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December 3, 2013

Simple 12 bar Blues progressions in the key of E

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Written by: maiki
Blues Guitar

If you havn’t heard of the 12 bar blues then chances are you need to have a bit more of a read up on music theory and music history. No, it’s not just for people studying music degrees, but basic music history and theory will turbo-charge your understanding of why music is the way it is. After all – music is an expression of culture.

Even to this day the 12-bar blues is one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music. The blues progression has a distinctive style which is usually based on the I, IV, V chords. The predictability of Blues music makes it easy for groups of musicians who have not played together be able to improvise together without practicing together.

Here are some examples of the 12 bar Blues progression in the key of E:

Eg 1

|1   E      |2  E       |3  E       |4  E       |

|5   A      |6  A       |7  E       |8  E       |

|9   B      |10  A     |11  E     |12  B     |


Eg 2

|1   E      |2  A       |3  E       |4  E       |

|5   A      |6  A       |7  E       |8  E       |

|9   B      |10  B     |11  E     |12  E     |


Eg 3

|1   E      |2  A       |3  E       |4  E7       |

|5   A      |6  A       |7  E       |8  E       |

|9   B      |10  B7     |11  E     |12  E     |


Eg 4

|1   E      |2  A       |3  E       |4  E7     |

|5   A      |6  A       |7  E       |8  E       |

|9   B      |10  B     |11  E     |12  B7   |




Eg 5

|1   E      |2  A       |3  E       |4  E       |

|5   A      |6  Am       |7  E       |8  Em |

|9   B      |10  B7     |11  E     |12  E7  |


Practice these examples of the 12 Bars Blues Chord Progression.

Practice these progressions often in order to get a real good feel for how 12 Bar Blues chord progressions work and this will establish a sound basis for you to then start jamming the Blues with other musicians.


Eg 6

|1   E      |2  E       |3  E       |4  E7      |

|5   A      |6  A7       |7  E       |8  Em |

|9   B      |10  A     |11  E     |12  B7  |


Eg 7

|1   B      |2  A       |3  E       |4  E       |

|5   A      |6  Am       |7  E       |8  Em |

|9   B      |10  B7     |11  E     |12  E7  |


Eg 8

|1   B7      |2  A       |3  E       |4  B7       |

|5   E      |6  E       |7  E      |8  E7 |

|9   A      |10  A7     |11  E     |12  E7  |


Examples 7 and 8 start from a chord other than E to give you some more ideas on how you can play around with this concept to help you expand your creativity.

Playing around with 12 Bar Blues Chord progressions and creating variations can help you create new progressions and songs, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced guitarist.

If you want inspiration to help you write new chord progressions for a song, play around with the 12 Bar Blues Chord progressions, doing so helps to generate new ideas for writing songs.

If you’re a beginner, practicing the 12 Bar Blues Chord progressions will help increase your confidence to jam with other musicians, while instilling the feel of the structure within you to help create a strong foundation.





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