Tag Archives: Blues

12 bar blues – Spice up your patterns with triplet rhythms

Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to read my blogs 🙂 Feel good about posting comments / questions, any other subject matters that people would like me to blog on.

Just to let you know i’ll be eventually adding some audio clips/ videos but they’ll be uploaded to my blogger page soon ( wordpress charge for mp3/ video uploads)

This blog (and the next one) will help beginner bass players to really start to mix up your 12 bar blues patterns with different rhythms. So using these new rhythms in conjunction with various arpeggios will give you more options/variety.

Below I’ve got 3 basic 12 bar blues progressions in A Blues. (the arpeggios are Major 6, Major and descending major bass line at bar 12 of each pattern)

Pattern 1 is ‘straight’ quavers :


Pattern 2 we’ve got a traditional ‘shuffle’ feel where each beat is split up into triplet quavers (1 + a, 2 + a, 3 + a, 4 + a). Each beat has 1 note lasting 2/3rds of the beat (1 and the +) and the 2nd note on the ‘a’)

** this is stated by the triplet 8th note feel sign at the top left hand side**



Pattern 3 is based on the triplet quaver structure of 3 notes per beat but the + is a rest. This provides you with another variation and choppy feel.



Practice these at various speeds with a metronome 🙂

Next blog will look at varying the rhythms within each bar!

Many thanks for reading.

James Schofield

Twitter: @jsmusicschool


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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in The Blues


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Dominant 9 and 13 chords for Blues rhythm playing

Hi There,

Thanks for reading my blogs so far.

In previous bogs on the blues we’ve understood how the blues works in ‘Understanding the blues’ and also how to add dominant 7 arpeggios to your improvisation.

Now for blues progressions the most commonly used shapes are your E and A Dominant 7 shapes below:

Now to spice up your typical blues progressions you can now introduce your funky sounding dominant 9th and 13th chords (the reason there’s no 11th chords is that they don’t sound particularly great!)

There are only really 2 shapes for each that I suggest below:

And for the dominant 13 (note due to the the fact that the chord has 7 notes 1,3,5,b7,9,11,13 one/2 intervals are left out):

So now you can use these different dominant chords as an when you like to give your blues playing some variety.

Many thanks for reading and hope you’ve found this blog useful

You can find other useful tips on twitter @jsmusicschool



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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in The Blues


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Understanding the Blues

Hi there!

In this blog you will understand more of how the Blues works (and why its strange that it does!)

Now with most Major scale progressions and the Major/Minor scales and pentatonics this tends to conform completely with all musical formulas.

What the Blues does is actually break many of these conventions as you have many notes that ‘clash’ but for some reason sound great!

The Blues scale is essentially the Minor pentatonic scale with an added note (the b5 – often referred to as the ‘Blues’ note)

So it has 6 notes:

1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7

(these are shorthand ways of writing Root, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Diminished 5th, Perfect 5th and Minor 7th)

You’ll find all 5 shapes of the Blues scale scattered around the internet so practice these.

Now it’s all well just learning these but you need to know how to apply them over a chord progression.

Typically Blues progressions are the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of any major scale turned into Dominant 7 chords (usually abbreviated to just A7 etc)

So A blues scale would work best over A7, D7 AND E7

(a major scale is A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G#)

Now this shouldn’t work but it DOES. This is because some of the notes you are playing over ‘clash’ with the notes of the scale.

For example the notes of A7 has A,C#,E and G , but the A blues scale contains a C

This is just one example of how the Blues scale breaks a musical convention – but this also gives Blues it’s unique sound. So don’t aim to think to much about why all this stuff works as one of Blues defining characteristics is how it breaks away from traditional conventions

Practice your Blues scales over different 1,4,5 Dominant 7 progressions in various keys to take your Blues playing to another level,

Cheers for reading.



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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in The Blues


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