Sophisticated Blues

by Chris Harrington

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  • HEY GMC!

    Welcome to a new lesson where we will be taking a look at adding a bit of sophistication to a 12 bar blues.

    The Blues is famous for its easy to follow 12 bar blues chord progression which consists of the I IV V chords however there are many artists who thought of fun ways to develop the harmony further especially in the jazz world with tunes like Billies Bounce which is now referred to as a 'jazz blues'.

    In this lesson i've tried to keep things rooted in Blues but with a hint toward the Chicago sound. The chords draw heavily on the use of dominant 7th chords as V chords leading to a I chord, there is also the use of whats referred to as a II V I chord movement which is used heavily in jazz music.

    There is a nice mix of mixolydian, major pentatonic, diminished and blues scale ideas throughout the piece so spend some time getting used to these scales below when attempting to improvise over the backing track.


    | A7 | D7 D#dim7 | A7 | A7 |

    | D7 | D#dim7 | A7 | F#7 |

    | Bm7 | E7 | A7 F#7 | Bm7 E7 |

    Where to apply the scales to which chords;

    A7 - A Pentatonic Major/A mixolydian
    D7 - A Blues
    D#dim7 - D#dim7 arpeggio
    F#7 - A pentatonic major
    Bm7 - A Pentatonic major
    E7 - A Pentatonic major



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