Blues Guitar Lessons for Beginners – The Turnaround Lick

The twelve bar blues chord progression is a very common chord progression so it never hurts to know some turnaround guitar licks which you can apply when you are playing blues guitar. Many blues songs use patterns which include the I, IV, V chords in a given key. In the key of A for instance this would be A, D and E.

The best way to think of the turnaround is being the point in the chord progression where you come to the end of the chord progression, play the turnaround and then begin the progression again. These types of guitar licks are used to connect the chord progressions together and give them a continual flowing feel within the structure of the songs composition.

This turnaround guitar lick can be used in any key, but for this guitar lesson we will learn it in the key of A and it is applicable to many blues guitar chord progressions. The video will show you how to play the notes which make up this turnaround guitar lick. This is a good guitar lesson for beginners since it is fairly easy to play. Yet this is also a very useful blues guitar lick to know since it can be easy to apply in so many different musical styles, scenarios and songs.

While blues guitar licks like this are very common, they are good to know since they can be applied to countless blues songs, rock songs and so forth. This guitar lick can be easily transposed into any key by simply moving the appropriate interval.

You can learn more about guitar intervals such as half steps and whole steps in this guitar lesson about learning the different notes on the guitar. When you change keys, the notes will change but the pattern of the I, IV, V chord progression will remain the same. The notes in this blues guitar turnaround lick will change when you change key as well, but the pattern will remain the same as long as you do not need to incorporate any open strings. Learning how to play versatile guitar solo licks such as the one in this lesson will give you more tools to select from when you are playing guitar. This is especially applicable in the most common chord progressions such as using the twelve bar blues for instance.

Being able to draw from standard approaches like this will make it much easier to improvise as well. The guitar is a great instrument for improvisation and the more guitar licks you know the more versatile you will be as a guitarist. However this does not apply to blues music only, it is true of many other styles of music that you may be interested in playing on your acoustic or electric guitar.

6 thoughts on “Blues Guitar Lessons for Beginners – The Turnaround Lick

  1. So can you only play this at the end of a chord progression? I know this is a blues thing but I don’t understand how it would work in other kinds of music.

    1. The turnaround helps you get from the end of the progression and then to the next part. A lot of chord progressions in blues, rock, jazz etc. will have repeating groups of chords, that is what makes up the “progression”. Since they repeat, the turnaround sort comes in between this. It can be a guitar lick or a chord or something like what is in the video. You can hear how the sound resolves back to the original chord you start with which makes it easier to understand.

  2. I was trying to play some song I think of Pink Floyd and they did a part that had a repeating guitar in it. Could you use this for something like that? The guy had this weird sound like chords but delay or something in the way of effects. I wanted to learn that so I could use it as a turnaround. Can you make something like that work?

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