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  #1  
Old 02-06-2021, 12:49 PM
terryd913 terryd913 is offline
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Default Help when playing lead

I hope I ask my question correctly for suggestions. I may have to amend after some responses.

I play a blues in A solo, that would sound great when playing along with a rhythm player. It’s in 4/4 time and of course a melody note is not played on every beat or off beat. In order to complete my lead measures do I need to count in order to finish the 12 bars when the rhythm player finishes as well as play correct notes with each rhythm player bars. This is hard for me.

Thanks in advance.

Terryd913
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Old 02-06-2021, 03:40 PM
AH Acoustic AH Acoustic is offline
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Edited by member.

Last edited by AH Acoustic; 02-08-2021 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 02-06-2021, 03:49 PM
bufflehead bufflehead is offline
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You may need to count at first, but after a session or two the twelve-bar blues becomes ingrained, and you'll know right when the transition is coming up.

Best way to learn would probably be to practice the rhythm part first in a simple key such as E. You might even want to play the rhythm with a looper so that you can then play lead with yourself.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:00 PM
Russ C Russ C is offline
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Blues and soloing in general is very much about playing phrases/melodies rather than a collection of “correct” notes (if I understand your question). Blues, with commonly 3 four bar phrases, is a great vehicle to get into this - eg. make up one little tune or riff with your available “correct” notes, repeat it 4 bars later (count if you don’t simply hear it yet) and play a similar line to round it all off in the last four bars.
You don’t need to fill up all the bars with soloing - leave a decent space after each of your melodic lines. Often less is better.

Hope I was on the right track for you there.
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Old 02-06-2021, 05:15 PM
Misifus Misifus is offline
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I would suggest that this will become clearer when you sit down and play it with another player (rhythm). The way I would approach it would be to let the rhythm player start and then join in with my lead. However, staring with the lead and letting the rhythm player find his spot would work also. For most of the players I’ve played with, we play by ear, rather than from sheets or rigid counting.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:13 PM
archerscreek archerscreek is offline
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I have a few straightforward suggestions that should help.

1) Listen to a lot of the greats like Albert King, Freddy King, BB King, Elmore James, and Robert Johnson. These guys played in a way that is easier to follow and understand for beginners than more modern and flashy players like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix.

2) Play a lot of rhythm. Tons of it. Play rhythm until the changes become second nature and you can easily hear the chord changes at any time, regardless of whether you even have an instrument in your hands, regardless of whether you have anyone else playing along with you. You need to ingrain the changes. You need to be able to hear and anticipate everything.

3) Start simple. Play super simple two or three note lines that lead into the chord changes and then a simple turnaround at the end.

If you are looking for YouTube videos, perhaps do a search for lead lines and do another for blues turnarounds. I guarantee they mention Robert Johnson when they talk about turnarounds.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:43 AM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryd913 View Post
I hope I ask my question correctly for suggestions. I may have to amend after some responses.

I play a blues in A solo, that would sound great when playing along with a rhythm player. It’s in 4/4 time and of course a melody note is not played on every beat or off beat. In order to complete my lead measures do I need to count in order to finish the 12 bars when the rhythm player finishes as well as play correct notes with each rhythm player bars. This is hard for me.

Thanks in advance.

Terryd913
No terry you really do not want to be counting while playing blues. If you have not yet internalised the chord changes then you are not ready to play lead, there are lots of play along blues books with cd available so get one of these, note the different types of blues progression in common use so slow change, quick change, ragtime blues etc and play along with the chords untill you have memorised and internalised the changes without needing to count, sing the words to yourself in your head as you play, only when you can change chords in the right place without needing to count will you be ready to try playing lead and no it sounds much better if you don't play a note on every beat or off beat, as others have written it's all about phrasing so listen lots to the great players, personally I have allways loved big band swing so I gravitate to imitating the way horn players play jump blues.
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:17 PM
terryd913 terryd913 is offline
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Default Adyrondak

I have 12 bar blues internalized quite well. Still, you might have given me a clue(s). Maybe it won’t be as hard as I think if I play with someone playing rhythm or play to a recording. The other is I may be overly concerned about hitting melody notes on the right count. As long as I play those notes in the right measure what difference does it make if I played on a down count or an up count. Does that make sense?
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:57 PM
hatamoto hatamoto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryd913 View Post
I hope I ask my question correctly for suggestions. I may have to amend after some responses.

I play a blues in A solo, that would sound great when playing along with a rhythm player. It’s in 4/4 time and of course a melody note is not played on every beat or off beat. In order to complete my lead measures do I need to count in order to finish the 12 bars when the rhythm player finishes as well as play correct notes with each rhythm player bars. This is hard for me.

Thanks in advance.

Terryd913
Yes, count first and tap your foot along with it. I know it's hard at first. When I first did this it felt alien, but once you keep on doing it you'll get muscle memory and you'll start to feel it.

One thing that helped me was playing with a metronome. I couldn't tap my foot with the beat while playing simultaenously at first and having the metronome with visuals accents really helped. Then I slowly started incorporating tapping my foot measure by measure until I could do it.

Start at 60bpm, play leads in whole, quarter, eights and eventually sixteenths notes. When you can do all of it, then go up 5-10bpm faster. Take your time and don't rush.

Pick a song, band-mate or backing track that plays around the BPM you're comfortable with and practice you're whole, quarter, eights and sixteenths runs. I guess you can practice your phrasing this way too

Last edited by hatamoto; 02-08-2021 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 02-09-2021, 03:00 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryd913 View Post
The other is I may be overly concerned about hitting melody notes on the right count. As long as I play those notes in the right measure what difference does it make if I played on a down count or an up count. Does that make sense?
This is an important aspect of playing lead - the rhythmic phrasing.

Melody notes that come on downbeats, especially ones that are also on the 1st beat of a measure/chord change, tend to have a solid character.

However, hitting EVERYTHING on a downbeat can end up sounding too simplistic. We all like a little surprise and upbeats can do that.

Good lead players will mix it up and throw in a curveball once in awhile.

More important than hitting an upbeat or a downbeat is rhythmic confidence. You should strive to make most of your notes land solidly, whether down or up.

When I have helped folks with this, I see some play a 15 note phrase where only 2 or 3 notes are landing on any rhythmic boundary. I first get them to reduce it to 3 notes and MASTER the placement.

Only at that point do I get them to add more notes.
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