Blues songs are a mainstay of acoustic fingerstyle guitar, drawing on a rich tradition of acoustic blues players like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, and incorporating the contemporary sounds of players like Keb’ Mo’ or even John Mayer.
Acoustic fingerstyle blues immediately resonates with a listener. It’s complex, and yet immediately accessible. It has a familiar groove, but has room for improvisation. And it has so much emotional energy.
So…where to begin? If you’re looking to learn some fingerstyle blues songs on your acoustic, there are ton of amazing blues players to learn from. But here are 10 great songs to start with:
Top 10 Fingerstyle Blues Songs
1. Deep River Blues, by Doc Watson
An all-time favorite, lots of fun to play. A bit more advanced than some other songs below, but it’s worth working towards.
2. 32-20 Blues, Robert Johnson
This one’s not as hard as it looks, and Robert Johnson is as classic as it gets in this genre.
3. Creolle Belle, by Mississippi John Hurt
Even though this tune comes from Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Emmanuel has a really great step-by-step instructional video on how to play this song.
4. Meet Me In The City, by Junior Kimbrough
This one’s also covered by The Black Keys, if that’s more your cup of tea.
5. Cocaine Blues, by W. A. Nichol’s Western Aces
This song has been recorded by a lot of other folks, the tabs below are for the version from Townes Van Zandt.
6. Poor Boy Long Way from Home, by John Fahey
A variation of a tune called Vestapol. The tune is in open D and interestingly, Fahey did not claim to write it.
7. Truckin’ My Blues Away, by Blind Boy Fuller
Blind Boy Fuller was one of the most popular Piedmont Blues players, so if you like this tune, check out the Piedmont Blues genre.
8. Ragpickin’ (standard)
As you’d guess, a bluesy ragtime adaptation for fingerpicking guitar.
9. Hey Hey, by Big Bill Broonzy
Broonzy had a long career, spanning the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s! His style covered country blues as well as folk.
10. Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Leadbelly
An amalgam of several traditional Appalachian tunes. Bill Monroe recorded another version, albeit much different sounding.
What do you think? What song would you add to this list? (or take away!). We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Looking for Acoustic Blues Guitar Lessons?
Check out our recent article on the best online acoustic blues guitar lessons here: