Suggest Some 12 Bar Blues Songs That Are Good Practice

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by castpolymer, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

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    Played with a gent this weekend and really enjoyed playing a bit of 12 bar blues with him. Seeing how he was able to improvise around my playing really got me fired up to " bulk up " my repertoire. I have always found it easier to practice when I am playing full songs, so I am looking for suggestions for 12 bar blues songs that are great for practice. Help a hack out!
     
  2. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog TDPRI Member

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    I've been interested recently too. The guy who runs my kids music school showed me Jimmy Reed's "Get Some Insurance". Very old blues. Great little tune to add to your repertoire.
     
  3. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

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    All the best Cast!
     
  4. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Butterfield's Born in Chicago has a riff that gets you out of strumming chords all the time.

    D.H.

     
  5. Carlsson

    Carlsson Tele-Holic

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    Texas flood - SRV
     
  6. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I learned most of the blues I know from this album.

    [​IMG]

    My Mom was a huge blues freak and she bought it for me and said learn this music.

    At the time I was playing Creedence Hendrix and Zep. SHe said learn the blues cause everyone gets the blues.
     
  7. willie.g

    willie.g TDPRI Member

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  8. Telesavalis

    Telesavalis Friend of Leo's

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  9. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog TDPRI Member

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    Correction "Take Out Some Insurance"
     
  10. Jipes

    Jipes Tele-Meister

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  11. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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  12. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    I've been jamming with the same guys for a long time, and three of the favorites are "Key to the Highway," "Born Under a Bad Sign," and "Strange Brew." Each is a three chord goodie, and each has a different tempo and feel, so they're perfect for jamming.
     
  13. hybridrocknroll

    hybridrocknroll Tele-Afflicted

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  14. Just-Jim

    Just-Jim Tele-Afflicted

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  15. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

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    Key to the Highway is a 8 bar blues. Good song to learn that form.
     
  16. Shidoin

    Shidoin Tele-Holic

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    Try some Freddy King instrumentals. Things like 'Manhole', 'Onion Rings', 'Driving Sideways', and 'Side Tracked' have a structure, a cool riff, and room to jam.
    More challenging ones like 'The Stumble' or 'Remington's Ride' would be great to work on, it will improve your playing. Good Luck!
     
  17. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Tele-Afflicted

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    Two words: Albert King

    I also agree with Freddie King instrumentals above
     
  18. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    Just stick on the Clapton/Bluesbreakers album and jam to the whole thing.
     
  19. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    One of the interesting things about 12-bar blues is the way that the melody relates to the chords. Almost universally and across centuries, the metrically prominent notes of the melody are chord tones. Melodic variation and embellishment can sometimes contradict the previous sentence, which is what gives music its depth and richness. But I can't think of any other kind of music that does what a 12-bar blues does in bars 5-8. When a blues song uses the call and response structure of work songs and field hollers, here is what happens. In bars 1-4, the chord is the tonic, usually a dominant seventh type. In C, this would be C7. In a blues song, the prominent melodic notes emphasize the notes of the C7 chord, C E G Bb. In bars 5-8, the chord changes to F7 = F A C Eb. In non-blues music, the melody would emphasize those chord tones. But if the song uses a call and response structure, one of two things can happen. One, the melodic notes are modified to fit the F7 chord. Or, two, the melody from bars 1-4 is repeated note-for-note in bars 5-8. Without getting too detailed, let's just say that some of those notes do not agree with the F7 chord.

    In classical music, having melodic notes that are dissonant with the underlying chords is not uncommon at all. I once heard a conference paper describe how the only kind of music that has no such agreement between melody and chords is nursery rhyme songs. What makes the 12-bar blues an interesting thing to study is that for an entire 4 bars the melodic notes do not all agree with the underlying chord.

    A side issue is that the minor third, Eb, is often used in the melody over the C7 chord, which has a major third, E natural. This is also unique to blues, in my experience.

    I should make it clear that the only music I know anything about it is European and American classical, and a whole slew of pop songs from the past 100 years. I often find that other non-western music traditions have some very interesting differences.

    Anyway, I am very much captivated by the 12-bar blues form and have been since I was 9 years old. I bought a boogie-woogie piano book and found that I could take a left hand pattern from a song in F and transpose that pattern for a song in D. I could also add or subtract notes from the left hand that didn't ruin the song. I could also change the rhythm and change the order of the notes.

    I made some recordings of a live band in a studio playing 12-bar blues in different keys and styles. Some of those can be found in the YouTube link posted above: Youtube 12-bar Blues Backing Tracks .
     
  20. telepath

    telepath Friend of Leo's

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    Wow Larry,

    I imagine 12 bar blues / boogie was never 'meant' to be de/reconstructed in such a way, and at first glance, I admit I baulked at your summary.
    I'm glad I read it.

    The call & response thing - I'd never actually thought of the origin TBH (is that woeful? maybe being a Brit, I have less of a handle on it) - but now it seems naturally 'obvious'.

    'picturing' that in my mind will quite possible help my phrasing and timing.
    I'll have to buy you a pint of warm flat Ale sometime ;)
     
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