1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Still got the blues...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by redjeep!, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. redjeep!

    redjeep! Guest

    Jan 19, 2002
    Ok folks here's my problem.

    I've been playing for a couple of years and have a fairly solid practice routine, but as yet haven't yet found a band (I've moved countrys, jobs and done a lot of travel in the middle of it all).

    I met up last night with a well respected local musician who's played with some very big names and who wants to form a blues group. He's asked me to play bass with him.

    I'm really looking forward to it and am excited by the whole thing - but want to see if there is any way I can prepare myself better for our first session - does anybody know of anywhere were I can find some transcribed blues numbers so that I can learn a few numbers ?

    I've used a couple of blues bass method books and understand the different forms etc, but would like to get a few standards done before we meet.

    Any help would be well received.

  2. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Maybe contact the musician you met and ask him to recommend some recordings - at least a dozen songs - that he prefers (e.g., perhaps he digs the sounds of T-Bone Walker and Buddy Guy)

    Get copies of the recordings and listen to them / play along with them as much as possible.

    If you can develop a discriminating ear for the essence of the type of blues that he likes, he'll be impressed.

    There'll probably be no shortcuts. Be prepared to work hard to emulate the feel of a good bassist in the sub-genre(s) of blues that this guy likes.

    Good luck - I like the blues a lot so I'm a little envious of you!
  3. redjeep!

    redjeep! Guest

    Jan 19, 2002
    Thanks for the reply CJK84.

    We met up last night in a local pub (bar) where he was playing - although we'd spoken before - so I know the sort of stuff that he's thinking about - mostly BB King, John Mayall etc. I do like the blues and have listened to it for years and have a pretty good CD collection.

    My problem I guess is that although I can play the different forms and know the difference between the main different types - I can't always pick it out the chord changes with my ear.

    I think that you're right when you say that there's no short cuts - I was hoping that I could pick up some transcriptions to try and help my ear, but reckon that I'll have to spend some more time in the 'shed.

    I've got to admit though - I'm really looking forward to the opportunity.
  4. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Just ask the guy what key's the songs are in. Most Blues songs are three chords anyway, and follow the typical 12 bar I-IV-V pattern. Do not over analyze the changes, this isn't Jazz. As long as you can hear the I,IV,and V you'll be alright. If you need some common Blues forms let me know, and I'll see what I can come up with.
  5. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    This may all be redundant to you and if so perhaps it will help someone else.

    As already pointed out, it's basically a 12-bar format whose essential form is (one chord per measure):

    I7 - I7 - I7 - I7 - IV7 - IV7 - I7 - I7 - V7 - IV7 - I7 - I7

    In the key of A that's:

    A7 - A7 - A7 - A7 - D7 - D7 - A7 - A7 - E7 - D7 - A7 - A7

    repeat as necessary. Songs likely to "start on the V" meaning they'll do the last 4 bars as an instrumental intro. Songs likely to end with a break or some stop time where you're tacet.

    For slow blues tunes, you'll frequently see a "quick change" used where the second measure is the IV7 -- otherwise you drag out those I7s for too long.

    You're likely to do walking patterns (speak up if you need some of those spelled out) and you may need to work out some "turnarounds" something a little different at the tail end to lead back. It's common to go to the V7 for part of the final measure

    When you work up something of your own, work it out of the Mixolydian mode for the chord of the moment (which is a long way of saying use the flat 7 rather than the regular 7). You can throw in flat-5s as passing (blues) notes and you can pretty much get away with flat or natural 3s.

    You'll need to be able to play straight 8s and you'll need to be able to shuffle. Fills and fancy stuff can be fun, but the guitar is king here, so lay back and support.

    Hope that helps some more...Millard
  6. redjeep!

    redjeep! Guest

    Jan 19, 2002
    Thanks folks for spending the time to put such detailed replies together - I greatly appreciate it, apologies for not having replied earlier, but I've been travelling and couldn't get to my computer (I flew from Ireland to Portland, Oregon this week).

    I've been working through The Blues Bass Book by Jon Liebman which has detailed many of the different progressions and I have played through them many times. My concern is that I can't always hear the difference between some of the chords - many of them use chords other than the I, IV &V and thats what was spooking me.

    I don't think that there is going to be any simple way to do this but to spend more time developing my listening skills and playing along to some classics.

    Thanks again,
  7. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Don't worry about not being able to hear the changes. That will come with time. I've played so many blues songs that I can clearly hear a IV and V chord - and that's with MY tin ear.

    There is truly no substitute for repetition.

    Also, get the book "Building Walking Bass Lines" by Ed Friedland. It's evenly divided between blues type walking and Jazzier chords. It helped turn walking into one of my strengths.

    I second the comment about guitar being king. You are there to groove your butt off and support everyone. Also, I'd go for a deep, phat, low (limited treble) kind of tone.

    Have fun with it.
  8. Great post, very good explanation. What you just posted is much easier to understand than most beginner blues books.