12 Bar Blues (Guitar Lesson)

Get Started
What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
DJ Phillips

12 Bar Blues

Learn what makes a chord progression a blues progression as well as the basics to the famous 12 bar blues.

Taught by DJ Phillips in Blues Guitar with DJ seriesLength: 13:18Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:01) Blues Progression Explanation What makes a chord progression a blues progression? The blues progression is typically a 12 bar form (sometimes 8 bars) that follows a specific set of chord changes. These chord changes follow the same harmonic relationships regardless of key.

Here is a breakdown of the chord changes in the 12 bar blues progression:

Bars 1-4: I chord
Bars 5-6: IV Chord
Bars 7-8: I Chord
Bar 9: V Chord
Bar 10: IV Chord
Bar 11: I Chord
Bar 12: V Chord

Note: The I can be played in measure 12 instead of V. V is typically used because it creates a stronger resolution back to the beginning of the form. This concept will be discussed in greater detail in Lesson 4

There are several variations on this basic pattern. Additional chord changes can be added to the form. However, this is the most basic structure of a 12 bar blues progression. You will learn how chords are substituted into the form in Lesson 4 of this series.

Using Roman Numerals

Roman numerals are typically used to represent chords within a specific key center. Labeling chords in this manner presents several advantages. Roman numerals establish a set relationship between chords that does not change regardless of key. For example, the 12 bar blues progression consists of the same harmonic relationships listed above when played in all 12 keys.

Roman numerals are much more practical than letter names when it comes to analyzing the form of a piece and how the chords function within the form. For example, the I chord, or tonic, provides a stable sound within a key. The IV chord, or subdominant, typically leads back to I or up to V. V is referred to as the dominant chord. The dominant chord has a strong tendency to resolve back to the I chord. However, notice how the IV chord in bar 10 follows the V chord in bar 9. This harmonic movement is a key feature in blues music that contributes to its distinct sound.
Chapter 2: (06:29) Slow Shuffle (Key of A) Determining the I, IV, and V Chords

Before you begin to play a blues progression in any key, you must first determine what the I, IV, and V chords are in that key. This first step in this process is to write out the major scale for the key that you are playing in. All of the musical examples in this lesson are played in the key of A major. From the circle fifths, we know that the key of A major has 3 sharps in the key signature. From the order of sharps, we see that these sharps are F#, C#, and G#. When these sharped notes are applied, the A major scale is spelled as follows: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A.

Next, each scale degree must be labeled with its appropriate Roman numeral. Each scale degree is listed with its corresponding Roman numeral below:

A: I
E: V
F#: VI
A: I

All of the chords that appear in the most basic form of the 12 bar blues progression are either major or dominant chords. These chords are built from the I, IV, and V chord degrees. As a result, in the key of A, the I, IV, and V chords are A(7), D(7), and E(7).

The Blues Shuffle Pattern

In this scene, DJ demonstrates how to play the blues shuffle rhythm pattern. The blues shuffle can be transposed to any chord in any key. Essentially, the blues shuffle combines the root of the chord with the fifth of the chord or the major sixth of the chord. From the scale degrees listed above, we know that the fifth and sixth in the key of A are the notes E and F# respectively. These notes can be found at the 2nd and 4th frets of the D string. For the first two eighth notes of each measure, the root note is combined with the fifth. The next two eighth notes feature the root note combined with the major sixth. This pattern repeats for the remaining four eighth notes in the measure.

What Does Shuffle Mean?

A shuffle is any rhythmic pattern in which the duration of the first note in a pair of eighth notes is lengthened and second is shortened. Typically, the first eighth note in the pair is played as a quarter note triplet. The second eighth note is played as an eighth note triplet. This patterned of shuffled eighth notes causes the rhythm to "swing" lightly back and forth.

Changing Chords in the Shuffle Pattern

To play the blues shuffle pattern over a D chord, simply move everything from the A chord pattern up a string. Now, you should be playing the open D string in conjunction with two fretted notes on the G string. Watch DJ closely at 02:15 as he demonstrates how to move the shuffle pattern from the I chord to the IV chord.

In bar 7, the progression returns to the I chord for two measures. Now you're done with the first two lines of the 12 bar blues progression.

In measure 9 at the start of the third line, the progression moves to the V chord for one measure. To play the shuffle pattern over the V chord, simply move the pattern for the I chord down a string. You are now playing the open low E string in conjunction with fretted notes on the A string.

The V chord is followed by the IV chord, D in the next bar (10). You may find it difficult to switch from the shuffle pattern in E to the pattern in D since you have to skip over a few strings. If this is the case, drill these changes slowly until they become second nature to you.

Practicing the Blues Shuffle

Once you have memorized where all of the chord changes occur within the blues progression, begin to practice the blues shuffle on your own. Make sure that you can play it perfectly in time with a metronome. Like DJ mentions, you may need to practice the progression at a slower tempo at first to make sure that you are nailing everything perfectly. Then, gradually increase the tempo. Move the metronome up one notch at a time once you have mastered the shuffle at a given metronome setting. Rhythm is the most important component of playing music. Therefore, you should direct most of your attention to the rhythmic aspect of the shuffle as you practice it. You must not leave any gaps between the chord changes. All of the changes must remain perfectly seamless. Also, make sure that you are counting measures as you play, so you don't lose your place in the form.

Note: A metronome can be found in JamPlay’s "Teaching Tools" section. This section can be accessed from the left side of the homepage.

Once you can play the shuffle rhythm in time at a variety of tempos, practice it along with DJ at about 04:30 in the lesson video. Rewind the video as many times as necessary for additional practice. He plays through the form twice so you can get a feel for the transition at the end of the form back to the beginning of the form.
Chapter 3: (05:29) Changing Positions The chord patterns that you learned in the last scene work great for the key of A. However, they will not work for most of the remaining eleven keys. This is due to the fact that these chords contain open strings. For this reason, DJ teaches you how to convert the chordal patterns presented in the last scene into movable fretboard shapes.

These new patterns feature some difficult stretches that you may not be used to. If you are having troubles, don't worry. You'll master these stretches in no time with patience and consistent practice.

Start with a basic A5 power chord shape played in fifth position with the root note on the low sixth string. Use the first and third fingers to fret the notes in these chords. Then, you will toggle back and forth between the note E and the note F# fretted by the pinkie finger, which must stretch all the way out to the 9th fret of the fifth string. These are the exact same notes that you were playing in the previous scene. Notice how these notes sound a little different from the open strings as far as tone is concerned. The differences are very subtle, but they are important nonetheless.

Changing Chords

When switching to the IV chord, D, simply move this chordal pattern up a string. You are now playing on the A and D strings.

In order to play the V chord, you must shift the pattern used for the D chord up two frets to seventh position. Watch DJ closely at 02:20 for a demonstration.

Practicing the Shuffle in Fifth Position

Practice this version of the shuffle in A on your own. Then, once you have mastered it, return to the lesson video and play along with DJ. He starts this progression at a much slower tempo this time around due to the difficult stretches that you must make with the pinkie finger. However, DJ picks up the tempo on the second pass through the form. If you find certain chord changes, such as the change from the I chord to the V chord to be difficult, drill these changes very slowly until they become automatic.

Preview of Lesson 3

In the next lesson, you will learn some various rhythm patterns that are frequently applied to the 12 bar blues progression. DJ will demonstrate how to play the shuffle in 12/8 time. He'll also show you how to play the rhythm pattern from this lesson in the rock and roll style of Chuck Berry.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

KevnPenKevnPen replied

This lesson has a lot of missing explanations for beginners. It is listed as a 1.0 difficulty which in my mind is for a beginner, but it is significantly more difficult. In the beginning of the slow shuffle DJ didn't even explain how to move the ring finger. With all the fingers moving it is hard to tell which fingers are striking which strings. He also talks about getting bogged down with theory, but doesn't offer an explanation, while the supplemental explanations are all theory. Very frustrating

KPryorKPryor replied

Every time I watch these videos I get the feeling I have smallest hands in the world. I have such a hard time reaching some of these positions.

megamaniamegamania replied

I've been struggling with this lesson for 2 months...frustrating the fire out of me. Practiced it 5 days a week, some days more than once. Couldn't hit the notes cleanly, consistently...it killed my forearm after 3-5 min....making me ask, how could anyone play an entire song like this. Thought my hands were too small...searched that, how to hold the guitar, you name it. Just came back to watch the video again just to see how he was holding his guitar, had placement etc. Ha...just saw it. I've been barring the entire 5th fret and stretching my pinky to the 9th...DJ is just holding the 6th string at the 5th fret. Just tried this...like butter compared to what I was doing. 2 MONTHS. Let me work on this a week and see where I'm at.

Doctor MDoctor M replied

Your supplemental data is printed in what looks like 9 pt. font. I tried to change the font to make it readable to me. Can't do it. It has to be at least 12 pt. for me to use it. It's hard to play a guitar with paper 3 in. from your face.

corbinbrillcorbinbrill replied

Is this in standard tuning?

JgruemmerJgruemmer replied

he could make the exact fingering a little clearer for us dummies.

alvarozaratealvarozarate replied

thanks Mr. Dj!

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

Thanks DJ, I love this blues prog, it's a real classic. :)

torikoostorikoos replied

The changing positions exercises hurt, I can't sustain it for much longer than a few minutes, I seem to get cramp or extreme tiredness in my hands, they just simply don't stretch that wide…. Can you point me to some techniques how to correct my hand position or exercises to help me stretch out my fingers/hand?

hdouthathdouthat replied

Unlike a piano, you can cheat with stretches on a guitar. Start by playing it in C (10 fret). This way the stretch isn't as great. Practice there, then move down to the 9th fret. Eventually at the 1st.

jackkelly9jackkelly9 replied

do I use my fretting hand or strumming hand to quiet the strings in between chords?

Alice dicksonAlice dickson replied

Enter your comment here.

Alice dicksonAlice dickson replied

Good stuff...

devonm13devonm13 replied

i tend to bend down on the a string when doing this, how can i help prevent this

dvaneyldvaneyl replied

This is great! Thanks.

guitar4twoguitar4two replied

really good lesson DJ

mennofmennof replied

i have been watching this lesson, to find out after 6 minutes we have the same guitar...

guitar4twoguitar4two replied

dident u say that in the jam chat mennof

makatzmakatz replied

I'm starting this lesson and just want to point out a minor mistale that will trip up some students. On the second lesson at 00.22 you say to use your "second finger" to the 4th string of second fret when in fact you are playing it on your first finger. I know this is nitpicky but it makes it tough to play it that way.

johnnyrockitjohnnyrockit replied

Thanks DJ!!!

snakeeyes53snakeeyes53 replied

it hurts,a lot -my fingers -but,i keep trying to streath -5 and 9 thee,others,is hard -arthrutis -i,will keep trying -just like barre chords,is very hard -i like this lesson -i feel,it is important,to all -

nibalartnibalart replied

Hi Dj, I'm new here, but it seems just what I was looking for. Your teaching is very good. You aren't a man of many words , Few words just the essential very good. Sorry I'm Italian and I can't understand what you say on the tablature " Play with slight p.m. throughout". Thank you very much for your effort to make our understanding very easy. Enjoy your music and time.

carlrinaldi80carlrinaldi80 replied

He's talking about palm muting :)

nibalartnibalart replied

Hi Dj, Sorry to bother you, but why you don't add a "I like it " that I can add on my facebookpage and tell all my friends that I like it? Bye

jcasejcase replied

Can't seem to stretch enough to get it right - any suggestions - exercizes etc.?

shroom301shroom301 replied

Hey if you can stretch your fingers to do it is ok to play this using three strings instead of two? or is that too much???

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

You can definitely play the correct notes on three strings, but it's going to be hard to get the right sound. Having said that, if that's easier for you and you get a good sound, then I say why not?

praetorianpraetorian replied

Great lesson! Wow, what a stretch!

nrplaysnrplays replied

hey DJ .. sorry for the last comment. Please ignore it. I found the notation in the supplemental content. I am new here, so didnt get it.

nrplaysnrplays replied

Hi DJ, This lesson is great. I have one request. Can you give the piece in the form of tablature ? or maybe in music notation ? That will help to understand the rhythm and also how to hold the chords easily.

alirezadavoodialirezadavoodi replied

hi can help me For blues I use what effect?

janojano replied

Sorry, but did you mention your second finger? Is that a mistake and did you mean your first finger? Being Dutch and English not being my native language it might be that I don't understand it well.

lenjlenj replied

Thanks DJ At first it was not easy! Practiced hours over and over and is starting to become easier. Now going to stay with it until I have it nailed.

petermcgpetermcg replied


dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied

Thanks guys. Hopefully this lesson set will continue to be fun and useful. To pillowpants: We'll be covering tone and settings in more detail in a future lesson, but I can say a little bit here so I don't leave you hanging. For this segment I'm just using a Vox Pathfinder practice amp straight in. I'm a big fan of leaving the EQ settings pretty much flat but with a boost to the bass. So, if we're talking about knobs that go to 10 (sorry, none of mine go to 11, unfortunately) we're leaving them at 5 and boosting the bass (or "low") to 6 or 7. Much of tone is personal preference though, so the best thing you can do is start with the knobs flat and tweak to your liking. I've been playing for a long time and I'm still tweaking! It's an ever-evolving process. Good luck and let me know how it comes out.

pillowpantsspillowpantss replied

Hey, this is the lesson set that I've been waiting for!!!!! Love the lesson man and welcome to jamplay. Quick question, what are the amp settings you use to get that tone, or what would a recommendation be for amp settings. I have a line 6 spider but hoping to get a nice electric blues sound, even if it isnt like yours.

sloppybeefsloppybeef replied

Hey DJ, welcome to Jamplay. I like your teaching style, it's to the point and easy to understand. Thanks, looking forward to more.

rockerdonrockerdon replied

Great lesson!

Blues Guitar with DJ

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

DJ Phillips will teach you everything you need to know to become a master of the blues with an emphasis on fast-paced techniques & playing.

Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

Meet Mr. DJ Phillips & learn what he's going to teach you throughout this series.

Length: 2:30 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
12 Bar BluesLesson 2

12 Bar Blues

Learn what makes a chord progression a blues progression as well as the basics to the famous 12 bar blues.

Length: 13:18 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Rhythmic VariationsLesson 3

Rhythmic Variations

Time to take the 12 bar blues progression you've learned and add in some rhythmic variations.

Length: 8:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
12 Bar Blues Chord VariationsLesson 4

12 Bar Blues Chord Variations

Now that you've learned the 12 bar blues and some rhythmic variations, it's time to throw in some chord variations.

Length: 6:22 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic ScaleLesson 5

Minor Pentatonic Scale

Time to take a break from the 12 bar blues and start mastering some lead techniques. This all starts with the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 8:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic Scale VariationsLesson 6

Minor Pentatonic Scale Variations

Now that you've learned the minor pentatonic scale, it's time to learn how to move it around.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
SRV - The House Is Rockin'Lesson 7

SRV - The House Is Rockin'

Learn a handful of new blues techniques while learning to play Stevie Ray Vaughn's "The House Is Rockin'".

Length: 49:58 Difficulty: 3.0 FREE
Funky Blues RhythmLesson 8

Funky Blues Rhythm

Now that you've mastered some SRV, DJ is going to show you some funky blues rhythms that use the 9th chords.

Length: 8:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic in Open and First PositionLesson 9

Minor Pentatonic in Open and First Position

DJ begins a discussion of the minor pentatonic scale patterns. He demonstrates the A minor pentatonic scale in first or "open" position.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic in Second PositionLesson 10

Minor Pentatonic in Second Position

Continuing on with the minor pentatonic scale, DJ covers the second position. As with lesson 9, he provides a few exercises and riffs along the way.

Length: 10:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic in Fifth PositionLesson 11

Minor Pentatonic in Fifth Position

Continuing with the A minor pentatonic scale, DJ returns with a lesson on the fifth position pattern.

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic in Seventh PositionLesson 12

Minor Pentatonic in Seventh Position

In this lesson, DJ covers the A minor pentatonic scale in 7th position. He includes licks and riffs to help with skill building.

Length: 8:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic in Ninth PositionLesson 13

Minor Pentatonic in Ninth Position

This lesson covers the 9th position of the A minor pentatonic scale. DJ provides licks, riffs, and a string skipping exercise.

Length: 15:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Moving PositionsLesson 14

Moving Positions

Now that DJ has covered all five patterns of the minor pentatonic scale, he explains how to shift from one pattern to the next.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major PentatonicLesson 15

Major Pentatonic

Now that DJ has covered the minor pentatonic positions, he shifts gears to the major pentatonic scale.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Moving Across PositionsLesson 16

Moving Across Positions

In this lesson, DJ demonstrates a number of major pentatonic licks that feature position shifts.

Length: 5:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Combining Major and Minor PentatonicsLesson 17

Combining Major and Minor Pentatonics

DJ demonstrates how to combine the major and minor pentatonic scales. He provides a number of combined scale licks for you to learn.

Length: 12:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Solo and Lead LinesLesson 18

Solo and Lead Lines

In this lesson, DJ demonstrates how to build an effective guitar solo.

Length: 9:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
RhythmLesson 19


This lesson details the importance of rhythm within solos and lead lines.

Length: 6:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Improvising Lesson 20


DJ talks about the art of improvising in this lesson. Always begin with a grand entrance and end with a big finish.

Length: 7:59 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Building Chords on the 6th StringLesson 21

Building Chords on the 6th String

DJ begins a discussion of colorful dominant chord voicings. He demonstrates how to build chords from a root note on the 6th string.

Length: 9:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Building Chords on the 4th and 5th StringLesson 22

Building Chords on the 4th and 5th String

Continuing on from lesson 21, DJ explains how to build dominant chords from root notes on the 4th and 5th strings.

Length: 8:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Using Different VoicingsLesson 23

Using Different Voicings

In lesson 23, DJ demonstrates how various chord voicings can be used while playing rhythm or lead over a 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 4:49 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Mute RakingLesson 24

Mute Raking

With lesson 24, DJ begins a short segment on tricks of the trade. First, he discusses and demonstrates string rakes.

Length: 5:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Organ LicksLesson 25

Organ Licks

DJ explains how B3 organ licks can be played on guitar.

Length: 4:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Volume SwellsLesson 26

Volume Swells

In this lesson, DJ talks about volume swells and how they can be used.

Length: 4:37 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Walking Bass and Upstroke ShuffleLesson 27

Walking Bass and Upstroke Shuffle

Continuing with his "tricks of the trade" lessons, DJ demonstrates a walking bass line and the upstroke shuffle.

Length: 6:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
SlideLesson 28


In this lesson, DJ discusses and demonstrates the basics of slide technique.

Length: 5:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Wah Pedals Lesson 29

Wah Pedals

DJ demonstrates some of the subtleties of using a wah pedal in the blues style.

Length: 3:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
HarmonicsLesson 30


DJ discusses and demonstrates natural, artificial (harp), and pinch harmonics in the blues style.

Length: 8:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Aspects of ToneLesson 31

Aspects of Tone

DJ delves into tone in lesson 31. He discusses how and why certain tones are achieved.

Length: 21:41 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor BluesLesson 32

Minor Blues

With lesson 32, DJ introduces the minor form of the 12 bar blues progression.

Length: 4:57 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Using the Dominant V7 ChordLesson 33

Using the Dominant V7 Chord

Building on his minor blues set, DJ discusses how to utilize the dominant V7 chord to spice up the standard progression.

Length: 4:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Turnaround Lesson 34

Minor Turnaround

DJ demonstrates a couple turnaround techniques that can be applied to the 12 bar minor blues progression.

Length: 6:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor 7 VoicingsLesson 35

Minor 7 Voicings

In this lesson, DJ discusses some minor 7 voicings with roots on the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor 6th VoicingsLesson 36

Minor 6th Voicings

Much like lesson 35, DJ discusses minor 6th chord voicings with roots on the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings.

Length: 8:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Extensions of the V7 ChordLesson 37

Extensions of the V7 Chord

DJ explains how altered extensions such as the b9 and #9 can be added to the V7 chord within the context of a minor blues progression.

Length: 8:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Scale OptionsLesson 38

Scale Options

DJ discusses the scale options that can be used over a minor blues progression.

Length: 2:21 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Scale PositionsLesson 39

Minor Scale Positions

In this lesson, DJ builds upon lesson 38 and covers the minor scale positions across the entire fretboard.

Length: 5:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
T-Bone WalkerLesson 40

T-Bone Walker

DJ profiles blues guitarist T-Bone Walker in lesson 40.

Length: 31:23 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
T-Bone ShuffleLesson 41

T-Bone Shuffle

Profiling T-Bone walker, DJ will demonstrate the T-Bone Shuffle.

Length: 29:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Skills and Concepts of T-Bone WalkerLesson 42

Skills and Concepts of T-Bone Walker

DJ discusses and demonstrates skills acquired from learning T-Bone Walker's material.

Length: 17:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Bo-DiddleyLesson 43


DJ will take a look at Blues guitarist Bo Diddley and teach you the "Bo Diddley beat."

Length: 13:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Blues with DJ: More Bo DiddleyLesson 44

Blues with DJ: More Bo Diddley

Dj is back yet again with more on the style of Bo Diddley. Here is will dive more into his style of solos as well as an in depth explanation of how the songs are played out. Get comfortable everyone and...

Length: 22:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Implementing Bo Diddley's Style Lesson 45

Implementing Bo Diddley's Style

Dj brings a kicking finish to the style of Bo Diddley by teaching you how to implement his style of playing to your's. With a quick review of what he has taught so far, Dj will play the backing track as...

Length: 10:59 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #1Lesson 46

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #1

DJ returns to his blues guitar series with the introduction of a complete blues solo. Through the next 12 lessons, DJ will provide a phrase-by-phrase breakdown of the solo. By the end of this mini-series,...

Length: 3:38 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #2Lesson 47

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #2

DJ is back with Phrase #2 of the Swing Blues Solo. This lick is designed to outline the IV chord.

Length: 3:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #3Lesson 48

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #3

DJ is back with another phrase of his swing blues solo. The third phrase of the first solo is also your first turnaround. In this lick, you'll outline the chords that bring us back to the top of the form.

Length: 3:22 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #4Lesson 49

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #4

The fourth phrase of your first solo has a lot of pentatonic influence in it. You've also climbed the neck to the upper register to help build your solo.

Length: 2:29 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #5Lesson 50

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #5

We're back to the second phrase in the long form blues again. This lick picks up where the last left off and continues to build suspense in the upper register.

Length: 3:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #6Lesson 51

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #6

DJ is back with the sixth phrase of his Swing Blues Solo. We're now at the second turnaround of the long form. This lick incorporates chromaticism to build tension.

Length: 4:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #7Lesson 52

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #7

We're back to the top in the 3rd chorus of the blues solo. This lick starts to amp up the solo by adding more bends and a few double stops.

Length: 3:47 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #8Lesson 53

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #8

DJ is back with the eighth phrase in the swing blues solo. The second phrase of the 3rd chorus incorporates hammer-ons.

Length: 3:14 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #9Lesson 54

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #9

DJ is back with the ninth phrase in the swing blues solo. For the third time, we find ourselves at the turnaround. This lick plays on the idea of a repeating figure followed up by a scale run.

Length: 4:46 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #10Lesson 55

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #10

We really start to add some gusto to the solo for our final three phrases. This lick uses open stringed double stops and position shifting to create a long build up towards the solo's climax.

Length: 3:40 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #11Lesson 56

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #11

The eleventh phrase of our long form blues solo continues to build on the previous phrase. This time you'll be using a repeated but slightly varied figure along with double stops to create more build-up.

Length: 3:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #12Lesson 57

Swing Blues Solo - Phrase #12

DJ is back with the final phrase of the swing blues solo. This turnaround lick uses quick bends, repeated figures, and a chromatic walk down to twist your ear before finally resolving back to E.

Length: 5:42 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #1Lesson 58

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #1

Now that you've completed the first solo of a long form blues, it's time to tackle the second solo. This next blues is played in straight eighths and starts off with some chromatic notes, bending, and...

Length: 3:13 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #2Lesson 59

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #2

Dig into the second phrase of our straight blues solo! This one uses double stops, bends, and vibrato to kick the solo into high gear!

Length: 3:10 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #3Lesson 60

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #3

The first turnaround in our straight blues solo uses a low walking melody along with a scale run that brings us back up to the top.

Length: 2:53 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #4Lesson 61

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #4

As we return to the top for the second round of our long form, we hear a familiar melody. This one is stolen right from the last phrase, only it's been transposed up into a higher register.

Length: 2:36 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #5Lesson 62

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #5

We're getting into the meat of this solo and it's time we started rocking! We amp up the energy by using some down picking and scale lines.

Length: 2:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #6Lesson 63

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #6

We've now reached the second turnaround of our long form blues. This phrase gets a little funky with some position shifting and double stops.

Length: 4:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #7Lesson 64

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #7

Here, we return to the top and continue the funky feel from the turnaround. This lick features chromatic runs with vibrato and a repeated figure.

Length: 3:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #8Lesson 65

Straight Blues Solo - Phrase #8

The next lick in our long form straight blues is all about syncopation and getting that dirty tone from the amp. Careful rhythmic placement of rests and the use of double stops help us accomplish this.

Length: 1:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
DJ Phillips

About DJ Phillips View Full Biography Like many guitar players who began playing around the same time, DJ began plunking out Nirvana and Soundgarden tunes when he first picked up the guitar in the mid-nineties. While these grunge-y roots certainly have their merit, it wasn't until DJ's eldest sister took him to a Led Zeppelin laser light show that the full potential of the guitar began to come into focus.

With Jimmy Page's Les Paul pyrotechnics as his inspiration, DJ began fervently practicing for hours on end in the suburban jungle of Southwestern Ohio. This newfound passion (combined with his complete lack of athletic prowess and physical coordination thus completely ruling out all sports) led him to form rock bands in junior high and high school. He grew to love the performance aspect of music and soon decided on it as a career path.

College led him to Nashville, Tennessee where he began to pursue a degree in Commercial Music at Belmont University. He also started another band and got his first professional theater gig the following summer. Since that summer, DJ has spent nearly every waking hour finding ways to play music and avoiding a real contribution to society in any other way.

He moved to Minneapolis after college, rocking out between theater gigs with his current rock band Brother Big Bad. He has now convinced the band to move to Nashville where music flows like water.

DJ is elated to be a part of JamPlay and is thankful for everyone's warm welcome and says "Now, let's ROCK, people."

Lesson Information

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Acoustic Guitar

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.

Tyler Grant Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant is back with an introduction to his new series "Classic Country Chops." In this series, Tyler goes in-depth...

Free LessonSeries Details
Steve Eulberg Steve Eulberg

Steve Eulberg does a quick review of this lesson series and talks about moving on.

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

Free LessonSeries Details
Marcelo Berestovoy Marcelo Berestovoy

Marcelo teaches the eight basic right hand moves for the Rumba Flamenca strum pattern. He then shows you how to apply it...

Free LessonSeries Details
Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Free LessonSeries Details
Miche Fambro Miche Fambro

Miche introduces several new chord concepts that add color and excitement to any progression.

Free LessonSeries Details
Orville Johnson Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson introduces turnarounds and provides great ideas and techniques.

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Electric Guitar

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.

John Shannon John Shannon

Meet John Shannon and his approach to rhythm guitar. John discusses why he put this lesson series together and what his...

Free LessonSeries Details
Eric Madis Eric Madis

In this lesson Eric talks about playing basic lead in the Memphis Blues style.

Free LessonSeries Details
James Malone James Malone

James explains how to tap arpeggios for extended musical reach.

Free LessonSeries Details
Dan Sugarman Dan Sugarman

Dan Sugarman gives us an introduction and preview to his series - Sugarman's Shredding Revolution.

Free LessonSeries Details
Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

Free LessonSeries Details
Brendan Burns Brendan Burns

Brendan demonstrates the tiny triad shapes derived from the form 1 barre chord.

Free LessonSeries Details
Jeff Gunn Jeff Gunn

Now that we have explored the various distances needed to sound artificial harmonics, will learn how to move between artificial...

Free LessonSeries Details
Sarah Longfield Sarah Longfield

Free LessonSeries Details

Join over 520902 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.

Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 127 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00
Get Started

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!