Take a look at the key chart from Part 2 of this series, and practice strumming the chords in a key one after another.
Once you feel comfortable strumming the chords in a given key, try strumming along to the chord progression below. Each letter in the progression represents 4 strums:
| C | C | C | C | F | F | C | C | G | F | C | G |
If you are comfortable strumming along to this progression then congratulations, you just played a 12-bar blues in the key of C.
Each time you you strummed a chord 4 times, you were playing a bar of music. There were 12 bars in this progression, which is where the 12-bar blues form got its name.
Try using the Key Chart and strumming in all the keys to the progression below. Just plug in the chord associated with the number:
| I | I | I | I | IV | IV | I | I | V | IV | I | V |
Spend a few days learning the five common key progressions and your left-hand will be prepped to move on to learning right-hand techniques.
Finally, let’s take a look at the rest of the chord shapes you’ll need to conquer nearly any blues song.