Essential Blues Guitar Chord Slide

You'll hear this great lick on loads of electric blues songs. It can form the basis for an entire song, or you can just use it in the middle of a solo to help highlight a particular chord in the song. The best part is, it's fairly easy to play!

The 6 and 9 chords on guitar

The lick is based on an "E6" and an "E9" chord. That sounds complicated but it's not hard to understand if you just think of numbers representing notes above the root. So for example, a simple E major triad has only three notes:

E -- root

G# -- 3rd

B -- 5th

Now let's add a 6 and a 9 to that chord.

C# -- 6th

F# -- 9th

If all that sounds like a different language to you, don't worry. You can still learn to play the lick and use it even if you don't know what a 6 or a 9 is.

Sometimes on guitar we have shrink chords down to their essential parts. We only have 6 strings and sometimes it's difficult for human hands to physically grab certain chord shapes. So in this case, we shrink the chord down to just three essential notes that will make this lick work for us.

Our first chord is going to be E6, but only the notes E, G# and C#. Our second chord is E9 but just the notes D, F# and B. Notice we don't even have an E note in that second chord. Doesn't matter. We'll be playing lick over an E chord so it will still work.

Playing the lick

It's quite easy to play, just bar your finger at the 9th fret and strum the top three strings, then bar your finger at the 7th fret and strum those strings again. There you have it!

Remember that this lick really only works well over the E chord, or E7 chord. So if we are playing over a 12 bar blues, we would need to change chords when the song goes to an A chord. It's easy enough to move this lick up to play it over the A chord. All I really have to do is move it up to the 14th and 12th frets:

Other chord shapes for the same lick

Here's another way to play the same lick on the guitar. Here we're using an A6 to an A9 chord but we've moved it onto the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. Having move strings, we need to change the shapes. It's still pretty easy to play though.

Use the guitar lick on the 12-bar Blues form

Now let's apply the lick to the entire 12-bar blues form. Notice that we now have the lick for the E chord, the A chord, and the B chord.

Free download of more Guitar Chord Exercises Download

If you want more free exercises for to practice this 6 to 9 chord blues slide on guitar, here's a downloadable and printable PDF you can use.

Blues Slide E6-E9
PDF • 52KB

The first page has the above exercise, the second page is a little more complex in that it traces the chord shapes with a lower lick each measure.

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