12 Bar Blues Guitar Tabs
for Beginner Guitar

12 Bar Blues guitar tab sheet music showing bass lines and a simple melody, free!  Your beginner guitar players will have fun with these.

What IS the twelve bar blues?

Twelve measures (or "bars") using the I, IV, and V chords of whichever key you happen to be playing in.  That's all.  The most common pattern, probably, is the one I have below:

I   I   I  I

IV IV  I  I 

V  IV  I  I

Each bar is 4 beats

That can be a whole note, quarter notes like I have on the tablature below, or any combination that adds up to 4 beats.

It's important to keep in mind that this chord progression is a USUAL progression for the twelve bar blues - but not the only one!  Keep reading down the page, and I'll explain a bit more...

12 bar blues guitar tab sheet for bass line

Please scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs!

What you're looking at, above, is a line that a bass guitar might play. (Very basic; each note is the root of the chord only, nothing fancy.)

In the key of E, which is the key I've chosen to base these 12 bar blues guitar tab sheets on, the main chord (called "the I chord") is E.  

What is the IV chord?

Count up to the 4th step of the E scale, and there is "the IV chord", A -- music theory uses Roman numerals to name the chords.  

Walk up one more step to the B right above A, and you have the foundation of the B chord, the V chord.

I say "foundation" because the notes given on the guitar tablature above show just the root notes of the chord; the low E, A, and B. (See farther down the page for different chord constructions.)

12 bar blues guitar tab sheet for melody line

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

A simple melody

Oh boy, is this melody ever basic!  

It's really more like a duplication of the bass part's notes, up high, but with an important difference - you are going to use these simple notes to practice slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and even bends or vibrato (if your student's guitar strings are soft enough).  

And your students will be intrigued.  This is a duet beginners can do!

(What about the sound quality? Don't worry about that right now!)

12 bar blues duets:

The next three beginner guitar tab sheets are DUETS, including both melodies and bass lines - both students read off the same sheet:

12 bar blues duet for guitar, bass & melody lines

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Plucking the bass notes

So how do we pluck the bass notes?  Sometimes with the thumb, sometimes with a pick.  

We're talking BEGINNERS here, so we do what is comfortable at first.  I like to pluck the power chords and boogie chords with my thumb and index.

Power chords with 12 bar blues guitar tabs

Please scroll down for the link to the sheet music shown above

As I said above, the melody is a vehicle for practice of slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, and maybe even vibratos.  

"You Can Teach Yourself Rock Guitar", a Mel Bay book, has a lot of great ideas like these 12-bar-blues, but they use standard notation, not tab.  

Tablature is the easiest way to start

I like the tablature better for my barely-reading-notes-yet guitar students, because as easy as these patterns are to play, they are rather exotic and difficult to read when presented as notes on the staff!

Boogie chords with 12 bar blues guitar tabs

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Other keys & arrangements of chords

Other keys (tonalities, with different chords) can easily be used for the 12 bar blues, and other arrangements of the I, IV, and V chords.  

The key of A would use chords A, D, and E (or E7) for the I, IV, and V chords; in the key of D the three chords would be D, G, and A.

And a different arrangement of the chords might be:

I   I  IV  IV

I   I   I   I

V  IV  I   I 


Have fun!



The links for the blues PDF downloads:



Download 12 Bar Blues guitar tabs for bass line only in key of E



Download guitar tabs for melody line in key of E



Download blues duet sheet with both melody and bass



Download blues duet with melody and power chords in bass



Download blues duet with melody and boogie chords in bass








Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

SingTheBibleStory.com clickable logo link

Recent Articles

  1. Kate Emht's Piano Music, at Music-for-Music-Teachers

    Kate Emht is a piano teacher in the United States. See what she composes and arranges for her students!

    Read More

  2. Piano Chord Patterns for Beginners

    Piano chord patterns for beginners to learn broken chords. Help them gain EASE & familiarity with this musical tool!

    Read More

  3. Canon Sheet Music for Beginner Piano Students

    Canon sheet music for your early piano student. The newest version may be THE EASIEST CANON arrangement in the world! Six different versions, & a duet secondo.

    Read More

  4. Staff Paper PDFs - Download Free Staff Paper

    Staff paper PDFs for your music lessons, FREE. Big horizontal & vertical staff pages with & without clef symbols! Download printable staff paper of all types

    Read More

  5. Classical Piano Sheet Music - a Collection of Short Introductions

    Classical piano sheet music - 1-page intros. Check out the newest addition - Hint: Now there are TWO intros to the Moonlight Sonata!!!

    Read More

  6. Sweet Betsy From Pike Guitar Chords & Tabs

    Sweet Betsy From Pike guitar chords, tabs, and lyrics will make this an EASY song for your beginner guitar player to learn! Check out the free sheet music here.

    Read More

  7. Sweet Betsy from Pike Easy Piano Sheets & Worksheet for Beginners

    Sweet Betsy from Pike is a great old-fashioned song with a story to sing! Easy piano arrangements, lead sheets, and a worksheet too!

    Read More

  8. Chopsticks Music for Piano - Easy Duets and Solos!

    Chopsticks music is easy to play by rote - incorrectly! NOW with Parts 2 & 3. Sharpen up your students' abilities with duets & solos with accurate melodies.

    Read More

  9. Free Printable Piano Music In the Hall of the Mountain King

    This EASY free printable piano music for beginners will be an excellent first exposure to the wonderfully spooky piece "In the Hall of the Mountain King!"

    Read More

  10. Choosing a Piano Teacher - HOW?

    Choosing a piano teacher may seem to be a difficult task. Follow these SIMPLE GUIDELINES for success.

    Read More

The Story of Esther - a Bible opera!

Queen Esther in the Bible

This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This",  available as a digital downloadtells the riveting story of the time when  Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a  brave young queen risked her life to save her people.

A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!

This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.


Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

Just the Black Keys

This book is available as a digital download  from this site.  Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.

It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!"  They will be spending more time at the piano.

The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

The Adventures of Tonsta

A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls. 

The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.  

With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.

Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!

Available at Amazon

12-Bar Blues The Complete Guide for Guitar music book

Matt:
THIS SITE IS AMAZING!!
I've been teaching guitar for about 5 years now, and I've only just found your website! (I could really have used it 5 years ago) :-)  

I teach at primary schools every week day for about 4 hours, so the beginner tabs you have are ideal. Thank you so much for your hard work getting these on the web, you have made many children very happy!!

Bluegrass Complete music book for guitar

Christine:
Thank you so much for this site! I have just started teaching some really keen Y6 boys who want to play Scarborough Fair, and your version is perfect. I will now go and look at what other goodies you have!

Alfred's Complete Beginner Guitar Course for Kids

Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.


About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.