turnaround blues

Blues Turnarounds

Hello guys,

today I wanted to talk about Blues Turnarounds to use on the twelve-bar blues.

Not to be confused with the classic progression used in Jazz (VI-II-VI), the Blues Turnaround is a V-IV-I cadence that can be used both in closing (generally in the last two bars) and in opening the twelve-bar blues.

Here you can find the recording of the Masterclass I did about this topic:

In the PDF that you can download below, I wrote eight examples to study, memorize and implement in our comping and soloing.

Let’s Analyze them!

Turnaround N°1

turnaround 1

In this first example, I’m using descending sixth intervals emphasizing the transition from G (the 7th of A) to E (the 5th of A), with the presence of the root an octave above to underline the main chord (A7).

Turnaround N°2

turnaround 2

This is a variation of the first turnaround with a contrary movement of the voices of the chord: we start from the 7th of A (G, see the first note on the pentagram) to arrive at E, with a downward motion, while the upper voice (C #) in the voicing goes chromatically up to E to double the 5th of the root chord (A7).

Turnaround N°3

turnaround 3

In this case, we’re using chords. In fact, it starts from a quartal voicing of A7, then arrives on the B7 which anticipates the A7 on the last bar.

Turnaround N°4 

turnaround 4

This is a “Claptonish” lick, to use at the end of a twelve-bar blues.

Turnaround N°5

turnaround 5

In this example, I wanted to stay in the “Rock-Blues” kinda area to give you a turnaround that will remind the Cream’s “I’m so glad” riff.

Turnaround N°6

turnaround 6

In these last examples, I wanted to write turnarounds with a more “jazzy” flavor. In this case, I highlighted the passage D – D # dim – E and then close (this example works better as a closure) on the A7.

Turnaround N°7 

turnaround 7

In this case, I used the same idea moving down chromatically with the Dom 9 chord to create a “piano-like” solution.

Turnaround N°8

turnaround 8

The last example starts from the first inversion of A7 to arrive on B7 (as a tritone substitution for F7) and Bb7 (as a tritone substitution for E7).

Try to take memorize these Turnarounds and once “digested” play them in different keys as an intro or as ending on the Twelve-Bar Blues.
If you liked the article leave me a comment below and come to visit our GUITARlab Modern Blues Guitar Academy!!


Davide Pannozzo 

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