Blues music paved the way for many other genres of music we know and love. Although blues music has evolved over time, a fundamental chord progression called the 12 bar blues still lives on. 12 bar blues songs are comprised of 3 blues chords: the I, the IV, and the V and are played using a pattern that ultimately ends up being 12 bars long.
Now, although it’s called the 12 bar blues and theoretically the pattern should be 12 bars long, there is room for variation. Like anything in music, you can use the principles of a certain concept and then alter it to your liking. You’ll see that in a few of the 12 bar blues songs below, they all more or less follow the standard 12 bar blues pattern although certain songs have variations that you might not expect.
You’ll also notice that in the list of 12 bar blues songs below, I’ve included 3 columns:
- Song title and Artist (linked to the song on Spotify)
- Chords/Tabs from Ultimate-Guitar
- Guitar Pro tabs / Songsterr tabs if GP was unavailable.
If you’d like to learn these songs faster I’d highly recommend checking out Guitar Pro. It is a great software that allows you to actually hear the tabs being played in real time, thus giving you a better sense of rhythm.
I tried to incorporate songs from various artists into this list to give readers a little more selection. However, certain artists such as B.B King, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard were a few of the leaders in the creation of 12 bar blues songs.
If you’re looking for more 12 bar blues songs be sure to check them out. Furthermore, if you’d rather have an officially tabbed book of blues songs, I’d recommend checking out these popular Amazon options:
- Blues Guitar Songs – Book with CD
- Blues Guitar Songs For Dummies
- Blues Songbook: Guitar Chord Songbook (Guitar Chord Songbooks)
Otherwise, check out the list of 50+ legendary 12 bar blues songs below and happy blues playing!
Hopefully, this list has given you a few ideas of 12 bar blues songs you can start learning. Once you play this progression a few times and get the hang of it, you’ll be able to very easily distinguish a 12 bar blues progression in a song.
It’s a great chord progression that’s easy to play and has a ton of versatility options.