This Standard Riff (S.R.) is the mother of all clichés and if you ever listened to any swing, jump or rock & roll, you’ve heard it.

Look at the 1st Blues Position and you can see that this S.R. begins and ends on the tonic of the scale and the chord.
On a blues in A, it can be used on the I chord.

Playing through a blues progression and using this riff, you’ve got to move with the chords.

On a blues in A you move the lick up 5 frets to play the IV chord D7 version and 7 frets to play on the V chord E7.

Use your index finger to play the minor third of the scale and hammer on with your middle finger.

The Standard Riff uses notes of the mixolydian scale and adds the minor third of the blues scale.

Note: Moving with the Chords

This Standard Riff moves along with the chords, but we can still always return to playing in the Blues Scale of the I chord anywhere in the song.
You can NOT play a D blues scale when you’re playing a D chord in a blues in A!
Try it and you’ll hear why.
The minor third of the D blues scale is a no-no in a blues in A.


Note: Anticipating

The Standard Riff for each chord starts in the bar BEFORE that chord!
It anticipates the NEXT chord; you start the S.R. on D7 in the 4th bar.
At that time the A7 is still being played and the tension this creates is a big part of blues.

The Standard Riff can be played all over the neck of the guitar.

There are several ways of fingering it, each with its own sound.
Most are easy to play and you don’t have to move around a lot.
Some are awkward and you’ll never use them.

This Standard Riff fits nicely in the 1st Blues Position.
Easy to see where to start when you focus on the tonic of the I chord; 5th fret of the 1st and 6th string or 7th fret of the 4th string.