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Songwriter September

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Watch the Week 5: Jazz/Blues - "Basic Contemporary" 12 Bar Blues Progression online guitar lesson by Bob Wolfman from Essential Guide To Jazz Blues Comping

"Basic Contemporary" 12 Bar Blues Progression -

Each of the upcoming examples has two different versions, and thus 2 different charts. First, you will see a simple chart which implies very basic 6th and 5th string root chord forms. Very basic, generic, "vanilla" chord symbols, indicating that barre forms may be used or simple moveable forms. The second chart for each tune will have the more colorful chord substitutions and thus more advanced chord forms. So, that's 10 charts all together, and all examples are in the key of "F". Each of the examples uses another method or harmonic "device" which enables us to depart from just the standard 12 bar blues form. We travel from the basic contemporary form to the slightly modified, to the use of Sub. Dominant Minor chord and SubV7 chords to Chromatic II-V's and then finally using the III-7 as well. Each example has it's own distinct mood and color, some darker, some brighter, but keep in mind that these are only beginning ideas for you. Again, experiment like crazy! Explore different combinations and textures! Use forms from the chord form charts that were not used in the 5 examples! Use different rhythms, tempos, techniques and chord combinations to play different styles and "feels". It may sound corny, but you are only limited by the boundaries of your imagination. If one chord sounds lousy in a sequence of great sounding chords, get rid of it, don't use it! For the moment only, as it might sound phenomenal in another context. Always try to get the best sounding combinations, and keep experimenting until you get it the way you want it. It's kinda like painting, mixing a drink, or trying to get just the right ingredients for a recipe when you're cooking.

Well, this week we finally dive into the "juicy" stuff you've been waiting for, meaning we take a simple version of slightly modified 12 bar blues and spice it up with color. Again, keep in mind that there are two charts for this week's and all subsequent lessons; the first being the very straight ahead chord changes with no use of tensions. In other words, there are no substitutions in the first chart. However the second chart has chord substitutions all over the place.

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