where can i find fresh ideas for creating blues lines?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by kindablue, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. kindablue


    Jun 15, 2003
    I want to branch out from the predictable blues approach and add some color to my lines,spice em up a little.can Anyone recommend some good sources
    to achieve this end?
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Move to Chicago for 6 months and hang out at the Blues Clubs seven days a week. I'm sure you can pick up a thing or two.

    Seriously, having been in a blues band the last 6 years, it's an interesting challeng to try to come up with original lines using only a 12 bar blues. Here's a few things.

    1)Think chromatically. There's a number of ways you can use notes to walk from the I to the IV, etc. Use a chromatic walkup, or use a more scalar approach when transitioning from one chord to another. Just because the guitar player uses only 5 notes, doesn't mean you have to too.

    2)Think of ways where you can create tension and release it. When then guitar player is maxing out on a minor penatonic solo, play something major behind him/her to create tension. Play something minor behind him, and you can create even more tension. Or, on the other hand, if the guitar player is jamming from a major scale, play somehting major to release the tension. Tension and release - that's the heart of a Blues jam.

    3) Try familiar lines with tempos and feels, or play familiar grooves with different notes. Speed up your slow blues groove for a shuffle, slow down your shuffle for a down and dirty jam, or make you major sounding groove minor. It's a good way to use what you have to expand what you have.

    4) Use dynamics. Varying between playing softly or playing ith a hard attack will change the feel and timbre of your groove.

    5) Pull stuff from other genres into your Blues. Blues is the root of much of American and Modern music, so there's alot of musical offspring to select from. As I told one of my Blues Snob friends - "It's all Blues"

    Good Luck!
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Ever give a close listen to Tommy Shannon's work with SRV ???

    That guy turns lines inside-out more ways than I can count! Try comping his stuff, note-on sometime.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I love tommy Shannon. He is a blues master. For a jazzier style that still holds true to blues roots listen to my heroe Roscoe Beck in his work with Robben Ford. His bass lines are always fresh.

    For a blues bassist who can walk until the cows come home, listen to B.B. King's bassist. That guy is amazing.

    Listen to the bassists who accompnay Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton. They'll both give you fresh ideas, too.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Go listen to some recordings of jazz groups playing the blues.

    Kenny Burrell's "Midnight Blue" (has original version of "Chitlins Con Carne" that SRV covered), Oscar Peterson's "Night Train", etc.

    When you hear some bass licks that you like, transcribe them.
  6. DB5


    Jul 3, 2001
    Austin Texas
    Another vote to listen to Roscoe Beck, he has a great video tape called Blues Foundation to help learn and understand his way of approaching the blues, also contains some good info on right hand cord tapping while walking a bass line with the left. This technique works great when working in a trio situation.

    Hope this helps :bassist:
  7. John Paul Jones. Pick up Led Zeppelin's BBC Sessions and you get 24 tracks, about 10 of which are fantastic for stealing blues ideas from. Everything else is worth ripping off as well - Jones sounds and plays better on this release than any other Zeppelin stuff I've heard, and the songs are almost all in the style his best bass work. Great tone, too.
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Another thing you could do is check out Mike Hiland's book/CD set "Mel Bay's Complete Blues Bass Book." He discusses several blues styles, the history of blues, and shows you how to make bass lines for each of those various styles.

    He helps you build a foundation for forming blues bass lines by explaining the chords and scales most often found in the genre, explains the 12-bar blues progressions, minor blues progressions, plus variations on those pattern. He also shows you intros, turnarounds, endings and fills. Hiland discusses shuffles, swing, walking slow blues, blues rock and even some jazz.

    If you work your way through his book,playing along with the CD, plus listen to the work of bass players suggested above, you will have a wealth of material to help you add variety to your basslines and give you confidence to create your own lines.
  9. I've seen that one at my state libarary - looked like great stuff. I should go back and get it out.

    Thanks for reminding me!