Brand New Rock Essentials Level 1 Out Now

Blues Essentials Level 2 Part 1

Lesson 1: 12/8 time

Before we get down to the hard details of this track, let's talk more generally about the idea of 12/8 and how we play over it. A time signature indicates how many beats you can essentially fit into each bar, and is a way to count music as well as easily organise and read music. Up to this point, we are very used to dealing with 4/4 time signatures. If we take a look at the time signature, it breaks down like this:

So, in a 4/4 time signature, we can fit four quarter notes per bar. After four quarter notes (or a variety of notes that add up to the same value) have been played, you move onto the next bar.

so how about that 12/8 signature...

Before we hit 12/8, let's talk 6/8. This is the core time signature we are talking about, that is then expanded to 12/8 in very slow tracks.


To count through 6/8 you would say "one two three four five six", with the accent being on the 1 and the 4 beats. This is a massive first step to understanding the time signature, and one you can practice with the drum beats available to you. Notice how, when you use the drum beat, the snare is always on the "4" beat. That defines this slow blues sound! as for 12/8, well that's easy... You just do two lots of 6/8. You can now fit twelve eight notes into a bar. This is because, when you have such a slow track, you want to make reading it as easy as possible, and it allows us to fit more guitar goodness into each bar!

finally, let's add the basic chord chart...

So, with the time signature, 12/8 applied to the above chord chart, we count "one two three four five six one two three four five six" per bar. Simple as that! We also use this strumming pattern to get us started:

your first task... Play through an entire twelve bar in 12/8 time signature using this simple strumming pattern, and any dominant 7th shapes you know!