8 Ways to Play a 12 Bar Blues Shuffle in The Key of E

Photo by Pablo Docal
Today I’ll show you 8 different ways to play a 12 Bar Blues shuffle. Blues shuffles sound really cool and the basic ones are not that hard to play.

In the first example I wrote out the entire 12 bar blues. In the other examples I just wrote out the alternatives to bar 1,2 and 9. More you don’t need, the rest of the bars is played the same way as those 3. Just play them in the right order. You’ll see what I mean once you’ve tried the first 12 bar blues.

The shuffle blues is one of the most common used rhythms in blues and so used by all the great blues artists like Clapton, BB King, Albert King, Robert Johnson etc. For those who are just starting out in blues, this is the backbone of blues rhtyhm guitar so I suggest you get your hands dirty. :)

If you want to read more about the origin of the blues shuffle and blues in general check out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues

Enjoy!

12 Bar Blues Rhythm #1
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|
D:-------------|-22-44-22-44-|-------------|-------------|-22-44-22-44-|
A:-22-44-22-44-|-00-00-00-00-|-22-44-22-44-|-22-44-22-44-|-00-00-00-00-|
E:-00-00-00-00-|-------------|-00-00-00-00-|-00-00-00-00-|-------------|
 
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------|
D:-22-44-22-44-|-------------|-------------|-44-66-44-66-|-22-44-22-44-|
A:-00-00-00-00-|-22-44-22-44-|-22-44-22-44-|-22-22-22-22-|-00-00-00-00-|
E:-------------|-00-00-00-00-|-00-00-00-00-|-------------|-------------|
 
e:-------------|-------------|-----------------------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-----------------------------------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-----------------------------------------|
D:-------------|-44-66-44-66-|-----------------------------------------|
A:-22-44-22-44-|-22-22-22-22-|-----------------------------------------|
E:-00-00-00-00-|-------------|-----------------------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #2
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
D:-------------|-22-42-22-42-|-44-64-44-64-|---------------------------|
A:-22-42-22-42-|-00-00-00-00-|-22-22-22-22-|---------------------------|
E:-00-00-00-00-|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #3
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
D:-------------|-22-44-55-44-|-44-66-77-66-|---------------------------|
A:-22-44-55-44-|-00-00-00-00-|-22-22-22-22-|---------------------------|
E:-00-00-00-00-|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #4
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
D:-------------|-22-42-52-42-|-44-64-74-64-|---------------------------|
A:-22-42-52-42-|-00-00-00-00-|-22-22-22-22-|---------------------------|
E:-00-00-00-00-|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #5
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
D:-------------|-22----22-42-|-44----44-64-|---------------------------|
A:-22----22-42-|-00-34-00-00-|-22-56-22-22-|---------------------------|
E:-00-34-00-00-|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #6
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
G:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
D:-------------|-22-42-22----|-44-64-44----|---------------------------|
A:-22-42-22----|-00-00-00-34-|-22-22-22-56-|---------------------------|
E:-00-00-00-34-|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #7
e:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
B:-------------|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
G:-------------|-----------2-|-----------4-|---------------------------|
D:-----------2-|-22-42-52--2-|-44-64-74--4-|---------------------------|
A:-22-42-52--2-|-00-00-00-4--|-22-22-22-6--|---------------------------|
E:-00-00-00-4--|-------------|-------------|---------------------------|
 
Blues Rhythm #8
e:----------------|----------------|----------------|------------------|
B:----------------|----------------|----------------|------------------|
G:----------------|--------2-------|----------------|------------------|
D:--------2-------|-22-------22-42-|-44-----4-44-64-|------------------|
A:-22-------22-42-|-00-3bd---00-00-|-22-5bd---22-22-|------------------|
E:-00-3bd---00-00-|----------------|----------------|------------------|
 

Related posts:
- 6 Cool Guitar Blues Turn Arounds in the key of E
- 3 Juicy Blues Chord Progressions to Be Prepared

If you liked the blues shuffles please share ‘m on Stumbleupon. I’d appreciate it.
Thanks,
Klaus

If you like this post, please share it on Stumbleupon. I'd appreciate it.

    15 Responses to “8 Ways to Play a 12 Bar Blues Shuffle in The Key of E

    • Hi Klaus,
      I have been an erratic guitar player for quite a long time now. I came across your blog & have decided to bring some discipilne into my guitar playing. I can & will try out all the topics you have posted & keep you informed. BTW I want to follow you on twitter, do you own an account?

    • Hi Kalyan,

      Thanks for reading GutiarHabits. I appreciate it.
      Happy to hear you decided to get your guitar playing back in the game!
      Check out the archive. I think you’ll find enough inspiration to get you motivated to practice and get your guitar playing on a higher level.

      Best regards,
      Klaus

    • avascoc:

      Because it uses 72 “74 44″ This numbering is confusing

    • Kyle:

      avascoc,

      Those numbers are referring to the frets.

    • Oh and…

      “bd” stand for “bend down”. (see blues rhythm #8)

      Klaus

    • Hi Kalyan,

      Oh i forgot to mention…
      I recently stopped using twitter. I try to eliminate distractions as much as I can, so I focus more on guitar playing and living a peaceful life. :)

      Klaus

    • Thanks for the concise list Klaus. I find that most of my problems playing blues is really diggin’ the rhythm and getting that blues feeling transfer over into my guitar.
      Thanks,
      Angel

    • Klaus,
      Could you describe what the right hand is doing when strumming these blues forms? I don’t read tab very well and it would help to know how to strum these.

      Thank you,
      Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      For the first 6 blues rhythms they’re just down strokes every single one of them.
      For blues rhythm #7 I just play an upstroke on the 2 2′s which are played simultaneously, the rest are downstrokes. The same logic goes for the other measures.
      For blues rhythm #8 just an upstroke on the 2 on the D-string. Same logic goes for the other measures.

      Also with my strumming hand I’m placing the palm of my hand softly on the bridge so you get sort of a half muted effect which makes it sound like the real thing. (not totally muted, just a bit… you still need to hear the strings) You don’t need to do that at first but when you get to hang of the blues rhythms it’s nice to add that technique.

      Best regards,
      Klaus Crow

    • Terry:

      I got to ask are you a grey A 7 2 split if I could do that I could cover the whole neck in 3 moves

    • John Leslie:

      This is the sloppiest, most confusing tab I have seen. Really now, could you clean this mess up?

    • Hi John,

      It has probably something to do with the way you zoomed in on the page or your fontsize settings.

      I didn’t hear anyone else about it and I don’t see any problems hear. Let me know if you can figure it out.

      Best regards,
      Klaus Crow

    • JT:

      It may be me, but the 24 to 26 fingering is nearly impossible for me. I can’t stretch that far. Any advice or way of practice to get there?

    • gu1tar:

      JT: One way to make the 24 to 26 fingering easier is to use 1st and 2nd fingers (index and middle) on the 2nd and 4th frets rather than the 1st and 3rd fingers. Much easier then to stretch your pinky to 6th fret. In general, for big stretches, you can slide your thumb behind the neck so that your fingers have more room to stretch over the fretboard. HTH!

    • Big Chief:

      My problem starts with # 3 which asks me to play the 2 and the 6 and the 2 and the seven simulaneiously. I saw the note about streching but I know something is wrong with the way I understand the tab. I dont see how I can play those notes at the same time.
      I saw that I am not the only person confused by this. Can you help me understand how you want the played. Thanks

    Leave a Comment

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