Beginners Blues Piano: Non-Theory Lesson #2

Let’s Do Some Name Calling

Blues Piano Lesson For BeginnersYou are reading  this because use either you “stumbled” on this page OR you have taken yourself through Part 1 of this lesson. Welcome!

Okay, you have that left hand playing those chord voicings shared earlier. In addition, you have become somewhat comfortable with playing them in the sequence suggested:

  1. Position #1
  2. Position #2
  3. Position #1
  4. Position #3
  5. Position #2
  6. Position #1

Instead of referring to these structures as “Positions,” let’s be a little more specific by calling them what they actually are. Again, “why’s” of all this can be cleared up at another time. you are even welcome to email me if you would like an explanation.

Again, we’re not getting hung up with the theory behind this. All you need to do is associate the symbol with the position. In a similar way, if you know a person by their name like “John Smith,” you recognize that individual by what he looks like and you call him by name. You can treat these chord voicings in the same manner.

Position #1 is a chord voicing for a C9 chord voicing :


C9 chord voicing




Position #2 is a chord voicing for an F13 chord voicing:

F13 chord voicing




Position #3 is a chord voicing for a G13 chord voicing:

G13 chord voicing

Take a few moments to play each of these voicings. As you play each one, call “him” by his name: C9 (say “C nine”), F13 (say “F thirteen”), G13 (say “G thirteen”).

You are doing Awwwwwesome!

Welcome To The World Of Chord Progressions

Next, simply play these chord voicings in the order suggested earlier:

  1. C9
  2. F13
  3. C9
  4. G13
  5. F13
  6. C9

Here’s a brief clip of my demonstrating them, referring to them by their corresponding names:

There is a good reason why you have been asked to play these three chord voicings in that certain order. When we progress from one chord to another, we call that a chord progression (makes sense, right?). That’s not a theoretical term you need to be concerned with memorizing because you’re going to hear it so often during your musical journey, it will be a household word with you!

Okay, so when you played those three chord voicings in that order (1 through 6), you played a specific chord progression.

The Way A Pro Sees It

Let’s look at it in a different kind of visual way:

|| C9 | C9 | C9 | C9|

| F13 | F13 | C9 | C9 |

| G13 | F13 | C9 | C9 ||

Let’s slow down and take another look at the above illustration…

Have we changed the order at all? Not at all. However, we are showing each of these chord voicing symbols more than once before we progress to the next chord.

Let’s have you do something. Put this illustration up on your piano or keyboard stand and play each chord every time you see it. Let’s do this a very special way. Since music is divided into beats (like a minute is divided into seconds), let play and hold each chord every time we see it for FOUR counts (as you say “1-2-3-4”).

Let me show you this once in the following video clip. Then it’s your turn:

Notice that we play with a steady count in groups of four (“1-2-3-4 | 1-2-3-4 | etc.)

So, each chord in between those lines (“bar lines”) is played for 4 beats. Each of these groups of 4 beats is called a measure.

How many measures do we have total in our little song above?

Did you say 12?

If so, you are right!

You’re Playing The 12 Bar Blues!

What you are playing is commonly referred to by professional musicians as the 12 Bar Blues! The word “bar” is often used in place of the word “measure.

Having gotten this far, you’ve done better than superb. Reward yourself!

Have fun playing the 12 Bar Blues chord progression so that you are comfortable keeping a steady pulse or beat as you change chords. Play it slowwwwwly and steadily.

We’ll continue this journey in an upcoming post… (I’m honored that you’ve followed me to this point:))


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