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12 bar blues

The 12 bar blues progression contain 12 repeated bars. A 12 bar blues progression is most often in 44. That means we count to four in every bar. Roman numerals (I, IV, V) is used for identification of chords in a chord progression. The 12 bar blues form is using the steps I, IV and V. If the key is E, the chords are E, A and B, as it is steps I , IV and V in the E major scale. In the blues progression, we can add a minor seventh on the all chords. Progression: A 12 bar blues in it's simplest form looks like this
I7I7I7I7IV7IV7I7I7V7V7I7I7
This form is used in the song Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry. In the example below V7 in bar 10 is switched out with IV7. This variation is often used.
I7I7I7I7IV7IV7I7I7V7IV7I7I7
This form is used in the songs Blue suede shoes and Hound dog by Elvis. Let's now switch last chord out with a V7 chord, to go back to the beginning. This is called a turnaround chord because it leads back to the start. You can not end the song of this chord, so you must now play another round, or end the song on the first bar when you do not want the song to be any longer. Try to play the progression in E and A, by replacing the Roman numerals with the right steps from the root.
I7I7I7I7IV7IV7I7I7V7IV7I7V7
Below is IV7 played in bar 2, which also is often used. Try to play the progression in the key of E, A and D.
I7IV7I7I7IV7IV7I7I7V7IV7I7V7
Listen to others who play and try to identify whether they use I7 or IV7 chord in the 2nd and 10th bar and whether they use V7 in bar 12 to lead back to the root. You will soon discover that not all blues songs fit into the forms that we have gone through. You should remember that this 12 bar blues form is a template, which is often used as a starting point in the blues genre.
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