Sophisticated blues

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Ash Telecaster, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,528
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Location:
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    Hi all,

    I've heard some players jamming great colorful and sophisticated solo lines over the blues. I would love to be able to play like that. So I tried finding recorded examples to study and have been coming up empty handed. I keep running into Jazz blues which isn't the same thing.

    If you know of any tunes that match the description, please share them. And if you have any tips on how to make your blues lines more sophisctated please share those too.

    Thank you
     
  2. rickthescot

    rickthescot Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    800
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    So are you talking Robben Ford or Larry Carlton type lines?
     
  3. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,528
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Location:
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    That could be the ticket. Most the stuff I've heard from Larry was not what I would call blues. Great music though. I love his Last Night album. Maybe I need to explore his discography more fully.

    Most the Robin Ford stuff I've heard has been what I would call smooth jazz but I know he is recognized as a blues player. I probably need to explore his catalog more fully as well.

    Thanks
     
  4. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,106
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    trumansburg, ny
    Robben Ford is your man.

    But, Danny Gatton could do it. It was one of his many styles.

    Charlie Christian was a very sophisticated blues player, too.

    The late Walter Becker had a very interesting bluesy style on the later Steely Dan recordings. And, their current guitarist, Jon Herrington, does also.

    In fact , IMO, much of Steely Dans' music is sophisticated blues.
     
  5. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,103
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Location:
    Maldon, England
    Less is more. Alwa
     
  6. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,273
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Location:
    Near Athens GA USA
    You haven't worn out B.B. at the Regal yet?



    How about T-Bone Walker?



    Blues sax players often have sophisticated lines and have to let the music 'breathe'.

    Bull Moose Jackson has this one made famous by Aerosmith.



    Willis Jackson is another sax player with a lot of good material.

     
  7. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,739
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Location:
    Manassas Park, VA
    Go to the source, and listen to T-Bone Walker!
    Master of Tone and Taste!
     
  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    14,593
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Spring City, Pa
    TBone!
    Also, Tiny Grimes.
    Newer guys...Hollywood Fats, Jr. Watson, Alex Shultz (with Rod Piazza), Duke Robillard, Kid Ramos, Charlie Baty, Ronnie Earl...
     
  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,906
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    Bill Jennings
     
    Vibrolux59 and Ash Telecaster like this.
  10. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Meister

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    254
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2019
    Location:
    Illinois
  11. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,583
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    Just grab a copy of Talk To Your Daughters if you don't already have it. Robben is the master at fusing Blues , Rock and Jazz into his 3 solo formula. When he is up to the task he can't be beat. Perhaps one of the greatest guitar players of all time but not recognized by the majority because he doesn't have one of those " #1" hits on Billboard.
     
    Vibrolux59, Rowdyman, Tim T and 6 others like this.
  12. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    3,528
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Location:
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    Spectacular suggestions, thanks everybody!

    Lots here to dig through.
     
    Allan Allan likes this.
  13. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    3,545
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    DC Burbs
    One thing I find when I go to a jam, I stick around the blues/pentatonic scales mostly, changing with the chords of course.

    I will often hear others play more "interesting" lines. Not always faster but more "taste" it seems. I've not quite unlocked the key to when/how I can throw in some more interesting phrases.

    One thing I have done is to record live jams over songs I lead (so know the progression) and then try and to deconstruct the line the other guy played.

    I'm not sure that's helpful or onpoint in this context.
     
  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    34,295
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    Study entire scales. Pentatonics are limiting...despite their obvious usefulness. Adding the 2nd and 6th intervals gives you more options....more sophistication, perhaps....and one starts to understand how the chords are constructed...and what tones can be added to the basic chords. Since you work in the minor pentatonic, maybe learning the natural minor scale would be a step. Then.....roll on from the minor to the major third. You will hear that in much of what will come up here, I am thinking. Then, don’t forget the flatted 5th that you have been using in that blues pentatonic. Mess around with all of those notes for the 2nd through the flatted 5th.....you will find that there are ways to play every one of those notes for certain situations either coming or going across that range. Fun it is. All of a sudden you will be playing flat and sharp5ths, flat and sharp 9ths. You can play ‘em in boogie woogie, jazz, rockabilly, shred, country.......just don’t do much of it when you play this kind of music....Good Morning, World!!!
     
  15. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    580
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lebanon, NH
    My thought on blues soloing with “interesting” and “sophisticated” runs e.g. T-Bone Walker are that you need to learn these styles of licks and runs and then be able to apply them without thinking about individual notes, finger placement, right hand picking, etc. For myself, I want to get into more arpeggio-based runs in the style of Charlie Christian, and perhaps the best way to do that is to learn solos note for note. Eventually you learn enough material to start applying it to your own solos. It’s hard work and a lot of practice, but then nothing worthwhile is easy!
     
  16. trxx

    trxx Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    Posts:
    768
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2019
    Location:
    Between reality and imagination
    Not having any examples to go on, I don't know what 'sophisticated' might entail. Maybe it means atypical and tasteful or complex and dynamic. Anyway, I think Billy Gibbons has some recorded playing that goes outside of blues stereotypes. Check out the lines on Brown Sugar, for example. But personally, when I think of sophisticated blues playing I think SRV Tin Pan Alley.
     
  17. ucnick

    ucnick Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    126
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Location:
    Union City CA
    Check out Jack Pearson.
     
    Rowdyman, Ash Telecaster and Wally like this.
  18. Sean65

    Sean65 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    636
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Location:
    London
    Matt Schofield is also worth a shot but the guys Charlie Chitlin mentioned are where its at.

    Adding a major 3rd and major 6th to your regular blues scales will get you in the ballpark.

    when you have them dialed in you can try play diminished over the fourth bar of a 12 bar.

    gradually build up your colour palette.

    T Bone is really tricky to copy. He slips between 8th and 16th so effortlessly.
     
    Ash Telecaster likes this.
  19. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,683
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    NELA, Ca
  20. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,677
    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    portland, or
    I bought an instructional book by the jazz guitarist Herb Ellis many years ago ... he taught and played jazz based on blues theory ... good stuff and worked quite well ...
     
    dougstrum, joealso, Tim T and 2 others like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.