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How To Play The Most Classic Blues & Rock Guitar Rhythm Pattern

Updated on September 4, 2015

12 Bar Blues

Most typical blues uses three chords and is a repeating 12 measure cycle. A measure is 4 counts and is also know as a bar. So you could say that a typical blues is a repeating 12 bar cycle which is thew the common name of 12 bar blues,

  • 4 bars of A7:
  • 2 bars of D7:
  • 2 bars of A7:
  • 1 bar of E7
  • 1 bar of D7
  • 1 bar of A7
  • 1 bar of E7

Add them up.

/ A7 / A7 / A7 / A7 / D7 / D7 / A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7/ Repeat

The Blues Shuffle Rhythm Pattern

Whether it's the background rhythm to Johhny B Goode by Chuck Berry (in fact most of his songs) or Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones this little pinky stretching patter was a staple of rock for a good 30 years.

The following video lesson shows how to play a 12-bar blues in A using this classic rhythm patteren.


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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 23 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Thanks Mark, this is great for the kids to learn, and something they will really like. Stella