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Blues Guitar Lessons: Jump Blues

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We're gonna switch gears now
from the medium tempos and
the slower tempos.
And, man, we've lived in the medium
shuffle world [LAUGH] for a long time now.
I'm gonna speed it up and talk about
a style that was an extremely popular
version of blues and a direct predecessor
of rock and roll is called jump blues.
Now, sort of the shuffle
boogie style of blues
playing evolved out of
boogie woogie piano,
which was a style that took
shape in the 1920s and
then became a super craze in the 1930s.
Boogie woogie piano was, everybody
wanted to hear it and play it, and
buy the records, and so on.
Swing bands were sort of built
around that same rhythm and feel,
and jump blues was kind of what
we would call today urban music,
it was black popular music of the 1940s.
And what made jump blues distinct from,
say, the swing bands,
you know Glen Miller and so
forth, was that it was blues.
It was essentially three chord music.
It was definitely dance music and
the rhythm section was hard driving.
You had big horn arrangements.
It was built around that
boogie woogie piano style, and
when the electric guitar became prominent,
after T-Bone Walker kind of introduced
it to the world in the early 1940s,
then you had the guitar as
one of the key instruments.
Still, you would have to say the 1940s and
into the 50s even,
the primary instrument in jump blues for
solos was the saxophone.
So guitar was always kinda catching
up to the saxophone in a sense.
Now, we're talking about the rhythm,
jump rhythm,
[SOUND] jump grooves are faster
than the medium shuffles.
We've been playing shuffles in
the range of 80 to 100 beats a minute,
maybe sneaking up once in awhile to 120,
maybe as fast as 150.
But jump kind of starts there and goes up.
It's intended to be intense and wild.
And so 180, that's not an unusual tempo.
In fact, it feels kinda relaxed
compared to a lot of them.
But if you played [SOUND]
rhythm guitar in a swing band,
we're talking the traditional
swing orchestra,
like the Glen Miller Orchestra,
as we discussed quite some time ago,
the rhythm guitar player's
role was that of a metronome.
And so the guitar player would be
playing a big acoustic guitar,
in other words an F-hole.
Whether it was plugged in or not, it would
be sort of treated as an acoustic guitar.
Think of Freddie Green, who played rhythm
guitar for Count Basie for decades.
And he played this big body guitar.
You just see him in the back if you've
watched videos of Count Basie's Orchestra.
[SOUND] And what they often said about
Freddie was that you couldn't really hear
him, but you felt him, and if you didn't
feel him, the band didn't feel right.
He was the driving force, the pump
that drove the sound of that band.
And so a swing rhythm guitar player
playing a blues might play something like.
I don't think I'm gonna
be getting phone calls to play
rhythm guitar in a swing
band anytime soon,
but you get the idea there.
It's playing [SOUND] sort of partial
chords, they call these shells.
[SOUND] It's the root, the seventh.
[SOUND] And the third.
[SOUND] So not even a four-note chord,
just a three-note chord.
the emphasis is on the mid-range, really.
[SOUND] And we don't care about
those voicings in particular.
They're specific to that style, but
[SOUND] you're sort of creating
a sound that augments the bass.
So the bass is playing a walking line and
the guitar is like the metronome sitting
up on top there, kind of pumping
the rhythm section forward.
And it's a great sound, but
it's not the jump blues guitar sound.
So, what would jump blues
guitar players play?
[SOUND] Well,
jump is still played today, and so
when you watch guitar players,
you see a lot of different approaches,
a lot of which are essentially, the same
idea as the medium shuffle rhythms,
but when you play faster,
you have to economize.
You start to edit out stuff because if you
just take the same rhythm and speed it up,
it can get busy.
So we'll [SOUND] approach it
as we did the medium shuffle,
which is to look at it in layers.
And say, what would be the layers
of a typical jump rhythm guitar?
[SOUND] Now, one thing you would hear in
a jump rhythm, depending on the tempo,
might be instead of those down beats,
you might hear the opposite which would
be the up beats.
Now again, this depends on the tempo.
If it gets really fast that could
be very difficult to manage, but
the up beats are kind of a stylistic way
of balancing against the walking bass so,
So you might hear the up beats which
are the same ones that we used in
the Medium Shuffle.
But we'll look at another way
of playing in the mid range
that's cool as well, and
maybe even more useful than that.
So, starting on the bottom end,
what do you got?
Well, the bottom end of the rhythm section
is anchored by the bass, and the bass and
the jump blues band plays a walking line.
And the walking line is the same
that we learned ages ago,
with one variation, which has to
do with the way the jump blues
harmony is arranged in a 12-bar blues,
it goes like this.
So you've got,
we're in B flat, by the way,
which is a respectable jump blues key,
saxophone is king in this world here.
So we've got one, [SOUND] three, [SOUND]
five, [SOUND] six, [SOUND] seven [SOUND].
And then we go to
the four chord
back to the one.
Now, here's where it varies.
So, the walking line on
the one chord and the four chord,
we've seen that before, no news there.
So instead of going to five
and playing the pattern that we're used
and then going to the four and
then back to the one, as we would
traditionally see on a shuffle,
it doesn't go to five, it goes to two.
[SOUND] We're in the key of B flat,
that means C.
And from C, [SOUND] it goes up to D,
[SOUND] and
then up in half steps to the fifth,
[SOUND] F and
then back down [SOUND] to B
flat major scale [SOUND].
Now that C, [SOUND] the two,
does not really mean it in the sense of
how the guitar player is gonna
respond to this bass pattern.
Doesn't mean you're playing a two chord.
We saw a two chord in Stormy Monday right?
That has a different sound.
This is, really,
the five chord [SOUND] with
the fifth of that chord in the bass,
[SOUND] so
if you use the chord to harmonize it,
You're walking the line up from
the fifth to the root of the five chord,
that's really the effect of it.
So in the end of the day it's
two bars on the five chord.
two, up to the five and
back to the one and
then complete the pattern.
Now as a guitar player I can double that
pattern depending on the sound of
the bass, and the feel of the band.
And this is a lot of ifs, but
this is stuff that we can address as
we listen to specific things, and
play specific things and sort of get
away from the generalities of it.
But you can play it with a muted
right hand, like palm muting.
Kind of imitate
an echo,
You can slap it, right?
Now that, whether that is effective or
not depends on the dynamic level.
If it's overwhelming, it's no good.
If the band's rocking, that can fit
right in there and really feel great.
Now, another alternative is to double
pick it and this gets back to the picking
exercise that I presented a few lessons
back, and it's one that I actually use.
Now, this is kind of specialized because
we're playing jump blues, and the context
I'm thinking of, my band, [COUGH] where
I'm the primary electric guitar player.
I'm the only guitar player, as a matter
of fact, so it's me, bass and drums.
And we're trying to create the effect
of this rocking jump blues band that
traditionally would have a piano player
and horns and the whole nine yards.
It's just us, right?
So to fatten up the bass sound,
I double pick it.
And that works well in
that context as well.
So, first thing to know
is what is the pattern?
And it's the standard jump or
the standard walking line pattern with
the substitution of the two chord [SOUND]
up to the five in place of five and four.
Often there's no turnaround at the end.
It's the strip down pattern,
no quick change, no turn around.
It's just back to basics.
And [COUGH] against that pattern,
you can double the bass pattern
muted, double the bass pattern, slap.
Double pick the bass pattern.
Or here's another alternative.
Play the boogie pattern, our old pal,
but play it with phrasing
that suits the sound of the jump rhythm
section, which is really rock and roll.
In other words,
the drummer's going [SOUND] and
hitting that snare drum
hard on beats two and four.
on five.
Now the difference there between
the boogie shuffle,
as I played it at a medium tempo,
at the medium tempo,
I'm hitting every downbeat with an accent.
As the tempo gets faster,
instead of hitting the down beats with
an accent, I only hit the second and
fourth beats with an accent,
which matches the snare drum pattern.
So, it's more like this.
One, two, three, four.
At the same time in my fretting hand,
I'm kind of bouncing a little bit and
what that does is prevent
the notes from running together.
See, that's more rock and roll.
It's a lot to deal with.
But when you want that swing,
as you have in the jump rhythm section.
With a little bit more bounce.
Now, enough talk.
Let's play some music, and
we're gonna roll a rhythm track here,
12 bar shuffle in B flat.
[SOUND] 180 beats a minute.
It's brisk.
And I'm gonna play a walking pattern, and
then I'll shift over to
that boogie pattern.
We'll see how they sound
relative to each other.
Palm muting.
Now I'm gonna slap.
You can hear how loud that is relatively.
So, I started
out palm
And then I switch just to show you.
I switched to the, I'm sorry,
before that I switched to the slap.
It's twice as loud, twice as big.
So, depending on how the band is rocking,
that might be just enough, or
it might be too much.
But I switched then to the boogie.
And by controlling the dynamics mainly in
my fretting hand, and accenting two and
four in my picking hand,
kind of lock right in there,
and it sounds pretty good.
And you can hear how that's just one
hair's breath away from rock and roll.
What's the difference?
Not much.
Play around with those patterns, and
then we'll come back and talk about
some very useful rhythm patterns that
are slightly different than what we
played before in [INAUDIBLE] Branch.
All right, see you in a little bit.
When you're playing at fast tempos,
one of the biggest challenges for
a rhythm player is just to
find a part that grooves and
sometimes it feels like the tempo
is just slipping away from you.
It's hard to find a spot
to put the chord in.
Everything just feels like it's
just riding right on the edge.
So you need to have a part or
parts, that you can call on,
that you're rock solid confident in, that
are simple, that get you in the grooves.
You start to feel that pocket, and as time
goes by and you feel more confident, yeah,
you can start to stretch out perhaps.
But by and large, at faster tempos,
rhythm parts tend to be very simple and
if they're well chosen they're
also extremely effective.
Now, if you play in a band that's playing
fast blues like this and you've got
a keyboard player, maybe another guitar
player, the harmony can get very crowded
very quickly, and if you add to
the confusion by playing more chords and
different syncopations,
pretty soon it kind of destroys
the feel of the rhythm, and
it's hard to tell what's going on.
There's just too much information,
so I found that one of the best,
most effective, most useful go to
rhythm parts at a faster tempo is,
instead of playing a bigger sound,
to play a smaller sound.
In the key of B flat, this is gonna
be our home for a minute here.
[SOUND] We talked in the past about how
the quality of a chord is defined more
than anything by the relationship
between the third degree of the chord,
and the seventh degree of the chord.
[SOUND] B flat.
Root, third, fifth, seventh, root,
third, there's the seventh,
there's the third.
Just with those two notes I can tell what
that chord is without even the bass.
Besides the bass player
is gonna handle that.
I don't need to do that myself.
Now if that's the essence of a B flat
dominant seventh chord, the one chord,
where's the four chord?
One, three, five, seven.
Once again we find that.
[SOUND] The heart, the essence of the B
flat seventh chord, the seventh and
the third, move it down a fret.
And you got E flat seven, the third and
the seventh.
One and four, half step apart, one fret.
[SOUND] Where's five?
Well, we already know.
[SOUND] Up a fret.
[SOUND] So I wanna play rhythm on a 12 bar
blues, I don't care what the tempo is.
Put two fingers down, now the question is,
where do I play the rhythm?
Where do I actually place
those chords in time?
And, the answer comes from listening and
stealing, as we do with everything else.
And this is an idea that I first became
aware of listening to Albert Collins,
one of my heroes.
I've mentioned his name many times.
And Albert had a very distinctive way
of playing rhythm, he had his capo and
his open tuning and all that.
He was not using standard guitar stuff,
but he was a big fan of the Hammond organ,
and the sound of the Hammond organ.
And he came up in the 50s, and when
the Hammond organ trio was a very popular
configuration, you have an organ player
who played the bass parts with his feet.
And then an electric guitar player and
a drummer.
And so this was a sound, a real style.
And the organist would have certain
rhythms that they would play.
These little punches that they would play
with just a couple of notes and
it would just swing so nice.
And meanwhile, with the feet they're
tapping out the walking bass pattern.
So, Albert took that idea, and
figured it out on the guitar, and
I'm gonna show you two versions of it.
There's sort of the simple version, and
then Albert's version which
is slightly more colorful.
[NOISE] Okay?
So I'm gonna put this to work over
the 12 bar blues in B flat, and
the timing that I'm gonna use,
I'm gonna be very consistent
until I get this fully absorbed
then I will vary it, but I've got,
my chords are going to be placed on
the first and the fourth beats of the bar,
and I'm going to use my half steps
as I do with the horn section.
But I'll go like this.
[SOUND] One, that's B flat.
Half step, one, two, three, four, one,
two, three, four, one, two,
three, four, one, two, three,
here comes the four chord, and
one, two, three, four, one,
two, three, back to one, two,
three, four, one, here comes five,
and one, two, three, stay there,
and back to one, three.
[SOUND] And there we go.
[SOUND] Two, three, four, one.
So it's moving a half step for color,
and the timing is four, one, two,
three, four, one, two.
Ultra consistent.
All right, that's the basic pattern.
that's the basic harmony right there.
Now what Albert did, and
he's in his tuning with his capo so
I don't know how he fingered it.
I ain't gonna worry about it.
[SOUND] Instead of playing two notes,
he would play three notes.
to duplicate his sound, the closest
I could get was this right here.
We're still in B flat, I use my
fourth finger to play this seventh,
that's A flat, and
my first finger reaches all the way.
[SOUND] to the third fret,
third string, second string.
[SOUND] and that is a B flat seven chord,
it's the seventh, the root,
and the third, so
just a little fleshed out.
the four chord.
Now this is different.
[SOUND] There's the third of E flat,
fourth finger, fourth string, fifth fret.
[SOUND] Second finger,
third string, third fret.
[SOUND] And then there's the first
finger on the second string.
Now that's the.
[SOUND] Third, the fifth, and
the seventh of E flat.
That's a stretched out voicing,
but that's it.
That's the one.
Now, I'm using hybrid picking
because I'm playing three notes.
So I use the pick on the low note and
the fingers on the upper notes, so.
then I can split them up as I've done
with the riff chords in the past.
then Albert would vary the rhythm a little
bit because he knew what he was doing and
once you get it,
you'll know what you're doing, too.
But let's hear how that sounds
over the 12 bar blues in B flat.
First I'll play the two note version, then
the three note version, very cool sound,
here we go.
Okay, so there you go.
There's the.
Now you can.
[SOUND] Kinda add little flourishes and
minor little stuff to that, but
that's the essence of it,
the two note pattern there.
Now when I switch to
the three note pattern.
[SOUND] You can hear right away, it kinda
opens up and it sounds very cool, and
I varied the rhythm slightly in there.
Sort of, played some
extra accents in there.
But again, you don't wanna overdo it
because the idea is that you're settling
and you're kind of,
driving the machine from the back.
People aren't really even aware of what
you're playing with, it just sounds right,
it balances very well against
the drums and the bass,
and at the end I played
the all time cliché.
Ending lick.
So essentially a turnaround.
Played stylistically.
So you get the idea there.
So we've got our walking pattern
underneath, we've got the boogie pattern.
And we've got.
Our little tiny color pattern, and
with those ideas in mind, you're pretty
much good to go, but I'm gonna show you
a little bit more about horn section
variations, especially a style that was
developed by T Bone to take advantage of
the electric guitar in the rhythm section.
All right, see you next time.
Now we looked at the low end
of the jump blues guitar
rhythm vocabulary.
And the mid range, came up with a pretty
cool idea in there, those two-note,
three-note chords.
Really useful stuff.
Now on the high end,
you could summarize the high end approach
by saying it's like the horn section,
it's the two-bar phrase syncopated and you
know, you move half steps here and there.
And that's true and they work great.
So all the horn sectiony kinda things
that we came up with
they fit very comfortably because they're
They're very rhythmic.
And so as the band plays faster and
faster, they sound effective because
they don't fill up all the space.
Now [COUGH] the guy that
was the first major star
of the electric blues
guitar was T-Bone Walker.
And one of the things that T-Bone
did was he introduced new ways of
using the guitar as a rhythm instrument
in the context of a big band.
As we talked about earlier,
back in the 30s,
if you played guitar in a big band,
your role was to be a metronome.
And that was inherited from the banjo,
actually, going back a generation further.
So when the electric guitar came along,
of course everybody sort of picked
up on the idea of using it as
a lead instrument cuz you can
play single notes and be heard.
But at the same time, it led to some
new ideas of how to play rhythm
using the guitar to fill up more space.
And we saw in the slow blues how
T-Bone used the guitar to create sort
of quasi-jazzy chord changes.
Right, and
kind of wrote the book
on how to embellish and
create different rhythmic
moods on slower tempos.
But he also played fast stuff,
and kind of his signature songs,
Strollin' with Bone, and
T-bone Boogie, and things like that,
these were classics of the era, still
stuff we want to listen to and steal from.
And what he did,
when other instruments were soloing,
was he used the guitar somewhat
like a horn section, but
he came up with his own ideas.
And in fact the horn players would listen
to T-Bone and they'd pick up on his lick,
whatever he played and
they would quickly fall in behind him.
And these were sort of arranged on
the spot in many cases, you know.
And it worked different
ways in different bands.
And sometimes, another horn
would come up with an idea and
the guitar might fall in behind, but
in this case, T-Bone was leading the show.
So, for example, thinking of some
of the phrases that he played
that B-flat.
Right, there's an example
of a T-Bone Walker guitar part,
that for all practical purposes,
might as well be a horn section riff,
but he played it on the guitar.
[SOUND] And it's just half steps.
[SOUND] What makes it cool is the rhythm.
It's [NOISE].
That last one jumps a little bit.
Syncopates and gives it a lift of energy.
Same thing on four.
And then typically, these types of riffs,
whoever's playing them, they would
vary them a little bit at the end.
So in that case T-Bone did the same thing.
He just switched the rhythm around
slightly to kinda put the end
on the statement.
Now, T-Bone was also very
fond of the diminished chord.
[COUGH] If you listen to banjo, or
maybe you've even played a banjo,
you hear a lot of this kind of
you know that kind of sound.
Diminished chords.
Big part of that kinda gay 90s sound
that the banjo's so associated with.
And so T-Bone, one way or another,
he'd picked up those diminished chords and
he used them quite a bit as textures
not only in rhythm parts but
also in his solos as we'll see but
[SOUND] so we're in the key B-flat,
go up three frets, there's your diminished
chord there, ninth fret, eighth fret,
ninth fret and finger that, and then you
can kinda bend it a little bit even.
And what he would do is use
that as the center of his riff.
[SOUND] And then just maybe play
a two-note [SOUND] lick leading
back up to it so that the entire
sound of the riff would be.
Now, because the diminished chord has this
in-between quality where it
doesn't really sound like
a B-flat chord or an E-flat chord,
it just sort of floats,
the result is you can use it
over all three of the chords.
Sounds weird that you would,
but yes indeed.
And it works pretty darn well.
So I'll demonstrate that for
you over the rhythm section.
So you get that two-bar riff there
and just repeat it over the IV chord, and
repeat it over the V chord.
It goes all the way through
varying the rhythm with
the same idea, [SOUND] right?
Just ways of creating excitement and
Let me demonstrate some of this stuff for
you over the rhythm section in B-flat.
And you'll hear how they sound.
Very cool parts.
Leaning on that diminished chord there.
So you get the idea.
These are just kinda
stylistic little phrases.
It isn't that any one of those
phrases is any more useful or
magical than any horn section part
that you might come up with, or
that you might hear an actual horn section
play, but they are very stylistic and
they're associated with the sound
of T-Bone, in particular.
I'll give you one more idea and
that's actually simpler than any of those,
and it's kind of related to the two-note
phrases that we play down in
the middle there on beats four and one.
This one [SOUND] is just that.
[SOUND] Top two notes of the B-flat chord.
The fifth and the octave, and
the timing of this phrase is one,
two, three, four, one,
two, three, bop bop, two,
three, bop bop, two, three,
bop bop, two, three.
So it's the upbeat of three,
and the downbeat of one.
One, two, three, bop bop, right?
You might say, that doesn't sound
like much, but that's the point.
It doesn't, but it drives the rhythm
forward in a very effective way.
And over the IV chord,
[SOUND] the same two notes apply,
because it's part of the ninth chord.
Now, you can either, go up two frets,
to play over the V chord, or not.
One of the magic things about blues,
is how you can kind of stay at home,
let the chords circle around you,
and it still sounds coherent.
Let's roll that rhythm
track one more time and
I'll show you well this part works even
though there's practically nothing to it.
Little Chuck
Berryish sound
in there,
Good reason for that.
Chuck Berry studied T-Bone and he sort
of took T-Bone, he took Louis Jordan,
another huge star in the 1940s junk
blues sound, and he analyzed what was
going on and figured out guitar
versions of what her was hearing.
[SOUND] In some cases from other
guitar players and in some cases not.
now the second time around I changed
the rhythm.
So instead of one, two, three,
[SOUND] like three and and one,
I went one, two, three, four, one.
[SOUND] The and of one and three.
I kind of reversed it in a way and
then I use a couple little fills.
Double stops.
First finger, third finger, hammer on
that third like in the riff chord.
Goes the IV chord [NOISE]
just stay away from it and
then [NOISE] V chord would [NOISE] right
and invent some kind of an ending.
We're going to talk about those
endings more in a later lesson here.
So, you've got
boogie shuffle on the bottom played with
that backbeat feel, very light bouncy.
You've got the walking
bass pattern of course.
You've got the two-note [SOUND] accents
in the midrange or the three-note.
[SOUND] You've got
the T-Bone Walker style horn riffs.
[SOUND] And you've got the two-note
accent on the high strings.
They're all great.
If the band is big, lots of instruments,
play a smaller part,
the two-note parts on the middle or
the high end.
If the band is smaller and
you need to fill in more space,
then you need to muscle up and
come up with bigger parts, and
I'll show you some even bigger
parts in a minute, all right?
Mess around with those,
and then we'll come back.
Now we've broken our Jump Blue rhythms
down into the familiar three layers,
low end, mid range, high end.
And if you're playing in a band with other
rhythm instruments, harmony instruments,
keyboard, guitar, you gotta have
an arsenal of patterns that are very tiny,
as well as ones that are bigger.
If you play in a power trio,
as we would call it in the rock world, or
just a three-piece band, and
you are the main harmony instrument,
you need on the other end, extra beat
parts that combine different patterns.
And so I've showed you a few compound
patterns like this in different contexts.
Now let's talk about it in
the Jump Blues context.
[SOUND] And, again,
I've had experience with this, and
sort of experimented
with different sounds.
And these are some that I think work
pretty good, and you can sort of mix and
match them to your taste.
The key thing is never to overwhelm.
Don't like call attention to
the guitar because you're playing such
a huge rhythm pattern that it takes
over from the other instruments,
cuz your role as a rhythm guitar player
is not to be heard, but to be sensed.
It's like, man, that band sounds good.
Dang, they sound so strong and so full.
How is that?
There's only three guys up there.
And if people listen very carefully, they
hear that you're doing this cool stuff.
But, if you hit them over the head
with it, it defeats its own purpose.
[SOUND] All right, so
here's the basic idea.
I've got a couple of ways that I
can phrase both the boogie, and
then the horn section and walking bass,
to make it sound pretty strong.
And starting with the boogie [SOUND],
We played the boogie just as
a straight-up boogie, but
I shifted the accent from the downbeats
to the twos and fours, the back beats.
It has the bounce and
the swing built into it.
I don't want to be lead-footed,
I want to be nice and light, and
just sort of pop my way
through that rhythm.
Now, here's a variation on that pattern.
Now, it goes like this.
Stole that
from listening
to a record by
Louis Jordan [COUGH].
It's called Ain't That Just Like A Woman.
And that was the template, the role model,
that Chuck Berry took for Johnny Be Good.
Not that he played that part, but
that song inspired him in his Johnny Be
Good melodies, especially the intro.
What I just did there was play the guitar
intro on Ain't That Just Like a Woman, or
sort of a version of it.
And then I went into the style of the
guitar part that you'd hear in the rhythm
after the intro.
So, here's how that works.
I play the [SOUND] boogie
pattern using hybrid picking.
So, pick, fingers.
[SOUND] And then I shift my
hand up the neck two frets.
[SOUND] Now remember way,
way back when we were talking
about boogie pattern variations, I said
One way to do it is with
the fourth finger, but
if that's too much of a stretch,
shift your hand.
That's exactly what this is.
So you play the [SOUND], the root,
[SOUND] the chord, shift.
Now by using my fingers,
I create those little accents there
by snapping with my bare fingers.
Now the bass
pattern itself
almost becomes
This is very similar to what I
was playing on the high end.
[SOUND] Right?
But I'm kind of filling two roles at once.
I'm playing those rhythmic accents, and
I'm also doubling the bass pattern to give
the bottom end a little bit more oomph.
So that's a tricky part to get to where
you feel it under your fingers and
you can kinda feel the changes.
So slowly, it would sound like this.
Three, four.
Now, naturally, as you play it and
develop the skill,
you can embellish it slightly
in different ways, and
mess with the bass a little bit, but
that's the essence of the pattern.
If you're playing it with the right
kind of pizzazz at tempo,
it should sound something like this.
Two, a one, two, three.
So, it's a specialized kind of a sound.
It makes the band sound like
there's an extra strong bass, and
there's a rhythm guitar thrown in,
a little accents in there.
And it's just kind of a cool
combination of the two.
Now, one that's even bigger [SOUND]
is a variation on a compound part
that we looked at for the medium shuffle.
I was talking about playing like Pride and
Joy in other keys.
And that's really the essence of what this
part is all about, but
it's a little faster,
and so
we gotta be kinda nimble to get around.
The elements of it are familiar.
It's the combination
that's a little different.
Walking Lines.
We know that one.
And in this case,
I'm slapping the strings.
And what I'm doing in between bars
there is I'm putting in a chord accent.
And in order to facilitate that,
I'm hang my thumb over the top and
I'm playing the sixth chord.
So, slowly now, so you get the detail.
Four chord.
Now I'm
playing the two, five.
So, it's [SOUND],
downbeat, the whole chord.
Then you switch over to the bass line.
Set up, down beat.
Oops, [LAUGH].
Set up, down beat.
And I'm muting, of course, so I can slap.
And hear the notes isolated.
I follow the bass pattern, two, five.
Play it up to tempo and then we'll put
it to work over the rhythm section.
So Sound something like this when
you get it up to a faster rate.
One, two, a one, two, three.
the last
part all
I totally lost it.
But it was all in good fun there.
So I was doing exactly up to that
point what I've been doing slowly.
Get your right hand going.
[SOUND] Remember the cardinal
rule of rhythm playing is your
harmonizing the drums.
And if you get your right hand going in
a pattern that matches the groove that
you're hearing, medium shuffle, fast.
If I can hear the drum part coming from
this hand even without a chord in sight.
It's just
then I know it's gonna be in the pocket.
Then everything else is just the icing on
the cake, makes it sound harmonic.
So, come into the chord [SOUND]
from below, or [SOUND], or
above, as we've seen in many other cases.
I might have inadvertently
varied the bass line there, but
I threw in one other thing, and
I don't wanna overdo this thing, but
it's just a cool idea.
Again, Albert Collins, man,
just a fountain of information.
Play it on the one chord.
What he would do is he would
play this little harmony
as kind of a chord fill.
It's just a cool sound.
I don't know where he got that, but
here's just one of the four chords, so
you can hear how it works.
Here comes the four.
same move.
Just adds some little kind of a flavor
in there that I find very appealing, and
that was true of a lot of
Albert's rhythm concepts.
Just a little bit different and
just kinda feel cool.
I wanna do that.
Now, let me show you how
to put those to work over
the 12 bar with the rhythm section.
First I'll play
the Boogie Shuffle with the
little accents.
And then I'll play the, show the combined
part with the bass and the chords.
Okay, here we go.
Now, in thinking about that Albert
I interrupted the bass pattern, so
if I wanted to be completely
consistent I would probably
not put that in there right off the bat.
Whatever, you know what I'm saying.
The judgement call is does it fit,
is it too much?
Sometimes when you have
an idea in mind and
you try to stick it in there
it doesn't always quite gel.
But the idea I think is clear,
it's a very cool idea.
And you can try it out, and
you'll find the spot where
you want to put it yourself.
So there you go,
you've got umpteen different ways to
play rhythm over a uptempo
shuffle like that.
What I'd like you to do is send
me a recording of yourself,
just playing rhythm parts.
I wanna hear how you feel it,
because soloing over the top doesn't mean
a thing if you don't feel the groove.
And the evidence that you feel the groove
is in how you phrase those rhythms.
And in this case, it's really finding
a light but definitive touch.
You gotta pop the parts, and
feel that back beat in particular.
So send me a recording
of your rhythm parts.
You can pick any of the patterns
that we've talked about there.
And just give me a kind of a cross
section of what you've got and
any questions that you have
about how to freeze the rhythms.
And I'll be happy to get back to you.
All right, see you in a bit.
Now let's turn our attention to soloing in
jump blues and as we've discovered
with the medium shuffle,
the gap between soloing and
playing rhythm is not
Anywhere near as wide as you might think.
Back when I was learning guitar, and I was
into surf bands, there was a rhythm guy,
played chords all time.
Then, the lead guy played solos,
all the time.
That was it, end of story.
But, it's not quite that concrete.
Now, we've seen how melodic rhythm parts
Overlap with solo textures that we use,
the double stops etcetera, etcetera.
So, lots of examples of that.
Same thing is true at a faster tempo.
Just cause you're playing fast doesn't
mean you have to play complicated, and
in fact, in Jump, the opposite is true.
The idea is, going back to the roots
of the style, it's dance music.
Back in the 40s people would be in
a ballroom, there would be a live band.
When you took a solo,
if you interfered with the dance groove,
that was considered a very
very grievous mistake.
So, the solos had to groove as
hard as the band was grooving.
And saxophone was still king [NOISE] and
a lot of the inspiration that we hear in
jump blues is based on the saxophone.
And there was a whole school of saxophone
players that evolved in the 40s and
50s called honkers.
And the honkers would lay on their
back with their feet in the air and
they would be going [NOISE] [NOISE]
literally honking the notes out and
a one note solo was normal, so that's
what we're gonna sort of build from is
starting with the most minimal approach,
we're gonna gradually add to it and
then talk about where you can go with
it which ultimately is anywhere.
It's a style thing and a taste thing,
but okay, so talking about solos,
The first thing I'm gonna do is kinda
evolve a rhythm part into a solo and
talk about how you can sort
of blend the two together.
For example, we looked at
a couple of different rhythm on
the high end like the T-bone walker style.
That sound, that style of
what I just played a little slice
of there was kind of at the heart of
T-bone's up tempo style.
The diminished chord
the repeating rhythmic riff,
and then the
He would play melodic lines that were
often pretty jazzy, but they were sparse.
They were not long,
drawn out melodies with chromatic tones.
Are all based around a very rhythmic idea.
So as a starting point for
how to construct a solo
at a faster tempo, let's build up
from the bottom with a single note.
And then we'll add in diminished chords
and we'll add in repetitive Rhythmic
phrases like T-Bone would play and
see how that comes out in the end.
So when I'm talking about starting
with one note, we did this way,
way, way back talking about the medium
shuffle, how you could play a A coherent
solo with one note, because it isn't
the melody that makes it happen,
it's the rhythm, it's the touch,
it's all those ingredients together.
When we put different on one or
the other at different times.
In a slow blues the emphasis
goes more on melody.
Not to say that rhythm and
touch get any less emphasis,
or that they're not important.
But we're thinking more melodically
because we have more time
to develop the melody.
At a fast tempo, it's kind of like
the emphasis goes to the rhythm.
And along with the rhythm is
the companion, the touch,
how you strike the strings.
T-bone used a flat pick and normal tuning,
played the guitar right side up.
So, he was more of
a conventional guitar player.
Even though he held the guitar funny,
he held it like perpendicular to his body.
Big fat guitar you know.
But that's the way he did it.
Gatemouth Brown who was
a disciple of T-bone,
another jump blues icon Played with his
bare thumb and fingers, used a capo,
open tuning all wrong you know,
but it sounded great.
Albert Collins, same thing.
Johnny Guitar Watson, I believe he used a
capo, I'm not sure about the open tuning.
But he definitely played with his bare
fingers He was a disciple of gatemouth.
Guitar Slim, another fabled guitar player.
Had very little in the way of facility,
you know like getting
the around the guitar, but
he just had a tone that came from
the The capo and the bare fingers.
So, when we look back at jump blues
we see that there's a trend there.
Which is it's more of an emphasis
on touch and drive and rhythm, and
less on being fancy.
So we'll start with that thought in mind,
and well say I got my groove.
I'm just imagining my groove.
We'll play with it in a minute.
In B flat.
And I wanna start off
a solo at this tempo.
This is gonna sound halfway coherent.
All right,
how crazy
is that?
Now, I listen to this style of music and
I kind of hear those phrases in
a context that I hear in my mind.
If you haven't listened to the music,
you're guessing.
And it's awful hard to guess and
really come up with something
that really works well.
So I'll show you some stuff and I'll
say trust me, but you gotta go back and
listen to the stuff,
I've given you recommendations.
And you'll hear the context and
the phrasing and how people do it.
And that way you build a perspective that
allows you to make choices for yourself.
So I can start a chorus on that
blues in B flat with just one note,
and just add,
just a little bit around the edges.
Now I'm gonna go to my second chorus,
well I don't want to do the same
thing again necessarily.
So, this is where I might
go all T-Bone on you and
say what would T-Bone do
to build the excitement?
He would use that diminished chord.
Do something like that.
A very trademark phrase for T-Bone.
Chuck Berry took that and made it
his own but that was a T Bone thing.
So what I'm doing there is bending
the string, the third string.
Now I can either push it
toward the ceiling, and
then muted with the side of my thumb when
I come down to pick the second string.
Pick, mute, pick,
Or I can pull it toward the floor.
Now when I pull it toward the floor
it has a little bit more of that
rubberband quality, [NOISE],
[NOISE] which I kinda like.
So, I'll do it either way but
down toward the floor has an attitude.
So I'll use the diminished chord
and then I'll
come up with an ending and I'll explain
it all to you after the dust settles,
Let's hear this over B flat.
gracious [SOUND]
rock n
rollin' in
two by two
as they say.
Now I've started that solo with
a basically two bar one note phrase.
I had a pick up [SOUND] and
then bop bop bow.
Bop bop bada bada.
It's just one note and
then I outline the chord, B flat.
And I use the sixth.
Now the sixth was a really popular color,
let's say, in the jump blues era.
Players that came out
of the jump blues era.
You hear that 6th used frequently.
And I'm not saying to
the exclusion of the 7th, but
it was just part of the sound that
people associated with jump blues.
So, reaching down that extra fret
as opposed to playing Always the seven,
The six is a little bit
more uptown, and
jump blues was city music,
you know [NOISE].
I don't remember exactly how he finished
that off but I just did a little
tag on the end of the phrase that took
me into the beginning of the next chord.
And I use that T-Bone Walker rhythm,
intact, same one I showed
you back in the And
the rhythm lesson on the high end there.
Put a tag on that one as well,
the finishing it off.
So, I've got the diminished.
I've got the rhythmic string bends.
And then I've got just sorta the ending
phrase that gets me home again.
Or notes to that effect.
This can be varied in so many ways.
And once you develop a vocabulary
those ideas will just kinda flow out.
But I have the advantage over you,
probably, in that I've played
this stuff for years and years.
I've listened to a lot of it, and so ideas
are floating around that you might find
brand new, and just, you're kind of
wondering what the heck is going on there,
but trust me, these are pretty standard
ideas in the realm of jump blues.
Now, this works pretty good in B flat
at 180 beats per minute What
happens when you get really fast?
Do the same ideas apply?
Well, in fact, yes they do, and
yes you can get even simpler and
turn the attention more and
more to the rhythm and the touch.
And don't try to race ahead of the rhythm
section ever, because that just,
it just will crash and burn.
Lets hear how similar ideas sound over
the 12 bar in G at 220 beats a minute.
[SOUND] All right see how
we can manage that one.
Here we go.
I was squeezing
a few extra
notes in there,
I'll admit.
I knew I could do it because I've
played the lick a thousand times and
I'll show it to you, it's a good one.
I like it.
You know, but again, if you don't feel
confident about the tempo, that's
where it would throw you off the groove
and the groove always comes number one.
So I started off with the same
phrase that I did on the other one.
And then,
Now those are licks that,
this sounds jazzy.
Very saxaphonish style phrase.
I'm just going from the third
up in half step to the fifth.
As if we were playing a turn around.
But converting it into a melody.
Now we've heard that lick.
[SOUND] Yeah.
[SOUND] Right, in all kinds of contexts.
Slow, medium, and now fast and
it just goes by quick but
it flows off the fingers.
Hammer on.
Hammer on.
[NOISE] and what that does is set me up
to go to the high chord there [NOISE].
Now, the beauty of that phrase there
is that both the chord is dissonant and
the rhythm is syncopated.
So we're just like,
grinding against the rest of the band
that's really kind of Pleasing to my ear.
And a.
Now, that lick, believe it or
not, is just as scale-like as
you're ever going to get in blues.
All right, so I literally go down
the minor scale, there's the ninth,
[SOUND] the root,
[SOUND] seventh, [SOUND] sixth,
[SOUND] fifth [NOISE] fourth,
and surround that third [NOISE] and
then resolve back into my one chord.
And it's like if I played this
on a medium shuffle, [NOISE],
you'd hear it say yeah Yeah,
it's ok, but faster.
It's just more stylistic,
it just has that vibe to it.
So, just give me an idea of
how to play rhythmically,
and at the same time,
there's enough melodic interest in there
to keep it flowing and make it sound like
it goes somewhere when you build from
the first course into the second course.
So you could describe the overall flow
back in B flat here as one note with
a little bit of an embellishment around
the edge, that's the first course,
the second course is diminished
String bend, and then ending.
So it's got a three part structure to it,
each part is
String bend
And the end.
So structure wise,
you don't have to do a lot
melodically in a fast solo,
because the energy in the band is
what's really making it happen and
that's what the audience is responding to.
It's just kicking, yeah, and so your role
as a soloist is to ride up on top of that.
And not fight with it, but
just let it carry you along.
And that's not the only way.
You don't have to like,
pretend you're back in the 40s and
wearing a baggy suit to play this stuff.
You can bend strings,
there's nothing wrong you know?
And lots of players do,
and a lot of players have.
But there's sort of a tradition that
says Play that style of music, and
you sort of put your
head back in that era.
While they're playing big,
fat guitars with fat strings, and so
you kind of phrase in that style.
And it does suit the vibe, but
The lessons of playing fast tempos are not
limited to playing jump blues as a genre.
It's more just an approach to
playing a challenging tempo and
coming up with an answer for
the challenge.
So we've got a couple of rhythm sections
or rhythm tracks that you can play with.
There's the shuffle in B
flat at 180 Shuffling G and
220, that's what I just did.
There's another one,
shuffling E flat at 180.
We're gonna mess with that one
a little bit more in the next lesson.
But they're all kind of
in the jump blues realm.
And each one gives you a context
in which to apply your ideas,
see which ones work and which ones don't.
And after the next lesson I want
you to send me something and
show me what you think.
See you in a bit.
in our last lesson, we looked at soloing
over fast tempo, jump blues style and
concentrated on playing repetitive
rhythmic phrases as a way to build energy.
And sort of, use your skills and your
stylistic knowledge to your advantage and
play something convincing
without necessarily,
having to know how to get all
over the neck in a nanosecond.
Now we're going to talk about all that.
All the nanosecond stuff.
Not really.
That's not really my cup of tea,
I like to hear it more in the pocket,
but the longer you play,
the more ideas you come up with and
things that earlier on,
a few years ago, it might have sounded
like, no, man, no way, I can't do that.
After you do it for
a while, you realize, yeah,
I can do that and
more in addition to that.
It's comfortable.
You develop your comfort zone.
You move ideas from your conscious memory,
your thinking real hard memory
back into your long-term memory.
Where it's just lurking back there and
guiding you without you even knowing it.
So talking about melodic solos,
I'm not going to say that this
is like a giant shift in emphasis but
whereas before, last time.
My melody was taking
a definite backseat to the rhythm.
So my phrases in that approach were
based around getting a real strong
rhythmic figure going,
and then just repeating.
And the repetition builds the energy, and
that's what we're after in the end
in a jump blues solo is energy.
[SOUND] Now let's talk about
building energy using more melody.
The way I look at it is,
it's still rhythm.
But I'm just going to accompany
the rhythm with different notes.
So rather than playing the same
note over and over and over again,
I'm going to start to play
different notes that add up to
a moving line that sort of
snaked through the changes.
And results are to be determined here.
But this is where you listen and
you steal ideas from people.
What I listen for
especially is opening phrases,
like how do people, good soloist,
how do they start the thing?
How do they get in?
Because it's that first lick that kind of
grabs you, and if it's successful, bang.
Off to the races, so
you want something that's distinctive and,
just has that vibe.
Remember hearing a saxophone solo
on a record called Hand Clap,
Hand Clapping, I think, it was called.
Red price.
And, the tempo is just insane.
Dap, dap un dap un dap un dap.
And, you go, bo din di du di din du du.
I mean, I don't know how fast it is,
but I listened to it.
I just said, man.
I can't touch that, but
as I listen to the saxophone what
I realized he was doing was actually
playing very simple melodies.
Now, it had some twists and
turns to it, but
the essence of the melody was
I don't care how fast it is.
I can probably do that.
Because it's just one,
two, they're half notes.
But he surrounds them with phrases that,
or little embellishments
that make it sound swinging.
You know, stuff like that.
So varying the rhythm just slightly but
the melody's moving and
I'm kind of being pulled along with it.
So that's an example of
a good opening lick.
Another one.
Okay, now that got elaborate toward
the end, but the essence of the melody.
it a little bit.
So I can kind of make
it sound more flowery,
elaborate, tricky.
Or I can make it sound simpler
by figuring out how many or
how few notes to tag onto the end of it.
But the essence of the melody is
[SOUND] quarter notes
Or something like that, right?
So that would be an opening phrase.
The first opening phrase
Second opening phrase
And then the ending of each
phrase is to be determined.
Here's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to play a solo.
Two chorus solo in B flat.
And I'm going to use each of those phrases
at the beginning of one
of the two choruses and
then I'm going to go forward from
there in sort of a jump blues style.
And then we'll talk afterwards
about how this thing unfolded.
Here we go.
So I started the first one off.
All right, and I kept it simple.
I kind of like that approach.
Let the thing build for a minute.
So I played the same phrase again.
and then I actually kind of telegraph
the second course a little
bit using a similar line.
And then top of the second chorus I use
the second phrase that
I described earlier.
And then sort of rock 'n roll,
and then I used a little trick,
not a trick, just a sound that I like,
which is sort of a little jab of energy,
which is to suddenly jump up high.
In this case, I thought, well, I'm in
B flat, I'll go up to the fifth Right?
You just work that note for
a second and come back down in.
Now that's a chromatic phrase.
In other words it's filling in half steps.
Five flat five four, flat three to three.
There's that sixth again.
That characteristic sound.
And then,
a classic ending.
So, that's again,
made up of [INAUDIBLE] basic ingredients.
I've got my opening phrase.
And then go
on from there.
[SOUND] All right?
Now, I could keep going and I could pile
more ideas on, but the idea is not to
show you what I can play, and here's
how many licks I got under my fingers.
The idea is to introduce an approach, and
the approach is find
a good opening phrase.
You can steal it from me or
steal it from anybody else that you like.
And then you practice playing it at
that tempo because the tempo is the key.
So being able to execute it and
feel the swing.
Now, to be able to play at fast tempos,
you have to practice
at even faster tempos.
Because the whole deal with playing
at a fast tempo is that you want
to feel relaxed.
If you don't feel relaxed, what happens is
you will literally run out of breath and
when you run out of breath that's
when your ideas start to suffer and
you're just kind of stumbling and nothing
seems to fit and the groove is no good and
people start looking at you funny.
So, you've got to keep a little
head room there, which means that
if you're playing a song at 180,
you practice the dang thing at 220.
Then, when you go back to 180, it feels
like a ballad, it's nice and relaxed.
So, practicing with a metronome or
practicing with a rhythm track,
they both work.
But I'll show you one more thing before I
give you your assignment.
And let's go to a rhythm track in E flat.
E flat,
every guitar player's most hated key.
E is so great.
E flat man, you can't do anything there.
You can't use anything down low.
None of the chords work.
You're up in this weird neighborhood.
What the heck, and
there's one of the most famous
junk blues solos of all time is in E flat,
that's Gatemouth Brown's.
OkIe Dokie Stomp.
Okie Dokie Stomp
is a jump blues in E flat, and
he played a classic solo, with his bare
fingers and his capo and his tuning.
And he composed it,
by the way, I should say.
And again,
I keep coming back to the same idea.
It's not just making stuff,
and gee, he's so brilliant,
he pulls ideas out of the universe, no.
Nobody does that.
People that play fast and string their
ideas together intelligently do so
because they've done it a million times,
and they're doing it again
in front of you and there may be
spontaneously reorganizing but
it's all stuff that's already
well learned and very familiar.
So Gatemouth played
Okie Dokie Stomp a million times.
It was sort of his signature song.
I've seen him play it,
you know I heard the record in E flat and
then I saw him play it one time in video.
He played it solo, on the guitar,
all by himself, in the key of E, in open
position, and he played exactly the same.
So he knew every note that he was going
to play, and it was not an improvisation,
it was a composition.
But it flows so well, and feels so
spontaneous that it just feels like
it just dropped off the edge,
you know, suddenly, without warning.
So I'll play a little piece of that,
and then we'll talk about it,
because it's a great lesson in how to
organize ideas without overwhelming
yourself with too much information.
Okay, here
we go,
in E flat
Good God!
Now that goes on for
I don't know how many choruses,
that's like a symphony of
jump blues that he plays.
That was two choruses, and I even skipped
some [LAUGH] to get those two choruses in.
But, now what you heard right off the top,
And he's snapping them with his fingers so
it's really bluesy.
What is that?
fifth to the sixth to the octave,
we'll play the blue note.
Now this is the type of phrase that is
distinctive, because it doesn't
follow the standard scale pattern.
That's where you roll your finger over
And that little thrill there, that
And then a real melodic line.
And by the way,
this is entirely in pattern number four.
He briefly ventures up into pattern
number five for Eight bars, maybe.
Four bars, even.
But, the rest of it's all in this pattern.
Remember, he's got a capo clamped on
there so, he's not going anywhere.
It starts
All right.
I know I got away from it there but
what I will do is give you some
notes on Okie Dokie Stomp and
what I really like about that
song is that it ain't jazz,
doesn't require an advanced
degree in musicology.
To understand it and to play it.
And yet, it rocks and
swings just as good as anybody
would who knew all the modes and
all the weird notes.
It's about the feel.
It's about the simplicity and
it's about the ideas and the execution.
You know the key ingredients
of any great blues solo.
So it isn't how fast you
play it's what you play,
you know the content you put into it.
I say this all the time, I annoy myself,
but music is not a race.
It's a parade and you're building
your float and joining the party.
So what I want you to do is and
I know I am putting stuff all over
the map here in conceptual terms.
But I want you take these ideas and
really concepts and ideas.
And I want you to record for me a two
chorus solo over a fast tempo like that,
and show me what you're thinking.
Show me how you're organizing your ideas,
how do you deal with that tempo.
And how do you take the skills, the tools
that you've got, the ideas you've got, and
shape them to fit that context so that you
want to sound as good as professional
if you want to call it that,
or just as convincing at that tempo as
you do when the tempo is half that fast.
It isn't a matter of
being out of your depth.
It's figuring out how
to use your skills so
you can stay afloat no matter
how deep it is, all right?
I look forward to hearing that from you.
Send it soon.
All right, take care.