Basic 12 Blues Bar Tutorial

I started the course “Basic 12 Blues Bar Tutorial” (video 1 ) and with the left hand, I reach to play the chords , with the closed eyes , at a tempo of 110 .
A little question : C7 can be E Bb Db ?
I play the chords with C7 = E Bb Eb
Can I go the next video ( Jazz blues progression) ?


Hey Marc,

Yes both of those are nice voicings for C7:

  • C7b9 would be E(3) Bb(b7) Db(b9)

  • C7b9 would be E(3) Bb(b7) Eb(#9)

You could also play both of them with your thumb … Eb (#9) falling to Db (b9) and this is a nice way to add more movement into your left hand.

Check out this lesson for more information on chord alterations:

Yes you certainly can.

The Jazz Blues Progression is a little harder to learn.

Right now just learn the voicings by memory, if you don’t understand some of them, just let me know and I’m happy to explain for you.

The Jazz Blues Chord Progression (Rootless Voicings)

Thank you very much hayden.
I understand almost all the voicings but I do not know how you choose your voicing.
For examples, I do not understand why

  • You choose F13 instead of F9 at the first measure
  • Measure 8 : Why D7(b9) and not D7sharp9 ?
    I do not understand why sometimes, the fifth of the chord is in the chord and sometimes, it disappears ( measure 4 : It is in the chord Cm9 and measure 10 (C9 : it is not in the chord).

I learn by memory all the chords but when I play, it is impossible to think that this tone is the 13th, Or the 9th.
I must take my time and think some seconds to find the sharp9 or the b9.

I send you a video where I play, with the closed eyes ,all the voicings ( with i Real pro : tempo = 100 Bpm ) . And now ,can I go now to the next video ?


1 Like

F13 is a good place to start becuase it voice-leads very nicely down to Bb9 in bar 2.

The 3rd and b7th both fall by half a step, and the 13th falls by a full step to become the 9th of Bb9.

It fits in the hand very nicely and requires minimal movement between chords.

You can play both of these… experiment and see which one you like the sound of best!

The 5th does not add anything harmonically. It is an optional note that can be used if desired.

The most important notes of the voicing are the 3rd and 7th - these tones define the harmonic quality of the chord.

Yes we cover exercises for this in the Extended Course Practice Planner - check it out here: #2 - Chord Extensions Practice Planner

Yes you can go onto the next video :+1: :sunglasses:

Hi Hayden
I saw the video on quarter notes soloing.

-Between each exercise, what is the tempo that I reach to go to the next exercise ? ( 100 bpm) ?

  • About quarter notes , we play the chords with root position.
    May be we can play the chords, starting by the third , and after starting by the fifth, and after starting by the seventh…What do you think of this idea ?


1 Like

Always make sure you can play the exercise comfortably before increasing the tempo.

There is no ‘set tempo’ to reach before moving on but I would say that 100 - 120bpm is a good point to aim for.

Also understand that blues tunes can be played much faster than this so you can always revisit this exercise in future at faster tempos.

Start with root position to help you visualise the chord tones.

The next step is to visualise the b7s falling to 3rds and try to add this half step movement into the exercise.

For example, when the chord changes from F7 to Bb7, try to bring out that falling voice in your lines - the b7 of F7 (Eb) falling to the 3rd of Bb7 (D)

Of course we also have this voice leading in the 251s too, so try to visualise these moving voices and play them in your right hand.

Have fun experimenting with that stuff Marc! :sunglasses:


did you think of making some sheetmusic of this blues lessons . They are pretty awesome :sunglasses::sunglasses: and the only one without sheetmusic , only some general one

I d really appreciate and i think it could be a nice idea for all, if it will be possible to have it on the Straight no chaser arrangement which contains all what you explain before .


Hey Pierre,

Yes that’s definitely something I can put together.

I can’t remember exactly what i played so I will have to watch the course again :grinning:

Would you like a full transcription of the “Straight No Chaser” arrangement? If I remember correctly, I was demonstrating the following concepts:

  • chord tone soloing
  • enclosures
  • chromaticism
  • simple blues licks

I’m finalising the next lesson on “Sassy” which covers another 2 choruses of Wynton’s solo.

I’m also going to record a ‘general 12 bar blues improvisation’ lesson with things I learnt from the “Sassy” recording and how we can apply them to the 12 bar form. I’ll be recording that lesson soon and it will follow on nicely from the previous lessons in the course.

Then next I plan to do something with a 12 bar blues in C. Perhaps a whole new course in the Blues section.


Yes if it will be possible to have the score of the whole Straight no chaser version it will be great !

yes and it incorporates the 2 licks from Bill Evans and Bobby Timmon you expose before too
and having it in score will avoid to open the video and look for the part id like to work on .


arg you not recorded it in midi as others ?

anyway thanks again for all Hayden

Okay leave it with me and I will notate the course where possible.

Yes I did originally record the midi to generate the light up keyboard.

For all lesson transcriptions on the site, each note is entered manually.

I have tried importing the midi files into notation software, but the result is always very messy, and I find it’s more time consuming than manually entering each note.

It’s like solving a very messy rhythmic puzzle :grin:

On another note… You can find those exact recordings here:

A good way to absorb the feel of those blues licks could be to first watch the lesson so that you have a rough idea how the lick is played, and then play along with the records and try to imitate the phrasing and other nuances exactly as played in the recording.

I completely appreciate the usefulness of notation, but even if it is perfectly notated, there is still so much information that can only be absorbed from listening and playing along.

I find listening and playing along to be the most effective thing for improving feel, and I wish I had realised this sooner.

Every one of my teachers emphasised the importance of listening, transcribing, and playing along with records. I understand it’s difficult to get started, but once you do you will feel very liberated that you can learn directly from recordings, and not over rely on notation, which is a nice feeling!

Anyhow speech over… i will make some notation of the “Straight No Chaser” performance when I get a second :+1::+1:

1 Like

If i remember you tell somewhere that a student give you the help of a software to do that or it was long ago or i misunderstood ?

i am still working on that …


Yes you may notice that there are a few different styles of lesson transcriptions.

There are annotated versions which were created by Ian - one of our long time students. For example this one on “How To Read Lead Sheets”:

How-to-Read-Lead-Sheets (1).pdf (4.4 MB)

Ian also kindly created annotated versions of many of the theory lessons which summarise the key points of the lesson.

I believe these are created with midi to notation software. After converting midi > notation it still requires a lot of human input to make them accurate and legible, and of course to add the notes/annotations :grin:

You will also notice some lesson transcriptions without annotations, and these ones usually go through a ‘second pass’ my myself to make them perfectly legible and accurate.

Hugh - our editor in NYC who works on Jovino’s/Tuomo’s materials - creates all the lesson supplements from scratch I believe, mainly because of the complexity of the rhythms and voicings in Jovino’s and Tuomo’s lessons.

I sense that the Bobby Timms lick may be a little complex for notation software but we can try.

Leave it with me.