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Re: Left hand question

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:15 am
by MontyHines
There is another Left Hand technique that works very well at staying out of the way of the Bass Player’s lines and adds another layer to the overall sound. It is very basic, easy to play and can be a spring board for more elaborate Left Hand playing. It sounds great in the Blues.
You can use 2 note Comp Chords, playing just the 3rd and dominate 7th of each chord. This can be done with smooth voice leading (not jumping around).
Example in C Blues: (played in the 1st octave below middle C). C7 = E on bottom and B flat on top. F7 = E flat on bottom and A on top. G7 = F on bottom and B on top.
Played in a rhythmical (comping) manner, they sound great, stay out of the Bass Player’s way and gives more harmonic and rhythm color to the sound.
Later if you wish, you can add Bass Notes, playing the root of the chord on count 1 of the measure to create a Stride Bass (this should work with the Bass Player since he or she is most often playing the root on count 1 in Blues). Next you can add other Bass Notes (chord tones, passing tones, etc.) as you listen closely to what the Bass Player is doing.
Also, later you can add 9ths and 13ths on top of these Comp Chords for an even “Hipper” sound. If anyone would like an example of this, just ask in this forum.
Hope this is helpful to those not familiar with this info.

Re: Left hand question

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:53 pm
by professor
Just for fun how about giving suggestions for different blues songs. First I will ask the questions and see what answers we get . Now,what left hand would be best for 1 Johnny Johnsons Nine Below Zero 2 Howlin Wolfs Killing Floor.3 Leadbellys Midnight Special. 4 Howlin Wolfs Little Red Rooster.5 Jimmy Reeds Honest I do.6 Numerous Key to the Highway.7 Buddy Guys A Man abd the blues. 8 Elmore James The Sky is crying. 9 Various Lonsome in my bedroom 10 Big Bill Broonzy Sittin on top of the world. 11 Muddy Waters The hoochie coochie man

Re: Left hand question

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2009 3:59 am
by multisounds
1 Johnny Johnsons Nine Below Zero

Hi Pro,

Is Johnny Johnson they blues pianist that passed away recently?? :( Well, if it is him and I'm guessing, he toured Australia a few times and played in Sydney jazz/blues clubs. I did watch him on TV special and from what I can gather, he doesn't sprawl out with the left hand to deep octaves. He keeps it close to the "middle" area of keys and uses 3rds, 5ths, 7ths with the tonic added.

However, he does keep the left hand busy for most part when soloing. Also, when a guitarist solo for example, he "comps" with both hands for most parts.


Re: Left hand question

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 4:13 pm
by Ed Boyd
Johnnie Johnson was from St. Louis. He was Chuck Berry's Piano player. Last time I saw him he sat in with George Thouroghgood in St. Louis. Johnson played the intro to Johnny B Goode. According to George Johnson wrote the lick.

Here is what I do with some of the songs ( which probable means this is not what you want to do ..... I suck)

- Killin Floor, the electric bass drives the bottom. I stay out of the way and just comp with the left hand on the Hammond.

- The Sky is crying, I do piano walking bass with the left and play Hammond with the right.

- Hoochie Coochie Man - I pretty much double the electric bass part on the piano.

Off the top of my head I think those are the only one of those songs in our set lists.