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blues bands

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by kearney, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. kearney


    Jul 5, 2004
    hmm, you may or may not remember the metal band i was in for 1 day that i quit because i want diggin it, well, i a couple of days ago, i asked the guitarist over AIM "can you play the blues?" to which he replied "your damn straight i can play the blues!" so were in a blues band now. yup, any problems i should know about bein in a bluesy band?
  2. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Blues Music Fundamental Rules:

    1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."

    2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you
    stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest
    face in town."

    3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it.
    Then find something that rhymes - sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town.
    Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. ...
    Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."

    4. The Blues is not about choice.
    You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch...ain't no way out.

    5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks.
    Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles.
    Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train.
    Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running.
    Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle.
    So does fixin' to die.

    6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues.
    They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues.
    In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get
    the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

    7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii
    or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle
    is probably just clinical depression.
    Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and N'awlins are
    still the best places to have the Blues.
    You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get rain.

    8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues.
    A woman with male pattern baldness is.
    Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the Blues.
    Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.

    9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall.
    The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

    10. Good places for the Blues:
    a. highway
    b. jailhouse
    c. empty bed
    d. bottom of a whiskey glass

    11. Bad places for the Blues:
    a. Nordstrom's
    b. gallery openings
    c. Ivy League institutions
    d. golf courses

    12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit,
    unless you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

    13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
    a. you're older than dirt
    b. you're blind
    c. you shot a man in Memphis
    d. you can't be satisfied

    No, if:
    a. you have all your teeth
    b. you were once blind but now can see
    c. the man in Memphis lived
    d. you have a 401 K or trust fund

    14. Blues is not a matter of color.
    It's a matter of bad luck.
    Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues.
    Sonny Liston could have.
    Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.

    15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline,
    it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
    a. cheap wine
    b. whiskey or bourbon
    c. muddy water
    d. black coffee

    The following are NOT Blues beverages:
    a. Perrier
    b. Chardonnay
    c. Snapple
    d. Slim Fast

    16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death.
    Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die.
    So are the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot.
    You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or
    while getting liposuction.

    17. Some Blues names for women:
    a. Sadie
    b. Big Mama
    c. Bessie
    d. Jennie

    18. Some Blues names for men:
    a. Joe
    b. Willie
    c. Little Willie
    d. Big Willie

    19. Persons with names like Sierra, Brittany, Sky, Bianca, and Heather can't sing the Blues
    no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

    20. Blues Name Starter Kit:
    a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
    b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Peach, etc.)
    c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
    For example: Blind Lemon Jefferson, Narcolepsy Pomegranate Nixon or Cripple Peach Fillmore, etc.

    21. - I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer, you cannot play the blues, period.
  3. RoyQBiv


    Nov 8, 2002
    Bellingam, WA
    In addition to Finger Blister's fantastic advice, I'd offer up the following:

    Get real, real cozy with your pentatonic scales and walking lines. There's a lot you can do later to expand beyond this, but this is the best place to start with blues bass. For good examples of these kind of lines listen to anything by Stevie Ray Vaughan--Tommy Shannon plays some great, simple walking lines.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Keep it simple.

    Keep it SIMPLE.


    That's about it.
  5. kearney


    Jul 5, 2004
    whats a penatonic scale? or maybe an example pleez? like bo diddleys roadrunner?
  6. RoyQBiv


    Nov 8, 2002
    Bellingam, WA
    Try this link:

    That's your basic blues scale to get you started.

    There are literally dozens of other sites out there with information on playing blues.
  7. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Fingerblister had some tips! Great satire!
    Especially from the one of the blues capitals.

    Anyways: do you use a pick?? If so, suggest using fingers &
    thumb instead- giving you more bottom. The majority of players I see use their fingers & thumbs.

    Starting listening to more blues styles: and the respective
    bassists with that style.
    Texas - Stevie Ray, Johnny Winter,etc.
    and great Albert Collins -my favorite.

    Chicago - Muddy Waters, BB King, Freddie King, Buddy
    Guy, Otis Rush- my favorite.

    Delta- Robert Johnson, etc

    Cajun or New Orleans- Dr John, Meters,etc- both my favorites.

    Jazz- T. Bone Walker- my favorite. Little Milton (also Chicago),

    Modern- Eric Johnson, Bonnie Raitt ??, Tommy Castro, Robbin Ford.

    John Lee Hooker-
    Memphis Slim-
    Etta James-
    Albert King-
    Ray Charles Atlantic recordings
    And few others I can't remember at the moment. a senior moment for an old guy like me. :(

    A cd I recommend with many different styles of blues lines:
    BB King- "Spotlite on Lucille". Flair/ Virgin Records. Dunno
    if it's still in print.
    Instrumentals only by BB King and has lotsa a different styles of bass lines.

    Been playing blues & jazz for awhile: So I had to learn the hard way- trial & error and been yelled at by many blues
    purists on stage. or fired..not fun. But I learned. :meh:

    Some of the folks I 've played with, or sat in with, & learned from:
    James Armstrong ( Hightone Records)
    Tommy Castro
    John Lee Hooker Jr.
    Zakyia Hooker
    Randy Forrester ( Elvin Bishop,Eddie Money)
    Donny Baldwin (Jefferson Starship, Elvin Bishop,Jerry Garcia)
    Vala Cupp (John Lee Hooker)
    Napolean M Brock ( Frank Zappa)- actually Napolean is great
    blues singer aside from being with Frank.
    Trudi Johnson (Clifford Coulter)
    Kenny Baker ( John Lee Hooker)
    Lizz Fischer ( John Lee Hooker)
    Bobby Murray ( Etta James) I just chatted with him a bit,
    as I was leaving the stage & he was getting ready to play
    on the same stage at a local benefit.

    We complimented each others playing! :D I was flattered!!

    So I just passing the info along as it was passed to me from
    these folks as employers & friends.
    Hope this helps!

    And most forgot: you gotta watch the Blues Brothers (1st one) DVD or video every day... It was filmed in
    old Chicago- one of the blues capitals!!! :D
  8. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI

    Well that's half right. It's simple yes....but it's all groove and feel. The lines are not complicated but you have to really groove and have a groovy drummer that can drag the pocket. Anyone can play blues but not everyone can "sell it". Study some good blues drummers and bassists and listen to how they groove in the pocket if you haven't studied the blues before.
  9. I've been a gigging blues bass player for longer than I care to remember. Get hold of a Chess Records box set and listen to Willie Dixon. Willie is THE blues bass player. He was almost always the session leader on the Chess sessions (Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, etc.) and, for a while in the 50's, did the same thing for Cobra Records (Buddy Guy, Otis Rush) and he was a prolific song writer as well. This is for traditional-style blues. If by "blues" you mean SRV or the various blues-rockers, then Tommy Shannon's work with SRV and Johnny Winter will be helpful for you, too.

    Above all, learn to exercise some restraint because the music needs space, not a lot of clutter. I can play 1/16 notes all night long but I would be killed if I did because it is just not appropriate for the music.
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Whoa.. You guys gotta help me with this now - this sounds important for me to know.

    Please explain to me the meaning of "drag the pocket".

    I know groove and pocket, but it's been something that's 'just there or not' to me. I know that as I work to get more advanced, it's important to understand these things - how to control the pocket.

    From this apparently descriptive term I gather that it may be what I always noticed about many Pink Floyyd songs way back before I barely understood these things at all (I bring up the P.F. example because back in '78 or whenever is when I first began to awaken to some finer points of the feel of different music; I was fascinated with this effect) - the way the snare drum would be struck a little late. It gave a feel to me like an 'eccentric wheel'; like a loping, rolling feel.

    Are there - generally speaking - several basic related kinds of groove feels like this? I mean if you can 'drag', then can I assume there's a style that involves 'leading' the pocket or somesuch? How many basic kinds of this leading, pulling influence are there in basic grooves?

    I need to learn these terms and definitions. I've learned so much here at TB already. This has been an amazing place to me.


  11. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI