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5 Essential Turnarounds For The Beginner

A turn around is a musical idea that is typically played on the last two bars of the blues (bars 11 and 12). It makes the solo complete and takes the listener back to the top of the song. All great blues players use turnarounds one way or another. Here is the Golden rule of thumb:


Start the turn around on the I chord and end on the V chord.


Below are 5 what I would call essential turn around licks in the key of A. Its possible you have already heard a few of them. Play through them and try to incorporate them into your blues solo’s or even your rhythm playing.



  1. Here is one of the most popular turn abounds. Like most it starts with hitting the root note of the I chord (A7) on the low E string. Followed by a descending chromatic line resolving to the I chord. Then a short chromatic line to the V chord (E7). Play this over a shuffle or Twelve/Eight rhythm.

2. A variation using descending chromatic line over the I chord (A&) and ending on the V chord (E7)

3. Here’s a Robert Johnson style turn around using a stationary root note alternating between a descending bass line. 

4.  Here is an idea using a descending 7th chord. Typical of Eric Clapton

5.  A nice cool turn around using a couple of descending lines across two pairs of strings.

Have fun with these turn arounds start of slow then try get them up to a nice even tempo and most importantly, use them.

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