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Intermediate 12-Bar Blues Riff

Welcome to the fifth lesson of the Blues Guitar Quick-Start Series. We’ll be getting a little creative here, and learning how to make the 12-bar blues riff more interesting. This lesson will take the basic blues riff you learned in the last lesson and add a few embellishments to give you some options when you’re playing the blues.

Just like the riff we learned in the last video, we’ll start by looking at our standard 12-bar blues progression. At this point, you should have a really good grasp of how the chord progression is structured. The first part of the riff will start with the four measures of our E chord. Remember to incorporate the muting technique you learned in the last lesson.

You’ll want to watch through the example of each riff within the progression. The video will teach you the best way to play through each section of the entire riff. You’ll break it down into individual measures to make it easier to learn. You may need to practice each part on its own first before combining these into the full 12-bar blues riff.

Once you’ve got the entire riff down, you’ll be ready to try applying it to the jam track. This riff is simply an example of what you can do with the 12-bar blues progression to make it sound more interesting. Once you’ve really got the hang of the riff you’ve learned here you can even start experimenting and coming up with things yourself.

You’ll have two options for jam tracks. There is one at 70 beats-per-minute and one at 100 beats-per-minute. Choose the one that best suits your current skill level and give it a shot. Focus on getting this riff down and make sure you’re working on your timing. Sometimes, slower songs are harder to lock into the groove, so you may find it easier to use the 100 beat-per-minute track instead.

In the next video, we’ll be shifting gears and moving our focus from the rhythm part of blues guitar to the lead part of blues guitar. We’ll start off by learning about the blues guitar scale shape.