How To Play Acoustic 12 Bar Blues Rhythm Guitar

Lets Play Some 12 Bar Blues Rhythm Guitar

Picture this, you’re jamming a 12 bar blues ripping it up with a killer improvised solo on your acoustic guitar. You finish and go to play the rhythm while someone else takes a solo. What do you do to keep things interesting, and to inspire whoever is soloing over your rhythm playing?

Hopefully you have a little more to offer than the same old chord forms and strumming patterns. If not, this is something you need to fix, as it’s a great in-balance in your playing that is never good. In fact it’s very common to hear players excel in the soloing department, and really struggle on the rhythm side of things. Yet, generally speaking, rhythm guitar is what we do the majority of our time when playing music.


12 bar blues guitar

Blues is a great vehicle to start developing your rhythm guitar chops as it’s the universal language amongst musicians. Everybody can play through a 12 bar blues, and it’s often the go to thing to do when first meeting up with someone for a jam. There have been many times in my own life where I have literally just met someone and within minutes we are jamming out a blues together, sometimes in actual gig situations. It’s great fun to do!

However, as stated previously, you need more than just soloing and improvisational skills to really cut it. The rhythm side is just as important and today I’m going to show you 3 awesome ways you can approach a 12 bar blues when playing the rhythm. You will be able to take these ideas into your next jam and blow everyone away as you yourself won’t just sound better, but everyone else playing with you will too.

The 12 Bar Blues Progression

A 12 bar blues is something most guitar players learn very early on. Today we will work in the key of G. Here is the progression:

|G7 | | | |C7 | |G7 | |D7 |C7 |G7 |D7 ||

Now, there is nothing wrong with reading your way through this chart playing open or bar chords. The problem is if this is all you can do. As you can imagine, that would get pretty boring, pretty quickly, not just for yourself who is playing the chords, but for the person soloing over them too.

Unfortunately, many guitar players can only do this (ie. play basic chord forms) when put on the spot to play a 12 bar blues, whether it be at a jam or in a gig situation. It’s a shame because there is so much more you can do with a 12 bar blues as far as the rhythm guitar part is concerned.

The other thing to consider when developing your rhythm guitar chops is the benefits it has for those you play with too. I know that I have always improvised my best when I am playing with a great rhythm guitar player. It gives me so much more to feed off, and you can bet I will be seeking that player out again to jam with, or perhaps form a band.

So, if you want to be the player everyone wants to play with, develop your rhythm guitar playing!

Let’s get into it…

1. Adding A Touch Of Jazz To The Blues

Jazz and blues are closely related, and the styles actually cross over with what is commonly known as a jazz blues progression. This is also 12 bars in length and typically uses more chords than your standard 12 bar blues. I love adopting this approach when playing the rhythm part to a blues. It really brings out some cool sounds when you solo over it.

Here is a 12 bar jazz blues progression in our key of G:

|G7 |C7 |G7 |Dm7 G7 |C7 |C#dim |G7 |E7 | Am7 |D7 |G7 E7|Am7 |D7 ||

As you can see and hear there are more chords in our example above, however we are playing the same 12 bar form. In the jazz world it is very common to substitute chords into a progression. While it’s beyond this article to go into detail regarding this, the above progression is a great way to introduce some more chords you can use in your rhythm guitar playing. This is true not just for a blues but for other areas of your playing too.

With that being said, learn the example above and start getting some of these chords into your ears and your fingers so they become part of your rhythm guitar playing arsenal you can draw from when playing/jamming.

2. Rhythm Riffs For Your Blues Playing

One alternative approach to strumming chords all the time is to use riffs in your blues rhythm playing. These are known as rhythm riffs funny enough, and are great for creating a part that will work well in line with someone improvising over them. When you have some rhythm riffs down in your playing it would be a good idea to create variations of them.

3. Using Block Chords In Your Blues Progression

Block chords are another great way to approach playing the rhythm part of a blues progression. I remember when I first came across these guys many years ago and literally applying them to everything and anything I could. I loved the possibilities I could do with them and they were the first kind of chord I really understood after learning open and bar chords.

These chords are sometimes referred to as 4, 3, 2, 1 voicings in relation to the strings they fall on.

What To Do Next

Your first step is to get each example down above. This may take a little time, which is fine, just don’t rush it. Once you have however, there is more you should and can do.

I purposely kept the examples in this article in the same key. This was so you could more easily connect them together. Once you have these rhythm approaches down, you then want to apply and connect them together. This is vitally important if you want to make anything in this article part of your own guitar playing.

I can’t stress this point enough.


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Apply the things you learn, over and over, in many different musical contexts. Also mix the things you learn together too. By doing this you will inadvertently come up with your own variations which is the whole point. Your aim is to be able to play and improvise through a blues coming up with varying rhythm parts as you progress from one chorus to another.

A Beginners Guitar Lesson To Guitar Chord Charts

Beginners Guitar Lesson For You Now!

Are you looking for a beginners guitar lesson or are you new to the world of guitar playing? If so, you might need to study up on the guitar chord chart. The guitar chord chart helps you identify specific chords that you’ll need to know once you start building your own songs or simply playing the tunes of your favorite jazz hits. You can’t get around the chord chart if you want to be a successful guitar player in any music genre.

Another key benefit of learning the guitar chord chart, is it prevents you from having to learn music theory or reading music to get the gist of the notes that need to be played.

But what exactly is a chord chart, and how can you use it to further your musical growth?


Beginners guitar lesson chord charts

What is a Guitar Chord Chart?

In this beginners guitar lessons article, for starters, there are various types of charts out there. Some target beginners while others are used by advanced players to further their musical repertoire. Chords chart show you precisely where to put your fingers, what to expect of the note being played, and how to blend your chords for better sounding music.

Some charts are designed to show you how to play ‘open’ notes while others cover ‘closed’ note chords. More commonly, however, chart for guitar chords are separated by major and minor notes. These notes provide the basic foundation you’ll need to excel at your guitar playing.

Using a Guitar Chord Chart

As with all things instrumental, you want to practice using your chart for chords as much as you can. While practicing basic chords, make sure you play each individual note so you can hear them all individually. You’ll also want to practice switching back and forth between chords to learn how to keep a steady beat. Focus on cleaning up your strumming to guarantee you get the most out of every chord you play.

Charts help you identify the sounds you should be making with your guitar. They also give you a more comprehensive look at how the chords play an important role in transforming the sounds you’re playing. For example, as you learn some of the major chords you’ll begin to see how they fit more up-tempo music like rock, while minor chords are better suited for jazz and blues.

Where to Start

To start your beginners guitar lesson you want to start playing basic guitar chords such as C, C7, D, Dm, D7, E, Em, E7, F, G, G7, A, Am, A7, and B7. Once you memorize these basic guitar chords you can move up to include more complex chords, but don’t skip this step! It will become the foundation of your skills.

A comprehensive guitar chords chart will help you build the skills you need to become an excellent player. Make sure the one you use as a reference has the key chords needed to develop your talent down the line. Beginner charts of guitar chord are an excellent place to start. Learn where to put your fingers and explore how each sound is created with your strumming. The result is a life-long love affair with playing guitar.

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Learn To Play The Blues

So You Want To Learn To Play The Blues Guitar

If you want to learn to play the blues guitar many will tell you takes years of patient practice. While this can be true to actually master the style, you can get started making some great sounds really quickly with the right guidance. What most guitar books, magazines and DVDs don’t tell you is that if you focus on a few small areas you can’t fail to improve your abilities.

So, what is the easy way to learn to play the blues? If you follow these three steps then you’ll be on the track to success in no time at all.

Step 1: Learn to play the blues scale. This simple sequence of notes is what gives the blues it’s sound. It’s really simple to learn, you’ll be up and running within 10 minutes of learning the pattern.

Here is how to play it:

E: 5 & 8
A: 5, 6 & 7
D: 5 & 7
G: 5, 7 & 8
B: 5 & 8
E: 5 & 8

The letter’s above show you which strings to play and the number indicate which frets to put your fingers on. Make sure you play each note one at a time.

Step 2: Learn some blues licks. These are simple phrases written using the blues scale you learned it step one. Instead of simply walking up and down the pattern, these will show you how to actually USE the blues scale to make the sounds people like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan do. Read on to find out where you can download tabs for some awesome licks to get you started.

Step 3:  Spend some time jamming the scale shape and your licks over some quality blues backing tracks. This is the fun part! You’ll start to hear the sound of the blues as you practice these with a backing track. It might take a little time to get used to at first but the more licks you learn and the more familiar with the scale shape you get, the better you’ll get at playing blues guitar.

Just another tip also learn to play the blues as it already sounds don’t try and change it!

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Learning Guitar Blues

Are You Really Learning Guitar Blues

Serious about learning guitar blues? This article helps you master an essential blues guitar scale! Many online courses provide blues music for piano or other instruments and its not the same as learning guitar blues.

Learning blues guitar can be frustrating if you don’t know what guitar scales to use. Because of that, in this blues guitar lesson we’ll take a look at another really common scale used in blues soloing. Once you master this guitar scale, you’ll have another great weapon in your lead guitar arsenal! So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at it now…


Learning guitar blues


Blues Guitar Scale – The Major Pentatonic Scale

This is one of my favorite sounding guitar scales! To my ears, it has a very bright, open and happy sound to it. Some of my students have commented that its sound reminds them of country guitar. (But let’s not hold that against it! You can also use it to great effect in blues guitar solos).

The major pentatonic scale is a five note guitar scale that has this formula…

1 2 3 5 6

This formula tells us what we need to do to the major scale in order to create the notes of this scale. As an example, we’ll work out the notes of C major pentatonic scale…

Step 1:

Write down the notes that the C major scale uses. Here are the notes we get by doing this…


Step 2:

Remove the fourth and seventh notes from the C major scale. We do this because the formula of the major pentatonic scale doesn’t contain a 4 or a 7. This gives us the following notes…


These are the notes of the C major pentatonic scale. Pretty easy huh?

You now know the theory behind the major pentatonic scale, so what’s the next step? Putting it into practice! I believe that learning theory without actually playing it on your guitar is an absolute waste of time. We all know guitarists who know a LOT of theory, but their playing still sucks! Because I don’t want this to happen to you, here are a few suggestions to help you apply this scale to your guitar…

  • Map the notes of the C major pentatonic scale onto a fretboard diagram.
  • Make up some fingerings for it on your guitar. There are no real rules. As long as you stick to the notes C D E G and A, you are playing the C major pentatonic scale.
  • Make up some licks that use the C major pentatonic scale.
  • Practice soloing over some blues backing tracks using the scale.
  • Work out the licks and solos of your favorite blues guitar players.

The possibilities are endless! The more ways you apply the major pentatonic scale to your guitar the better. Be creative, work hard, and most importantly…have fun!


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Playing The Blues On Your Guitar

Playing The Blues On Your Guitar Well

The guitar is an fantastically versatile instrument. It can be played to handle rhythm or are applied to go center stage and solo. For playing the blues there are some fundamental proficiencies you need to learn if studying to be a competent blues guitar player.

The design and quality of the guitar gives you many techniques to play with – string deflects, slides, vibrato, hammer-ons and pull offs, trilling, paw picking, strumming, muting, pinched harmonics, smoothing and more. All of these should be learned and perfected.

For blues guitar, of the above, bendings, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs and and vibrato are the most important. You must master these techniques as they should become a part of your playing form if you want to play solos and other licks and riffs.


Playing The Blues On Guitar

String Bends

String bendings are the most commonly used “technique ” and most important element of blues style guitar soloing. Every blues guitarist loves their bending of the strings. Depending on the thickness of your strings and how many steps up you are bending it, string deflects vary in difficulty. If you are completely new to playing guitar or soloing then you are in for a unpleasant time, but it won’t be too long before your hot fingers have rock hard calluses.

Heres What You Need To Know  


  • The top three strings are most often used for string bending
  • You can bend a string and thus raise its pitch by a semi-tone (one fret), a tone (two frets), a tone and a half (three frets) and even two and a half tones (five frets)
  • Pushing the string upwards rather than pulling the string downwards is easier
  • You can bend strings with all your fingers, but the third and fourth fingers are mostly used
  • Hooking your thumb over the top of the neck gives you leverage and makes string bending easier
  • Finger strength is vital
  • String bends can be very subtle, especially in blues guitar styles

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