12 Bar Blues in 12 Keys
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).
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!
Just for reference, here is the 12 Bar Blues Sequence, but do make sure you commit it to memory as soon as you can!
I suggest spending 15 minutes a day for at least 2 weeks doing the following in as many keys as possible (eg all of them!) - try a new key every time you do it!
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 only 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 only 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!
Then once you have it - get trying to use it by transcribing!
Is it possible to play a 4th string root riff?
It sure is possible and can sound cool, but most times you want to stay on the thicker strings which have a fatter sound and sit better with the rhythm section. It also feels a bit stretchy to me... must admit that I hardly use it but yes, it is possible!
- LESSON STEPS -