12-bar blues

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including a new 12-bar blues course, humans vs drum machines, and more. Here we go…


#1 – Humans vs. drum machines

I remember reading somewhere about the difference between humans playing rhythm and machines.

There was some study done on people playing up-tempo songs such as Madonna’s “Borderline” (a guilty pleasure song of mine) and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”.

They found that although drum machines can play in perfect time…

Trained musicians were slightly out of time sometimes and…

Untrained musicians were out of time quite a bit.


What they found with the trained musicians though, was that often they would be slightly out of time in a purposeful, small, and consistent manner.

Often playing slightly ahead or behind the beat.

And this is what gives music life and lots of soul with lots of groove.


Drums machines can’t do this as well as humans.

It takes practice but being able to play in perfect time and then deviate ever so slightly is very cool for making our music sound solid and rhythmic but soulful and human too.

The machines can try but they can’t ever do it quite like us (take that, Skynet!)


#2 – Learning to swim (progress is not always obvious)

Over the past few weeks, I have taken Archie swimming a few times.

This was the first time in 18 months (before covid) that he tried to swim properly rather than just splash about (a long time for a 5-year-old).

He was nervous at first and at one point he was nearly sitting on my head in the pool trying to avoid the water!


This week though, he relaxed way more and was slowly starting to get a bit more confident throughout. (We were mostly just having fun though).

At the end of the swim, he jumped in, caught his foam tube, and swam to me and he looked delighted with that.

It was great to see that wonderful bit of progress.

I could see Archie getting gradually better throughout the session, but I don’t think he realised he was making progress, not until the end.


Progress with anything is like that, guitar included.

It is not always obvious you are progressing, but every now and then you get a cool moment when you see it yourself.

I love it when I see a student realise he or she has made a breakthrough on the guitar.

You can see them buzzing, and it is very cool to see.

Definitely good to savour those moments.


#3 – Always keep it fun

Recently I decided to try out a new style of course, which is not only fun for me to film but…

Possibly better for you as a student.

It is what I am calling a “Mini Masterclass”.


This course is 1 hour long, laser-focused on one topic, and ideal for those of you who are short on time.

This first one is a bit of a tester, but if the feedback for the format and lessons is good, I will create more in different styles and on different subjects.

Anyway, the first one is based on the 12-bar blues shuffle and I teach it in two parts.


Part 1 teaches the fundamentals and Part 2 teaches you some fun riffs and licks to incorporate into what you learnt in Part 1.

Although I teach it all in video, as the course is not super long, I don’t go into a crazy amount of depth on each lesson, so it will be helpful if you can read TAB too. The videos and the TAB work hand in hand.

All the info is at the link below and you can find out more there and you can listen to a short track highlighting what the course will teach you.


Find out more about The 12-Bar Blues Mini Masterclass course


Enjoy your Monday!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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