#1
Thought I'd try my hand at writing a slow 12 bar blues song in standard tuning, but want to be sure of the theory behind it so excuse the list of questions. I enjoy listening to Blues tracks, but I'm not that adept at translating what I'm listening to into music theory. So any help appreciated:

1. The chord progression I'll be using is a variation on the standard 12 bar blues: A7 (1 bar), D7 (1 bar), A7 (2 bars), D7 (2 bars), A7 (2 bars), E7 (1 bar), D7 (1 bar), A7 (1 bar) E7 (1 bar).

2. Okay, if I want to add a turnaround set of chords to the end, do I need to include the turnaround within the 12 bars or can it be outside of it?

3. If during the song I want to break off from the chords and play some short Blues pentatonic licks/riffs/runs here and there, how do I do that whilst keeping within the 12 bar arrangement? Do I just take out the chords where I'm playing the lick instead?

4. Are there any particular rules about where the song lines and verses should end? For example, should a line finish at the end of a bar, with the next line beginning at the start of the next bar etc.? Should each three line verse be timed to finish at particular points of the progression?

5. Is the strumming pattern simply a matter of personal taste? I'm starting with something slow and each bar is strummed as follows: three down strums, quick pluck of the high E string, fourth down strum. Hey, I got to start somewhere

Thanks, again.
#2
2. Last Bar..... I think
3. Just take play the chords and pretend that the chord progression is still going when you play your lead so that when you go back to playing the chords you should which ever chord is going on at then.
4. I don't know. Probably not though.
5. Yes it's however you want the song to sound
"I wanna see movies of my dreams"
#3
4) In trad blues u have 1 line with first(x4), the next with fourth (x2) and first (x2), and the last line of the verse with the last four bars.

Hope that made more sense than when i just read it back to myself
Quote by elliott FTW
I LOVE YOU SLOGANKID
silly racist bitch finally kicked the bucket

#4
Quote by geetarmanic
Thought I'd try my hand at writing a slow 12 bar blues song in standard tuning, but want to be sure of the theory behind it so excuse the list of questions. I enjoy listening to Blues tracks, but I'm not that adept at translating what I'm listening to into music theory. So any help appreciated:

1. The chord progression I'll be using is a variation on the standard 12 bar blues: A7 (1 bar), D7 (1 bar), A7 (2 bars), D7 (2 bars), A7 (2 bars), E7 (1 bar), D7 (1 bar), A7 (1 bar) E7 (1 bar).

2. Okay, if I want to add a turnaround set of chords to the end, do I need to include the turnaround within the 12 bars or can it be outside of it?

3. If during the song I want to break off from the chords and play some short Blues pentatonic licks/riffs/runs here and there, how do I do that whilst keeping within the 12 bar arrangement? Do I just take out the chords where I'm playing the lick instead?

4. Are there any particular rules about where the song lines and verses should end? For example, should a line finish at the end of a bar, with the next line beginning at the start of the next bar etc.? Should each three line verse be timed to finish at particular points of the progression?

5. Is the strumming pattern simply a matter of personal taste? I'm starting with something slow and each bar is strummed as follows: three down strums, quick pluck of the high E string, fourth down strum. Hey, I got to start somewhere

Thanks, again.


2. The turnaround is most of the time inside of the 12 bars.
3. Well, it ofcourse depends on the feel of the song. If its a slow blues song, I personally love it when theres just a bass and drum, with the guitar softly and dynamically diddling over it. It leaves a lot of open space for you to play with dynamics and chords instead of someone hammering on the rhythm section while you're soloing. The bass in the background should probably be enough to indicate the 12-bar progression for you. Check out some stuff by Stevie Ray Vaughan, he manages slow blues and really rockin' and uptempo blues as well, with just bass, guitar and drums (later on he got a keyboardist as well though).

4. There are absolutely NO boundaries or rules when you're playing the blues. It's about expressing yourself and telling a story through the guitar. You may choose to not play licks at all except belt a few out at the turnaround, or you may use a call and response, where you sing a phrase, then "answer" with a guitar lick. It all comes down to how you feel and what you want to express. NO limits or rules.

5. Strumming pattern is definitely a form of taste....but what's important about strumming, are the dynamics. Just to keep hammering on the same chords over and over can get boring, especially in a blues progression (cause it's really common and used billions of times). You wanna do something unique right? Find different chord inversions (in other words, other fingerings for the same chord), arpeggiate, strum, play the chords near the bridge, near the neck, ANTHING. Itll take some time to find your own voice that you are satisfied with, but it's quite important in the blues to do so. THere are a lot of aspiring blues guitarists out there, but what really defines a good one from the rest is his phrasing and dynamics. Albert King and BB King might be using the same scale for a song, but their approach to the instrument are extremely different, and each of those produces their own unique voice in the blues that makes them loved for who they are and what theyve done and still do for many aspiring blues musicians.
#5
Quote by guitarplaya322

3. Just take play the chords and pretend that the chord progression is still going when you play your lead so that when you go back to playing the chords you should which ever chord is going on at then.


Thanks. So based on the chord progression i posted, if i play a lick over the 5th and 6th bars for example, i rejoin the progression at bar 7 with the A7 chord?

I suppose keeping time is a little tricky as there aren't any other instruments involved.

And do you just keep repeating the 12 bar progression over and over for the duration of the song?
#6
+1 on a the answers to your first set of questions.

For you second set of questions:
1. Yes you will rejoin the progression at bar 7 after playing a lick in bars 5 & 6.
2. If you tap your foot to the beat of your song it shouldn't be too difficult to keep time.
3. Yes standard 12 bar blues typically repeats throughout the song.
#7
Yes tap your foot. What your gonna do is really fun. I have a book with a bunch of chord progressions and i sit there with my acoustic and practice my pentatonic scale playin through 12 bar blues sometimes when im sick of playin electric. Its relaxing. Practice improvising too just keep playing through the progression and make licks and come back to the chords its great practice for simple improv. And you could go on the riffs and recording forum and look for a thread on free drum program or something. Im sure they have some simple drum program that could easily make a 4/4 beat for you thats a little better than a metronome or foot taping if you are having trouble. I use guitar pro i noticed you have just started but if you can somehow obtain this software it will be a great asset to you for keeping time dring practice.
#8
^ oops i thought you were somebody differnt that just started that was talking in another thread sorry if this **** is old news..
#10
ur best bet is trial and error, if u have recording equipment u can lay down a few measures of ur progression and play it back improving over top of it without trying to follow the beat or chord changes in ur head