Swing Feel Song Example

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12 Bar Blues In "A"


A 12 bar blues is a chord progression that as strange as it may seem, repeats over a length of 12 bars and when played has a blues' sound to it.

Chords & Rhythm Pattern


The chords used in this 12 bar blues are an extension to your open 5th chords.

12bar-a_chord 12bar-d_chord 12bar-e_chord





When playing this rhythm style don't lift your 3rd finger too far off the fretboard. This way you can place it down quick and easy for the next time it's used.

12_bar_top_up 12_bar_top_down


Chord Progression


The chord progression below is made up of twelve bars of music. This is where the name 12 Bar Blues comes from. There is four bars of "A", two bars of "D" then two bars of "A" again and so on. Practice the rhythm above for a while before you try to play the chord progression below. Once you have it flowing smoothly, play the 1st four bars of the A chord as written below. If it's a bit hard to count four bars accurately count the amount of times your 3rd finger goes down. If the 3rd finger is placed down two times in one bar, then it will be placed down eight times every four bars. You can do this with the rest of the chords as well.


The 12 bar blues is also called a 1,4,5 chord progression. To explain this simply (because it is a little involved to get into at this early stage of playing the guitar) the 1, 4 & 5 represents the number position in the scale. The A is the 1st note of the A major scale, D is the 4th note of the A major scale and E is the 5th note of the A major scale. The A major scale is made up of the following notes below.

A Major Scale

A  B  C# D  E  F# G# A
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8

The next example plays the entire 12 bars show on the tab below.