Easy 12 Bar Blues On Harmonica With Carlos Romero

By Hal Walker

Written by Hal Walker on . Posted in Blog: Harmonica Articles, Featured, Hal Walker, SPAH Interviews and Lessons

Jammin’ blues artist, Carlos Romero and Hal Walker break down the 12-bar blues into the most basic form in order to give it away to you. Just wait ‘till you hear this kid from Florida wail!

Ever since my band, Voyage from the Porch, broke up back in 1990, I’ve been a solo performer. Most of my harmonica playing has been just me by myself — seeking out stairwells and parking garages with good acoustics. I never had to follow any structure and I could make the chord changes whenever I felt like it. For years, I was perfectly satisfied sticking with just one chord, jamming on syncopated rhythms and blowing riffs up and down the blues scale. To tell you the truth, when guitar players would play chord changes, I felt mildly inconvenienced… cause I just didn’t quite know how to follow along. 🙂

But now I’m beginning to understand. Chord changes and chord structure add great interest and musical possibility to any jam session. The 12 bar blues is a great place to start. The 12 bar blues is that basic musical structure that grew out of the deep south and made it’s way up the Mississippi River to Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago. Of all the chord structures that a harmonica player should be familiar with, this is probably the most essential.

I met Carlos Romero as we shared an elevator in Dallas, Texas at the 2012 SPAH convention. 12 year old Carlos was carrying around a sack of customized harmonicas and had that spark in his eye like he knew how to play those things. I was impressed by his youthfulness and I asked if he’d considered recording an interview/lesson with me.

Carlos and I brainstormed ideas about what he could teach beginning harmonica players. Together, we came up with a great idea. We would break down the 12-bar blues into it’s most basic form – a form that anyone could follow. Even if all you know is how to blow and how to draw a big chord, you know enough to follow along with the blues. Go get your key of C harmonica and get ready to play along. And while you’re at it, help make 12 year old, Carlos Romero, a Youtube sensation! Leave a comment here and spread the word. Enjoy!

12 Bar Blues – Jammin’ With a Guitarist
After you learn the 12 bar basics, if you know a guitar player, ask them to play a “shuffle rhythm” with these chords and try to play along with that ‘C’ harp.

G7    /    C7    /    G7    /    G7

C7    /    C7    /    G7    /    G7

D7    /    C7    /    G7    /    D7

— then go back to the beginning!

P.S. Check out Carlos rockin’ Amazing Grace when he was just 10 years old!!

Hal Walker

Hal is a singer, songwriter and musical explorer. Hal Walker, the educator, enjoys ongoing collaborations with Ohio arts organizations. Hal has also released 3 albums of his songs and one CD of instrumental music. Hal Walker, the multi-instrumentalist, composes and improvises on the guitar, piano, harmonica, the khaen, jew’s harp and concertina. In collaboration, he has developed a modern version of a traditional African instrument called a “Banakula.” New! Hal Walker harmonica lessons for beginners, click: Music That Fits in Your Pocket

Comments (10)

  • Kevin

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    hi Hal
    I am a beginner and the 12 bar blues sounds great to learn to progress my playing, could you please let me know the tabs I need to blow and drawto perform this, thank you

    Reply

  • Tom Reed

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    Greetings from Vancouver Canada. Thank you for sending me your interview with young Carlos. I really enjoyed it. He certainly is an up-and-coming harmonicist. Thanks again. – Tom Reed

    Reply

    • JP Allen

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      I’m glad you enjoyed it Tom. jp

      Reply

  • Kevin

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    Hi I watched Carlos Romero and Hal Walker played the 12 bar Blues, and I like to practice it, please can you provide the number tabs for it please, be very much appreciated, thank you

    Reply

  • David

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    loved the music and the fantastic styles of both learning a ton and improving daily..can’t wait for new lessons David

    Reply

  • Jane

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    They showed the blow then draw, etc, on the Video. It’s written on the screen.

    blow – draw – blow – blow
    draw-draw – blow – blow
    blow – draw – blow – blow

    The first and last lines are the same.

    Reply

  • Jane

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    Moderators….can you make my 2nd line look like the other 2 lines?

    draw – draw – blow – blow

    Thanks

    Reply

  • Jane

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    They showed the blow then draw, etc, on the Video. It’s written on the screen.

    blow – draw – blow – blow
    draw – draw – blow – blow
    blow – draw – blow – blow

    Ahhhh…they wanted the hole numbers for the G7, C7, etc…..

    The first and last lines are the same.

    Reply

    • Earl John Clark Jr

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      Fantastic!!! Just wondering how many years it will take me to learn this! haha! I’m just a beginner. By the way, I also want to know what the hole numbers for the G7, C7, etc. are also.

      Reply

  • bob

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    out of sight

    Reply

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