Posts Tagged ‘Blues’

Blues in the Closet

In Blues, Blues In The Closet on September 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Jim Hall and Attila Zoller, Germany concert, 1973

Blues Improvisation

In Blues, Scales, Technics, Theorie on March 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Blues Improvisation – it’s all in the wrist – wrong!

Blues Improvisation = pentatonic scale – wrong!

Blues Improvisation = bending notes – wrong!

It’s all about the pause man… THE PAUSE!>

What pause? What this some kind of sex technique?… Well, to tell the truth. maybe.. it’s no secret blues improvisation turns people on.. is there anyone that hasn’t made love to some cool guitar solo?

And like sex, playing the blues is a contact sport.. You have to take off your robe…  get in the ring and take your chances.. Like a prize fighter, you got to know when to punch, when to duck and… when you smell blood, how to bring your solo to its climax!!! and get the hell out of there!

The master is, was and always will be B.B. King… listen to the album “Live at the Regal”, the B.B. King’s blues guitar solo throws you off balance, gets you leaning one way and then POW!!! Right in the gut man..

OK, so where does the PAUSE come in? Take a guess… Right at the start of most blues guitar licks… instead of playing a note on the beat.. you leave a rest – an eigth note or sixteenth note rest depending on the tempo…  and POW!!! You’re guitar solo’s are going to get noticed!!

It may not seem like such a big deal, but “the pause” separates the men from the boys. It make take you a long time to figure this out.. but once you do, you’re on your way…  Once again… the trick is to catch the listener’s ear with a quick note that’s more like a “pick up” than an eighth note.. or to start your blues licks with a rest instead of a note…  Just listen to all the greats BB. King, SRV, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and Albert Collins, my main man..

Good luck and funky blues.. Johnny Mayer.

from BluesforPeace

Basics of Blues Progressions

In Blues, Theorie on March 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Learn these blues chords and basic blues progressions to play with any blues band in the world… practice 12 bar blues, “quick’ change, blues turn arounds, 8 bar blues, minor blues, bridge, etc. until you can play them in your sleep… For example, “Sweet Home Chicago”, the 2nd song below… good luck and funky blues…

The 12 Bar Blues

The name 12 Bar Blues comes from the number of measures or bars in most blues songs – twelve. Here’s the basic 12 bar blues (Chicago blues) in the key of A.

Further On Up the Road – basic 12 bar blues

/ A7 /A7  /A7  /A7 / D7 / D7 /A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /

The ‘Quick Change’

A quick change is just that, changing chords in the 2nd measure and then back the the first chord.

Sweet Home Chicago Chords

/ A7 / D7 /A7  /A7 / D7 / D7 /A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /

Chord – Number Systesm

Blues musicians often refer to chord changes by Roman numerals after the steps of the scale. Below are the scale steps in the key of A and the chords associated with them.

I A (the key of the song)
II Bmi
III C#mi
VI F#mi
VII G#dim

Blues and the I, IV, V Chords

Many blues songs have just three chords, the I, IV and V chords. In the key of A, that’s A, D and E. Here’s Further On Up the Road by chord name and Roman numerals.

/ A7 / A7  /A7  /A7 / D7 / D7 /A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /

/  I   /  I   /  I   /  I   / IV / IV /  I   /  I   / V   / IV   /  I   /  V  /

And the quick change in Sweet Home Chicago? It’s to the …. IV chord …. Right!

/ A7 / D7 /A7  /A7 / D7 / D7 /A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /

/  I /  IV /  I   /  I   / IV / IV /  I   /  I   / V   / IV   /  I   /  V  /

The Turnaround

1) The last 2 bars of the song are called the turnaround. The basic turnaround is

… / A7 / E7 /

2) There are many varations of the turn around. Here’s a common one

/ A7 D7 / A7 E7 /

Eight Bar Blues

Key to the Highway – uses the turnaround variation (#2 above)

/ A7 / E7  / D7 / D7 / A7 /  E7 / A7 D7 / A7 E7 /

/  I   /  V   / IV / IV  /  I   /  V   /  I  IV   /   I   V  /

Minor Blues

/ Am / Am / Am / Am / Dm / Dm / Am / Am / Em / Dm / Am /  –  /

/  I / I   /   I   /   I   /  IV  /  IV  /   I   /   I   /  V  /  IV /   I   /   /

A minor 12 bar blues usually has a repeated rhythm pattern and no chord in the 12 measure.

Take It Down From The Fifth

The chord number system comes in handy on a gig. If the band leader says “take it down from the fifth”, that means start the song from V chord in the 9th measure.

… / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /

… /  V / IV  /   I   /  V  /

And if someone points at you and holds up 4 fingers, it means play the IV chord now!

Bridge (B part of song)
Some blues songs have a “B” part or bridge. You’ll find this one in many songs.

/ D7 / A7  / D7 / A7 / D7 / A7 / B7 / E7 /

/  IV /  I   /  IV /  I   /  IV  /  I   /  II  /  V  /

The ‘unexpected’ “IV” chord (instead of the I chord) creates tension and interest. Usual format – AABA.

Stormy Monday

Allman Bros. style layed back triplets
G9 / C9 / G9 G#9 / G9 /
C9 / C9 / G9 Ami7 / Bmi7 A#mi7 /
Ami7 / Cmi7 / G9 C9 / G9 D+ /

Rock – Blues Compared!

The Blues had a baby and they called it Rock N Roll. A comparison of the two styles that may open up your ears and improve your playing.

#1 Tempo / 8th Notes

Blues is usually slower – medium shuffle – played with dotted eight notes
Rock is usually uptempo – played with even eight notes.

#2 Changing Chords / Beat

Blues chords ususally change on the 1st beat of a measure
Rock chords change on the ‘&’ of the 4th beat in the previous measure – gives rock incredible drive.

#1 Rhythm Guitar / 1 Note or 2?

Blues- the rhythm guitar usually plays two notes together.
Rock- the rhythm guitar alternates between playing two notes together and a single ‘bass’ note

By & from Johnny Mayer (BluesforPeace)

Aebersold Booklets

In Scales, Technics, Theorie on February 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

From Jamay Aebersold, very valuable booklets to summaryze: chords, scales, tips, II-V-I, Blues & Jazz progressions…. These are the courtesy of Jamay and can be directly downloaded for free at Jamey’s web site.

Click the logo here-above

Aebersold Booklets

or go to The Aebersold Site here

Larry Carlton & Sapphire Blues Band – Sapphire Blue

In Live on November 2, 2008 at 1:18 am
Amazing, Amazing!    Lets spice things up a bit with guitarist extraordinaire Larry Carlton, aka “Mr 335”. Larry is one of the most in demand session guitarists in the business, his tasteful lines having graced hundrends of albums, Steely Dan’s, Joni Mitchell’s, Billy Joel’s and Quincy Jones’ among them. His amazing guitar solo on Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne” from their 1976 LP “Royal Scam” is voted by Billboard as the third best solo in rock! In this set of vids Larry is caught live in Paris in 2004 with his outfit of late, hard blowing Sapphire Blues Band, a combination guaranteed to tear the house down . This one’s “Sapphire Blue” a slow, blues – based number, a style that Larry Carlton excels at.

Blues Guitar Lesson Larry Carlton @

In Blues, Scales, Technics on October 22, 2008 at 8:53 pm

The Blues Mystery

In Blues, Scales on July 10, 2008 at 5:25 pm

“The Blues are a simple music and I’m a simple man. But the Blues aren’t a science, the Blues can’t be broken down like mathematics. The Blues are a mystery, and mysteries are never as simple as they look!”
– BB King, interview by David Ritz [1]

Chromatic semitones          0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Minor                                  X – X X – X – X X – X – X
Pentatonic Minor                X – – X – X – X – – X – X
Blues                                  X – – X – X X X – – X – X
Pentatonic Major                X – X – X – – X – X – – X
Mixolydian                         X – X – X X – X – X X – X
Major                                 1 – 2 – 3 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 1 (8)
Major (other naming)         I – ii – iii IV – V – vi – vii I
Chromatic semitones        0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12