The Intro and Turnaround

Lesson ID: FC000-003

Once you’ve got the basic 12 bar blues chord progression down, the next step is where things get fun.

First things, first. We’ll take a look at a classic blues intro.

Elements of the Intro

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at a typical intro to a blues song. This particular intro has three distinct parts. To learn the entire intro quickly, practice each part separately until it’s perfect and then move on to the next section.

The beginning of the intro is a classic chromatic walk down on the from the 12th fret of the 4th string while using a high E note on the 1st string as a pedal tone.

Pedal Tone: A note played consistently throughout a passage while other tones are played on top of it.

The second part of the intro is similar to the first but this time the walk down begins on the 5th fret of the 4th string and the 5th fret, 1st string becomes the pedal tone.

Finally, the third section of the intro is a typical strum out over the E7 chord.


The Turnaround

Arguably the most exciting part of a blues song is the turnaround.

A turnaround is a section at the end of a progression that leads back into the first part of the progression. In our example, the turnaround occurs in bars 11 and 12.

While it serves the very important musical purpose of setting you up to repeat the 12 bar sequence, it is also just plain cool.

The turnaround in this lesson is identical to the 2nd and 3rd parts of the intro. This is very typical of a blues song. The intro and turnaround tend to compliment one another. Cool thing is, this really helps you multiply your knowledge of great blues parts.

Playing the Entire 12 Bar Blues Progression

Practice this lesson by kicking off your 12 bar blues with the classic intro, then launching into a few rounds of the 12 bar blues progression complete with the turnaround. Focus on your timing.

It’s all about timing. Practice this lesson with a metronome or backing track to lock in with the groove. I can’t stress this enough.

No one’s internal clock is perfectly calibrated out of the box. You must practice with a metronome or backing track to help you develop a good sense of timing. Count out loud and get your body into it. These fundamental rhythm skills will serve you extremely well as you continue learning the blues.

Continue the Acoustic Blues Jumpstart

The absolute coolest thing about learning 12 Bar Blues is just how much mileage you can get from a few simple concepts.

In the next section of this course, we’ll take the fundamental skills learned in these three lessons much, much further. Here’s a few things we’ll cover in the Premium section of this course:

  • Small Tweaks to the 12 Bar Blues Progression with Big Impact
  • Learn How to Play 12 Bar Blues in Any Key
  • Dress Up the Standard Progression with Micro Licks
  • Play Cool Chord Moves that Spice Up the Progression

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