12 Essential Blues Turnarounds
by Andy Ellis Are your blues a little tired? Crave some fresh sounds? Nothing rejuvenates a 12-bar groove faster than a fancy turnaround, and we’ve got a dozen of them in this guitar lesson. You can use these moves onstage tonight or at your next jam session. In addition, as we learn each turnaround, we’ll analyze the musical principles that propel it. Guitar Lesson Click here to download the power tab for this guitar lesson. Form and Function First, a definition: A turnaround is a short (typically two-bar) passage at the end of a blues progression that’s designed to elegantly walk you to the V7, which in turn resolves to the I7 in bar 1. Contrary Motion A turnaround derives its energy from tension and release. Take a close look at the intervals in bar 1’s second, third, and fourth beats. Contrary motion also powers Ex. 2. You don’t have to arpeggiate the intervals. Contractions Many turnarounds feature a moving line against a repeated, static note. We’re in the key of C.
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