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12 Bar Blues Piano Lesson

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hey everyone welcome to a beginners

lesson for the 12-bar blues so the

12-bar blues is one of the most iconic

song forms in the world and in all of

history and it's a really simple song

form and it's built off of three chords

built off the one chord the four chord

and the five chord and I'm just gonna

walk you through each of these

progressions and then I'll tell you a

little pattern that you can use to make

it bluesy I'm gonna play it in the key

of C and the pattern goes like this


okay so that pattern is just based off

this open fifth and it's popping between

the fifth interval and the sixth


and you notice how I'm kind of giving it

that doom to do kind of given at that

little bluesy shuffle swing

okay so that's going to be over the 1

chord over the 4 chord so that's over F

and then the 5 chord G and I'm going to

play along to the progression I'll tell

you what I'm changing the chords and

just listen out for how familiar this

sounds because so much music is written

with these 12 bar blues so here we go


so here's f

back to one

now to the five



so that's a really basic skeleton that

your left hand can use to play the blues

that sequence of chords happens over a

12 bar phrase that's why they call it

the 12 bar blues and if you want to add

some cool right hand something you can

actually get a long way with just

playing kind of like an open octave

thing so I'm just playing C G and

another C and I'm just gonna go like



all right so now you can build from that

basic octave thing because it's it's

gonna start to sound pretty insistent

unless you want that you might want to

find some ways to switch it up a little

bit one thing that I really like to do

is play kind of the top two notes of a

7th chord so my c7 contains the top two

notes G and B flat and over that pattern

you can start making some pretty bluesy

sounding music of just



so once you you know get used to playing

the octaves over top of your left hand

pattern you can switch things up by

playing the top two notes of a seventh

chord so allow me to explain here when

we're in the key of C and our our chords

just on the one chord play G and B flat

so the top two notes of a c7 so that

sounds like that if you want to swap

those notes when you switch to your your

full record play the top two notes of an

f7 chord so that's C and E flat and then

finally when we get back to our

five chord our G we want to play the top

two notes of the G seven so that's D and

F so that sounds like this so the whole

progression is gonna sound like this now

all right so there you are now it's kind

of sounding a little more bluesy let's

put a little turnaround on the final

chord so you're going to like this

you're going to go from that five chord


so that gives you this kind of like boat

impose setting up again for the so I'll

show you what I'm doing I'm going from

my five cord to my four accord down to

the one chord and now I'm just gonna

walk up from in my bass hand I'm gonna

walk up F F sharp G so and if you want

to you know give yourself even more

punch you can go

so I'm gonna go and then when I land my

pinkie on the bottom gee I'm just going

to play g7 chord in the right hand so

that progression is gonna go


so now you have the basic elements to

play a 12-bar blues starts there and it

ends in some crazy smoky bar somewhere

with you and a cool hat and sunglasses

ripping around just like this