The 12 Bar Blues Guitar Lesson
If you’ve ever wanted to know what those cool rundowns and riffs are at the end of a 12 bar blues this lesson is just what you need!
The 12 bar blues or blues changes is one of the most prominent chord progressions in popular music. The blues progression has a distinctive form in lyrics, phrase, chord structure, and duration. In its basic form, it is predominantly based on the I, IV, and V chords of a key. Most guitar players and other musicians learn the basic structure but dont learn or understand the chord progressions used in the blues. The 12 bar guitar uses certain chords that create tension and want to resolve back to the tonic chord or the 1 chord in particular the 5 chord which is a 7th chord or dominant 7 of the key.
The most common musical form of blues is the 12-bar blues. The term “12-bar” refers to the number of measures, or musical bars, used to express the theme of a typical blues song. Nearly all blues music is played to a 4/4 time signature, which means that there are four beats in every measure or bar and each quarter note is equal to one beat.
A 12-bar blues is divided into three four-bar segments. A standard blues progression, or sequence of notes, typically features three chords based on the first (written as I), fourth (IV), and fifth (V) notes of an eight-note scale. The I chord dominates the first four bars; the IV chord typically appears in the second four bars (although in the example below, Elmore James introduces it in the first four bars); and the V chord is played in the third four bars.
Below is an example of a 12-bar blues stanza from “Dust My Broom,” as performed by Elmore James, and broken down by bars (measures), beats, chords, and lyrics:
In each 12-bar stanza, the third four-bar segment (in the example above, the 9-12th bars), serves to resolve the previous four-bar segments. The resolution may signal the end of the song or set up another stanza. If the song continues, the transition to the next stanza is known as the turnaround. “Dust My Broom,” for example, contains seven 12-bar stanzas, with a turnaround between each.
Not all blues songs follow the 12-bar format, but by understanding this basic musical framework, the listener will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for all blues music.
Moody Blues singer Ray Thomas dies at 76
The musician, who played the flute solo on one of the band’s biggest hits, Nights in White Satin, had suffered from prostate cancer
The Moody Blues star Ray Thomas has died at the age of 76. The flautist and vocalist died suddenly on Thursday, his record label said.
Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings said in a statement: “We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humour and kindness. It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife, Lee, at this sad time.”