12 Bar Blues – Guitar Lesson

Welcome to this months blog post by

Still Got The Blues

In this months blog post we are taking a deep dive into the Blues structure and form. We are paying particular attention to the 12 Bar Blues form. Blues has been very kind to me over the years and I started studying the Blues from a very young age. It was introduced to me by my guitar teacher at the time Keith Merchant and I immediately fell in love and became obsessed with the sound of the Blues and its addictive structure. 

Blues Jam

The Blues has always allowed me to jam with other musicians pretty quickly who also understood the language and the form. Just like learning a new language the quicker you can start interacting with other people and practicing your new skills, the more ingrained those new skills will become to you. The Blues to me was always a way to share new licks with others and also pinch a few licks along the way. Many hours have passed where I would jam with other musicians or play along to an infinite loop honing my skills over the Blues structure. 

Blues Structure

As the name would suggest the 12 Bar Blues consists of twelve bars of music and includes a turnaround. A bar in music is simply a square filled with either chords or notes and the amount of notes per bar is pre determined by the time signature. Let’s take a look at the chord structure of a 12 bar Blues, for todays lesson we will be working in the key of E. E is a great key for guitar and a particularly good key to practice your Blues. I have colour coded the changes to make it easy to follow the chord changes. 

12 Bar Blues Chords in E 

||: E7 | E7 | E7 | E7 |

A7 | A7 | E7| E7 |

B7 | A7 | E7 | B7 :||

I IV V Blues Chord Shapes

The Blues Scale

Learn the Blues scale shapes below and use this to solo over the top of the above chord structure and shuffle rhythm. The blue note is crucial to the Blues scale but be careful how you use. Think of it as a passing note, decorate with notes around it and avoid starting and ending each phrase on this note. The red note is the root note and is the strongest note within the scale when played over chord one. (E7)

Walking Blues Bass Line

That’s All Folks

We hope you have enjoyed this months blog post all about the Blues. Don’t forget you can follow us on Instagram & Facebook. Book a lesson below or Get in touch with any questions. 

Thanks for reading, 

Rich @ MGTB

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