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Blues Basics for the Bass Guitar

Learn some blues basics for the bass guitar from musician John Sutton in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


The three basic ingredients to the Blues that we want talk about are the harmony, the rhythm, and the form. The most basic way that people talk about the harmony of the blues, is either talking about the minor pentatonic scale or the blues scale. If we're talking about blues in E-flat, we're going to have, from the top, E-flat, D-flat, B-flat, A-flat, G-flat, and E-flat. If we add what people call the blue note or the note the makes the minor pentatonic scale into a blues scale, we add a note between the B-flat and the A-flat, which is A. Feel wise, blues is often based on the shuffle rhythm or the 8th note triplet rhythm. But the important thing that I want to talk about with the blues, is that blues doesn't have to be only minor pentatonic or only blues scale. Blues can also be a Major 3rd or a major 7th on almost every chord change you can play in the Blues. We also have the form, the 12 bar blues form. The 12 bar blues form is made up of 3 phrases that are 4 bars each. The first 4 bars are going to be on the root. In this case, if you are talking about E-flat. There are 4 bars of E-flat. Now I'm going to play A -major, now A-flat. That's the 4 chord. Now back to E-flat, now we go to the 5 chord, B-flat. And back to E-flat. Then we end in E-flat. It can cycle like that for ages. So, what we want to do is practice not only playing this minor sound that we always like, but we also want to practice playing major 3rd's and major 7th's as well. This will open up the sound, it gives the blues more variation, it gives us more emotions that we can conjure up when we're playing the blues, it gives you a freer form of expression and it will make everything sound fresher instead of it sounding like you're playing a scale. And those are some of the Blue's Basics for Basic guitar.

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