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How to Play the 12-bar Blues

12-bar Blues: 1st Measure

Whether they want to rock like Hendrix or wail like B.B. King, most guitar players learn the 12-bar blues shortly after they first pick up the instrument. Since 12-bar blues scales are frequently used in rock, blues and jazz, mastering these simple chord progressions is a must for any serious guitar player.

­The 12-bar blues is broken up into three sequential measures (or bars), each of which contains fo­ur beats. This video will teach you how to play the first measure, an A chord, using Elvis Presley's "Ho­und Dog" as an example. After you've mastered this technique, check out the video on the next page to learn how the second measure is played.