How to Play Blues Piano in Every Key (+Free eBook Download)
Improvising blues piano can seem seem daunting at first. Where do you begin?
You see these blues piano players tinkling away like there's no tomorrow, and the notes just seems to flow out of their fingers, and all without sheet music.
You can start improvising blues piano easily by simply learning a blues scale and a few basic chords.
But what if I told you that you can learn the blues scale in every key by just memorising one simple sequence?
Like all scales, the minor blues scale is built up of the same intervals (an interval is the musical word for the distance between two notes/keys).
If you can memorise the specific interval pattern, then you can figure out the scale without the need to refer to anything.
I've put together a video that makes it super easy to understand, and will also show you how you can add the 12 bar blues progression into your left hand so you can start playing blues straight away!
If you prefer to read than watch videos, please read on....
In order to understand the pattern you first need to understand what whole steps and half-steps are. If you already do, please skip ahead.
A half-step is when you move from any white or black key on the piano to the nearest white or black key (also known as a semitone). A whole step is simply two half-steps (also known as a tone).
That's all you need to know. Here is the pattern to play the minor blues scale in every key:
Then all you need to do is start on the key you want to play the scale in and follow this pattern. For example the minor blues in C:
It's really that simple!
You can start on any key and play the minor blues scale by following this sequence! Pretty cool right?
Playing the blues scale sounds great, but it needs something in the left hand to support it.
The 12 bar blues chord progression is perfect! By adding in a few basic chords into really does sound cool, you just need to know which ones...
The 12 Bar Blues
Here is an overview of the structure of the 12 bar blues. If you want to go into greater detail on how to play different chord patterns, techniques, licks, bass lines, improvisation and more, check out my blues piano course mentioned in the intro.
The 12 bar blues is the most commonly used chord progression in the blues genre, and in it's basic form uses the I, IV, V chords. These refer to the 1st, 4th and 5th chords of the key in question.
For example, if the are playing in the key of C, the I, IV, V chords would be C, F & G:
You would then apply these chords (using which ever blues techniques you have chosen) to this structure:
You've probably already noticed, but it adds up to 12 bars altogether hence the name! 😄 If you are just starting out, a simple rhythm pattern to use in the left hand is to alternate between an open/perfect fifth (1st & 5th intervals) and the 1st and 6th.
This is far easier to teach via video, so if you want to have a go at adding in the the 12 bar blues to go with your scales please jump back up and watch my Youtube video, or click here.
I've designed an eBook for you with all of this information together. It's got scale illustrations, fingering suggestions and notation for the minor blues scales in every key, as well as illustrations of the I-IV-V chords and 12 bar blues chord progressions in every key as well.
Here is an example of what it looks like on the inside:
At the moment I'm giving it away for free, so you can download it from my google drive here:
Now it's your turn to have a go!
Founder - Birds Piano Academy