12 bar blues question...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by KSDbass, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. KSDbass


    Mar 25, 2005
    I know you can create your own 12 bar blues lines, so my question is how? I know the major and minor scale forms of the 12 bar blues, but now I don't know how to make my own.
  2. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    If we answer it still won't be your line. Time to just put on some Blues and play along and see what you come up with. But remember Blues bass is about simple playing but in the pocket. The groove is more important than the notes.
  3. KSDbass


    Mar 25, 2005
    but there are no set rules to make my own? it's just what sounds good? that's really what I was getting at.
  4. dTune


    Feb 28, 2004
    If it sounds good..then it probably is good.
  5. ric1312

    ric1312 Inactive

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    I would start from the question what is your criteria? There are only so many 12 bar blues patterns that people recognize right away as a blues pattern. do you want it to sound similar to one of these so it's recognizable as blues right away?

    If you get too far away from one of the usual patterns then it will start to sound like another kind of music even though you are playing the same notes.

    If what you are playing is stock 12 bar I wouldn't worry to much about making your own basslines, unless it's an original song. If all you are doing is jamming go with stock.
  6. mVC


    Jan 28, 2006
    +1 on this! Sometimes your ears are the best to judge what is 'right' and what is 'not right'.
  7. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    The November 1997 issue of Bass Player is titled "Play the Blues." One of the articles that really opened my eyes (ears?) was "15 Must-Know Blues Lines." Sometimes hearing well played lines will inspire you to create your own. I know it did for me.
  8. KSDbass


    Mar 25, 2005
    alright thanks guys, I just wasn't sure whether there were guidelines like "take the root, 3rd, and 5th, spin them around, dance like a fool, and bark like a chicken. You should be playing like the Allman Brothers in no time." or if it was in fact go with what sound good.
  9. Look Ksd there are patterns that every bassist should have under their fingers. Learn all the cliches because sometimes they are the best lines for the tune. But then once you have a solid library of lines you can draw one its mix and match. A rhythmic variation, a note substitution can give a tired old line a kick.
    And as always the practice room is so totally different to the live room. If its grooving live and everything is just happening these thoughts are well not happening. They will be on a sub-conscious level if you have done the homework. You will incorporate your little mixed bag. But, and a big but, you need that library of grooves and patterns.
    That is why you practice. As in learning any language your vocabulary is increased.
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Musical notes are like fruit: You should only try to pick the ones that are ripe.
  11. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Since it's blues, don't forget about the 7th and even 9th of all chords (including the I7 -- tonic).
  12. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001

    Yes, play anything you want - then play it again 3 more times, then go up to the IV and play the same thing (or something similar - or not) 2 times, go back to the I for 2 bars and play a turn around. Don't over think the blues. It was invented and perfected by people who were not necessarily learned musicians - I've been told that most didn't read music, and that some couldn't even read English. Just play the blues from the heart.

    In addition to making up your riffs from the Major and minor scales and applying them to the 12 bar blues form, you should also become familiar with the "minor pentatonic add flat five blues scale" as well as the mixolydian mode/scale. Other than that I would recommend that you learn to play a 12 bar form "fast to four" just so that you know what that is if somebody ever calls that at a jam. IMO, if you get all of that down you'll have a pretty good handle on the blues.
  13. seekir


    Jun 30, 2006
    I can highly recommend the Hal Leonard Blues Bass book by Ed Friedland (contributing editor and columnist with Bass Player magazine). Comes with a great CD recorded with a great drummer named Ralph Gilmore. Ed played the bass and guitar parts (brilliantly IMO). He covers a huge array of blues, and blues rock standards, turnarounds, intros, endings, and variations thoroughly and in depth with obvious authority. Think I paid $15.00 at Amazon.com. He also has a great Reggae bass book/CD which I haven't begun to study yet, but it seems equally terrific.
  14. dTune


    Feb 28, 2004
    I know a bit about music theory, and I think that sure, you can explain everything you play through theory, but if you try to do it vice versa (playing too much according to theory) it gets dull.

    I'd listen to blues bass lines and when there's a nice bit somewhere, i'd learn it from the record. That way it keeps tied to what you hear, and you don't need to always think through "Eb minor V, that's Bb7 which is Bb-D-....". Instead, you'll think "I think this would sound good here".

    Then again, this works for me.. YMMV. (I just learned that from the forums... :p )
  15. seekir


    Jun 30, 2006
    I agree that being able to play what comes to your mind's "ear" is probably the ultimate goal, and listening to other player's recordings and performances to absorb their ideas can expand your own. Some would argue that the usual single-note bass role is especially suited for playing by feel/ear. But I also believe that there aren't many of us who can develop as quickly and completely without some basic understanding of theory and format. It's also difficult to communicate with the band if you don't have a common language: "It's an 'uptown down' blues tune in F" would mean nothing to me without Friedland's book, some knowlege of 12-bar blues, and the blues scale.
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 21, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.