Slow blues

A forum devoted to the discussion of playing bass with the blues.

Slow blues

Postby jellyroll baker » Sun Aug 14, 2005 12:11 pm

I've got the bass going well for the medim tempo shuffle and the faster boogies but I'm getting a little lost when playing those lovely, meaty slow blues. My band is looking to do tunes liek The Sky is Crying and Black Magic Woman but I'm not happy with the bass lines I'm creating. Walking lines are too strident for the slow groove, arpeggios feel useless and soul lines feel to mod for the music. What kind of bass line should I play over this kind of music and, more importantly, where to the accents belong?

I'm sitting here listening to the songs now my I still can't work out "the groove". Any tips?
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RE: Slow blues

Postby doc williamson » Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:07 pm

I can comment on "The Sky Is Crying." I use a walking bass line and notes in the blues scale on my piano bass hand interchangeably on this and find it effective. It is also better to under play than over play. Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman" I think of as more mid tempo but would stay with the blues scale with playing the root first and then notes from the blues scale below the root and boucing back to the root note.

I don't know what artists you are listening to to find the groove but both Elmore and Mac's original versions had a strong groove IMO.

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"I chose to sing the blues." Ray Charles
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RE: Slow blues

Postby jellyroll baker » Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:16 pm

>I don't know what artists you are listening to to find the
>groove but both Elmore and Mac's original versions had a
>strong groove IMO.

I'm listening to the originals, I'm just finding it difficult to sit exactly in the pocket.

Maybe playing the originals to the rest of the band will make it easier. :) The guitarists have the rock habit of leaning ahead of the beat. I'll have to train them out of that.
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RE: Slow blues

Postby doc williamson » Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:08 am

>Maybe playing the originals to the rest of the band will
>make it easier. :) The guitarists have the rock habit of
>leaning ahead of the beat. I'll have to train them out of
>that.

You got that right, brother. Just behind the beat makes a blues song. Good luck with the rock crossover blues guys.

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"I chose to sing the blues." Ray Charles
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RE: Slow blues

Postby barbequebob » Mon Aug 15, 2005 3:43 am

>
>>I don't know what artists you are listening to to find the
>>groove but both Elmore and Mac's original versions had a
>>strong groove IMO.
>
>I'm listening to the originals, I'm just finding it
>difficult to sit exactly in the pocket.
>
>Maybe playing the originals to the rest of the band will
>make it easier. :) The guitarists have the rock habit of
>leaning ahead of the beat. I'll have to train them out of
>that.

The real original versions are played BEHIND the beat, NOT ahead of it, and you gotta play bigger, but FEWER notes to get the job done and rock bands wind up actually playing much slower to try to get that feel. Black music is off the 2 and the 4 and behind the beat with a greater use of space and to play black music right, you absolutely CAN NOT AFFORD TO BE PUSHING THE GROOVE or you'll never be able to be in the pocket with the groove of ANY black music, be it blues, jazz, reggae, soul, hiphop, etc.
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