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Theory Question...I think

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by jasonrp, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    I'm posting it in rockabilly since I've adopted this sub-forum.

    I've been learning learning Wayne Hancock's "Johnny law" by ear and the bass has me a bit messed up. It's a 1-4-5 in A but there is a descending run on the E chord that keeps messing me up. Would a Lydian mode apply here? I've always thought that it would go I/ionian IV/Lydian V/Mixolydian so that all the notes stayed in the same key (except chromatic changes) The Lydian doesn't seem to quite fit though and that's what is throwing me off.

    Tell me what you think please.
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Thinking modes with rockabilly is probably over complicating things :confused:

    When you wrote Lydian do you mean A Lydian or E Lydian? I can't imagine using E Lydian in the key of A on a rockabilly tune.

    That video won't play for me unfortunately.
    HateyMcAmp and DiabolusInMusic like this.
  3. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    Yeah, I think I'm over complicating it. It's a descending run that starts with a B on the G string and I can't quite pick all of the notes out. I'll just keep hammering on it....or just play a straight E chord.

    I meant E mixolydian btw. Typing too fast
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    What have you worked out the run to be so far?

    BTW thinking of the IV chord as Lydian is nuts. Blues based music doesn't fit standard key/scale theory. It's not uncommon to play all three chords as dominant 7ths which does not derive from any major scale. You wouldn't catch me using a G# regularly against an D chord in a rockabilly song.

    The thing that makes mixolydian different from ionian is the minor 7th (D in your case). So if that note sounds wrong, it's not illegal to use the major 7th in a run instead especially if the next note is the root :thumbsup:
  5. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    What I'm hearing sounds like while the guitar is playing the E, the bass is walking downward starting on the G string- B-A-G#-F#-E-C#-B-E-C#-B-A# then back to the A chord.

    With the vocals and all the other noise, I'm having a hard time hearing the notes on that one part. That's why I hate modes..anytime I start thinking about them I get all screwed up
  6. Slaphound

    Slaphound Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    I'm gonna chip in to this old thread. I am currently studying this one, Johnny Law. The chords are A, D & E. 1, 4 and 5. Traditionally played in 12 bars. This song has 8 bars on 1,
    2 bars on 4,
    3 bars on 1,
    2 bars on 5,
    4 bars on 1.
    In the middle it becomes a 12 bar blues progression while everyone, including the bass player, takes a turn soloing. Its a great song at a very fast pace with an excellent straight eighth note rhythm. I'm taking note of the necessity of keeping the rhythm as even as possible and striking/snapping the note and the slap perfectly with no sloppiness. Really makes a difference. Also noted are the triplets. Some sound like drag triplets where the two slaps come before snapping the strings and a regular triplet where you snap, slap, slap. Used very effectively IMHO.
  7. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Well, I hear him doing a plain old 5-4-3-2-5-4-3-2-1 walkdown on the V chord. E-D-C#-B-E-D-C#-B-A where the "A" concides with the move back to the A chord. I don't hear anything more complicated than that.

    At least that's what I hear plain as day, on the head. I didn't listen to the whole song.
  8. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Now I"m listening to the whole thing and he varies the bass line a bit as he goes on through the song, just like you would expect from someone playing a very simple blues-type head and 12 bar blues solo section.

    This is not some kind of "one true bass line" kind of thing. Just play straight old walking bass and you'll be fine. The very best guide for basic blues tunes is your ear. You've been hearing this stuff all your life, you already know how it goes.
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