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  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • b b king

    How To Play the Blues: Blues Variations Part 2

    by Simon James

    Blues Variations

    Variations in blues often can include making chromatic additions to the 12 bar form. Here are a few typical chord additions that you may come across in your blues studies.

    1. The 1-4 Climb

    In the fourth bar move up from the 1 to the four by passing chromatically through the chords starting on the 2 so that you land on the 4 in bar 5. Consider this in A. When you come to the fourth bar play an A, followed by a B, a C, and a C# before reaching the D in bar 5.

    12 Bar Blues variations 1-4 climb  

    2. The Chromatic Turnaround

    When you approach what is known as the turnaround in bar 12 play chromatically from the 4 to the 5 at the end of bar 11. Try this in the key of D as it sound good to do this lower down the octave. As you reach bar 11 play a G followed by a G# before you land on the A in bar 12.

    12 Bar Blues variations chromatic turnaround  

    3. The Chromatic Turnaround 2

    This time when you reach the turnaround in bar 12, play down chromatically to the 5. Take the key of D: when playing D in bar 11 move down through C, B and Bb before landing on the A in bar 12.

    12 Bar Blues variations chromatic turnaround  

    Variations of blues can include one or all of these elements. Make sure that as you study you listen to plenty of blues and listen out for all of these different forms.

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    Related Posts:

    1. Blues Variations Part 1

    2. How To Play 12 Bar Blues

    3. Using Altered Scales in Jazz Blues Progressions

    4. Introduction to Jazz Blues

    5. Using Minor and Major 3rds in Blues Soloing