The Subtle Sounds in the Blues

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by flavaham, Feb 17, 2012.

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  1. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    A few of us have been discussing some subtle sounds that make the blues "Sound" what it is. We were discussing that there are tones/pitches/notes, etc. that don't fall right on the fret that have to be either bent to, dipped to (via trem. bar) or played with a slide. Our good friend Clifford-D was courageous enough to have posted a clip trying to demonstrate some of these sounds. I decided to follow suit!

    Below is a link to what I recorded. I did it in one take without warmup, so it's not polished (and if you feel like you need to flame my playing, that's really fine with me. Whatever makes you happy.) I don't strive for perfection when I play. Seems silly to do that really, as it would be a huge contrast to my personality. haha. I used the generic Garage Band backing track in the key of C.

    Anyhow, I was trying to throw in a few bends that hit notes "outside of the frets." I focused mainly on the area between m3 and M3, and P4 to P5 for these bends.

    http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_songs/2414276
     
  2. lspaulsp

    lspaulsp Gold Supporting Member

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    Pretty Dumbleish??????????????????????? I like it though.

    My problem is I associate the Dumble sound with Larry Carlton etc. That's just me.
    The sound is great!!!!
     
  3. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    Dumble?? haha, I don't know what that means! haha. Thanks though, I think!
     
  4. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Nice stuff!

    I too like the inflections and dialects (for lack of a better description) found in the vocals of just about every tune I hear. And those same effects played with a guitar or other instruments are some of my favorite parts of music making and listening.

    I like your opening phrases a lot. Nice, subtle and smooth.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. stevel

    stevel Member

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    I think you did a great job of bending "through" those areas with some long slow bends to really point out the variety if flavors available "between the frets".

    I might add I find there to be a similar area between 6 and b7.

    Or maybe, I see these kind of a couple of ways:

    Area between 2 and 3 (which contains the b3 blue note)
    Area between 4 and 5 (which contains the b5 blue note)
    Area between b7 and 8 (which is more of a "passing" area)

    Then more specifically:
    Area between 2 and b3 (for minor blues, or the IV7, etc.)
    Area between b3 and 3 (your typical major blues)
    Area between 4 and b5 (which I hear as more of jazz influenced bend a la Mancini, et al)
    Area between 6 and b7 (major and dorian).

    Another way to see it is, of course, the area *around* b3, b5, and b7.

    Steve
     
  6. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    Very cool indeed. Very smooth sounding lead too
    What did you use before going into garageband

    That still doesn't support the theory that semmed to be the topic of the thread though.
    If the topic just said "There are microtonal notes in blues" it would.

    Maybe that was originally what Clifford-D was trying to say
    But it came across as more elaborate and something about 2 styles you had to learn in order to play blues properly.
    It's hard to make reference to it now, since the thread was deleted.

    One of the most common modes in arab music contains that note, plus the one abit above the b3
    Very particular sound
    Wich also exists in North african music where islam had been dominant

    Another very common trait in north african music is the 6/8 rythm (offen played on derbukka) that goes 1(2)3 1(2)3 1(2)3 1(2)3

    The Guitar also origins from Africa originally in form of a piece of wood with a calabas of turtle shell or coconut as resonance chamber.
    and strings of goat skind
    It developed into a Four stringed instrument, the "oud" that still is very common. Tuned in 4ths
    Probably The maurian invasion of spain brought it there and slowly made it what it is today.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  7. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    Yes! I really like the area between b7 and M7. You don't really want to hit the M7 in blues, well, EVER, but just sharp of that b7 can have a nice little flavor.

    I really like, when on the I of a blues (suppose we're in C) to hit that C, in this case on the B string, 13th fret. Let it ring for a beat or so and then hit the Bb on the 11th fret (b7). Slowly bend JUST a bit, not quite up to that M7 and then grab that C again. There's really more room there than you might think. You can bend considerably and still not hit that M7. Try it out. You actually can bend to the point that you might think you're at the M7, but when you stop and fret the M7, it's still a bit sharp of that note. Pretty cool little area right there.
     
  8. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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  9. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Yeah. Beck and a few others do a similar trick where they play the C with their third finger and then play a Bb with their first and bend up - of course for many, they can't bend as well with their first finger so you get your "sharp flat 7" - and you're right - there's a lot more room there then one might first assume.

    I also just like going "through" the M7 - on a bend up from Bb or a pre-bent C coming down.

    You can even take a pre-bent C and drop it just a bit - just a 1/4 tone or less (same for pre-bent b3 or 3, etc.) and find a lot of flavor in there.

    Nice examples. You should make a little "lesson" that addresses each independently, then a little demo that incorporates all of them.

    Steve
     
  10. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Too bad I missed the other thread. I saw it, but had to go to work and thought I'd read it tonight.

    Apparently it went off the rails.


    Anyway, there's THIS Thread!


    So......

    I think that there is a lot to the idea of using some form of both JI information along with ET information.

    Whether it describes every aspect of every intonation situation in any particular style of music, I don't know enough to make a blanket statement like that.

    However, I have found the ideas of JI to be the only ones I have found to try and actually explain the inflections we all seem to love. And that is where much of my study has been the last couple of years. So, my comments are influenced heavily from that perspective.

    So, that is my disclaimer.

    Anyway, one "move" I have really found useful, is with "Steel Guitar" style Bends.

    Here's one for a C.

    --8-------
    ----8-----
    ------8b--
    ----------
    ----------

    Now, do I want to hit the C Major, or the C Minor?

    For C Major I would use the Root Note (C, E String/8th. Fret in this case) as a Reference, to help me find the JI Overtonal 3rd. for a C Major sound.

    For C Minor I would use the 5th. (G, B String/8th. Fret in this case) as a Reference, to help me find the Reciprocal 3rd. from the 5th. for a Minor sound.

    Those seem really easy to hit when I have these Reference Notes to use as I play.

    Another one I like a lot is to use the Root Note as a Reference to help me find the Septimal 7th.
    For this, I'll usually start from the 6th. and Bend it up a little to hit the "Sweet Spot". There are actually a couple of nice Pitches in this area. But, I can usually hit the ones I want when I have a strong Root for a Reference.


    ----------
     
  11. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I still hold true to it.

    Two activities going on
    1. the progression - basically unbendable tones 95% of the time.
    2. the elastic or microtonal stuff we play in our solos all the time.

    This gives us that right against wrong with the M3rd in the comping and the b3 teased in the soloing.

    That was the big point of that thread. All the other stuff I wrote perhaps I didn't need.

    Does anyone play electric blues without some sort of bends.
     
  12. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Here's one chord that I might bend the b3 a tad, but it's a comping I7 chord

    C7#9
    -
    -
    -8' bend microtone
    -8
    -7
    -
     
  13. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Listening to the first track now, Cliff.

    Sounds beautiful to me.

    And yeah.....sounds like Blues to me, too.

    Track 2:

    Well, that seems to be just a Backing Track.

    But, I heard enough on the first track to really dig that!

    Why wouldn't anyone call that Blues? I really can't see how they would see it as anything else.

    I like how you did some of those moves. Did you bend the neck?

    Heck, here's something else I think of as Blues. Maybe I'm just off base? LOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsNsKHRMei8

    And THIS tune! Wow, makes me think that Blues is a LOT bigger than some might think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvW6_-TP5cs

    So maybe it's not just a Genre. Maybe it's just a little larger?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN2sIKpSu10

    Anyway, I think there's some real similarities in these examples to the "subtle sounds" the OP is talking about. And I think those subtle sounds are a big part of the equation.
     
  14. flavaham

    flavaham Member

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    I wanna hear it!!! Link?
     
  15. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    What is blues?

    People define it personally.

    Few here would argue that the young Julian Lage wouldn't have a clue as to what blues is. Well he sure doesn't sound like Albert King or BB, he's a jazzer and he plays it in a jazz way. But he's the capable one playing and I trust he understands what to do.

    Kimock on the other hand takes his jazz approach in another direction, he gets all microtonal in his jazzy playing. And he brings a shitload of soul to his playing.
    I hear the difference between these two world class players and I'm not about to tell these guys they're not playing blues because it don't sound like the Iceman.
    http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_12220256

    crappy recording but hey, enjoy. You'll never hear it again anywhere.

    plus, listen to Julians crazy tuning down all strings in the middle of playing, at the end.
    Too much.
     
  16. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    Before anything else Blues is a feeling or an emotional state
    And blues can be found in many styles of music.


    When i was first taught to play blues guitar my teacher told me to keep the rhythm by walking heavily from feet to feet on 1 and 3.
    "Imagine the slaves in chains, far away from home, hurting all over, hungry as hell, your relatives died on the ship, now you work in cotton field from day to night under the whip"

    This is Blues :


    This is Blues :



    This is also blues :





    This is definitely blues:

     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  17. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    "When i was first taught to play blues guitar my teacher told me to keep the rhythm by walking heavily from feet to feet on 1 and 3.
    "Imagine the slaves in chains, far away from home, hurting all over, hungry as hell, your relatives died on the ship, now you work in cotton field from day to night under the whip"

    :facepalm
     
  18. abergdahl

    abergdahl Member

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  19. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    After seeing you beeing in the role of victim in +50 posts, your comment is kindof funny.

    My teachers comment is very relevant though for where the blues come from.

    Nice
    Benson doesn't bend alot but he can sure play the blues
    watch from 7:30 B-)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  20. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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