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Hi there, would anyone know where to source Jnr Walker's Backing Tracks, Jnr Walker is my inspiration for playing Tenor, thanks
 

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search for midi files... I found one for Cleo's Mood years ago, not great, not the original key, but you can muck about with them. ;)
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Hi there, would anyone know where to source Jnr Walker's Backing Tracks, Jnr Walker is my inspiration for playing Tenor, thanks
Wow. Jr's sound and style are hard to get. All I know about his set-up is he used a steel Berg Larsen. If I had to guess I would say 120/2 with a #4 or #5 reed. I've played 'What Does It Take' and 'Shotgun' since the late '60s. The problem with a lot of the songs is nobody plays them in the original keys because they can't sing them that high. 'Shotgun' is in Ab but they want to sing it in G, which just kills it for the sax player - maybe easier to play in G (A on the horn) but it just doesn't sound right no matter what you do.
 

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'Shotgun' is in Ab but they want to sing it in G, which just kills it for the sax player - maybe easier to play in G (A on the horn) but it just doesn't sound right no matter what you do.
+100. And here I thought I was the only one... Not sure why the key makes such a difference, but it does. Partly because the first three notes of the opening lick sound better in Ab than in G, or worse, F, which is what I've had to play it in with some singers. Also Cleo's Mood, another cool Jr Walker tune, sounds best in the original key Abm, than in Gm, which most guitarists seem to prefer for that tune. Again, I really don't know why, but it does sound better in the original key.

Back to the OP's question, I'd suggest just playing along to the record (CD) with the original recordings. You can pick up some of Jr's licks & style that way too. Keep in mind, the rhythm is a huge part of this genre, so pay close attention to what he does rhythmically. Also flutter tongue is a Jr Walker trait. Then when you really know the tune, transpose the head to G or A (I'm speaking concert key) so you can play it in more than one key.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow. Jr's sound and style are hard to get. All I know about his set-up is he used a steel Berg Larsen. If I had to guess I would say 120/2 with a #4 or #5 reed. I've played 'What Does It Take' and 'Shotgun' since the late '60s. The problem with a lot of the songs is nobody plays them in the original keys because they can't sing them that high. 'Shotgun' is in Ab but they want to sing it in G, which just kills it for the sax player - maybe easier to play in G (A on the horn) but it just doesn't sound right no matter what you do.
Thanks SaxMan, Jnr apparently played Metal Berg Larsen 130/0 in the early years then a Metal Lawton 8* B as of 1973. Would not compromise for the singer, it has to be played in Ab to sound right. For all sorts of reasons we will not sound exactly like Jnr Walker but we can at least start with similar parameters where possible and get to a place where we are happy with what is being played.
 

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Would not compromise for the singer, it has to be played in Ab to sound right.
I don't know if I'd go quite that far. If it's out of the singer's range, then you will have to do it in another key, or find another singer. But it would be great if you can do it in Ab.

Now, if at some point you want to play 'Night Train', it's an instrumental so you don't have to worry about the singer. And that tune has to be in Ab (Bb on tenor) so you can honk that low Bb. Don't let a guitarist tell you otherwise!
 

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I second Bill's recommendation to do a search for commercially available MIDI tracks, there are plenty of sources. A second idea is to make your own using Band In A Box or similar software. You can choose whatever key you like, and make the tracks as accurate as you want, depending on whether you just want something to practice with or if you're looking for a performance quality track.
 
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