12 Bar Blues

JP, I know you’ll be able to answer this! I worked really hard on the 12 bar blues segment of your home course, but listening to those great players we’ve mentioned and watching them on You Tube I actually have to say I’ve not heard any of them play a 12 bar blues. They all solo using improv., or are they playing the 12 bar blues and I’m not hearing it?,

Take Sonny Boy II or Little Walter for instance, when they stop singing and play the harmonica it’s improv. and they never seem to play the same riff twice in a song. I listen to Little Walters song “Juke” and possibly the back ground guys might be playing a 12 bar, but Little Walter does not.


Howdy Barry!

I’m just going to interject something in here as a non-musically trained harp enthusiast - Only because I’m hoping this might help you too.

Check it out:


For me, it’s one of the best harmonica book investments I ever made. It’s all tabbed out. I’m sure you already have a lot of the book’s Little Walter and SBW II tunes in your cd collection already!

And one day soon when I learn to decipher the language of music - I have something to refer to as well!

See ya!

The backup band is usually playing a 12 bar blues which is the 1, 4, 5 of whatever key its in and then the harp players solo over the top (improv) JP teaching you how to play 12 bar is so you know how the 12 bar blues rhythm goes. IE: 8 bars of the 1 chord, 4 bars of the 4, 4 bars 1 chord, 2 bars 5, 2 bars 4, 4 bars 1, then repeat. Thats a standard 12 bar blues progression and then you solo in that key over the top. Look up standard 12 bar blues for bass or guitar or anything pretty much and listen for that pattern.

hope that helps