Beginner Blues Bass. Help Needed (Blues Bass)

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by RMCBass, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. RMCBass


    Jul 4, 2009
    Well, here’s the thing: I committed with a friend’s band to play their gig three weeks from now. The thing is that I can’t really play well but I’m excited for have this opportunity of playing live for first time. I don’t have that much time and want to get on that show in a good shape; it’s my main goal nowadays. The band is a blues band, so I’ll have to figure out how to play the blues good (or at least be a decent player) in a few weeks.
    Besides the listening to the greats (vital part which I’m already covering), what do you recommend me to do?
  2. BluesBassman065


    Jul 3, 2009
    First of all, you’ve got it wrong. If you’re aspiring to be a pro, you should never commit to play things that you’re not able to play. I understand that your friend’s band it isn’t a pro band either, but that’s not the way of getting the things started. But now you’ve got to play a whole show. Ok, if you want to do it good, IMHO you need to attack two things: getting the songs together and understand the music that you’re playing. If you repeat the notes just because you asked them for tabs or something like that, it will show live. So, yes, ask them for the songs that you’re going to play. Then, I suggest you to get this DVD: , a student of mine got it and I was impressed on how the different topics were organized. It is highly recommendable.
  3. Get a copy Blues Bass (Hal Leonard) by fellow TBer Ed Friedland. Ed takes you through basic blues' styles, common blues patterns and variations, a basic blues repertoire and other topics. The book is clearly written and is coordinated well with the accompanying CD.

    You can get it from BassBooks ( or through Ed's website (

    Good luck! Let us know what you find to be helpful, as well as how the gig goes.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  4. spambot772


    Aug 31, 2007
    you cant play blues, y'aint fixin te die, now'r ye?
  5. G00D+~VIBES


    Nov 21, 2008
    Kansas City
    IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY COMMITTED, getting through one of the books in 3 weeks should be no problem and you'll at least be able to make it through one show. If you don't want a book (I understand this position) then do not set your bass down except to sleep and eat (occasionally) for the next 3 weeks and read as much as you can on-line. Also, if you are looking for stuff to jam along with should help.
  6. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    It's only the Blues, you can easily fake it, No Problem!
    Just Kidding.

    Dude, If you screw up the 12 Bar, people ARE going to know it. I would suggest that you back out of this gig and work on playing the blues for a while.

    OR... get a Blues Brothers CD and learn it all. Also, work that Major scale backwards and forwards.
  7. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Get the Stevie ray vaughan album 'texas flood' to study walking basslines. Get the Muddy Waters album 'hard again' for basic progressions and note selection. Learn those and you will be well on your way.
  8. Kenny Allyn

    Kenny Allyn

    Mar 25, 2006
    True dat!!!

    I do a fair number of "blues jams" with the Memphis Blues Society including the host bass player of the night. We usually get new players up to do one or two tunes a night, until they kinda catch on. Can't imagine being able to do it in 3 weeks.

    It's NOT all I-IV-V 12 bar stuff ... any full night gig is gonna require you to know many different styles and changes that will encompass, Caribbean rhythms, Chicago style, Texas style, Memphis style, One chord vamps, reverse patterns I-V-IV, Short IV, Jazz swing, it goes on and on.

    My latest project is working with blues artist Darren J. listen to a couple of tracks and you will see what I mean.

    :) ... I wish you the best should you decide to take the gig
  9. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX

    But certainly learning how to play I-IV-V 12 bar with both a straight 8th and a shuffle feel will be the best place to start. Listen to "Strange Brew" by Cream.
  10. burnunit

    burnunit obsolete

    Nov 17, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    Don't overthink it. Get a set list from someone in the band, then get copies of those songs and play, play, play. Three weeks is a long time if you don't waste it.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    You also may want to get a piece of "slow downer" software for the recordings to help you hear the bass lines better:

    Here's some TB links on the topic:
    1 Slow down

    Here's one that's pretty easy to use: BestPractice looper, slow downer, pitch shifter, bass isolator (note download the "installer" to get the software.
  12. Drifta


    Sep 13, 2006
    South Florida
    Man, i think i'ma join a blues band.
  13. LOL.

    When I set about to learn how to play again, after a ten year layoff, I realized I never really knew what I was doing in the first place.

    I had spent my time before the layoff playing "garage power pop/punk" type stuff. Just made it up as I went along.

    So, when I picked up the instrument again, with a true desire to learn, I started with the blues.

    Still there, with my own blues band now.
  14. RMCBass


    Jul 4, 2009
    Yes, I know you’re right, I should not do that but I needed something to look forward on. I watched the preview on the site and I finally did follow your recommendation: I bought the online lessons and so far I’m getting into the music. This combined with the listening will help me a lot for this gig. But I’m aware that knowing how to play blues is not something that I can achieve in a few weeks, I just want to play a good gig and then keep learning. And I love blues, so there’s nothing wrong with learning it!

    Also, I want to thank you all for your reccomendations, I'm practicing a lot and I already ask the band to give me the songs that we'll play, I know I messed up, but it's sorta challenge to do this
  15. Drifta


    Sep 13, 2006
    South Florida
    nice. yeah i been playing mostly reggae my whole basslife, and recently getting into blues and jazz, i got some of the theory and advanced my ear and good timing.. now i need to go apply it!
  16. BluesBassman065


    Jul 3, 2009
    Glad that you find your way. Remember NOT to do that next time. Good luck with your gig!.
  17. This!!