How Do You Play Blues?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by burtf51, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Barney is NOT playing blues under a more strict definition. Barney plays blues much like a piano player plays blues, which at best is a stretch calling it blues. And it's why piano is not for me.

    What Barney is not doing is giving his blues variable pitch. He doesn't bend into the sweet spots that just sing.

    First off the guitar is out of tune by it's construct, same with the piano. But the tuning on the guitar is adjustable by pressure and micro bending.

    The guitar tuning is called 12edo, that simply means divide the octave into 12 equal distance parts (talking pitch distances not the necks physical length because frets get closer but we agree that from one fret to the next is a half step.

    Then there is what is called Just Intonation. This is purely in tune. It doesn't match up to 12edo exactly, close but some notes are a little off, for example 3rd is around 17 cents too sharp for just intonation. Also the flat 3rd is too flat and in the blues we "sweeten" the tuning by bending a micro end up. That is bending from the too flat note the guitar offers into Just Intonation, or JI. Anyone that has listened to Black Dog by Led Zeppelin has heard this bend, it happens on the 6th note of the main riff and happens a couple more times. The riff is laden with these elements that we call blues, even though it's a rock song.


    Spoonful is another classic song that uses the too flat 3rd and bending up to the sweet JI flat 3rd,


    There are other tones that help define that blues sound, I just talked about the 3rd. Barney was not shooting for these blues sounds, he used seven note scales for the most part, very diatonic, no bending.

    This is why in this thread I've been advocating for the pents and their blues qualities to be the heart and soul of real blues, the emotions the blues stirs up in us. By it's nature, to be Mixolydian it needs to be micro bend free and that sucks on our guitars, we want to bend, we desire to microbend every chance we get on the fretboard when playing blues.

    We also like to hear non blues music such as in many jazz, folk and pop tunes. Blues inflections don't always work with this kind of music. Strictly Diatonic.
     
  2. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Barney plays jazz blues, a different thing than pure blues.

    And I dig Barney, I've played a couple of his chord melodies they have transcribed on YouTube.
     
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  3. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Meister

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    Might just be one of the coolest tunes there is.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    When I was in college anything I played on a minor pentatonic scale was blues if it didn’t sound like crap. Now I realize that all of it probably sounded like crap. Nowadays I play mostly country but still like to play some blues too. The biggest change is that I use a pentatonic scale only as a framework for improvisation now. There are places in a blues that call for a minor third and places that call for a major third. I always find places where a ninth or a sixth fit. And there you’re back to a seven note scale. From country, I work from the chords more often than not and that always opens up choices for notes. I use flat fifths in transitions and to place a note that just must be resolved. I’ve never been big on emulating other people’s style but I’m more and more open to learning from them as I get older.
     
  5. hollowman

    hollowman Friend of Leo's

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    I don't. i do like to mix in some blue notes tho. I don't play the blues well, because, i don't have the blues
     
  6. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    To musicians, the word "Blues" has two different meanings. The first definition is: a genre of music developed in the rural South of the U.S. and all the various styles of that Blues music, for instance, Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, "West Coast" Hollywood Fats-type Blues, Jump Blues, etc.

    The second meaning is: a song form that is usually 12 or 16 bars (but not always), and follows some stylistic rules re: the chord structure and the turn-around. When a Jazz player says Blues, he/she is usually talking about "a blues", not "The Blues".
     
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  7. duzie

    duzie Tele-Meister

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  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Wow, I had no idea. So, there is a different blues within the jazz community? Is this a kinda jazz variation on blues?
     
  9. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Crap, "how do you play the blues" caused me to reflect. Sad to say, I play the blues the same way I did 50 years ago when I got bit HARD by the blues bug.

    The good thing is I've been able to branch out from the minor pentatonic box that permeated my playing for many years..... also good is I was able to make a living for many years with my limited approach.

    Loves me some blues! So many great players that slay me with their touch, tone and phrasing.
     
  10. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Classic: Charlie Parker's Blues For Alice.



    leadsheet/changes:

    [​IMG]

    Minor blues are probably more common in jazz than they are elsewhere. Coltrane wrote a couple, like Mr P.C. and Equinox:





    [​IMG]
     
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  11. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Nice jazz lesson
     
  12. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    A blues:
    //C /F /C /C /F /F /C /C /G /F /C /C // (12 bar blues)

    "Bird" blues:
    //C /B-7b5, E7 /A-7 /G-7, C7 /F9 /Bb13 /E-7 /A7 /D7 /D-7, G7 /C, A7#9 / D-7, G7// (also 12 bars)

    "The Blues" is a whole style, a style of singing, playing, songwriting. When a Jazz player says "a blues', he just means "a song form that adheres to the loose rules of a specific compositional format."

    Another example of a simple Jazz song form is "Rhythm Changes". That means, the chord structure of "I've Got Rhythm" ... A //: C, A-7 /D-7, G7 /E-7, A7 /D-7, G7 /C, C7 /D-7, G7 /C, G7 / C :// B //E7 /A7 /D7 /G7 / (repeat A)

    When the old Jazz guys said "Rhythm & Blues", they meant a player that was familiar with the "blues" song form and the variations of the "Rhythm Changes" song form.
     
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  13. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Has anyone mentioned that first, ya gotta have a hat?
     
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  14. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    That is so thick, like molasses. Love it.
     
  15. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    You inspired me to post this major gem,

     
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  16. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    here's how I played it once really late at night



    etc

    those are HS Filtertrons and a quarter
     
  17. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Meister

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    If I could, I'd give it a 100 likes...
     
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  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Oh, I have to wear a hat to understand this jazz blues stuff? No wonder I don't get it.;)
     
  19. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Very fundamental,

    Spoonful is a great example of the true nature of the blues. It's not based on chord tones. But if there were chord tones it would be E7 not Em7.

    This is where the true nature of the blues is found,,, because the blues soloist will always play the 3rd flat to the fretted 3rd. It's so different that if you played the fretted 3rd it would sound sharp. The fretted maj3rd is an avoid note for the most part in dirty blues. This is why the minor pent and micro bending the b3 is the preferred way to play this blues dominant 3rd. The comping guitarist plays the normal 3rd if they must, but the soloist's 3rd a 1/4 step below the fretted 3rd giving it that "crying, emotional" blues thing.

    Jazz on the other hand loves the fretted 3rd because jazz blues is based in chord tones, chords also show movement in the progression.

    This is a dirty blues example like I'm talking about. I might comp something like this, avoiding the maj 3rd,

    G7
    -------------------------------------
    --------------------------5----3---:||
    --------------------------5----3'--
    -------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------
    -3---3-3---3-3---3-------------


    Jazz blues highlights chord movement in the comping. The example chords are the 3rd and the b7 for all three chords.
    Strum 4 to the bar perhaps,,,

    . .G7. . . . . . C7 . . . . .D7
    ------------|-------------|------------|
    ------------|-------------|------------|
    -----4-----|------3-----|------5----|
    -----3-----|------2-----|------4----|
    ------------|-------------|------------|
    ------------|-------------|------------|
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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