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Basic Blues Chord Progressions


Blues progressions come in all shapes and colors, but there are a few very common variations of the basic 12 bar blues that all guitar players should know. There are 8 and 16 bar blues progressions, but by far 12 bar is the most common.

The following is one of the most basic blues progressions. This will be the starting point for the other variations explored in this lesson.



The 12 bar blues is made up of 3, four measure phrases. A couple of key element that make this chord progression sound like the blues are the following.

  1. The progression starts on the I chord in measure 1.(A7 for a blues in A)
  2. Movement to the IV chord in measure 5 (D7 for a blues in A)
  3. Then a return to the I chord in measure 7.

These elements in a chord progression alone with give the vibe of blues harmony.


Page 2, breaking down the phrases

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