The 12 bar blues is one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music. Also referred to as the Blues, or blues changes, it is based on the I-IV-V chords of a key.
In its most basic form, here's how it is set up:
... and it repeats over, and over again. There are MANY slight variations to this basic pattern. The most common variation starts with:
1 bar - I chord, 1 bar IV chord, 2 bars - I chord
It would be set up like this:
Hundreds of songs have been written using this chord pattern:
IN THE MOOD, ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK, JOHNNY B GOODE, HOUND DOG, GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY, to name a few.
Here are a couple of examples of the 12 bar blues in the key of C. 1st is the most basic pattern with a simple walking bass line.
The next one has the slight variation in the chord pattern (also with a walking bass line.) This begins with 1 bar of C, then 1 bar of F, then continues through the pattern.
Now let's "SPICE THESE UP" and make them sound a little more "BLUESY"! An easy way is to use sevenths (dominant 7ths) for all the chords (not triads.)
Also, this next example is 24 bars long - it goes through the blues pattern twice. There are examples of TURNAROUNDS in bars 11-12 and bars 23-24.
The turnaround chords are in red.
You can add your own FAVORITE 12 bar blues chord progressions Below! Just follow the instructions and fill out the form below and YOUR INPUT WILL BE ADDED HERE!
Do you have a 12 bar blues pattern that you like or use? Share it here!
Click below to 12 bar blues patterns from other visitors to this page...