12 Bar blues normally revolves around the I – IV – V  chords of any given key. Our example is in the key of C Major:

 

12 Bar Blues - C Major.png

This is a very common progression for blues rhythm guitar. It sticks to the I-IV-V chords of C Major, adding a Maj6 and min7 interval throughout the rhythm. The full progression follows this pattern:  I – I – I – I – IV – IV – I – I – V – IV – I – I

To change the key simply change the tonic chord to the appropriate root note, for example; if you wanted to play in the key of G Major, start the first pattern on the 3rd fret of your E string.

Other common blues progressions include:

  • I – I – I – I – IV – IV – I – I – V – IV – I – V
  • I – IV – I – I – IV – IV – I – I – V – IV – I – V
  • I – I – I – I – IV – IV – I – I – V – V – I – I

 

If you would like a list of all your I – IV – V notes for each key you can find it on our: Extended chord theory lesson by clicking here!

or to go to our guitar lessons directory click here!

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