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12 Bar Blues in 12 Keys

The Blues Guitar Lessons

You need to be able to play the blues in any key, not just E and A :)

A really important skill in playing blues is being able to play your 12 Bar Blues rhythm shuffle in any key. Once you can play a closed (using barre chords) 12 Bar Blues shuffle rhythm you will be able to play it in any key when you have finished this lesson and done a little practice.

The other major benefit of the method I show you here is that if you are trying to work out a blues tune, once you find the first chord, you know what the rest of the chords are likely to be. Doesn't work all the time but it does most of the time and it makes it a lot of fun (see the transcribing area for more info on this). 

Watch The Video Lesson


Backing Track

Here is the Blues in C Backing track for you to practice with! Try and get the shuffle pattern "locked in" well with the groove and make sure you can play the chords with either 6th or 5th string roots!

Blues Rhythm Track 1 by justinguitar

You can download the 13 track set of mp3's for this series for £5 (approx $8) (Blues Rhythm Guitar Mp3) - they are also included on the Blues Rhythm Guitar DVD for £15 (approx $25) of this series which comes 3 bonus lessons (44 minutes worth!) and a pdf booklet.


12 Bar Blues in C


So the recommended practice routine to do in every key is as follows:

1. Play the 12 Bar Sequence using the chords based around the 6th string root.
2. Play the 12 Bar Sequence using all chords with a 6th string root.
3. Play the 12 Bar Sequence using the chords based around the 5th string root. 
4. Play the 12 Bar Sequence using all chords with a 5th string root.
5. Mix it up as much as you like, be solid with playing the chords anywhere!!

Make sure you memorise the relationships between the chords with either the 5th or 6th string roots!

Just for reference, here is the 12 Bar Blues Sequence, but do make sure you commit it to memory as soon as you can!

12 Bar Blues Sequence
(I) (I) (I) (I)
(IV) (IV) (I) (I)
(V) (IV) (I) (V)


Then once you have it - get trying to use it by transcribing!


Some of the common questions about this answered...

Is it possible to play a 4th string root riff?
It sure is possible, and can sounds cool, but most times you want to stay on the thicker strings which have a fatter sound and sit better with the rhythm section.


BLUES DVDs CDs and eBooks Available



Lesson ID: BL-201