12 bar blues

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by leffe luffer, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. How does it work, thought I should learn it as a usefull tool when jamming.
  2. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    12 bar blues is basically a I-IV-V chord progression.

    For example, in the key of Bb:


    (as you can see, there are 12 measures. I=Bb, IV=Eb, V=F7)

    Here's another one, in the key of G:


    (I=G, IV=C7, V=D7)

    There are different forms to play. The above example isn't the only way. As for the chords themselves, there are also different ways of playing each measure. The 6th of a chord is usually involved. Ex: Bb in the first measure can go: Bb D F G.

    There's lots about 12 bar blues on this forum. Try doing a search, I'm sure you'll find much more info.
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Probably every band in the known universe (and maybe even some on alien worlds!) have record 12 bar blues tracks, so there's plentty of examples out there.

    Two I learnt rencently for a gig were 'Pride N Joy' and 'Texas Flood' buy Stevie Ray Vaughn. The former mentioned here makes good use of the Major6th scale tone in the bassline - as per Stephanie's post. The two are very straight examples of a twelve bar blues.

    The key thing in twelve bar blues is the turnaround. The V chord, to the IV and back to the I chord. Using Stephanie's example in G the D7 to, C7 back to the beginning again, G7.

    Another note worthy thing is that (in many many many cases) all the chords in the progression are dominant 7 chords, which means there's only one scale you need learn to get through the vast majority of rock-style blues jams, mixoldian.

    Best way to learn teh blues is to listen to loads of blues-based records, jam blues with mates as often as possible, drop out of school or work, become an alcholic and shoot your dog...

  4. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Once you've got the patterns down, you can try some different things with them. Some Doors, Stones, and Beatles songs are 12-bar blues, with loads of substitutions. In the case of songs like "Pride and Joy," Tommy Shannon makes the song really cool by playing a descending bassline while Stevie plays ascending blues lines. Try it with a guitarist sometime.

    If you try jamming with SRV records, you'll have to tune down a half-step.
  5. Slot


    Oct 17, 2003
    Sydney - The Shire
    Heres a jazz version of it, just incase you're at a jazz jam night where they call a blues




    Download a "jamey aebersold - F blues" from kazzaa if you want, and have a dig at soloing over the changes using just an F blues scale

    F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F

    Its pretty tedious, but its good fun and good practice for getting your ear to hear how each note in the blues scale sounds in relationship to the different chord changes.
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