I've Got the Quarantine Blues

I’ve Got the Quarantine Blues


Blues music is known for lyrics of struggle and strife. As 2021 approaches, we find it hard to believe that COVID-19 has been with us for nearly ten months. This has not been an easy time in our world. As the winter closes in, it’s okay if you’re not feeling quite like yourself. When you’re feeling down, it might help to play music that matches your mood, and the blues style might be just what you are looking for.

How to Play the Blues on your Ukulele

The blues follows a 12-bar chord progression. Each “bar” of the 12-bar progression is four counts. If you are tapping your foot to the beat, count four beats, then go onto the next chord in the progression. Once you hear it, the 12-bar blues might seem so familiar you won’t even have to count!

The 12-bar blues follows the progression outlined below. The Roman numerals will correspond to the chord of the key you are playing in. For example, in the key of C, I will be C, IV is F, and V is G.


If you are playing in the key of D, D will be your I chord, G is IV chord, and A is V. The progression will look like this:


The blues is known for using 7th chords to add some spice and style to the sound. You can add the 7th to any of the chords at any time to get a more bluesy feel. In the video below, you will see the player adding 7ths every other beat. To keep it simple, start with just the Major chord, and when you feel confident add in the 7ths.

Here is an example of the 12-bar blues in D, with 7th added:

Follow along with this video and see the 12-bar blues played on the Tempest Concert Uke

Once you are confident playing the blues, add in some lyrics! Improvise by making it up as you go and see what comes out. Playing music that reflects what is going on in our lives is a great way to cope with the uncertainties of the world around us. Feel free to share your version of the Quarantine Blues with us and let’s get through this time together!


The post I’ve Got the Quarantine Blues was first published on Uku Ukuleles.

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