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Playin The Blues

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tiredman9, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. tiredman9


    Aug 15, 2005
    New York
    Any one have any advice on how to play the blues. Scales, basic rhythms that kinda stuff. Just thought it would help my playing, thanks (links to things would be good too)
  2. What do you mean 'play the blues'? It's a broad subject:)

    I play blues with my band, basically just 12-bar I-IV-V progressions in a certain key. Eg, 12-bar blues in A
    A A A A
    D D A A
    E D A E

    Take the blues scale to play over that (hey, it's called a blues scale for a reason:p). Alternatively, a lot of basic blues is just taking notes from the major scale (the 1, 3 and 5th degrees).

    (I'm not an expert at this, so I might be wrong on a few little things).

    There's a lot of information out there, and here on talkbass, if you look for it. Try searching for '12 bar blues'.
  3. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    There is a scale called the Pentatonic Blues Scale which is used alot in blues.
    1, -3, P4, o5, P5, b7
    And also, the 4 basic scale degrees for blues bassline are 1 3 5 6 (7)
  4. Yes, the pentatonic scale is what you are looking for, there are also a couple of altered blues scales out there as well.

    There are quite a few books out there that can show you the scales and chord progressions. There are also quite a few intro's, turnarounds, and endings to blues songs that are considered "standard" and you should know those as well.

    One of the most important things IMO is feel, it has to be authentic. For this you must listen to this music. There are a few rhythms you will have to learn like a shuffle and the variations of a shuffle feel, just as important is the swing feel. Nothing worse than playing with a drummer that can't swing, I'm sure the same thing can be said about a bassist from the drummers perspective.

    A good video to get is Roscoe Beck's, Blues Foundation. I have it on VHS, I'm not sure if it is on DVD. He goes over all the standard bass lines and then some. Good one to pick up for any aspiring blues bassist.

    The blues is a great style to learn, it is in more music than you really know. Rock, county, Jazz. Plus once you learn the blues there is an element of improvisation to that music that makes it extremely fun to play.

    Good luck and go pick up some Blues music.
  5. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    There are many different blues progressions that aren't I IV V and the only way to learn them is to hear them. The best thing to do is to listen to records or go to blues jams where you can hear a ton of different variations. For blues bassists you can start with:

    Willie Dixon
    Larry Taylor
    Johnny Gayden
    Ransom Knowling
    Willie Weeks
    Greg Rzab