The Thrill Is Gone by BB King Lesson

Learn to play The Thrill Is Gone by BB King on JustinGuitar!


View the full lesson at The Thrill Is Gone by BB King | JustinGuitar

YouTube link not working, but original track is here: The Thrill Is Gone - YouTube

Hey I am working on this song and enjoying as it gives me opportunity to practice 7th chords and 12 bar blues on such a classic tune. As Justin points out in the lesson, it is a classic form 12 bar blues but I have a question about one chord change:

I I I I
Bm7
IV IV I I
Em7 Bm7
V (VI) IV I V
GMj7 Em7 Bm7 F#7

Song form goes like this, at Bar9, V (F#7) is replaced with GMaj7, what is the theory and background behind this? Is it a common thing or what kind of a function does vi hold in this position? I would have expected V chord since thats the typical form.

I would be really happy if someone can enlighten me :slight_smile:

Personally, I play it with the capo at the second fret and transpose all those chords down a full step. Just makes it easier to play, using all open chord shapes.

I’m not a big theory guy, but maybe it will help you to realize that The Thrill Is Gone isn’t a true “blues.” It’s bluesy, but doesn’t follow the classic 12 bar blues form. With the capo at the second fret I’m using an FMaj7 shape there, and it sounds perfect.

If you use a capo, just remember that the solo parts are still in Bm pentatonic.

For me, “The Thrill is Gone” is an iconic blues standard. It’s a minor blues, though, and the chord progression for minor blues has lots of variations. I’m not an expert, but after googling for 5 minutes, I learned that the VI iv i V sequence in bars 9-12 is a fairly common variation.

I’m not sure of the theory behind substituting the VI for the V in bar 9, I’ll leave that for somebody more expert in theory (@Richard_close2u ?)

1 Like

Yes yigiterinc. I was also puzzled by the chord progressions in this great song too as I realised it doesn’t follow the 1,4,1,5,1 system described in the ‘Blues songs for beginners’ course. I find it easiest to use all barre chords with the Bm/Bm7 at the 2nd fret, then up to the 7th for the Em/Em7, 3rd for Gmaj7 and 2nd for F#7. This way you avoid any open strings and can properly damp all the chords to get that real sharp backbeat as in Justin’s vid. Rhythm mastered, but some way to go on the solo yet!!