#1
Hey, can someone help me understand the 12 bar blues? I've seen a bunch of videos and read a bunch of stuff, but I'm having trouble with it. Like, I thought you use three chords, but it seems like everyone I see doing it is using more than that? Idk...sorry, I know this is a dumb question, but please help.
#2
Yeah, you use three main chords; the I, the IV, and the V. Everybody is adding stuff to it, though. Think of it like a musical template- it would be boring if everybody just played the same shit, wouldn't it?
#4
I'm not really sure of what you're having trouble with--could you list some specific things you want to know?

At its most basic level, 12-bar blues uses only three chords--usually the I-IV-V of a given key (let's use C to keep it simple). Using the key of C, those chords would be C (the tonic), F (the subdominant), and G (the dominant). Each "bar" is actually a quarter note in 4/4 time, with each measure consisting of four chords; each chord corresponds to a particular bar. Symbolically, the 12-bar blues looks like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
I I I I IV IV I I V IV I V


What that means is that you're playing the corresponding chord with its requisite measure. Rewritten with the chords instead of their key positions:


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
C C C C F F C C G F C G


So basically, you're playing a C chord four times, then an F twice, a C twice, a G once, then an F, a C, and finally a G before repeating with the C. You can make adjustments like substituting 7th chords (C7, F7, and G7 in our case) for a bluesier sound or you can just move to another key entirely.

I don't know if I helped at all but here's a Wiki article about it that might give you more answers. Good luck!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-bar_blues