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12 Bar Blues Chord Progression - Blues Basics

The 12 bar blues chord progression is the back bone of the blues besides being the basis for many pop and country songs. Learning this progression will allow you to play hundreds if not thousands of songs


This is where Eric Clapton and BB King and every other Blues player started and still use this progression for a lot of their songs.

This music used to be called Rhythm and Blues when the Sax and Piano were the lead instruments which is still one of the Blues styles today. You just don't hear that term much anymore. It got shortened to Blues

The Rolling Stones early albums have many rhythm and blues tracks on them with blues chord progressions.

12 Bar Blues Basics

The blues uses the three major chords from the major scale. The I, IV and V chords. In C the chords would be C, F and G.

Key
I
IV
V
C
C
F
G
F
F
B♭
C
B♭
B♭
E♭
F
E♭
E♭
A♭
B♭
A♭
A♭
D♭
E♭
D♭
D♭
G♭
A♭
G♭
G♭
C♭
D♭
F♯
F♯
B
C♯
B
B
E
F♯
E
E
A
B
A
A
D
E
D
D
G
A
G
G
C
D

F♯ and G♭ are the same pitch just a different key for writing music.

12 Bar Blues in A

This is a fairly simple blues chord progression using 9th chords for the IV and V chords

This could also be done with just plain major chords or with all 7th chords which is what you will probably see in most sheet music for blues songs

These progressions can get quite complicated when using chord substitution.

For right now you just need to understand the basic progression because all the other versions are still based on this simple progression.


12 bar blues chord progression in the key of A sheet music image

This is referred to as a quick change blues progression because of the change to the IV chord in measure 2. A lot of the time the I chords plays the 1st 4 measures

Also the A7 on measure 4 is kind of an out of date sound played this way that you don't hear too often anymore. It tells you your about to change chords.

Here are the chords. I couldn't make the staff big enough so you could see the chords diagrams clearly


A major barre guitar chord fifth position
D ninth guitar chord fifth position
A seventh guitar chord fifth position
E ninth guitar chord seventh position
12 bar blues in the key of a

This is one of the blues guitar lessons that you have to understand before you go any further into blues progressions.

Blues Music

Here is a link for you to check out different blues albums by a variety of players.

Blues Music

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Thank You for reading our 12 Bar Blues Chord Progession page.

I hope you found this page useful.

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