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Thread: bluesy... for me, not easy!

  1. #61
    Registered User tucker97325's Avatar
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    I agree 100% with Rudy. You have to remember, there was music long before there was theory. I think theory is a way of explaining what WAS done, WHY it works, and HOW you can make music without having to go through all the trial and error the oldtimers did.

    I don't see it as much different from learning math. I mean, the earth has always revolved around the sun, but without math we may not know that, and we certainly wouldn't know why, now it's common knowledge that can be applied to other things as well.

    UKRuss is also right, knowledge IS the bomb!!!
    "It ain't what you play man! Its how you play it."
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  2. #62
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    Really any type of music can be very complex or very simple depending on the skill of the composer/performer. But what I'm trying to get at is that the blues scale isn't as simple as people make it out to be. Depending on whom you ask the E blues scale can be

    E G A B D
    E G A Bb B D, (this is the one this forum seem to prefer)
    E G A Bb B D Eb
    E F# G A Bb B C# D Eb.etc etc.. bassically until you've got a chromatic scale with microtones.

    The first and last ones come from the notation keys in 80's era Guitar for the Practicing Musician magazine. They were the first to start transcribing entire songs in every issue of a magazine and those transcriptions were undoubtably the most accurate end complete transcriptions I've ever seen. They were also one of the few publications that would point out that the G is bent to a blue note. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani used to transcribe for them. What? The devil's a music transcriber. Well he was before he got famous. I seriously miss his transcriptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeppenWolf
    ...learn more about the push/pull tension/release...
    This is difficult to explain, that's why you'll find so little info about it, but I'll try to give you the basics as it applies to blues melody.


    Think of a 12 bar blues progression as a train going around a circular route across the country. We know where the train is going, it goes in a circle. We can create momentum and tension by putting hills and valleys along that predictable circular route. Push/pull tension/release.

    Let's take a look at why the pentatonic blues scale sounds so bluesy, over a I, IV, V. Blues is traditionally an unwritten form of music so a may take some liberties with terminology. What gives it that sound and momentum.

    ex.1) Over the I tonic E,

    E, root self explanitory

    G/G# blue note or "blues third", serves to create tension by pulling the root down, creates tension

    A, subdominant, halfway down to the octave, some tension and pushing, depending on context.

    B dominant, halfway up to the octave

    D usually bent slightly, even unconsciously for just temperament. Also pulls the root down, also creates tension, but to a lesser degree. b7

    ex.2) Over the subdominant A, When you change to this tonic, it's like changing modes. It's cool to have the bass walk up or down to the A. Like a cadence,keep that train rollin'. If you shake the hell out of the blue note then slide to the A or E or bend to the A to outline this it sounds particularly bluesy. Big tension, then release, especially if you get to the your target a grace period late. That blue note creates tension over both the E and A. It also gives a nice contrapuntal movement if you slide down while the bass walks up or vice versa.

    So over the A or IV root...

    A, root

    B, creates some tension, wants to get pulled back to the root, can't get pulled to the 3rd, because the next note in the scale is the 4th. Pushes the root up.

    D. subdominant, pushes

    E, dominant

    G, same function as the D in ex1 above in this new "mode". Pulls. It's a b7 now.

    Notice that when you play the pentatonic blues scale over the IV there is no 3rd. No minor 3rd, no major 3rd, no blues 3rd. This gives it a sort of Eastern pentatonic flavor. Certainly changes the sound quite a bit.

    ex.3) Over the Dominant B or V root. Alot of tension here. Just begs to get pulled one way or the other. Like a freight train at the top of a hill.

    B, root

    D, This is now takes over the role of the blues 3rd. Tension, pulls the root.

    E, subdominant, pushes

    G, Blue note to the max. b6, Pulls the 5 hard, or gets pulled. Shake this note, bend from it or through it to the G# and it pushes hard, bend to it or from the F# and it pulls hard. Hard tension. Hardest note to use effectively in this context. careful with this one. Since our train is already getting pulled like hell while were on the V root this guy can be like a brakeman. Sceeeeech. Let it get pulled, don't even try to stop this train. Use sparingly, don't sustain it. Some guys don't use this at all.

    A, b7, same function as D in ex1. Pulls.

    Now to get the basics down practice over a bass line only. Get the basics down.

    People who think blues is about playing over dominant chords have no clue what they are talking about. Soon I'll post some stuff to explain blues rythem from a bluesman's perspective. And how it pushes and pulls and the two flavors of blue notes you use to play blues rythem.

    So for now, I suggest that you forget about the I7, IV7, V7, bullcrap that non-bluesmen use to try to explain blues rhythm with. That just don't rock. Chuck Berry rocks. Remember, blues is not about western harmony, so that stuff does not apply. The internet is killing the blues in that respect. Too much misinformation

    Quote Originally Posted by cybermessiah
    wow! i didn't realize that asking such question would lead to such thing. hehe!
    The conversation does indeed show how legitimate your question is though. Despite the ruckus, I'm sure many are glad you made your first post. Never be afraid to ask questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by LB
    I think alot of the Old Timers probably did not know much theory but knew how to play very well.
    I'd say they knew different theory. Blues theory.
    Last edited by hairballxavier; 10-01-2005 at 05:57 AM.

  3. #63
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    While on the subject I should mention that alot of straight blues is not strictly I, IV, V progressions.

    The I, VII, IV, I progression is used alot too so my I, IV, and V examples (ex.1, ex.2 and ex.3 ) are really not adequate. I think ex.4 is especially important to blues players. Examining the pentatonic blues scale over the VII root...

    ex.4) Over the D root. VII

    D, root

    E, 2nd, or 9th if you will, pushes

    A, Dominant

    B, Major 3rd. pushes

    G, Subdominant, pushes, but if you bend it you can pull the 5th really hard, a true b5 blue note. This is an instance where the b5 is often used as a blue note instead of a passing note in a blues context.

    Notice how there is alot of pushing here. Everything pushes. Listen to Keith Richard's sparse minimalistic solo on Sympathy for the Devil track by the Rolling Stones. The verse section is a I, VII, IV, I progression.

    It's straight pentatonic blues.

    He keeps that momentum going though because of all the pushing on the IV and VII. You don't need to play a million notes to keep the momentum going. It's the note choice that matters sometimes.

    The J.J. Cale tune "cocaine" has alot of the VII root in there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by LosBoleros
    Xavier, the stuff you say makes little sense.
    Don't be shy Rudy, if something confuses you, ask questions.

    What exactly is confounding you? What do you not understand?
    Last edited by hairballxavier; 10-02-2005 at 06:00 PM.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeppenwolf
    I don't normally admonish others; I'm not jesus, but this is important, because it is incredibly rare to get any kind of ***USEFUL*** advice and/or viewpoints about the blues online.

    And I've said this before, more than once! On this very website, too. Look around the web, I mean ALL over the web, and in magazines... "How to play the blues: here's the 12 bars, here's the minor pentatonic. Enjoy!"

    And that's all they give you! Every stinkin' time!!!
    Yeah, I can see how that could really frustrate people who want to learn blues. Along with the internet comes loads of garbage and misinformation. But what do ya want fot nuthin'? a rrrrubber biscuit? You can search and search all day through guitar websites and never find any mention of the blues 3rd, or "blue note", even though EVERY great blues and rock guitarist uses it. It's really freakin' pathetic. This stuff used to be common knowledge among guitarists, I thought. How many people here never even heard of the blue note that is commonly referred to as a "blues third"?

    But here at IBM you're gonna get more. I'm gonna make sure of it. I don't care if I have to bump into big heads, look like an ******* and have people call my posts "ridiculous". This is an educational site and I really respect that. I've learned a few things here and I will pass on my blues specific knowlwdge in return. On other guitar sites you get "LOL, LMAO, This guy's great, that guy sux, this guy's the fastest, no he ain't he sux, What color is your guitar? blah blah LOL LOL that's ridiculous LMAO LOL". This site ain't about that and I'd hate to see it become that.

    To demonstrate the importance of the blues 3rd, play this riff 4 times without bending the last note. (This is the main riff from Ecic Clapton's electric version of the Robert Johnson tune "Crossroads". It's 12 bar blues in 'A' and this is the main riff played over the I). Then play it 4 times, but this time bend the last note a microtone to a blue note between C and C#.

    E-----------------------------
    B-----------------------------
    G------2--0--2---p0h2p0-------
    D-----------------------------
    A--0---------------------3----
    E-----------------------------

    If you don't bend the C note it sounds weak, if you bend it to a blue note it rocks. That little microtone bend makes a BIG difference. It makes it blues.


    Below is an example from Keith Richards' solo on the "Sympathy for the Devil" track that I mentioned in my last post. The verse section that it's played over has a I, VII, IV, I structure in E. It's the E blues pentatonic scale. He plays the same lick twice, but it has a different feel the second time because it's played over the IV. The shaken sustained E note is a subdominant over the IV root. It pushes and acts as a leading tone back to the I.

    'B'= Full step bend, 'r'= release bend, and 'v'= vibrato.




    I--------------------VII-------------IV------------------

    |12-----------------------------------12-----------------|
    |--15-12--------------------------------15-12------------|
    |-------14Br-12------------------------------14Br-12-----|
    |----------------14v--------------------------------14v--|
    |--------------------------------------------------------|
    |--------------------------------------------------------|

    This technique is a staple among blues guitarists, playing the same lick over different roots. This is how you make that boring ol' 5 note scale licks seem not so boring and repetitive. As I said before, when you change the root, it's like changing modes when you're playing blues. It's not like western harmony. It's about push/pull tension/release, not harmonizing scales and chords.

    So in this context, the sustained E note is a subdominant and pushes. It has a pushing tension and it's relieved when the rhythm goes back to the I. It creates momentum. Lesson, The context is just as important as the lick itself when creating momentum.

  5. #65
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    Alright dudes (and dudettes), before you read the rest of this post, go get your guitar if you don't already have it. Do it now! Otherwise just disregard this post cuz you won't get nuthin' out of it and you are wasting your time........

    *waits while you run out the door, go home get your guitar, then go back to work/school or wherever you are while reading this*

    Did you get it?
    Got it?
    Good.

    I shall continue.

    To further demonstrate what the flattened 3rd blue note can do for your blues playing, play this rhythmic figure or rhy.fig. or riff or whatever you want to call it. I just call it a riff (or if you're in the Motown area, a WRIF, BABY!!). It's in C#. To get the feel for the rhythm, listen to Albert King's 1967 rendition of "Born Under a Bad Sign" if you don't instantly recognize this riff. This is Steve Cropper's classic rhythm figure or "main riff" at the beginning of the song. Cream did a popular version of this song too, but they did it in 'D' IIRC.

    Fig. 0

    |-----------------------------------|
    |-----------------------------------|
    |-----------------------------------|
    |------------2----------------------|
    |--------2-4---4----------2-----4---|
    |----2/4--------------2-4---0-------|

    Now play it some more, only this time bend the E note on the D string slightly like Steve did on the recording.

    Hear the diff? Sounds much more natural and bluesy dosen't it?

    Now play it some more, but this time bend the b7 (B note 2nd string, 2nd fret) just a teeny tiny eeentsy weentsy little bit too.

    *A nun gets angry and starts smacking Hairball's knuckles with a ruler and chides him"*

    "But it ain't right Hairball, it's out of tune, those bent notes ain't in a 7th chord. Don't you know that blues is about 7th chords? Ever hear of the internet, you out of tune degenerate? The internet community concurrs, the blues is about 7th chords. Why are you rocking the boat? Are you on drugs or something? I thought the church destroyed modally influenced music a long time ago with the invention of the 7 church modes and equal temperament. The banning of the tritone and the Locrian mode was supposed to be the end of your kind. That was supposed to stop people playing music that makes the mind lose touch with the material world. You are influenced by demons and the Devil and Papa Legba, Elegula, Eshu, Exu, and that rider by your side is Satan. You ain't going to Rosedale or Chicago, you're going to hell. You must die heretic!"

    *smack*
    *smack*
    *grabs Hairball by the throat, strangles him, bodyslams him on the stage a dozen times, shoves him headfirst into a speaker cab douses him with holy kerosene and sets him on fire*

    *The crowd goes wild*

    Ehem.

    Now let's examine some licks from one of my all-time favorite blues guitarists, Mr. Jimmy Hendrix.

    Let's look at the tune "Purple Haze". This song is also in 'E',(but it does go to F# minor in the solo section).

    Talk about out there, this dude starts out the tune by boldly playing the b5 blue note 7 times playing it in 2 octaves. Noel Redding dubbs it on the bass and continues that b5 vamp while Jimmy plays the signature E blues pentatonic hook that makes the tune. This is an example of the b5 (Bb) being used as a blue note instead of a passing note. All notes here are played muted, or staccato (or as staccato as you can get with a Marshall cranked to 11) if you will. (admittedly I'm taking some liberties with musical terminology here, blues really was never meant to be a written form of music)

    Fig. 1

    |------------------------
    |-----------------------
    |-----------------------
    |--8---8---8------------
    |-----------------------
    |6---6---6---6-19\------

    There is no way in hell you can call that a "passing note" in the context of this song. That's a blue note deluxe there people.

    Then Hendrix goes into the unforgetable signature E blues scale lick.....

    Fig. 2

    |-----------------------------------
    |---------8--------------------------------
    |-----7--------------------------------------
    |/9-----------7v------/5---------------------
    |--------------------------5-----5/7v------
    |------------------------------0---------19\-
    ..................................^
    ...............grace note slide |


    Again, this shows the undeniable value of bending the G. First play this lick without bending the G's (B string, 8th fret and D string 5th fret) then do it again but bend it to a blue note. bend the 'd' (G string 7th fret and A string 5th fret) note slightly too for a little extra blusiness. Hear the diff?

    Notice how he sustains and shakes the subdominant A note (7th fret d string) at the end of the first phrase. He ends the phrase with a note that pushes in the same way that Keith used the E as a subdominant pusher note over the IV (A) in the Stone's Sympathy for the Devil example in my last post to create momentum.

    Try replacing that sustained and shaken 'A' note at the end of the first phrase with a G or a D in this lick.

    Like this.

    |--------------
    |-----8-8v--------
    |---7-----------
    |-9-------------
    |--------------
    |---------------

    Or this

    |--------------
    |-----8---------
    |---7---7v--------
    |-9-------------
    |--------------
    |----------------

    I'm not joking go ahead and do it. No one told you to put your guitar down yet boy.

    It don't work in that context does it? It loses momentum. Those notes pull. To keep the momentum and feel at the end of the phrase in this context you need to use a note that pushes.

    Now try replacing that sustained subdominant 'A' pusher note with a neutral note like the root E or 5th B.

    like this

    |-----------
    |-----8-------
    |---7---9v-----
    |-9-----------
    |-----------
    |------------

    Still sounds good dosen't it? passable at least.

    Lesson, When improvising blues you are going to miss some notes, If you don't then you are not pushing yourself to the limits of what you are capable of and your playing will sound conservative and contrived, bassically because that's what it is. Lesson, if yer gonna screw up, screw up in a good way. Don't be afraid to try new things live. And if you do hit a clunker, bend it till it sounds good. Note choice matters alot in the blues.

    Really you can't talk about the blues without mentioning double stops and unison bends and octaves. These just scream the blues. I like to use them alot.

    Here's an example from the intro of Stevie Ray Vaughn's tune Pride and Joy. Don't forget to bend that g note (2nd string 8th fret)

    |--0-0-0-0-0-0-7-7-7-7-7-7---
    |-/5-5-5-5-5-5/8-8-8-8-8-8----
    |--------------------------
    |----------------------------
    |----------------------------
    |-------------------------

    This is powerful. I saw Stevie play live a few times, his playing was just so powerful and he had a great tone. He could litterally put the entire audience in a trance with his fast syncopated licks and he knew it too, he did it on purpose. He could leave the audience in a daze, everyone standing on the floor leaning on each other for support, then laugh at you and tell you to snap out of it. Then he'd go into some speech about apartheid in South Africa. He could certainly get your attention. Whatever Stevie, just play.

    Here's a cool and powerful triple stop thingy that I saw Joe Perry play live when Aerosmith did "Train kept-a-rollin'" This is also in E

    B = full bend 'v'= vibrato, 'r'= release bend 'p'= pulloff

    |--12----0--------------------0-----
    |--15B--r15Bv-----------------5-----
    |--14B--r14Bv-----14Brp12p0---4-----
    |--------------------------2--2---
    |-----------------------------x----
    |-----------------------------0-----

    That's friggin' powerful. If the double bend sounds like a train wistle you're doing it right.

    Here's another cool pentatonic double stop lick in E. This is an example of a turnaround, use your thumb to fret the low E string notes.

    B= full step bend. b=microtone bend approx. 1/4 step(in this example)

    |-12----12-----------------12\--0-15\14v-------
    |-15Br--12--15B--12--------12\--0-15\14v-------
    |-14Br------14B--12-12-12b-x----x-15\14v-------
    |-------------------14-12b-14\--x-14\13v-------
    |--------------------------x----x-15\14v-------
    |--------------------------12\--x---------19\--

    @ cybermessiah

    Wow your thread has got alot of attention here at IBM. Conrgatulations on your first IBM post. This thread got like 900 views in like 3 friggin' days! See what you started?

  6. #66
    Registered User tucker97325's Avatar
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    Hairball, the TAB examples look like they might be cool, but why don't you post MP3 examples, so we can hear how they are supposed to sound? I mean, in lieu of having everyone "run out the door, go home get your guitar, then go back to work/school or wherever you are while reading this*", then try to figure out some sort of timing for each example. You could simply record them.
    "It ain't what you play man! Its how you play it."
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  7. #67
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    Good examples. I know all those songs and I agree that the inflections need to be made on the 3rd and 7ths. It's all about tension and release, IMO.






    In a soloing rut? Try sticking to flatted minor 9ths. LOL!
    -Bizarro
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  8. #68
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    I see what you're saying tucker97325, and I will do that since you requested it. I feel that i owe it to the IBM community since I've played guitar for 20+ years and this site still taught me a few things. UKRuss' strickly threads in particular,m yeah i know I didn't participate in most of them, that's because I'm listening instead of talking in most of those threads. Hearing it is alot better than reading it.

    I have a question for the IBMers here. What do you guys use for MP3 encoding?

    I use Magix Audio Studio and it's a great program but it only encodes a limited amount of MP3's. I think that's BS. I paid like $70 for this program but it says i can only encode 20 MP3's and gives me a message telling me how many I hyave left every time I do it and begs me to go to it's site and pay to be able to unlimited MP3 encodings. But when I did a system restore (which took me hours to do) the count went back up to 20. I don't ever want to do a system restore again.

    Anyone know of a free MP3 encoder that you can download?

    Another question for you guys, how do you make your tabs appear in a code box? I just type mine out in notepad, but it gets a bit screwed up and everything dosen't line up right when i post it.

    But anyways, I will post Mp3's of my examples soon.

  9. #69
    Dean o Zepology, Emeritus zeppenwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairballxavier
    Another question for you guys, how do you make your tabs appear in a code box?
    It's a "tag" just like any other, "B" for bold, "QUOTE" for... you know.

    Like this:

    {CODE}
    stuff that needs a constant-width font
    {/CODE}

    except that you use the square brackets there instead of curly.
    Official iBM FAQ Short Form EZ:
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    A: Fender Blues DeVille 4x10, Feb 1994
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    A: Hamer Vintage S, 1992

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairballxavier
    I have a question for the IBMers here. What do you guys use for MP3 encoding?
    Actually, I can't play your MP3's unless I listen to them in Windows Media Player. The media player I usually use (Quintessential Media Player) never has a problem playing MP3's except yours, and even iTunes wouldn't play them.

    I use my recording software (Audacity) to produce .wav files, then use dBpowerAMP Music Converter to convert to MP3. Audacity has a plugin so you can export directly to MP3 format but I think dBpowerAMP has better usability.

    'hope that helps.
    Home is where you hang your guitar.

  11. #71
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    Thanks Stratosaurus, I'm going to try both of those programs. I've heard alot of good things about audacity. Didn't even know it could export to Mp3. The Magix Audio Studio is great for mixing and making audio CD's, but the Mp3 issue really bugs me.

  12. #72
    Registered User tucker97325's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairballxavier
    Anyone know of a free MP3 encoder that you can download?

    Another question for you guys, how do you make your tabs appear in a code box? I just type mine out in notepad, but it gets a bit screwed up and everything dosen't line up right when i post it.

    But anyways, I will post Mp3's of my examples soon.
    I have a similar problem with Vegas Pro (limited MP3's, which I used up a long time ago.) But, my SoundForge let's me save as MP3, so I record using Vegas and save to WAV, then open it in SoundForge, and save it as MP3 there. Which is fine with me, since SoundForge let's me do things like autofade at the end anyway.

    As far as providing TABs, I've always preferred it when folks post a link to a PowerTab file. I guess the main reason I like it is because you can actually play the TAB, and listen to it. If you don't have it, you should get it. It's free for now, and there is a lot of stuff on the net for it. (I recently downloaded a TAB of Riviera Paradise. Not totally true to the SRV version, but close enough to give me a pretty good head start on it.)
    "It ain't what you play man! Its how you play it."
    www.soundclick.com/kenvarieur

  13. #73
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    Yeah I thought powertab would be cool but when i try to use it i get a windows messenger box that says "Problem with shortcut" in the heading then in the messenger box it says "paramater is incorrect" and theres an "ok" button below it. I going to reinstall it and see if it works.

  14. #74
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    I loved the post with the examples Hairball, very good!

    You've got some good knowledge of the musics finest exponents, if we could all play like them we'd be happy people

  15. #75
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    I realize that some here may not familiar with all of my examples. So heres an mp3 with some exerpts from Crossroads, Sympathy for the devil, born under a bad sign, Purple Haze, Pride and Joy, Train Kept a rollin, and that little turn around thingy I tabbed out, as per Tucker's request.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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