To learn how to improvise in the 12 bar blues, first learn to play the chord sequence below, either in the treble or bass clef. Eventually you will need to be able to play it with your left hand. (If you don't understand the chord symbols below the staffs, visit our chords page to learn more.)
Next learn to play the 3 blues scales below. The Blues Scale in C is to be played with Chord I/C. The Blues Scale in F is to be played with Chord IV/F. The Blues Scale in G is to be played with Chord V/G.
Now put the chord sequence together with the scales with the following rhythms:
Now start playing around with the scales, repeat notes, change the rhythm, alternate between the first two notes of each scale, do what you like! Keep the chords pulsing in time underneath.
You can then start to improvise with the rhythm in the chord sequence. Here is one example to try: