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  #1  
Old 09-14-2009, 02:30 PM
Hankak Hankak is offline
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Default Blues playing and singing ?

I'm a rank beginner. I'm fascinated by the 12 bars blues and trying to strum and sing "Good Morning Blues" from Happy Traum Teaches Blues Guitar. At times it seems like I'm a chord long or short but to me it sounds good. I'm also not clear on if there's a general practice at the start. Do most blues songs start with a chord or two strum or a word or two before a strum?
I can't find much on this so I guess everyone except me knows the general rules. I know that there are lots of exceptions but I don't want to develop any bad habits to un-learn.
I assume it's OK if I'm a bar short or long if I'm soloing but I can't see how that would work playing with someone else who knows twelve.
Any pointers appreciated.
Thanks
Hank
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2009, 05:59 PM
Frank Roberts Frank Roberts is offline
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Hank,

This is so much easier to show someone in person than to try and write it out, but here goes.

I guess you know the most simple, standard breakdown for a 12 bar blues. Let's assume in the key of E:

4 bars E
2 bars A
2 bars E
1 bar B7
1 bar A
1 bar E
1 bar B7
__
12 total

If you figure 4 taps of the foot equals 1 bar, then tapping 16 times equals 4 bars and tapping 8 times equals 2 bars. Go through the chord progression tapping steadily all the way thru, but try to think in terms of sections of four taps, even if you are doing 4 bars (for example 16 taps - think 4-4-4-4.)

Also, I think of a twelve bar blues in three sections of 4 bars each.

Section 1
4 bars E

Section 2
2 bars A
2 bars E

Section 3
1 bar B7
1 bar A
1 bar E
1 bar B7

Often beginners get messed up keeping it to 12 bars because they think of the turnaround (series of notes or licks changing from one chord to the next) from that last E to the last B as a seperate section. If you think of the turnaround as using the last E - 1 bar (4 foot taps) part, then you won't be adding an extra bar.

Another problem often stems from not starting the singing phrases at the right point. But thinking of the structure as outlined above should also help cure that problem.

I hope this helps.

Frank

Last edited by Frank Roberts; 09-14-2009 at 06:08 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2009, 08:49 PM
Hankak Hankak is offline
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I have trouble with the start and also keeping track of the count while I'm singing. There must be some kind of trick I don't know. I continue to play 12 bars without singing and no problem keeping track but counting and singing is the challenge as is the starting point.
Any help with either item appreicated.
Thanks
Hank
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2009, 07:52 AM
JeremyG JeremyG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankak View Post
I have trouble with the start and also keeping track of the count while I'm singing. There must be some kind of trick I don't know. I continue to play 12 bars without singing and no problem keeping track but counting and singing is the challenge as is the starting point.
Any help with either item appreicated.
Thanks
Hank
Hank,

I'm a total beginner too. I have a couple of Stefan Grossmans DVD sets. In one he talks about singing along with a learned tune.

The one thing he especially EMPHASIZES is this: don't even begin to trying singing your way through a song until you have it down so well that you can nearly play it while talking to somebody....or something close to that!

Jeremy.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2009, 08:32 AM
Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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How about some blues backing tracks to play along with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM2G1...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isl1Lk_-yw8

Last edited by Malcolm; 09-15-2009 at 08:39 AM.
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2009, 08:39 AM
Hankak Hankak is offline
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I can sing and play several conventional songs like Amazing Grace, Take Me Home Country Roads, Back Home Again, Sommertime, Cattle Call, Streets of Laredo without losing timing. To me these songs have lyrics, melody, harmonony and rhythm. I'm 68 and started learning 3 yrs ago and so my grasp of musicality may be lacking but I know when something sounds good. As I said I'm fascinated by the 12 bar blues and I'm at a loss on how to explain my problem. Perhaps the fact that I can easliy whistle the songs I mentioned but I really can't on Blues may be my hang up. The harmony or chords and if there's a melody, they don't really seem to fit for me.
Perhaps someone can suggest a good 12 bars blues song that can be easily whistled and goes good with the chords.
I'm as frustrated with tring to make my problem clear as I am losing timing.
I know playing and singing the Blues can't be rocket science or is it?
Thanks
Hank
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2009, 08:42 AM
Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankak View Post
I'm a rank beginner. I'm fascinated by the 12 bars blues and trying to strum and sing "Good Morning Blues" from Happy Traum Teaches Blues Guitar. At times it seems like I'm a chord long or short but to me it sounds good. I'm also not clear on if there's a general practice at the start. Do most blues songs start with a chord or two strum or a word or two before a strum?
I can't find much on this so I guess everyone except me knows the general rules. I know that there are lots of exceptions but I don't want to develop any bad habits to un-learn.
I assume it's OK if I'm a bar short or long if I'm soloing but I can't see how that would work playing with someone else who knows twelve.
Any pointers appreciated.
Thanks
Hank
Being a bar short or long, no you need to be with the chord changes. Now, I think it's up to the band what introduction you have. I like an introduction, however the band I play with never has one we just all jump in and go. But, once THE SONG starts you have to all be doing the same thing -- you can not be behind or ahead - together.

Here are some blues backing tracks, plus you can look on the right hand side of the screen for other artists and see what they do.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isl1Lk_-yw8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUK5p...eature=related

As to singing, singing the blues is different than anything else, it's a call and response thing. The caller calls, and the field hands respond. B. B. King is great with this. Google B. B. and see how he does it. Notice he sings and then his guitar responds.

Good luck.

Last edited by Malcolm; 09-15-2009 at 08:59 AM.
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  #8  
Old 09-15-2009, 09:24 AM
Hankak Hankak is offline
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Playing is not the problem. It is singing at the same time and getting the chords on and the count right.
Hank
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  #9  
Old 09-15-2009, 09:29 AM
Frank Roberts Frank Roberts is offline
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Hi Hank,

No magic bullet here. You need to pick a recorded song to learn so you can listen to when each vocal line begins in relation to the chord changes.

As Jeremy quoted Stephan Grossman as saying, sing along with the recording of the song you are learning. It is even more important to have the timing of the chord changes down to where they are like second nature. That is not as hard as it might seem, because 12 bar blues is very basic. It just takes repetition and time, aka practice.

Lastly, dump that mental block mindset. An old dog can learn new tricks! Trust me, I'm 64. If you listen to a lot of 12 bar blues songs, learn the changes until they are second nature, relax and let the vocals flow, you can get it. You can.

Frank
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  #10  
Old 09-15-2009, 10:14 AM
JeremyG JeremyG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankak View Post
I can sing and play several conventional songs like Amazing Grace, Take Me Home Country Roads, Back Home Again, Sommertime, Cattle Call, Streets of Laredo without losing timing. To me these songs have lyrics, melody, harmonony and rhythm. I'm 68 and started learning 3 yrs ago and so my grasp of musicality may be lacking but I know when something sounds good. As I said I'm fascinated by the 12 bar blues and I'm at a loss on how to explain my problem. Perhaps the fact that I can easliy whistle the songs I mentioned but I really can't on Blues may be my hang up. The harmony or chords and if there's a melody, they don't really seem to fit for me.
Perhaps someone can suggest a good 12 bars blues song that can be easily whistled and goes good with the chords.
I'm as frustrated with tring to make my problem clear as I am losing timing.
I know playing and singing the Blues can't be rocket science or is it?
Thanks
Hank

Hank,

I'm right with you on the blues etc. It's what brought me backl to guitar a year ago. I'm much newer/less expereinced than you. So, I thought maybe this link would hlep you as much as it has done me. Just go over what you find interesting...especially that "blues" part a bit down the pages.

http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-00...nersCourse.php

Good luck going over this. Great site!

Jeremy.
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2008 Charlie Hoffman SJ (small jumbo)
(I'm feeling very fortunate for a newfer!)
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  #11  
Old 09-15-2009, 11:54 AM
shawlie shawlie is offline
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Hank - I understand your problem and can see how it gets frustrating sometimes. I love playing/writing blues songs, and can see how it's easy to loose your place during a 12 bar song. I find 8 bars to feel more natural, and also mess up enough trying to play 12 bar things.

It probably would help to have a melody or some words to sing while you get comfortable with it - it's kind of a slow progression and without some type of lyrics, I get confused all the time.

To use E as an example (like in Frank's), try to sing these simple words while strumming, it might help:



Each / is a strum, and each word is one strum long. There's lots of places where there is no singing, and that's where I'll get messed up.

Hope it makes sense and is somehow helpful - already great advice given, and it's always great to hear someone wanting to start playing acoustic blues!
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a few fingerstyle country-blues and folk tunes

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Last edited by shawlie; 09-15-2009 at 11:59 AM. Reason: typed-in tab didn't work, added jpg picture
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  #12  
Old 09-15-2009, 12:48 PM
Hankak Hankak is offline
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Jeremy
Thanks for the justinguitar.com site..
I'm away from home with a slow laptop but it looks good..
I'm waiting to become a Grandpa for the first time at 68 yrs old..

Shawlie
Thank for the blues post..
I think you understand my problem...
I wonder if you could add your strokes to this Good Morning Blues key of E?

Good morn in blues how do you do?
Good mron in blues how do you do?
Well, I'm do in all right good morn in how are you?

In the meantime I'll practice your posting.
Thanks guys
Hank
"Tryin not to get the blues from tryin to learn the blues!
fix that and add a third line..
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  #13  
Old 09-15-2009, 01:36 PM
aaron1433 aaron1433 is offline
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I'm impressed by some of the contributions thus far. I'd offer this .02 piece. Listen to blues recordings and try to identify which chord the performer is on as he makes his way through the form. This exercise might also be called identifying the harmonic progression. A delta blues is going to have a different harmonic progression than a blues played by a jazz trio.

I think relating it to actual recordings will keep it from feeling too abstract and make the trajectory feel more natural. There is no shortcut or substitute for building a stronger ear and one of the absolute best ways to develop this skill is by working from recorded musical performances.
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  #14  
Old 09-15-2009, 02:51 PM
JeremyG JeremyG is offline
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Thumbs up Congratulations!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hankak View Post
I'm away from home with a slow laptop but it looks good..
I'm waiting to become a Grandpa for the first time at 68 yrs old..

An' you're singing the blues pal? Humbug....

Congratulations Gramps!!

10 fingers...10 toes? You've got the world by the ar-se!

Jeremy.....who can wait a bit!
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  #15  
Old 09-15-2009, 04:47 PM
luckycanine luckycanine is offline
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Was impressed by the responses, as well as the intitial post to get it going...settled some questions in my mind, and althought still consider myself an amateur, have been playing forever, and am also a greybeard. Regards, WC
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