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Pradinis puslapis Bliuzo mokykla. Video Blues Guitar - The 12 bar blues in E
Blues Guitar - The 12 bar blues in E
Video! - Bliuzo mokykla

This is the first in a series of lessons on playing blues guitar. For a more on the 12 bar blues progression in general, go to my BASIC BLUES and Basic 12-bar blues lessons. (The lessons might be overlapping).

We start with the blues progression I have labeled Blues progression 1, in the key of E. E is a popular key for blues guitar, but it is not the easiest key to play if you are a beginner on the guitar. To play the blues in it's simplest form, you need to know four chords:

E E7 A7 B7

How to finger the chords

If you are not used to play these chord, the change to and from B7 in particular might be a bit difficult. Be careful with how you finger these changes. When fingering chords, you should try to make as little finger movement as possible. It takes time to shift fingers, and the less you do it, the more fluent will the changes be. A typical beginner error is to lift all the fingers off the fingerboard and relocate each finger. If you can keep a finger where it is, do it. Look at the fingering indicated in the chord diagrams. The fingering of the E-chord is in my view the only sensible way to finger this chord. There is also only one way to finger this voicing of the B7 chord. Notice that your 2nd finger is in the same position in both chords. Don't lift the finger off the string just to place it where is was - keep it on the 2nd fret of the 5th string through the change. This will reduce the finger movement, and the finger will be a guide for the rest of your fingers. The first finger is on 1st fret in both chords. But in the E chord it holds the first fret on the 3rd string, and in B7 it holds it on the 4th string. Just move the finger across, lifting it as little as possible. Your 3rd finger crosses in the opposite direction, from 4th string 2nd fret to 3rd string 2nd fret. If you find the change difficult, practise just this movement without caring about your 4th finger until it is fluent. Then you just add your 4th finger on 2nd fret 1st string for the B7.

There is no clear "right" or "wrong" when it comes to fingering of the A and A7 chord. It depends on where you are coming from and where will go next. When looked at in isolation, the easiest way to finger the simple A7 chord is with 1st finger on 2nd fret, 4th string, and 2nd finger on 2nd fret, 2nd string. But it is the least flexible fingering. You use two fingers, while the other two are placed in a useless position. So I will not recommend this fingering. Usually I will recommend that you use 1st finger on 4th string, 2nd finger on 3rd string and 3rd finger on 4th string. This will give you an A chord. Lift off the 2nd finger, and you get A7. It might be an alternative to finger the A7 with 2nd finger on 4th string and 3rd finger on the 2nd string. With this fingering it might be easier to change to and from both E and B7, but you do not have the A chord under your fingers. On the other hand, you get the Amaj7 by placing your 1st finger on 3rd string, 1st fret.

The blues progression in E can be played as follows:

 

     

MIDI file - 12 bar blues in E

 

 

We often use roman numbers to indicate chords relative to the root chord. The root chord will then be I. The chord a fourth above is labeled IV, and the chord a fifth above is labeled V. The advantage of using such notation, is that we can notate a chord structure that can be applied to any key. I the key of E the numbers will be: I=E, IV=A and V=B. The 12 bar blues will then be:

Listen carefully to the change from E to E7. It is almost as the harmony starts preparing for a jump to A. And this is in fact just what it does. The E7-A change could be seen as a V-I resolution in the key of A, and it really illustrates the double identity of the I-IV change.

Play the blues slow with a steady rhythm with four beats in each bar. You must play the 12-bar blues progression until it becomes second nature to you, and you can play it on "auto-pilot". Count the rhythm as you play. You should know both in which bar you are, and which note in the bar you are playing. The way to count is 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, 2 - 2 - 3 - 4, 3 - 2 - 4, etc, until you get to 12 - 2 - 3 - 4, when it is time to start over from 1 again.

The "Hoochie Coochie Lick"

I will give you one rather simple, but effective and very useful lick. By the name I have assigned to it, you will probably understand that it is inspired by Muddy Waters and the playing in his son The Hoochie Coochie Man. But I am not saying that this is exactly how Muddy Waters played the song. It is a simple lick played on the two bottom strings (or on the 6th string only, if you prefer that).

 





Alternate fingering - the entire lick on one string

 

 

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