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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 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

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