16 bar blues v 12 bar blues

THE_NIK

Junior Member
can someone please explain this to me. maybe i have been counting wrong. my understanding is
12 bar blues = 12/8
1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a | 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a | 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a

therefore

16 bar blues = 16/8

1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a | 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a | 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a | 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4& a

whats the craic am i in the right ballpark.

i am secificaly looking at Muddy Waters - Hoochie Coochie Man.


thanks


Nick
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Not exactly. 12 bar means it's 12 measures of 4 beats with the last two measures being the turnaround. It's the most common form of the Blues.

A good example of the 16-bar blues would be Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters, or Rock This Town by the Stray Cats.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You are getting your terminology mixed. 12/8 is a time signature, not a song form. A song form can be 12 bars, 16 bars etc of any time signature

12/8 is what I call a slow blues. How many bars there are in the song form has nothing to do with the time signature numbers. I'm thinking of a song right now that is in 12/8 but the song form is only 8 bars long. So they are 2 different things.
 

THE_NIK

Junior Member
Lovley thanks. im getting a bit closer. so for exsample hoochi coochi man is in 12/8 time signature but in 16 bar blues form.

so how do i count it please
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
It is 12/8 and you count it 1&a2&a3&a4&a for 16 bars. It comes in with an intro measure: a silent 3 count, then &4& 1&a2&a3&a4&a... It's basically 8 bars of verse and 8 bars of chorus, but it does a turnaround on the 16th bar, thereby making it a 16-bar blues song.
 

makinao

Silver Member
Midnite Zephyr is right. A simple form of 12 bar blues is 12 measures long, 4/4 time signature, I - IV - V (in this case: C7 - F7 - G7) chord progression. Like this:



Simple 16-bar blues multiplies the first four measures by two. Like this:

 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
If you ever play with the real old blues cats, be prepared for the changes to be in random places. That's just the way they do it. The 16 bar long "one" is a codification of one such form but it can go anywhere.

There's a story about Billy Gibbons playing with Lightning Hopkins and after a song was over Gibbons tells Hopkins that he missed a change. The response? "Lightnin' change when Lightnin' want to change!".
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Yea, another old Blues man said to his British backing band when the said it should be 12 bar Blues. He said "Its got as many bars as I decide it has".

How do I count that? You don't count the Blues, you feel the Blues. Just listen to the song a few times and you should feel the changes.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I've been counting it:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

It's easier to get the fills in the right place, and keep track of the measures, also it doesn't override the 3/4 4/4 polyrhythm. Since I started counting it to 12, I've noticed how much easier and more interesting it is to count four or eight bars of time waiting for the turn around.
 

Mikeyboyeee

Senior Member
You can get yourself in trouble if you're counting -- especially with older/traditional blues cats -- you're better off watching/listening/following the singer and or soloist... after playing blues for awhile you can 'feel' the change coming - no matter where they decide to change or how many bars go by...

You'll also run into 8-bar progressions - 'Sitting on top of the world', 'Key to the Highway', 'Ain't nobodys business', 'Cherry Red' etc...

You can't go wrong following the vocalist/soloist... they're the ones who'll be raggin' on you if/when you mess up anyway!!
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
You can get yourself in trouble if you're counting -- especially with older/traditional blues cats -- you're better off watching/listening/following the singer and or soloist... after playing blues for awhile you can 'feel' the change coming - no matter where they decide to change or how many bars go by...

You'll also run into 8-bar progressions - 'Sitting on top of the world', 'Key to the Highway', 'Ain't nobodys business', 'Cherry Red' etc...

You can't go wrong following the vocalist/soloist... they're the ones who'll be raggin' on you if/when you mess up anyway!!
Yeah, reminds me of this one band I saw. The guitarist had a broken arm, so they had the house guitarist sit in, while the broken arm guitarist sang the breaks. Later on the house guitarist invited me up to play djembe, which is unusual. Then I realized neither of us could find one, we just sort of looked at each other and shook our heads.
 

groove1

Silver Member
John Lee Hooker was famous for playing on the one chord for as long as ten minutes and then going to the V chord for one beat, then back. That V chord really had impact too.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
John Lee Hooker was famous for playing on the one chord for as long as ten minutes and then going to the V chord for one beat, then back. That V chord really had impact too.
I can't find it handy but I've seen youtube posts from John Garcia on Facebook when he was playing with Hooker and you can see him cuing the rest of the band on the changes. He played with Hook long enough that he could smell the changes coming in time to signal folks.
 
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