12 Bar Blues Chords


“The Blues? It’s the mother of American music. That’s what it is – the source.” -B.B.King

Although there have been blues songs written with complex changes; most blues are made up of relatively simple chords…generally the 1st, 4th and 5th chord from the key the song is performed in. This is why blues guitar lessons are popular for beginner guitarists. Blues can be in a major key or minor key. One thing that separates the blues from other genres is its frequent use of dominant 7th and 9th chords. If you’re playing a major blues in the key of E you will likely play the E7 (I), the A7(IV) and the B7(V). In the key of G: G7, C7, D7. In the key of A: A7, D7, E7. If you’re playing an E minor blues you’d likely use the Emi7, Ami7 and B7 chords. Some of the more modern, driving blues utilize the flatted 3rd and dominant 7th chords. These chords add a more blues-rock feel to the song. However; for low down, emotional blues there’s nothing like a one-four-five progression to really get the blood moving and the adrenalin flowing. Here’s an illustration of 12 Bar Blues guitar chords