As you probably know, I’m a big fan of students learning five songs.
That is the first big goal I give to all my students.
The benefits of doing so are endless.
…More confidence, development of musical skills, playing fun songs you recognise, and so on.
When you combine that with a proper plan and technique-building lessons, it’s very powerful.
One type of song I urge all students to learn in their first five is…
…A 12-bar blues tune.
I think of the 12-bar blues as the greatest template of all time.
Simply because, unlike pop songs, the structure doesn’t really ever change.
…And this means you can have endless fun jamming the blues.
Once you learn a solid 12-bar blues piece, you can keep tweaking it, adding in new ideas, you can take licks from elsewhere, adapt them, and slot them in.
As you develop your skills, you can develop your 12-bar blues to match.
…Or of course, you can keep your 12-bar blues as a solid fun “go-to” piece that you can jam at will to add some joy to your day.
In fact, one of the first times I played something that impressed someone else was with the blues.
I was about 16 and there I was, noodling away, not really playing anything, then I was put on the spot by my friend.
He said some dreaded words along the lines of, “Go on then, play something I know”.
To me, reading between the lines, it felt like he was saying:
“You’ve been playing for ages but you’re just playing all these scales, can you not even play a song yet?”
Well, I took a breath and then jammed the blues.
Right away, the air changed, and he was much more impressed.
That’s because the blues is universal and everyone knows the sound of it.
It crosses musical genres.
It is the backbone of many styles and even a lot of non-blues artists have blues-inspired tunes.
…Including the likes of T-Rex, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters, Selena Gomez, Prince, Led Zeppelin, and more.
Plus, the blues is just so much fun to play on the guitar.
So, I definitely urge you to learn a 12-bar blues at some point in your playing.
The trouble can be that trying to play a 12-bar blues from start to finish can be hard.
Many 12-bar blues pieces often feature tough chords, challenging stretches, and complicated turnarounds.
It can kind of put you off if you’re not a ‘hardcore’ blues lover.
But what if there was a simple blues that sounds great and is easy to play?
Well, that’s like gold dust to many.
And if you’re interested, I’ve created one.
I call it “Neon City Blues” and it uses my “No Chord Fingerstyle” method, meaning we play loads of cool and simple bluesy licks, structured into a 12-bar blues, and we fill out the sound using open bass strings.
It is a lot of fun to play.
Of course, like learning anything, it takes focus and practice, but once you nail it, you’ll have a piece you can enjoy forever – and that’s special.
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be releasing this new lesson for Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy members.
You can check out the Academy below and tomorrow, like I say, I’ll be releasing this lesson.
If you join or not, I definitely urge you to learn an exciting 12-bar blues.
The blues can add so much joy to your day and that’s what it’s all about.
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.