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Riff Blues: Two Essential 12-Bar Patterns

March 11, 2010

from Beginning Blues Guitar (00695916)
Riffs are some of the most characteristic sounds of the blues. In a nutshell, they may be constructed of bass lines, double stops, or single notes—or a combination thereof. Here is a classic example that contains bass lines and double stops which form a catchy, repeatable riff. Notice how the bass line is the same for the I, IV, and V chords, save each chord’s respective root note.

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The next example alternates measures of walking bass lines with measures of double stops to create a more expansive riff pattern. Dig how the bass line follows each chord change while the I-chord double stops contain only one different note than the IV-chord double stops.

Download example audio.