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I need to learn how to play blues within a week.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by FingerDub, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. FingerDub


    Jan 8, 2016
    I have no formal training but I do have fast fingers and good technique and can learn most songs by ear. I have good timing.

    I have an opportunity to slide right into the bass player spot in an established, money making, gigging power blues band. They play stuff like this.

    I know a few blues scales and that's it. I can focus on learning the songs no problem, but is there anything I can learn in a week that can help me fit in to anything?
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
  3. FingerDub


    Jan 8, 2016
    Thanks bro, just what I was looking for. now to book up....
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Other song variations on the 12-bar blues form to watch out for: Intros. Outros. Breaks. Bridges. Going to the IV chord on bar 2 ("quick four") then back to I chord on bar 3. Various chord substitutions on the "turnaround" (final four bars). Non-12-bar forms like 8-bar, 16-bar, or some other weird number. Songs that just riff over and over on one or two chords. Rock, soul, country, R&B, and jazz standards that don't follow the blues form, but can be performed "in a blues style."

    Good luck on the audition!
    burnunit, SteveCS, jfh2112 and 3 others like this.
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Just walk to 1, 4, 5 changes.
    1 4 5 is you're friend. lol
    Good Luck.
  6. This. And then get away from talk bass and get some actual practice in.

    Blues is easy to play, but hard to cop the groove. Get the mechanics down and then just start listening to as many recordings as you can. Tommy Shannon has a way of stepping out at just the right times, and fills perfectly as SRV was cooking. He is worth a listen too.
  7. Get their song selection list. If they want you they will give it to you. Practice what THEY play. There is going to be 50 +/- songs that they play over and over, concentrate on those.
  8. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Ed Friedland has some great literature on learning the blues for bass. I suggest checking that out as well. Good luck!

    Edit: be able to identify by ear when it's appropriate to play the following rhythms, too:
    Basic walk
  9. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    With just a week I wouldn't obsess over any theoretical mechanics. Listen obsessively to the band's song list and get the sound of what you need to do as firmly pounded into your head as you can. What it's all called will come as you evolve.
  10. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    Build a Spotify list of their tunes and blues classics in the same genre...an listen over and over...internalize the different feels, turn arounds,etc. IMO best you can do in a week
    LowActionHero, Rickter, JmJ and 2 others like this.
  11. No, yer screwed, forget about it.

    PM me the BL phone number and I'll cover the gig for you.

    No need to thank me, you don't need that kind of pressure in your life.
  12. FingerDub


    Jan 8, 2016
    My connection told me I should be able to jam on whatever they play.
  13. I wouldn't risk it.
    bassbully and pcake like this.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    If they won't give you a set list walk away.
    FingerDub likes this.
  15. FingerDub


    Jan 8, 2016
    the 2 songs I posted are on the list
  16. Did they give you a list? If not that is odd.

    If you want to play blues than start listening to it as often as possible. There are bass lines that are common to many songs, make sure you learn them.

    How long until the first gig?
  17. jjmuckluckjr


    Mar 24, 2015
    I gotta admire your ambition FingerDub. No offense, but I have to say it's a little presumptuous to think that you can learn an entire genre of music in one week. Especially if you're trying to get into an established touring band. Blues are deceptively simple. Deceptive being the operative word. Fast fingers and technique are fine, but the blues is more about timing and feel. It's way better to under play and stay with the drummer than go off half-Jaco. Realistically, you're not going to learn a whole set list in a week. Ask them to pick 10-12 songs and get them down as best you can. Good luck and let us know how it works out.
  18. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Here are some of the basic blues grooves and patterns for bass - there are examples around the net, and plenty of DVD collections. It's useful to know these when a tune gets called "Flat tire in D, in on the five" and counted off.

    6-9 Groove
    Little Walter shuffle
    Bo Diddley
    Cajun Rumba
    Straight Eight
    Jump Swing
    Second Line
    Eight Bar Blues
    Swing Shuffle
    Tramp Groove
    Box Pattern
    John Lee Hooker
    Flat Tire shuffle
    Jimmy Reed shuffle

    EDIT: another hint is: get with the guitar player on how you play thirds; or just stay away from them to play it safe. ;) A heck of a lot of blues is half time 1-5...
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  19. Blues is not something you learn .. it's something you primarily feel ... if your main drive is to make money then good luck bro!
    Anyway you can have a look at the recent videos from John Patitucci playing a Yamaha BB
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    Badwater, jjmuckluckjr and Morrighan like this.
  20. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Best of luck, @FingerDub !
    The best advice is getting a playlist together on Spotify, google play or whatever suits you and listen every chance you get.
    It's all about the feel.
    jjmuckluckjr and FingerDub like this.