Watch the Turnarounds 3-6 online guitar lesson by Joe Deloro from Blues Rock Road Trip 2
In traditional blues music, the term “Turnaround” generally refers to the chord progression or moving harmonies that occur during the last two bars of a 12 bar Blues and lead the listener from the I7 ("One seven") to the V7 ("Five seven") chord, to signal the ending of each repetition of the 12 bar progression. Usually, they descend between two inversions of the I7 chord before going to the V7 on beat two of measure twelve.
Turnarounds are also often used for Intros. Robert Johnson, the 1930's Mississippi delta bluesman, generally took turnaround intros a step further by spending extra time on the I7 chord. Check out Johnson's extended intro to his, Kind Hearted Woman Blues for an example. Also, listen to the standard 2 bar Intro of Buddy Holly's, That'll Be The Day for an early blues rock shuffle example.
However, blues rock often avoids turnarounds altogether and simplifies the last 2 bars of a 12 bar blues to a single I7 chord in measure eleven through beat one of twelve, before moving to the V7 on beat two. If the song is ending though, then the final chord is the I7 in measure twelve, and the V7 may or may not appear before it.
In this lesson we'll approach the turnaround area from a blues rock soloing perspective with 2 four bar phrases. They're both intended for use in a 12 bar blues over measures nine through twelve, and end on the V7 chord. So later on, If you only need to solo over the turnaround measures, then just use the second motive over measures eleven and twelve.