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Learn to Solo Over the 12-Bar Blues Form

with Mark Kroos

In this new JamPlay course with Mark Kroos, we are spicing up the way that you solo over the 12-bar blues form. The 12-bar blues makes an appearance in almost every music genre — from Country and Rock, to Funk and obviously, Blues. This course is all about soloing over the 12-bar blues form, how to improve this skill, and getting more comfortable with guitar improvisation.

This is not necessarily a Blues course. We’re going to take ideas from different music genres and implement them into your playing over the 12-bar blues.

Learning to improvise over the 12-bar Blues is the perfect vehicle to work toward soloing over chord changes.

If you’re getting bored with the 12-bar blues form, you might find yourself reverting to minor pentatonic scale shapes. And that’s ok — the minor pentatonic scale can be used over the entire 12-bar blues. But if you’re looking for something new and fun, this course is designed to spice up your playing and spruce up your improvisation, by exploring a wide variety of concepts:

  • Switching between major pentatonic and minor pentatonic scales for improvisation, based on our chord changes.
  • Dorian mode and Mixolydian mode / Mixolydian Blues scale
  • Arpeggios
  • Target tones, guide tones, and moving between chord tones
  • Using arpeggios to create some really cool lines
  • Harmonized lines
  • Double stops
  • Running sixths up and down the neck of the guitar
  • Using harmonized bends to illustrate our chord changes
  • Whole tone scale
  • Diminished scale
  • Diminished arpeggios and how we can use those over the dominant seventh chords in our 12-bar blues

We’ll be borrowing a lot from Jazz in the latter part of this guitar course but we’ll be able to connect it to other music genres like Rock, Funk and Country.

Before you get started…

It will be helpful if you already have some knowledge and skill in the following areas:

  • At least one pentatonic scale (major or minor)
  • Major scales
  • Basic guitar chords
  • Dominant seventh chords
  • Very basic hammer-on and pull-offs
  • How to bend a string

By the end of this course, you’re going to have a lot of options and a lot of tools in your toolbox for working your way around a 12-bar blues solo. It’s also going to give you a very advanced understanding of what you can do when you approach dominant seventh chords — whether that’s in a 12-bar Blues or another piece of music. This course is geared towards intermediate players although advanced guitar players can definitely have fun with it as well!

Spice Up the Blues contains 25 lessons along with a handful of solos sprinkled in to help you master the shapes and skills you’ve been learning. To access the full course, you must become a JamPlay member.


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