As Muddy Waters said, ‘the blues had a baby and they named it rock ‘n roll’. The twelve-bar blues is one of the most common chord progressions found in popular music. The blues is found everywhere from pop, rock, jazz, to hip hop. You can’t play rock if you can’t play the blues.
There are many variations of the twelve bar blues but all are based on the I, IV, and V chords. This course covers the fundamentals of the blues and touches on the various blues styles such as slow blues, Texas style, rock blues, finger style, and shuffle blues. Shuffle (or swing) blues is a specific type of blues rhythm that came from the ‘swing feel’ where the emphasis is on the off–beat.
There are hundreds of popular 12-bar blues songs. Songs like, “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin, “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley,”Red House” by Jimi Hendrix, “Crossroads” by Eric Clapton, “Call Me The Breeze” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman and “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the Beatles are all examples of songs that are based on the 12 bar blues progression. And there are equally as many songs, if not more, that are adaptations of the 12 bar blues pattern. This is the go to progression of all rock bands.
Our instructor, Jimmy Dillon, is one of rock’s top session and stage musicians. Jimmy has played with Bob Dylan, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt and yours truly, Chuck Leavell. Jimmy is currently working on a project with Carlos Santana. Jimmy is a passionate guitar teacher and students say they can learn in an afternoon what it would normally take years to master.
Learn how to play rock and blues from one of rock’s greatest. Chuck Leavell, legendary keyboardist for The Rolling Stones, The Allman Bros, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and more.
The Acoustic Blues Rock Essentials series is a 6- lesson video series covering the fundamentals needed to learn the 12-Bar Blues. This series begins with a very basic overview of the 12- bar blues chord progression and teaches how to count and feel a blues shuffle rhythm. The series then moves on to intermediate finger style techniques covering dead thumb, hammer ons, bending, squeezing, sliding and then ties it together with the connective tissue between the chords. The last two lessons of the series cover a handful of blues turn-arounds and how to improvise over the blues. This series is for intermediate and advanced students. The series includes Guitar tabs of all the techniques discussed.
In this lesson you will learn how to count and feel a blues shuffle rhythm. The lesson begins by teaching a triplet-based shuffle rhythm over the John Lee Hooker one-string blues progression. You will then learn how to apply dead thumb and muting techniques to the blues. Next we move on to a two-string blues progression with a turn-around back to the root chord. By the end of this lesson you will be able to play a complete blues shuffle pattern. You’ll be feeling the blues!
Now that you have learned the blues shuffle Jimmy will teach you how to embellish the blues with a simple blues lick over the dead thumb groove. He then adds to the vocabulary of blues licks with more advanced expressive techniques like hammer-ons, bends, and squeezing out notes. All these techniques are interchangeable while keeping the groove with the dead thumb shuffle groove. It’s all about staying in the pocket while driving that groove.
In this lesson Jimmy dives further into the blues vocabulary by adding the connective tissue between the chords of the blues progression. Jimmy climbs up the mixolydian scale while harmonizing with major and minor chords. He teaches the climb both pick and finger-style. He also teaches when and how to use ninth chords ( the James Brown chord) and touches on #9 chords ( the Hendrix chord). There’s a lot of material here so take some time to practice and digest it.
In this lesson you will learn how to improvise over the blues. Jimmy teaches the blues scale by adding blue notes to the minor pentatonic scale. He shows how to improvise with the scale while combining the blues licks you learned in the earlier videos. He then focuses on phrasing, breaking the improvisation down to it’s barebones with one-note solos and two-note solos. He introduces a rock blues style by moving up and down the neck of the guitar changing from a minor to major pentatonic scale. Similar in style to something the Rolling Stones or Allman Brothers might play. He then combines the major and minor scales along with blues licks to learn an up-tempo Texas blues. Jimmy closes this lesson with a slow blues improvisation using the blues scale and accentuating the progression by outlining the chords. You’ll have fun with this one!
Jimmy wraps up the series by putting it all together with “Hey, Hey” a song he recorded with Clarence Clemens, Chuck Leavell and the Robert Cray band. He shows how to change keys using a capo and also dives deeper into playing the blues in the key of A. You’ll learn a handful of the standard 12 bar blues turn-arounds which are indispensable elements of the blues. Enjoy and keep rockin!