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Bring me my shotgun by Lightnin' Hopkins is a blues song but is it really a 12 bar blues? If you want to write a blue song like this one should you really look at the 12 bar blues and its chord progressions? Is that the way to write songs like that? Where should a beginner of the blues start in order to write awesome songs?

  • I would start, in your case, with learning how to count bars, so you can tell if it is 12-bar blues, so you even know if, to write a similar song, you should listen to 12-bar blues. – Wilbur Whateley Jun 11 '15 at 9:12
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Bring me my shotgun by Lightnin' Hopkins is a blues song but is it really a 12 bar blues?

Yes, it really is.

If you want to write a blue song like this one should you really look at the 12 bar blues...

That would make sense, seeing that they are the same.

and its chord progressions?

There's really only the one ;P But the style is still rad, and there are variations that make things interesting.

Edit: I can be more helpful here. The chord progressions in blues are not the focus, that's why it's the same thing over and over (not a criticism). Blues is more about the emotion of the playing and the lyrics. So focus on what the songs you consider awesome make you feel, why the singer has "got the blues". Learn the progressions, yeah, but that will just be like every other blues song, you gotta give your listeners "the blues".

As far as the progession in 12 bar, the basic one is:

|I|IV|I|I| |IV|IV|I|I| |V|IV|I|I or V|

What is usually consistent among variations is the V chord at the start of the last group of 4 bars, and the final resolution is almost always IV-I, that is, a plagal cadence, from bar 10 - 11. To lead into the next verse, a V chord is used in the last bar or 2 beats to make it cyclical back to I. You can make all of these dominant-7 chords for some flare.

For variations, I and IV chords are moved around, and more interesting turn-arounds (ii-V, I-vi-ii-V, etc) can be slipped in there, but this starts to get outside of basic 12-bar stuff.

Is that the way to write songs like that? Where should a beginner of the blues start in order to write awesome songs?

Get "the blues" and sing about it.

Drugs and alcohol abuse. Also, date the wrong men/women. Move to a country where you are the minority and ideally also oppressed. And keep your shotgun in working order, for crying out loud.

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To answer you question Where should a beginner of the blues start in order to write awesome songs? I would listen to a compilation of blues and play many songs before trying to attempt writing awesome songs. Learn the basics and don't have such high expectations.

  • it's seems like we have no strict rules for the 12 bar blues other than it needing to be 12 bars and include the I, IV and V chords. I have never heard of rues for when and how the melodies should be played in those bars. What do the experts say? – Hank Jun 11 '15 at 15:33
  • There are patterns for the chords like quick change blues or long blues. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve-bar_blues As far as melodies, it would be a genius effort to bring it to a new level of awesomeness. Some songs have similar melodies to sound like blues and follow the same patterns. – r lo Jun 11 '15 at 16:16

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