How to play a fake rhumba style harmonica bass line over a 12 bar blues

Dec 16, 2015 | 12 Bar Blues, Backing Track, Intermediate Harmonica Lessons, Licks

This week’s harmonica lesson is all about how to play a harmonica bass line in a rhumba style.

You will need a harmonica in the key of C.


Rhumba is the only latin style regularly used in blues. It is characterised by accents on beat 1, the “and” of 2, and beat 4.

Here, I have fitted it over a 12 bar blues. So I suggest you learn the riff for each chord from the 12 bars and then piece them together.

Lick 1

Click below to hear me playing lick 1 slowly. You will play lick 1 over the I chord twice before moving into lick 2.

Lick 2

Click below to hear me playing lick 2 slowly. This lick fits over the IV chord and you only play it once before going back to lick 1.

Lick 3 and turnaround

Click below to hear me playing the last 4 bars of the 12 bar rhumba. One bar of the V chord, one bar of IV chord, then the I chord and turnaround.

Backing track

Here is the backing track I am using for this lesson.

Thank you!

Thank you so much for taking part in this lesson. I hope it was useful for you. If you enjoyed this lesson, please share it with your friends.

See you again for the next harmonica video!

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