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What blues songs to learn? Rephrasing question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tombolino, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012
    Hi friends,

    May I ask again..... what are some blues tunes but which have the classic patterns/ blues lines(minor, major, slow, fast, different grooves)? In other words, since Im new at bass (former guitar), right now im interested in nailing a variety of blues songs that have the must know classic lines because I think this will help me identify the scale degrees easier, and then later I can start with the more complex stuff that builds on those foundations and bass lines. Even better if your recommendations are gig-common.

    So far I have learned:

    Boom Boom
    Messin With The Kid
    Thrill is Gone
    Black Magic Woman
    Johnny Be Good

    Thank you

  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Here's a bunch I just had to learn. Definitely a workout getting them 100% tight.
    Pride & Joy
    Feeling Alright
    Trouble Is Knocking (Shuffle - A)
    Lime & Coconut (A-G jam)
    The Same Thing (Warren / ABB version)
    Milk Cow Blues (A)
    Dock of the Bay
    Black Magic Woman (Em)
    I Shot the Sheriff (E)
    Feels Like Rain (A-D, C#- D)
    Let The Good Times Roll (E)
    Call Me The Breeze (A)
    Rip It Up
    Are You Ready
    Beer Drinkers, Hell Raisers (G)
    Highway 49 (E)
    Confidence Man
    Better Watch Yourself
    Sweet Home Chicago (E)
  3. matey


    Sep 17, 2012
    wild wild oz
    are there any easy ones for a beginer? thanks
  4. bassfuser

    bassfuser Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2008
    Get Ed Friedland's book "Blues Bass". It describes different styles and many examples in the form of Blues standards.

    It covers virtually every form of Blues, Intros, breaks and endings. The standards are great songs including "Pride and Joy", "Hideaway" and others.

    It would be a great book for a beginner. A lot of foundational concepts, even if you're going on to different genres.
  5. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    For structures common to many blues songs, here's a good start.

    Jive also has a page of blues feels that you might find useful.
  6. A few albums (or artist's work) I'd recommend as containing a good variety of common blues basslines & variations:

    Stevie Ray Vaughn - In Step, Texas Flood
    Blues Brothers - Briefcase Full of Blues & the movie soundtrack
    Freddie King - just about anything
    BB King - Completely Well
    Muddy Waters
    Howlin' Wolf
    Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign (with Duck Dunn on bass)
  7. zenman


    Jan 30, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    +1 Though I'm not familiar with Ed's book, I'm sure it is good & there are a couple of other books that do the same thing. I would focus on learning the different styles of blues tunes, using specific songs as representrative of that particular style, but not necessarily worry about nailing any particular tune. One good book that I used is Mey Bay's Complete Blues Bass Book by Mike Hiland.
  8. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I have Ed Friedland's "Blues Bass" book and got a lot out of it. In addition to having a lot of standards (or at least "similar to <standard>", to avoid copyright issues), there are sections with standard progressions, common variations, common turnarounds, etc.

    I started going through the book a year or so ago and, right around the same time, my instructor talked me into sitting in with his blues band one night - and he didn't tell them this was the first time I was playing out. I played five songs with them, never heard of four of them, and the fifth was in a different key than I was used to. It was a terrifying way to hit the stage for the first time but I got through it pretty well. The time I spent with that Friedland book was a HUGE factor in that. I'm sure there are other great books, but I can guarantee that that book will teach you things you WILL use!

    I also remember seeing a thread here about things to help you be ready for a blues jam. There are a lot of great song suggestions in there as well as more great descriptions of the common "tools" to have at your disposal to help you get through one. Those things will also make learning new songs a lot easier.
  9. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012
    awesome! thank you guys. I will get the Friedland book!
  10. Blues songs tend to use the same patterns over and over. 99% of them are 12 bar blues. So, start learning that first. Play along with any of those "backing track" videos on youtube. Play a bunch of different styles, like slow bb King style, Chicago, and if you can hack it, jump or swing blues. They keys aren't as important since they're all in the same pattern. The feel, timing, and being able to change on the spot with the band from loud to quiet is more important.

    I'd suggest finding a blues jam nearby if you can. 99% of what they play is 12-bar blues, but let 'em know that you're a padowan seeking to soak up their knowledge. They may add little things like a "quick turn around on the 5." Tell 'em that you don't know what that means, and they'll show you or move on to a more standard song. Listen, and literally take notes.