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!
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!