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Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 4
Blues guitaring... a musical challenge...Page 1 of 2    (1, 2)
I humbly disagree...

I have heard the same charge levelled at fiddle music or bagpipe music...

The problem is, IMHO the music is very "idiomatic" and if you are not accustomed to speaking the language, you simply won't hear the difference. That includes very likely the casual listener as well as the casual player.

Sure, any guitar player worth his salt who knows all of his basic tools, all of the cliche licks and such can wang off something remotely bluesy sounding...but to play tastefully again IMHO requires knowledge of the idiom. This becomes even more apparent when you go beyond simple electric leads and into more difficult bits like fingerstyle acoustic blues, bottleneck, blues rags, etc.

And then there are all the various sub-styles of the Blues...Chicago, Piedmont, Mississipi, Texas, Kansas City...

If you're bored with guitar - God forbid - you can always try it on a different instrument. I like the way it sounds on five string banjo, fiddle and mandolin...real old time string band blues sound.
Joined: 3/8/2004
Msg: 6
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Blues guitaring... a musical challenge...
Posted: 1/15/2007 11:12:02 AM
Well, as someone who has always love the blues, I have a separate non-technical take on it. I was lucky to see some of the greats, for relatively little money, at places like the Rising Sun in Montreal when I first moved here in 1977. I also was lucky enough to see them at the early versions of the Montreal Jazz festival, when they had gala shows, with rather low ticket prices. Seeing maybe five legends play the same show, and having a great time doing it. They actually had to drag Lightening Hopkin's offstage, because he just wanted to PLAY.....all night.

I saw B.B. King in 1973, when he was pretty much like those early recordings, and far less Las Vegas. You see a guy like that, still in his prime, and you begin to understand how he could blow away some young hotshot on guitar - with just ONE note.

Lightening Hopkins, Big Moma Thorton, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, etc , etc , etc.

To me blues has always been about what's inside, about being able to channel all the pain of the world into a single note or chord, or all the joy. To know what it feels like to be hungry, unloved, alone...

The blues scale is simple. Many of those legends I saw weren't technically gifted in any way. If you listen to some of those early recordings, like John Lee Hooker, the band's sometimes even out of tune and out of time. None of that gets in the way of the soul that gets put down into those grooves, however.

Seeing someone like John Lee, in a very small club like the Rising Sun, allows you to understand what the blues really are all about. I remember sitting there, and seeing him walk by (with a young blonde on either arm, and looking SHARP), and then going onstage and plugging in. He was the epitome of cool, to my twenty one year old soul.

When that band started up, and those riffs came out of those speakers,that ...SOUND... the Rising Sun somehow was magically transported to Chicago. I'm pretty sure that had I looked outside through a window, the L Train would have been out there passing by.

It was the same thing with Big Momma Thorton, standing up there and just pouring out her soul in that voice. Taking a break, taking a drink, and talking about her life (and how Elvis ripped off her song) and hearing "Hound Dog" as it really was meant to be sung. Talking about Janis, and realizing why she was so enthralled when she first heard big Momma Thorton sing - and seeing how easy that was to understand.

You hear someone like Billie Holiday or Janis Joplin sing, and you can hear that heartache and pain in every note. It's every wrong that's ever been commited, from their soul served up to yours.

You can't teach that. You have to be willing to take all of those feelings and connect with it, and channel it. That's not something that many people will ever be able to do. Hearing Robert Johnson that first time, I had to agree with Clapton about having the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

You can't ever teach that to anyone.
Joined: 9/5/2005
Msg: 16
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Blues guitaring... a musical challenge...
Posted: 1/25/2007 9:50:25 AM
Do you think they'd have an easier time doing blues if they had a fretless? Me personally that would be just the ticket I need to get a little further with some blues tracks.
Joined: 5/20/2007
Msg: 18
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Blues guitaring... a musical challenge...
Posted: 6/5/2007 10:05:48 PM
Blues is priminal like a piraha to me you gotta show you soul playing the blues, and if you show expression with three notes that is better than 220 notes a mintues of noise. Albert king with them deep bends that go away beyond the rules of music to bring those feelings to the resolution nothing beats that. Robert Johnson I cant play like him, but sometimes I fiddle on the guitar, I end up making singing the lyrics or broken chords to 32 20 blues, or Me and the Devil hehe. John lee hooker is tricky with his strumming, but it like dancing, and strummin at the same time. Blues is personal expression, and love Jamming to blues because its about feeling then making sure the notes are within a Dorain, or Mixaeoylin scale pattern.
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