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David's Tip of the Day: Slight Variations in the 12 Bar Blues Form - Watermelon Man Transcription

David Barrett Admin's picture

Due to the fact that we're not required to study scales and chords to play our instrument (at least at the basic level), playing to non-12 Bar Blues can be a great challenge. Many times the change in the form is very simple once you look at it closer. I've placed at my transcription of "Watermelon Man." In this blues-based jazz instrumental you can see that Bars 9 and 10 of our standard 12 Bar Blues are played three times (the V and IV Chord) to make this a 16 Bar Blues.

When it comes to soloing, you can start by simply playing what you played for Bars 9 and 10 again for Bars 11 and 12, and then once more for Bars 13 and 14. Once you become familiar with the form you can get a little more adventuresome and plug in other cool V-IV-I licks from your Improvising Study 4 on the website. Jamey Aebersold has a jam track for this at

Special Note: If you have a harmonica playing buddy (or any other solo instrument) they can play the lower harmony part I've provided.