How to Play The 12-Bar Blues

12-bar blues

How to Play The 12-Bar Blues

What’s the foundation of pop/jazz music? The  Blues!  And a standard form of the blues dates back to the early 20th Century. It’s called the 12-Bar Blues. If you want to play jazz and popular music and start to improvise and embellish, learning about the blues is the place to start.  It only takes knowing three chords to play on the left hand and a simple rift on the right hand.

The video will teach you in the key of F, which means, the three chords are F7Bb7 and C7. Don’t worry, the video will explain how to make those chords as well. Once you get those three chords down, you have to play them in the proper order which is listed below:


The slashes indicate new measures. Again, don’t worry if this sounds complicated, it’s actually extremely simple when it’s broken down.  Practice these chords and you’ll have it down in no time. Now watch this video and start playing the coolest music there is!

Debbie Gruber, B.M., M.M., is the President of where she sends out free video piano lessons on playing pop/jazz piano. Debbie was a lecturer in jazz appreciation at Western Michigan University. She is also a piano and voice instructor and performs at many restaurants and parties in the Boston area.

Related posts


Thank you, Debbie. 12 bar blues seems complicated, but I liked the way you broke it down so it’s easy to learn.

Thank you Debbie for sending me this super-easy to comprehend video! I have always been a self-taught student of music, on both guitar and piano, but the paino is a thing I’ve only had limited success with, because of it’s vast amount of possibilities, and diffeerent approach of playing than on guitar. Your method of instruction here took away a lot of the mystery for me, and hopefully I’ll be able to add piano to my act when I go out and perform! You’re awesome Debbie – thanks so very much!
HB Beverly

Leave a Reply