Learning your Blues...

The Blues is a very important musical style to know as a guitarist. Being aware of the basic "12 bar blues" and some of its variations is a powerful tool for any musician. While putting together this weeks blog I came across this great excerpt* with everything already written out ....saving an hour, and the pain of trying to create a word document myself (...as well as more time for music!).

These are ten popular 12 bar blues forms, beginning with the simplest straight ahead blues, and progressing into some more jazzy variations. You want to memorise ALL of these, and know them in your sleep!

Generally a 12 bar blues song will be based on one of these forms, the chord progression (the 12 bar chord sequence) will cycle over and over with varying dynamics etc till the end of the song. Of course, this is music we are discussing so there are no solid rules, just guidelines.

A great thing to do is to just listen to a bunch of the great blues players to hear how they do it.

To help you get more familiar with the way these chord progressions sound, choose one of the progressions play it in a loop for one minute, then as you get better lengthen the time too 5mins.

To begin, strum simple 1, 2, 3, 4 on each chord, later experiment also with playing different rhythms (strumming).

As many of you already know, be sure to memorise the song based on each chords roman numerals (I, IV & V etc...) as well as normal chord names of course. This will help when you have to play in different keys.... which is all the time!

Don't know your 7th chords yet? Check out my chord chart downloads or scroll to the bottom of the page for some nice fat bar chords.

If in doubt about the I, IV, V stuff, remember that this all relates back to the major scale, go back and study the major scale degrees (see downloads folder)

Enjoy, and happy jamming!

* Essential Blues Guitar - Dave Celentano


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