Blues Progression – A Root Notes Primer

Here we take a look at the root notes of the blues progression – the I, the IV and the V (1,4,5) chords – and how they lay out on the fretboard.

It’s good practice to use the middle finger of the left hand for each root note.

Wherever you place your middle finger root, the IV chord will be on the next string below it at the same fret, and the V chord, two frets up from that. Basically, the relationship of the root notes stays the same in the blues.

So you can use your middle finger to cover each root note, and use the root note pattern to guide you where to put the rest of your fingers on the fretboard. If you can count out loud “1,2,3,4…” while playing each note, it will help you to grasp the concepts better.

Here’s a sample diagram showing the key G:

diagram of the root note pattern for 12 bar blues bass in the key of G

diagram of the root note pattern for 12 bar blues bass in the key of G

Here’s another sample diagram transposing to the key Bb:

diagram of the root note pattern for 12 bar blues bass in the key of Bb

diagram of the root note pattern for 12 bar blues bass in the key of Bb

Here’s the video demonstration:

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About rex

rex b. is the bass player / singer for BreakupAK, the house band for Palmer Bar in Palmer, AK. his is an avid fan of the blues and has been a blues bass player for over 20 years. this site is dedicated to teaching and learning the 12 bar blues.
This entry was posted in How to Play 12 bar Blues Bass - Free Video Lessons. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Blues Progression – A Root Notes Primer

  1. Aiko says:

    Your post, A Root Notes primer | 12barbluesbass, is really well written and insightful. Glad I found your website, warm regards!

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