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I can play the blues but............

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Youngspanion, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. During a Blues jam I sometime feel that I should be playing other things besides the typical R-3-5-6-7-6-5-3. How do I know when I should play say,R-8-7-5 or just R-5? Should I listen to the drummer or does the guitarist set the tone? I know I as the bass player have to have some thing to do with it. Or do I?
  2. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    The best thing I can suggest is to Listen to lots of blues bass lines and then think about / work out what the bass player did, thinking in terms of the intervals. It will come.
  3. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    There are probably 50 ways to do this..... oh, maybe more.

    Listen to as many different blues players as you can. In a jam situation, play what YOU feel is the right thing to do. The more that you listen to, the more tools you have. In the end, only YOU will put them together in the way that you do. And there you have the begining of YOUR sound..... YOUR style.

    If there truely was a right and wrong... all music would sound the same. Be yourself. You are the only one of you that there is.
  4. jetsetvet

    jetsetvet Banned

    Mar 24, 2005
    perfect answer BassChuck.....+1
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Here are some excellent sources of information about how to play blues that will help you break out of the same old, same old.

    Ed Friedland , "Blues Bass: A Guide to the Essential Styles and Techniques"

    Mike Hiland: "Mel Bay's Complete Blues Bass Book and CD"

    Roscoe Beck. "The Ultimate Beginner Series: Roscoe Beck Blues Bass, Steps One and Two Combined"

    "101 Blues Bass Licks" with CD (This book not only gives the most common traditional bass lines for blues, it also gives intros, turnarounds and outros.)

    Any one of these books alone or in combination will help you develop a foundation of how blues bass lines are formed, which ones are most commonly used and how you can build on that traditional blues vocabulary and develop your own bass lines.

    In addition, I highly recommend that you listen and listen and listen some more to Tommy Shannon's lines in Stevie Ray Vaughan CDs, Duck Dunn's lines in Blues Brother's CDs, BB King's bassists, Junior Wells' bassists and Buddy Guy's, even Jimi Hendrix' bassist, Noel Redding.

    If you want to be an accomplished blues bassist, you can do no better than to listen constantly to the bass masters of the genre.