How To Take A Boring 12 Bar Blues Chord Progression And Make It Sound Pro!
Regardless of the style of music you play on guitar, or the type of guitarist you consider yourself to be, the blues is a universal language that all musicians are familiar with.
Therefore it is in your interest to be somewhat fluent in this style, as you will find yourself in many situations where you will have the opportunity to jam out on a blues. If you haven’t yet, you will and it is a lot of fun as you can be up and playing with someone straight away, without any preparation.
Simply being familiar with the most common form of the blues, a 12 bar blues, is enough. However, the more you can do, the more fun you will have, and the better you will sound.
In today’s article, I am going to show you some cool chord extensions that you can apply to a 12 bar blues in the key of E. We will take some everyday open chords and make them sound much better with these extension ideas.
Before we get into these extensions, here is a 12 bar blues in the key of E:
You want to come to know this progression like the back of your hand. Even if you haven’t played any blues before, this form of the blues should sound familiar to you.
Blues Chord Extensions
There are many, many ways you can play through this progression from a rhythm guitar point of view.
Here is one such approach using some chord extensions:
Watch the video below to hear and see a demonstration of this particular chord extension idea. You will hear me play through the 12 bar with the chord extensions first, immediately followed by the same idea being played in a little more context with a melody over the top of it.
Here is another example of adding chord extensions and embellishments to simple open chords to make them so much more interesting and decorative over the blues:
In the example above I am breaking the chord up more by playing notes separately.
Watch the video below to hear and see a demonstration of this particular chord extension idea. Once again you will hear me play through the 12 bar with the chord extensions first, immediately followed by the same idea being played in a little more context with a melody over the top of it.
Take the time to learn both the blues chord extension/embellishment ideas and apply then to your own guitar playing. The key is to always take what you learn and use it in your own playing. This is absolutely vital if you really want to be able to use these ideas when jamming the blues.
Another thing to keep in mind is that everything you learn in a blues context is not only great for jamming the blues, but also great for your guitar playing in general. You will take chord extensions and embellishments like these I have presented to you today, and be able to apply them to other chords in other styles of music too.
Simon Candy is a guitar instructor out of Melbourne, Australia, who teaches trains, and mentors his students in a number of styles including rock, jazz, blues, and fingerpicking. Simon also offers lessons for acoustic guitar players online