BB plays fills...in his solos

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by charlie chitlin, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Am I the last one to realize this technique?
    Facepalm time?
    His solos have such a melodic, vocal quality, he'll play a phrase, and as if he sang it, play a fill, then another phrase.
    So freakin' hip!!
     
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  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I've been thinking a lot about the multiple roles or personas one can project in a solo. I think what the OP is talking about is a question and answer relationship between two phrases. But I think the analogy of a voice is superb!
     
  3. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    Call and response, as in:
    "Can I get an Amen?"
    "AAAAAaaaaMMennnn!!!"
     
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  4. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    More like the fill being much shorter than the phrase, which, to me, would be different from call and response.
    Like:
    My baby ran off with a hedge fund manager...
    followed by maybe a quarter note triplet and a quarter note.
    Quite short compared to the initial phrase and the one to follow.
    Almost like purposely clearing your throat to draw attention to an idea in a conversation.
     
  5. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    But have you noticed that, live, he didn't sing and play at the same time?

    Which, from my perspective, isn't a thing. People who can solo while singing, or play bass while singing, are possessed.

    People who can do either while harmonizing are space aliens.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the most important thing is to have a voice, not just some notes..: "His solos have such a melodic, vocal quality, he'll play a phrase, and as if he sang it, play a fill.."
     
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  7. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    I like the way Schmee puts it. With B.B. King, it doesn't matter if it is his guitar or his mouth doing the talking, you hear it and just know that it is coming from the same human...they sound unified. It sets up a really potent potential for call and response stuff. Vocalists have to take breaths, while guitarists can play endless streams. Phrasing a solo as if you were a vocalist can help a guitar player avoid playing a bunch of run-on musical sentences. Usually any ideas you can inject to keep your solos fresh are a good thing and thinking outside of your instrument is a pretty decent way to do that. I find myself borrowing a lot of solo phrases from harmonica players when I'm listening to good blues bands, too.

    I also love listening to the way B.B. King and Eric Clapton play together. You can really hear the respect they have for one another in their playing. It is kinda hard to get 2 lead guitar players to solo at the same time without stepping on eachothers toes, especially trading 1's. Stuff like the ending solo on "Hold On, I'm Coming" comes to mind, where they are perfectly complimenting eachother without ever invading anyone's aura, even with those really short phrases. It really speaks to the sensitivity of those guys.
     
  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Well...yeah....that's the big take-away.
    Guitar solos can be coherent/melodic/etc. and be the guitar player's voice...like a singer.
    I think, at least PART of every solo should be that way.
     
  9. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    It is a kind of call and response approach, and I sure do agree with the vocal phrasing. B.B. virtually never plays phrases that cannot be sung -- no flurries of fast notes, no complex chords -- yet what he does deliver is so melodic, so full of touch and timing that it is almost indescribable, and in its own way far more complicated and difficult that working through some transcription with a zillion notes crammed in. He really is the master of the single expressive note. I'm glad to have seen him live a few times, because in that setting, it is mind blowing.
     
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  10. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Yeah, I see what you mean. I suppose it wouldn't be hard to map out an example (not me!). For a 12-bar blues, the vocal phrases begin on bars 1, 5, 9, and the fill would be sometime before the next phrase (5, 9, 1). You could also say that bar 5 phrase is a response to bar 1 phrase. (Sometimes same or nearly the same notes.)

    I like the throat clearing analogy very much.
     
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