Chords in the scale, 12 Bar Blues

So I hassled you last night about how to start working out a song without music. I will say in my defense that rules are there to be broken so this will not work on all songs, but it works on a lot!
This is the process:
  • we need to find the Key of the piece of music.
    • Listen to the song play the 1st string of the ukulele and fret up to find  a note that sounds like it matches the music.
    • or ignore the key and work with the key of C , you may have to pick another key later if its out of your singing range
  • The piece of music will almost certainly include the 1st, 5th and 4th and possibly others but work with these 3 first. We use Roman numerals to denote the chord. In the Key of C the chords are :
    • I – C,  IV- F, V-G
    •  This assumes you know that the chords of the scale are simplistically . A, B, C, D, E, F, G . One complication is, if you remember the piano, the black notes and white notes don’t have even spacing. An example is in the key of F
      • I- F,
      • IV is not B but Bb
      • V – C
  • Armed with C, G and F try to match these chords to your song. Start with just I and V, then add in the IV if it does seem to work. Now don’t pick the song where you cant whistle the tune, pick an good tuneful song like  Clementine, He’s got the whole world in his hand, Hound dog, Ode to Joy from Beethoven 9th Symphony.
  • Try to work out the pattern it might be I /  V / I / V, I. you will notice that this pattern probably repeats the whole song.  You will have to listen hard to work out when to change the chord, sometimes closing your eyes focuses your listening. This is not easy but persevere.
One chord progression is definitely worth learning and that’s 12 Bar blues, I’ve included it here. With this structure try to play it in different keys say C, G, F.
Here is the structure for playing the 12 bar blues

Image result for 12 bar blues
So to play 12 bar blues in C:

C/C/C/C  F/F C/C G F C/C  as in Kansas city , See you later Alligator,  Rock around the Clock or any blues song you know – there are quite a few.

Happy strumming.


Next session 21st June

Besides the songs  we are going to look at how to structure your practice. this is the agenda.

  • He’s got the whole world in his hands v1.5  – MUG Beginners page 2
  • Happy Birthday –  its on the website under songbooks s try to learn it by heart
  • Practise – left hand exercises
  • 12 bar blues – learn by heart the chord sequence for the key of C (1st- C, 4th – F, 5th – G)
  • Save the last dance for me – MUGS Beginners page 26
  • Stand By me –  Ben  E King –   Mug Book 1 Page
  • Erin Solo –  Country roads Mug Book 4 Page 23
  • Rock Around the clock Mug Beginners Page 14
  • I wanna be like you MUGS Book 1 page 14
  • Things  –  Under other songs on the website
  • Hi Ho Silver lining Mug Book 5 Page 4