Acoustic Blues stems from the earliest form of blues music that came from the Mississippi Delta. The style consists of a stripped down, bare bones one man band playing acoustic guitar and singing. There might even be a little harmonica. Some of the most famous acoustic blues players are Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, and more currently Keb Mo. There is a long list of very influential Delta Blues players.
What makes the acoustic blues unique? One of the appealing things about acoustic blues is the “solo” element. When I say solo I don’t mean a ripping guitar lead two thirds of the way through a song. Solo here is referring to the idea that it can be played as a one man ensemble and sounds good! People have said of Robert Johnson that it sounded like several guitar players rather than just one. The reason for this is that the style involves covering both a bass line and lead elements at the same time. Often this is done in a call and response method. This is why most of the original acoustic blues players used a finger style method. They would often use the thumb to cover the bassline and their fingers to cover the chords and lead lines.
Acoustic Blues Lesson
If you already know the basic 12 bar blues form, a basic knowledge of chords, and the ability to play some simple lead licks, you can play some acoustic blues. I have provided a free acoustic blues lesson here of a basic, but interesting acoustic blues composition. The great thing about the blues is that it is flexible! At any point you can inject your own ideas and licks.