12 Bar Blues 2 Backing

Animated 12 Bar Blues 2 Backing tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This 12 Bar Blues Backing Track is from the Jamzone. This is for those struggling a bit with the previous backing tune but still dying to get the hang of 12 bar blues. Here we keep the same tempo, beats and bassline, but use just 3 fingers to play the whole thing!

The progression is still the same - revolving around the same 12 Bar format discussed in the previous 12 Bar Jamzone article. However this time we don't use chords. Instead we play one note at a time, which will keep things easier to do!

Although we don't use chords, the bars are still distinctly following the 12 bar format for E minor (i.e. the I - IV - V of the E minor scale):

Position: I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - I
E minor: E - F# - G - A - B - C - D - E

Chords following the I - I - I - I - IV - IV - I - I - V - IV - I - I progression give the traditional 12 Bar Blues format. So for E minor (the key of this piece) we get:

E - E - E - E - A - A - E - E - B - A - E - E

Go to the Jamzone article to see the specific E and A bars if you are unsure about what they are. Notice that here we only play one note at a time, and not chords, however, during each bar we emphasise the appropriate note much more. For example in the E bars the notes are:

E (mute) E - D - E (hold) - E - A - E - G

Notice that the E is played more often and for longer than the other notes. Setting the tonal centre for the bar.

Same happens for the A bars:

A (mute) A - G - A (hold) - A - D - A - C

The A notes occur more often and for longer, dominating the overall tonality of the bar.

The E and A bars are the backbone of the tune, and as you can see in the ActionTab, both follow the exact same pattern - except on different strings. This means that once you can play the E bar, you can easily play the A bar - just do the same sequence of notes / rhythm all one string higher.

In order to play the E and A bars, we use only the 1st and 3rd fingers, and rely on the open string to give use the root note for each bar. So with practice you should be able to get them quite quickly. The rest of the tune strictly follows the same progression played in the previous backing exercise, except this time we pick individual notes rather than strum chords. This is also true for the turnaround.

Notice that during the E and A bars we use the 3rd finger to mute the string after the first note of each bar. Do NOT pick this muted note! It is there to show you how we suddenly stop the open string from sounding immediately after picking it. This gives us a nice rhythmic pause in the music.

Use the 3rd finger to mute the string at the 5th fret. Just quickly touch the string...Don't fret it or you'll play a hammer on, and don't pick it or you'll play a muted note! Do it right and you'll kill the string, stopping it dead. This gives a rhythmic pause before striking the open string again and then doing the slide on the next string.

As an alternative, you can always palm mute the string with your picking hand instead. Either technique works well here. The object of the exercise is to give a rhythmic pause between those notes!

Notice that if you play the normal speed audio in this Backing ActionTab that we've layered the guitar along with the rhythm guitar from the previous backing exercise. Great for jamming along with and experimenting!

As always, practice slowly and build up speed only once you've got it down right. Get a feel for the rhythm of the tune, this will help you find the right notes at the right time. When ready, start jamming along with the ActionTab.

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