A 10 Bar Blues

I spent a little while yesterday playing with a less-than-typical blues form, the ten bar blues.  There’s a couple of innovations in it that might be of interest for the musos in there.


Chord sheet for a nice ten bar blues

My chord sheet for “Monday Morning Blues” – ten bars of deluxe blues changes!

TEN Bar Blues ?!

Yep!  It’s a real form!   A little lesser spotted than it’s twelve bar cousin and I’m not exactly sure where I picked up the moves in this one but like most/all blues you can take it for granted that it’s open source.

Sugar and Spice – Chord Subs in Blues

The chord sheet is over there on the right for your delectation.  The first odd trick other than the cycle length is the chord substitution.  In bar two instead of keeping the F7 lit for the full bar the second have gives over to Ab6/9 by way of a substitution.  In bar six there’s a cheeky Gb diminished which is a bit of a challenge when soloing.

In Jazz you can throw a locrian or even a diminished scale over a diminished chord but since the blues scale has a lot of the arpeggio notes in it I kept to C min blues scale or ran through a diminished arpeggio to not upset it too much.  If it sounds too busy sounding the diminished stops becoming a nice flavour and instead becomes a jazzy distraction – you wouldn’t put curry powder into your hot chocolate but put a hint of chilli in there and you’ve got a hot beverage that has a story to tell!

The other interesting bit is the out-of-key finish with C7-A7-D7-G7 moving in quick succession.  In each case I went for the major pentatonic of each Chord with a b& thrown in and I got through it just about!  If you stayed in Cmin Blues over these it would probably suck!   The G augmented at the end of the turnaround almost certainly came to me via the Allman Brothers’ version of Stormy Monday.

The chord sheet is a good one to mess around with.  I did some joking around with the chords in the second round to heavy it up a bit.  Have a go yourself and let me know how you get on!


My Edwards Les Paul was the axe of choice here but was suffering from sick frets when recording so the lower register stuff is a little raspy and a smooth and even vibrato was impossible until I got the frets dressed.  The leads feature  Bare Knuckle Pick-ups Cold Sweat in the bridge which is simply wonderful sounding and is working well with the Soldano emulated in the latest POD HD500 2.1 update I blogged about recently.   I used the Plexi model from the last update for the lower gain leads.


Backing Track

You download a backing track to experiment on by clicking here

Further Reading

Just found these blog posts with some good ideas in a similar vein!

Jazz Blues Chord Substitutions and Harmonic Alterations – Matt Warnock

Chord Substitution -spytunes.com