How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby Rythameen » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:12 pm

And remember, although you said your aspirations don't really include lead, it is always true that a great rhythm player ends up making a great lead player.
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby alf » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:55 pm

Any comment on this?

http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/F ... 1006-2011/
(10 Greatest-Ever Rhythm Guitarists from Gibson website)
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby jeffl » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:07 pm

It's hard to argue with that list, but it seems to be limited to guys who hit it big in the business, and it's rock oriented.
I've always liked the guys who could mix rhythm playing with lead licks... like SRV, Hendrix, Buddy Guy,etc.
BTW, I disagree with an earlier post that said that a great lead player always ends up making a great lead player. I think it was probably worded wrong for my tastes, since many rhythm players never play lead. However, I think I get the sentiment... that if you're a great rhythm player, you can develop great lead abilities. Is that right....?
I've played many times with a guy who is ,in my opinion, one of the best rhythm players I've ever heard. This particular guy plays plenty of lead licks in his solo standup act, and his band play, but he doesn't have a great grasp of the scales & runs, imo. He has to work at them.
I'm not sure this thread is about who's the best, though.. I think it's about developing good rhythm skills.
To that point, the best rhythm players I've ever played with ( and I've been giggin' & jammin' for about 47 years )were guys who all spent countless hours just jammin' with themselves in private... throwin' crap against the wall & seein' what sticks.

The hours spent reveal themselves in the precision & tone.
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby alf » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:58 pm

jeffl wrote:I'm not sure this thread is about who's the best, though.. I think it's about developing good rhythm skills.
To that point, the best rhythm players I've ever played with ( and I've been giggin' & jammin' for about 47 years )were guys who all spent countless hours just jammin' with themselves in private... throwin' crap against the wall & seein' what sticks.

The hours spent reveal themselves in the precision & tone.


You're absolutely right about the aim of the topic but that ranking has left me surprised ... maybe the right title should be "10 Greatest-Ever in the business Rhythm Guitarists".
Hats off to your long experience jeffl, your suggestions are more appreciated and valuable,
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby jeffl » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:38 pm

Here's a couple guys who knew their way around the fretboard too:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsHtEF2uKeg
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby Les Again » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:13 am

alf wrote:
allanlummox wrote:A little Jimmy Reed might take you a long way in that direction.


Oh yes, Big Boss Man is one of my favorites!!!
The difficult with him is that guitar could seem easy to play, but there is more and more.
Sometimes I think there are two or three guitars and apart the basic shuffle the others play wonderful stuff that sound as I'd like to play.
Any good tabs is welcome, they are not so easy to figure out!


Or one might say, a LOT of Jimmy Reed; you are quite correct about the multiple guitars, Jimmy Reed's guitar will be vary basic, if you perceive anything fancy it is likely the work of Eddie Taylor.

Some others to check out rhythm guitar work might be recordings fronted by Hound Dog Taylor(Byther Smith?), J B Hutto (Lee Jackson?), and Elmo James minus the horns (Homesick ?).
And while it might seem hokey or country or too old school or whatever, check out some of Memphis Minnie and her various Joes. That old country sounded stuff can be quite transferable to modern band work.


But I as most have my favorites, and they are Howling Wolf's guiatrists from the 1950s and early 1960s.
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby tinsmith » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:34 pm

Malcolm Young......he's what you really hear in AC/DC
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby alf » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:47 pm

Les Again wrote:
Some others to check out rhythm guitar work might be recordings fronted by Hound Dog Taylor(Byther Smith?), J B Hutto (Lee Jackson?), and Elmo James minus the horns (Homesick ?).


Byther Smith, Lee Jackson, Homesick James... those names were unknome to me.
Les Again, thanks for opening me new horizons!
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby gatorblue » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:17 pm

Jimmy Reed & Eddie Taylor, Keith Richards, Steve Cropper, Otis Rush (his leads were sometimes chords, but playing single notes), listen to the rhythm guitarists backing BB over the past 10 years, listen to Van Morrison's guitarists---all good rhythm players, listen to the guys backing Delbert McClinton--all good. Also listen to guys backing Bobby Bland. Tom Johnston (Doobies) and Tom Fogerty (Credence) were great----did just what was needed. For an album the defines great rhythm guitar, listen to the Knopler brothers on the original Dire Straits album.

Although in all of my bands, I have shared the lead duties with another guitarist, I have always taken great pride in playing solid, quality rhythm guitarwhen I'm not playing lead. By changing up a little on each verse, you provide more depth and interest to a song. That has really helped me when I got opportunities to sit in and back national acts who come through town. One night, I was backing two members of the blues hall of fame -- both BMA and Grammy winners. After the gig, one told me--"thanks for leaving space in the music and letting it breathe." The other said, "Gator, you really became my friend tonight, by the way you welcomed me and by the way you backed me." That meant more to me than any solo I've ever played. But the surprise was, well into the gig, they started giving me solos to play. I think it was there way of saying, thanks. --Gator
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby jeffl » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:46 pm

Gator, I've never played with nationally famous musicians, but I've played with alotta really good ones, and I'd say that one of the best feelings you can get when you make music with relative strangers whom you respect is that feeling of acceptance and maybe even appreciation. Even those of us who are pretty self -assured can use those pats on the back.
I've always enjoyed performing, but I think I like the internal give & take of making the music more than I like relating to the audience. (Maybe I'm just saying this 'cuz the money for small gigs sucks nowadays compared to when I started getting paid in the 60's)
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby Hurricane » Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:25 am

Hire a really good rhythm guitarist and watch him like a hawk and learn !

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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby alf » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:29 am

gatorblue wrote:... One night, I was backing two members of the blues hall of fame -- both BMA and Grammy winners. After the gig, one told me... --Gator


Hi Gator, thanks to give me the oppurtunity to extend my list of must-to-study guitarist but primarily thanks for such an important witness who is on the other side of the stage (and what a stage according to your website!).
I'm very proud that you've got to take some time for a beginner, I appreciate very much.

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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby jellyroll baker » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:24 am

Listen closely to Muddy's later stuff where he's playing in standard tuning. He'll be comping along with the band, playing a very loose and tight brand of single-note rhythm guitar. Swinging, in the pocket, right behind the beat ... perfect!

Bob Margolin has a instructional DVD out where he explains a lot of stuff about how to play this style.
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby ricbleu » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:21 am

When I first saw George Harrison on tv in their early days of fame, the thing I noticed was that George was just picking single notes and double stops out of the chords. I suppose that later he developed in a freer way but I was surprised to see the way he played those early lead runs from within the chords.

Also, as jeffl and gator were discussing, I have experienced that feeling of bonding in a sort of brotherhood way when I've played along with more experienced and confident musos than myself. Last year I was playing some acoustic stuff at a coffee bar down here when one of the baristas came out into the courtyard to check out what I was doing. This guy is a lot younger than me but vastly more experienced and writes all their band's material. I only had one guitar so I passed it over and when he got moving on one of his own compositions which happened to be in E, I got out my A harp and we played through the number together with me doing little fills and a brief solo when he gave me some space. He liked what we did and said so and man did I get a buzz. Music is a universal language for sure. :D Peace.
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Re: How to become a good blues rhythm guitarist?

Postby devonniedukes » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:47 am

Just love what you’re doing and have your own identity. Use your experiences to create beautiful music, positivity is always present. Learn how to accept opinions and criticism, by then you’ll be a good one.
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