Course on playing lead blues guitar. Check it out here.


  1. John – This is super simple but super effective. So many blues songs use exactly these riffs. Thanks!

  2. Very nice John. Being able to play rhythm guitar is essential. Like you chops as always

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