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12 Bar Blues Form


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12 Bar Blues in E for Beginners!

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Now we have all three chords we will use in our 12 bar blues song: E, A and B7. Let's look at the form we'll use to play these chords in the right order and at the right time.

The reason it's called 12 bar blues is that the structure is a repeated pattern of 12 "bars" or 12 measures or 12 "counts of 4". And the specific order of a typical 12 bar blues form looks like this:

E5 & E6 (I) measures 1-4
A5 & A6 (IV) measures 5-6
E5 & E6 (I) measures 7-8
B7 (V) measures 9-10
E5 & E6 (I) measure 11
B7 (V) measure 12

This provides a very well-known, standard structure for people to use as a basic reference point for playing songs. So that even if you've never played with someone before, or even if you don't know a particular blues song, if someone says, "It's a 12 bar blues in E", you have a basic common understand to work from.

It doesn't always follow this exact pattern. There are many variations possible. And there have been many variations used in the history of the blues. But this is a sort of default setting. It gives us a standard starting point. This is the most basic 12 bar blues form. That's why it's a good one for beginners to learn!

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