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Hellow everyone :mrgreen:
I was told last week by a musician friend of mine a bass player to be more precise . he told me that 12 bar blues is a way to improve your blues ability . So i think i might want to know how to play it . if please someone got the notes of it it would be great
Thanks in advance :thumbrig:
 

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As much as it pains me to say it - the bass player was right. Nothing improves your blues ability like playing the blues. However, the way you expressed your question leads me to think that you might not have been playing much improvised music. The link that Punter has included is a great start for someone who is already familiar with playing chord progressions on a single voiced instrument. That's where your bass player friend can help because they (mostly) play chords one note at a time, just like us. And because the best blues sax playing is rhythmic you could do a lot worse than copy the way bass lines work.

But I think if you're looking for "the notes of it" here, then you've come to the wrong shop. While there are many 12 bar blues that have a written melody, they won't necessarily imrove your blues playing. The key take home messages for blues playing on sax are:
1. know that basic progression - I to IV, IV to I, I to V then V to I.
2. learn the arpeggios of those chords
3. learn the blues scale (it's all over the web - just Google)
4. listen to and apply all the killer riffs - St Louis Blues, Blue Monk, Rock Around The Clock etc etc
5. listen to and imitate the way blues singers phrase their lines - after all the blues started as a vocal thing

The blues is a terrific format because, unlike say, ballad playing, you can be as basic or as advanced as you like and still sound valid. But if you just noodle around without applying any of the above, making no definitive statements, melodically, rhythmically or harmonically, you'll just sound lame. And nothing sounds quite so lame as lame sax player in a blues band.
 

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As my tagline says, "The blues is the roots, the rest is the fruits" so sit down and let me tell ya a few things about why you need the blues ;)

  1. the blues 'scale' (there are many varients) are somewhat pentatonic, which means first that the tones of the scale are fundamental to the formants of human vowel vocalization and recognition (cf Dale Purves) and thus pretty much universal to all musics; in the 1750's as England was out exploring/exploiting Euro's firmly believed their 'classical' music was superior and would convert the heathen savages instantly; it was a great shock to them to discover this was not true, that it made the 'savages' hostile and dangerous. Thus did the Admiralty of the Royal Navy require all ships to be equiped with a fiddler trained in 'highland scot' music, because it had a syncopated lilting rhythm, and largely pentatonic, ie, it was bluesey. Thus was the native welcome and peace restored for the intrepid Capt. Cook and his like.
  2. being pentatonic-like, each blues scale contains several other embedded scales (loop the pentatonic scale around and the related pentatonics emerge as 'modes') -- just as the blues scale emerges from human speech formants, folk-song structure emerges from ordering those same tones.
  3. the blues scale hints at the diminished 7th 'devil's interval' tritone interval from the 3rd to the 7th in our standard notation. The tritone is special to the human ear, it is the point of audio balance and ambiguity (cf Diana Deutch) such that any 7th chord, say C7, contains the tritone iii-vii, eg E-Bb, which when flipped, Bb-E, is the iii-vii of a new chord, Gb7, itself a tritone interval from the original root. In blues, pretty much any 7th can be replaced with its tritone equivalent; rockers frequently use this to put, say, and Ab pentatonic lick over an Emaj powerchord.
  4. taking those iii-vii intervals, here is a cool Lenny Breau trick: start with say A7 as just the C#-G; move chromatically down one semi tone, you get C-F#, the tritone vii-iii of a D7; move back up to A7 and then move up a semitone, you get D-G#, the vii-iii out of an E7 -- in two chromatic steps you have the standard blues progression chords, A7/D7/A7/E7
  5. you can apply other substitution rules, such as breaking any 7th chord into it's Dominant 7th and the Tonic7th, so anywhere you see a A7, you can substitute E7/A7; your bluesey progression in A7 can now go A7/Ab7 or E7-A7/B7-E7...; you can also sub minors for maj7 (blues scale melodies often pit a minor iii against a major III backing harmony) -- things are starting to become quite complicated!!
As you can see, like a sonnet or a haiku, the seemingly simple blues structure opens up a vast space of ideas and possibilities, and indeed it did since there is every indication that early musics were pentatonic (coming as they do out of human speech, not pythagorean mathematics) and thus in all cultures, whether symphonies or ragas or airs, we have arrived there by exploring a blues space.
 

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iirc the Jamey Aebersold series of 120+ jazz instruction play-along books starts out volume I with the blues. There's a reason for that :)
 

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As my tagline says, "The blues is the roots, the rest is the fruits" so sit down and let me tell ya a few things about why you need the blues ;)

  1. the blues 'scale' (there are many varients) are somewhat pentatonic, which means first that the tones of the scale are fundamental to the formants of human vowel vocalization and recognition (cf Dale Purves) and thus pretty much universal to all musics; in the 1750's as England was out exploring/exploiting Euro's firmly believed their 'classical' music was superior and would convert the heathen savages instantly; it was a great shock to them to discover this was not true, that it made the 'savages' hostile and dangerous. Thus did the Admiralty of the Royal Navy require all ships to be equiped with a fiddler trained in 'highland scot' music, because it had a syncopated lilting rhythm, and largely pentatonic, ie, it was bluesey. Thus was the native welcome and peace restored for the intrepid Capt. Cook and his like.
  2. being pentatonic-like, each blues scale contains several other embedded scales (loop the pentatonic scale around and the related pentatonics emerge as 'modes') -- just as the blues scale emerges from human speech formants, folk-song structure emerges from ordering those same tones.
  3. the blues scale hints at the diminished 7th 'devil's interval' tritone interval from the 3rd to the 7th in our standard notation. The tritone is special to the human ear, it is the point of audio balance and ambiguity (cf Diana Deutch) such that any 7th chord, say C7, contains the tritone iii-vii, eg E-Bb, which when flipped, Bb-E, is the iii-vii of a new chord, Gb7, itself a tritone interval from the original root. In blues, pretty much any 7th can be replaced with its tritone equivalent; rockers frequently use this to put, say, and Ab pentatonic lick over an Emaj powerchord.
  4. taking those iii-vii intervals, here is a cool Lenny Breau trick: start with say A7 as just the C#-G; move chromatically down one semi tone, you get C-F#, the tritone vii-iii of a D7; move back up to A7 and then move up a semitone, you get D-G#, the vii-iii out of an E7 -- in two chromatic steps you have the standard blues progression chords, A7/D7/A7/E7
  5. you can apply other substitution rules, such as breaking any 7th chord into it's Dominant 7th and the Tonic7th, so anywhere you see a A7, you can substitute E7/A7; your bluesey progression in A7 can now go A7/Ab7 or E7-A7/B7-E7...; you can also sub minors for maj7 (blues scale melodies often pit a minor iii against a major III backing harmony) -- things are starting to become quite complicated!!
As you can see, like a sonnet or a haiku, the seemingly simple blues structure opens up a vast space of ideas and possibilities, and indeed it did since there is every indication that early musics were pentatonic (coming as they do out of human speech, not pythagorean mathematics) and thus in all cultures, whether symphonies or ragas or airs, we have arrived there by exploring a blues space.


Holy cow! My head just popped...I had no idea.

So... painting "Lucille" on my horn just isn't gonna get it. I am part Scot though, so that's a good thing... Thanks for sharing!

GPD
 

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iirc the Jamey Aebersold series of 120+ jazz instruction play-along books starts out volume I with the blues. There's a reason for that :)
Jamey Aebersold, Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz And Improvise
Jamey Aebersold, Volume 2 - Nothin' But Blues
 
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