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2 part question about blues bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by zeppfan90, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    Am I wrong about this? Say a 12 bar blues in E.

    E-4 bars
    A-2 bars
    E-2 bars
    B-2 bars
    E-1 bar
    B-1 bar

    Then start it all over. But sometimes on video lessons I see this


    Then start it again. Or could both of those work if you're told to play a 12 bar blues on the spot?
  2. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    sorry..only 1 part question...in the middle of that post I forgot the 2nd question I was going to ask lol
  3. The second example is close for the 12 bar blues
    E - 4
    A - 2
    E - 2
    B - 1
    A - 1
    E - 1
    B - 1

    Then repeat
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Check out my TB Wiki page link below that has a section on playing the blues!
  5. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    I found the evolution of the 12 bar blues interesting. http://www.bobbrozman.com/tip_evol12bar.html

    Way back it started out much different than it is today.

    This is the one I use.

    IV on the second bar would be called "quick change 12 bar blues".
    Last bar with the V when looping and last bar with the I is when you are ending. This of course is understood and not called out.

    In my neck of the woods the 11th bar is just the I chord. However, as shown has value.

    Pick one:
  6. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    East Tennessee
    They both "work" in the sense that, if you're auditioning or just jamming and the guitarist looks at you and calls for a random 12-bar blues in E, you'll end up deciding the progression.

    But it depends on the melody, of course. Which the lead instruments will be improvising based on the changes you line out, if it's not stated ahead. The first key is to set a pattern that everyone else can follow, IMO. But I've played 12-bar blues jams with all kinds of jazz-informed structures--ii & iii (2 minor, 3 minor), for example, or the two bars of turnaround at the end of an E jam might go F# for a bar, B for a bar...
    My approach has been to get one or two of my favorite blues songs in my head and under my fingers, and when a random jam is called, I try to play it true to a classic Freddy King song or an Allman Bros song. Matters not whether the other musicians know I'm playing to a chart in my head.
    What's your sitch, OP? Are you getting your chops together for a friendly jam or audition, or some such? I'm sure several of us could recommend both the bones and some creativity depending on your application.
  7. zeppfan90


    Mar 27, 2013
    I'm thinking about going to jam with the blues society that plays around where I live and when I do I just wanted to make sure when someone says play a 12 bar blues I don't play it differently than they expected.
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    The first 8 bars almost always follow the same pattern, although there are some exceptions. ("Little Red Rooster," for example, starts on the IV instead of the I). The last 4 bars are usually referred to as "the turnaround," and there are many different variations for this.
  9. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    In a jamming situation you just have to listen to what is normal for that area. Not a large problem in a jamming circle if you use the "wrong" chord, no one will start beating you around the head and face. Just listen and see what is going on. By the third song you will have figured out what is being used.

    Jamming circles are like horse shoes and grenades, close works. I have found jamming circles to be a safe place. Once you are "nodded into the circle" everyone will help - if you are trying.

    A few words on "nodded into the circle". Some places the circle will be old friends and new comers are not welcome. Other places, like my home town, people do not wait for the nod, they just drag up a chair and sit down. Will not take long to see which is happening. Some circles call a song and give the key then the lead is passed around the circle each person playing/singing a verse or chorus until the lead gets back to the original caller and he/she then ends the song. Next person in the circle calls another song.

    We do this a little different here. The caller calls a song and the key and then plays and sings the complete song. It does not pass around the circle. All others play accompaniment to what was called. Then the next person in line calls and plays a new song. If you do not want to call a song, just lean back and the next person in the circle takes over. After a few songs if you continue to pass the call everyone just takes for granted you do not want to call and the lead automatically skips you.

    I only sing in the shower, so I pass the call. No problem, no one takes offence. For some reason the bass is not expected to sing or call a song. You will be expected to do what basses always do; follow the chords and provide the beat.

    Its all fun.
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Many times they are looking to you for the Progression. The first example is more common IME. That's probably what I would go with. Most good blues guitarists will follow you after the first run through. The Bassist really controls it IMO.
  11. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Both work.
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    12 Bar Blues has many variations with in the 12 bars used.
    The intervals are shown as Roman Numerals and the bars in numbers so not to confuse the two.

    What you show in example no.1 and no. 2. is called a quick four, in this you go up to the 4 (IV) after two bars, return to the one (I) for bars 3 and 4, then make the expected move to the IV on bar 5. You could just as easy stay on the I for the first four bars then move to the IV or bar 5.
    We use many variations, some country music uses it as well, in how we get through our 12 bars, this leads us to see how 8 bar and 16 bar Blues work, it is generic to the story being told rather than any musicality of instrument.

    You are just showing differences in the Turnarounds from bar 9.
    Bar 9 can be seen as setting up the (V) to head back to the I and any resolution used through bar 12 and set you on your way again....you have in fact turned around and started again with a new 12 bars.

    Check out the link, it will show you a few turnaround options, a turnaround starts, as a rule on bar 9.


    Also how to "bounce" your Blues lines in this link

  13. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    It depends on the song honestly.
  14. In a loose jam situation (what else is there when playing blues) you just need to listen closely through the first 12 bars. The good thing about the 12 bar is there are a few variations, but they’re all pretty similar and obvious in the variations.

    If you get to the second bar and the guitarist is playing a different chord, there is a 99% chance it is the IV and they’re playing the “quick change variation”. If you get to the 10th bar and the chord changes it’s going down to the IV, if nothing changes then hang on the V.

    There are very few surprises in a 12 bar blues. Until you start jazzing it up with ii-V7’s but no one at a jam is going to play those blues without alerting you to it.

    One thing to listen for is if there seems to be a lot of chords in the turnaround (Bars 11 & 12) it’s a I-vi-ii-V. (E – C#m – F#m – B7, in E blues).

    Your best option is to play through all the variations to get the sound in your head.

    My experince with these "blues society" jams is that they are usually happy to help out and lead you in the right direction if you're happy to follow. These guys will take any opportunity to talk about blues in its many forms to anyone who'll listen. IF you come back a jam and have taken on board some advice you've received, you'll continue be be respected and appreciated.