The Heart of Rock'n'Roll, Jazz, R&B, Country, Folk, and naturally Blues…

Blues Ukulele: Just What is Blues?

Just What is Blues?

Yes, you can play the blues on a ukulele. Blues is at the heart of all American music. Be Rock, Jazz, Country, Folk, Bluegrass, or Pop, there's a bit of the blues in it all.

The Blues is a genre of music that originated in the African American communities of the Southern United States in the late 19th century. It has deep roots in African musical traditions, work songs, spirituals, and field hollers, and it reflects the struggles, emotions, and experiences of African Americans during periods of hardship, discrimination, and social injustice.

Characterized by its distinctive chord progressions, soulful melodies, and often melancholic lyrics, the Blues typically follows a 12-bar or 8-bar structure. It's known for its call-and-response patterns, where a singer's vocal lines are echoed by instruments, and vice versa. The genre heavily relies on expression and emotion, with singers often employing vocal techniques such as slides, bends, and vibrato to convey feelings of sadness, longing, and hope.

The themes explored in the Blues encompass a range of human experiences, including heartache, poverty, oppression, love, and resilience. Many Blues songs tell stories of personal struggles, broken relationships, and the trials of everyday life.

The Blues played a crucial role in shaping the trajectory of popular music. It influenced the development of rock and roll, R&B (rhythm and blues), jazz, and many other genres. Prominent Blues artists and pioneers include musicians like Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lead Belly, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith. Over time, the Blues has evolved and blended with other styles, leading to the creation of various subgenres and contributing to the rich tapestry of American musical heritage. It is truly an American art form.

Learning to play the blues is a great bridge to more complex music.

The Blues can be a feeling, a chord progression or a scale. This Blues section of the site will cover it ALL.

  • Chords – Common chords played in various blues styles. From a basic I IV V blues to a fancy jazz blues.
  • Scales – Essential scales needed for soloing over blues progressions.
  • Lessons – Blues ukulele lessons right here on my site.
  • Premium Play-Along Tracks – Four FREE play-along tracks to download or play on-line and practice your blues soloing.

Site Access Plans for

Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access, you get ALL the benefits of a Premium Access Subscription such as Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources, related assets, and ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site, and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for responding to any questions.

If you're anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overloaded with everything and everybody on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like-minded individuals, this forever plan is a pay once, and you're done.

The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee there is more than enough material on-line to keep you busy for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That alone is more than the cost of this plan.

Premium Access - This premium gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt

NOTE: Each higher access level includes ALL the benefits of the lower levels. Private Lessons include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on the schedule.

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

Want to leave a nice comment for & Learning Ukulele with Curt? We'd love to hear how we're doing and how you are too. We'll share your comments and quotes throughout the site, helping to spread the word.

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!


Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II, 37 years ago. Man, does time fly.

“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!” has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, Luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. Curt has been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

Content is added and updated daily — so check back often. I really do need to get out more ;-)

Love • Show your support!
Support development via a monthly membership or a one-time forever membership!