With improvisation on the brain, Joe turned to George Smith this week as a way to discuss what works in a 12-bar solo. Times Won't Be Hard Always is a terrific example of a blues recording that is short and to the point so as to be commercially viable in its day.
What are the key elements of this solo to learn from?
- It's short. Say what you have to say in 12 bars and get out!
- Head shake. George uses the 4/5 shake repeatedly here and nothing says "blues" more than that. Note that the shake should be thought of as a chordal texture. Playing both notes a little "dirty" will get you that low-frequency "difference" tone that snarls, especially when amplified. For more on difference tones, read Pat Missin.
- Repetition. I repeat, repetition. George plays the head shake over four of the 12 bars. He also milks the 4 draw bend lick that you first see at the end of bar one, playing it six times over 12 bars. Learn the strengths of the instrument and the blues vocabulary and then what? Repeat it!
- Blues scale. Know your blues scale and stick to it. With small exceptions over the V and IV chords, George is in the blues scale at all times. No wonder this solo sounds so bluesy! You should do the same.
Old Town School Benefit for Japan!!!
The Old Town School's benefit concert for Japan was a huge success! We helped raise lots of money to aid relief efforts and had a great time playing too. Shoji and Katsu would both like to personally thank all those who participated! Thanks to Zoe and Little Laura for baking and kudos to our buddy Andy Willis who spent all afternoon drawing charicatures of people and donating his proceeds!
Here are Shoji's pictures.
And here are videos:
Harp Mics For Sale!!!
Bob Wronkiewicz has three harp mics and would like to sell two of them. He has a Shure Green Bullet, a Hohner Blues Blaster and a Blues Blaster that has been modified by Dennis Gruenling. He'd like to sell two of the three, so if you're interested, email him: Bob.
You Missed Monday Is On Facebook!!!
You Missed Monday has a facebook page now. If you're on facebook, click HERE and "like" us so you can get late-breaking gig news and also help us spread the word about events like Recital and the Chicago Blues Harp Bash. Get on board!
- The date is set for our next recital at the Harlem Avenue Lounge. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 21. Recital sign-up sheets are now available and need to be turned in to Joe by May 2. Note too that Joe would like you to write a little bio information on the back this time so he has material to introduce you.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew