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> Why We Need The Blues
Ben Higgins
post Jul 19 2015, 04:40 PM
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A lot of the guitar greats started their journey to greatness by learning from the blues masters. You may think "But what of the super shredders of the 80's and beyond?" Well, even if some of them didn't directly go to the blues, those who influenced them certainly did. What guitarist wasn't influenced by EVH or Yngwie? Schenker or Rhoads? Well, guess what?

EVH was influenced by the blues for sure. He's said before how he tried to copy as much of Eric Clapton's licks as possible but failed to sound like him.

Yngwie may not directly have taken the blues path but those who influenced him, like Ritchie Blackmore and Uli Roth, most certainly did their time taking from the blues giants.

Schenker, Rhoads, Angus Young... much of what they do is basically turbo charged blues with a bit of classical styling occasionally added in the case of Schenker and Rhoads.

So, proving our lineage to the blues is quite easy.. it's in much of what we do in Western music. But as a guitar player, why is it so important? Or, to be more balanced, why can it be so useful to us?

I'd offer 2 things for starters;

1. Learning how to 'feel' your way around phrasing with rhythm
2. Precise and emotive string bending.

In the case of the 1st thing, this is really important because we know that guitar lines don't always stick to a definite rhythm of 1,2,3,4 etc. When we learn we may play simple melodies by rote in order to get a sense of rhythm but the blues really shows that you can place your guitar lines wherever you can but still retain a sense of timing. For example, you may begin a phrase just as a bar is coming to an end, a fraction before the next bar begins. To count it or tab it would be a nightmare but you can hear it so you can try and replicate it. Sooner or later, you're DOING it.

There are also lines or runs that tumble over the beat, or begin at one pace and change to another. Listen to any blues player in the world and you'll see this almost straight away.



2. You can't play the blues without being a bender! Seriously, the sheer power of string bending is an essential ingredient of this music and by learning a few phrases from any blues player you're getting instant access to soul, taste & feel. The ingredients are there but it's up to us to make the most of them.

I've talked about these 2 aspects in the context of the blues but the point behind this post is how these 2 elements are essential to any guitar player whose serious about developing an expressive, soulful sound. You can apply these things to whatever genre of music you like to play.

If you take any famous guitar player you can usually spot those who have embraced blues phrasing and those who haven't. Of course, music is about being unique. You don't have to embrace any style of music. You don't have to learn any licks or any approach. Many players have made a career whilst not displaying any blues like tendencies but consider this; by getting some blues time into your guitar development you will only ever be a better player for it.




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Monica Gheorghev...
post Jul 20 2015, 10:32 AM
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Awesome topic!!!

Reading your topic I remembered what stupid thing I said about blues two years ago in a PM to Darek biggrin.gif
Me: - "I hate the blues"
Darek - "You hate blues as long as you don't know it well"
Of course the story is much longer but I want to point the wrong thinking of a student (me) which didn't know to see behind of some notes which sound easy in ears but sometimes are hard as hell for playing. It was a period when I tried to become a player listening other players instead just taking care how overall music was done.

After two years of hard work and trying to put colors in my playing, I can say that learning blues for any guitarist must have the same importance as learning the alphabet for a kid.
At this moment I think I learned very well my lesson and if you wonder why I say now we need details in playing and "why we need the blues"....:
- helping to avoid a square playing in case of feeling
- you will realize exactly what is going on with both hands
- how many sounds can be achieved only changing the pick angle
- what really means the difference between hard and soft picking. ("When you think you play soft try to play twice as soft...so soft that it's not even a stroke. When you think you play hard try to play twice as harder...distorted like to raped sometimes" - Darek's golden words wink.gif )
- it helps you to have a fully control in playing and makes you to sound different in a very good way

Of course I can make a huge list with benefits of learning blues but my idea was to point how people can make mistakes because they judge before to understand things or simply they don't care too much. I will always try/hope to show with every video of mine that I learned my lesson smile.gif
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Ben Higgins
post Jul 20 2015, 12:32 PM
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QUOTE (Monica Gheorghevici @ Jul 20 2015, 09:32 AM) *
Awesome topic!!!

Reading your topic I remembered what stupid thing I said about blues two years ago in a PM to Darek biggrin.gif
Me: - "I hate the blues"
Darek - "You hate blues as long as you don't know it well"
Of course the story is much longer but I want to point the wrong thinking of a student (me) which didn't know to see behind of some notes which sound easy in ears but sometimes are hard as hell for playing. It was a period when I tried to become a player listening other players instead just taking care how overall music was done.

After two years of hard work and trying to put colors in my playing, I can say that learning blues for any guitarist must have the same importance as learning the alphabet for a kid.
At this moment I think I learned very well my lesson and if you wonder why I say now we need details in playing and "why we need the blues"....:
- helping to avoid a square playing in case of feeling
- you will realize exactly what is going on with both hands
- how many sounds can be achieved only changing the pick angle
- what really means the difference between hard and soft picking. ("When you think you play soft try to play twice as soft...so soft that it's not even a stroke. When you think you play hard try to play twice as harder...distorted like to raped sometimes" - Darek's golden words wink.gif )
- it helps you to have a fully control in playing and makes you to sound different in a very good way

Of course I can make a huge list with benefits of learning blues but my idea was to point how people can make mistakes because they judge before to understand things or simply they don't care too much. I will always try/hope to show with every video of mine that I learned my lesson smile.gif


That's cool to hear! Many people wonder "Why have I got to bother with blues?" but it's so useful for any guitarist, as you have already found out! wink.gif

And now, Monica, you've got the perfect opportunity to join me......

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=54696


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Jul 20 2015, 01:41 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 20 2015, 11:32 AM) *
That's cool to hear! Many people wonder "Why have I got to bother with blues?" but it's so useful for any guitarist, as you have already found out! wink.gif

And now, Monica, you've got the perfect opportunity to join me......

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=54696

I will start to think at this collab next week after I will finish my take for REC section. If I will have a good idea I will definitely make a take for collab wink.gif
Until then who knows maybe I will surprise you at the beginning of next week in a very good way (related with full of details in playing) with my take for REC wink.gif
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