Folsom Prison Blues escapes with 13th chords
Folsom Prison Blues is a time-honored standard that has become a right of passage for guitar players. It's a very recognizable song that provides a great vehicle to develop rhythm and independence. And it has some nice, moving bass lines built right into the progression. Every guitar player wants to play Folsom Prison Blues. But how do we do we escape sounding like everybody else?
The cake with the file in it just arrived in the form of 6th and 13th chords. These sweet substitutions will break you out of harmonic predictability in a hurry. Our big E13 in the first part of the verse harmonizes well with the melody and gives an added feeling of motion. Then the A6 introduces a western swing flavor that implies motion as well. And our substitutions all support the "boom-chaka", freight train rhythmic feeling that Johnny Cash structured into his original arrangement.
Folsom Prison Blues get hip with substitutions
Using these two chord substitutions will add a lot to your presentation of the song. It's a great place to use the 13th chord we discussed earlier. And it's an opportunity to add more moving bass with a chromatic run from our E13 down to D Major. Together, these new additions will make you sound sophisticated and impress your friends.
Try these substitutions and check out the rest of the song in the lessons section of the site. When you play the song in a way that people haven't heard before, they will be thrilled by your innovation and individuality. They will remember hearing the guitar player that escaped from Folsom Prison.