Easy But Solid Techniques For Playing Blues Songs
When I “went back to basics”, I studied the blues. I listened to all the classic cats like Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, and a lot more. I wanted to learn directly from the source. But at the same time, I recognized that it’s more fruitful to approach the guitar as a solo instrument than the band approach. What I mean by that is, I’ve always felt there’s a lot of power in being able to play a convincing rendition of a song with just you and your guitar.
That will make you even more prepared anyway when you play with others. So, that’s what I worked on. At first it wasn’t easy to emulate the sound of a full blues band with all those gnarly grooves and walking basslines. But then I discovered it actually wasn’t too bad. Often, the right strum can get you pretty close to the same feel. Other times, I do incorporate some bass lines into the songs. And it’s so important to become stronger rhythmically, no matter what style you play. That’s really the magic sauce to holding it all together.
These Arrangements Sound Good
And You Can Play Them Today
Of course I want my music to sound great, but I also know that if you try to put something too crazy into an arrangement, it hinders the performance. You want stuff that is comfortable to play. But there’s stuff that’s both comfortable and sounds great, like dominant9 chords, sliding sixths, and things like that.
That’s what I try to go for. Stuff that I can play, that feels good, that I can remember…and I want to build up a repertoire of blues songs that I can count on, plain and simple.