|Learning Guitar - Lesson Five|
|Part 3: 12 Bar Blues|
Learning the blues is an essential step in becoming a well-rounded guitarist. Since the basic blues is so simple, many guitarists will use it as a common ground - a means of playing with others who they've never played with before. Consider this: a 50 year old man, and a 14 year old teenager are trying to play guitar together. Chances are, they're not going to know many of the same songs. This is when knowing a simple blues will come in handy... one guitarist can play the chords, and the other can either sing, or play guitar solos over those chords. And then, they can trade off, to let them both have a turn playing lead guitar.
The following provides instructions for learning a 12-bar blues in the key of A. There is a very simple intro and outro which have been included, which might take a little practice to play quickly, but shouldn't be too difficult. For the sake of simplicity, the following is presented in a very basic, almost "hokey" style. Learn it as is, and we'll vary the style in upcoming lessons, to make the blues sound a little more interesting.
This is a blues intro at it's most basic.. just a few chords, and a
few single notes, which will lead nicely into the main part of the song.
This is a basic guitar part that will wrap up the song, the last time
you play it. It's not very long, and shouldn't be too tough to learn.
The 12-Bar Blues:
This is the main part of the song. The song starts with a simple intro (not shown below), then continues for 12 bars, then repeats (without repeating the intro). The last time the song is played, the last two bars are replaced by the outro.
The above gives the general breakdown of the twelve bar blues, and you'll
need to memorize it. Chances are, though, when you hear it played, it
will sound logical, and shouldn't be at all hard to memorize.
And, that's it! Looking at all the above instructions, you're probably going to feel overwhelmed. Pick up your guitar, and try playing through it all... it's actually quite simple, and rather easy to memorize.