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How to play organ in a blues band?


telecaster

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Would love to get my hands on some instructional books, DVDs or websites about how to become a good organ player...........

I am mainly thinking about how to lay good chords behind a singer and a lead guitar. I do not really struggle too much with solos (learning all the time) by I find it really hard to find the best or right chords sometime.

Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?

I do listen to a lot of good players but its not always easy to find out what they are doing back there :-)

cheers

Otto

 

C3 & 122, XK3C & 3300, SK2 & Ventilator/3300

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Thanks both of you! :-)

Outcaster you are of course right, but still I am looking for

something to read that could bring me "further up on the road"

so to speak. There seems to be tons of books about jazz piano

voicings, but I have not yet stumbled upon something for blues

organ. I got Cohens Hammond DVD, a real turnoff for me, more

like a pianoplayers guide to the Hammond, not really giving away

any Hammond wisdom.

Its quite a few very good organplayers out there, some of them

even here on this forum like Jim Alfredson, I listen a lot

to what they are doing, but I am not always able to find out

how they do it :-)

 

Thanks yorgatron, thats the kind of input I am looking for,

but as I said it would be nice to find something written or

spoken as in a DVD, to take me a step or two upwards.

cheers

otto

 

C3 & 122, XK3C & 3300, SK2 & Ventilator/3300

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Brian Auger -- B-3 Master (DVD) (2009) http://www.amazon.com/Brian-Auger-B-3-Master-DVD/dp/B001P9PWYO/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1322165494&sr=1-2

 

DVD-Blues and Rock Techniques for Hammond Organ http://www.amazon.com/DVD-Blues-Rock-Techniques-Hammond-Organ/dp/B0007QQW54

 

The Blues/Rock Piano of Johnnie Johnson: Sessions with a Keyboard Legend [VHS]http://www.amazon.com/Blues-Rock-Piano-Johnnie-Johnson/dp/B000059MDY/ref=sr_1_7?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1322165380&sr=1-7

 

Guitar Center has several DVDs and VHS http://www.guitarcenter.com/Piano---Keyboard-Instruction-Videos-Piano---Keyboard-Instruction,New-Gear.gc

 

The Johnnie Johnson video is great. I learned a lot from it.

 

Duane

Korg PA4x76, Turbosound ip500 Tower Speaker System
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Telecaster,

 

For DVDs check out the Tony Monaco DVDs he's a jazz organist and really knows the instrument. He has a couple of Blues DVDs where he breaks it down nice and easy. You have to order from his website b3monaco and he has some other DVDs discussing basic Hammond technique, registrations, etc. and improv.

 

Like the other guy said as far as voicings go, less is more 3/7 two note voices are okay but I prefer to use 3 note voicings. Four note and two handed voicings will start to sound muddy real quick. You can play four note stuff up high or if you use really open chords in fourths or something but close voicings will be muddy which is okay occasionally for effect but not to use non stop.

 

Peace,

D.

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Here are a couple simple tricks that I get a lot of mileage from.

 

The first is for dominant blues (not minor). Play 3 & 7. On the IV chord, drop each finger a half tone, so you're playing 7 & 3. You can extend this trick by going a half step up on both fingers (from the I chord) for the V chord. Yeah, it's a lot of parallel fifths so don't overdo it, but especially for slow blues using a clear flutey tone (e.g., 800005005), it provides a nice continuity under the more dynamic guitar parts.

 

The other is the same trick I use more on piano, which is to take the standard 7-3-5 voicing for a dominant chord, and walk it up and down the scale 2 steps (3 chords altogether). Also, omitting the middle of the three notes.

 

Experiment with legato voicing changes between the I-IV-V chords. (The first trick above is the simplest case of that.)

For example going from 7-3-5 voicing on the I to 5-7-3 voicing on the IV. When you have the triads worked out, try omitting a note (especially the middle note).

 

Another nice one on I is to play a 6 chord (1-3-6 voicing) well after the 1 beat and resolve by dropping the triad down a whole tone to the VII6, essentially playing 7-2-5 in the I chord framework. For example, in C: CEA to BbDG. On the IV chord, you can play that first 6 chord but dropping the middle note: CEbA.

 

Keyboards can get away with playing solo-like stuff behind the other instruments quite a bit, as long as it's BEHIND. That is, using a muted tone, walking lines between the chords, and lead-like lick but only highlighting when it complements what else is going on. It's *really easy* to overdo this -- filling every hole, for example. A song needs the right amount of holes, so don't fill them all. Leave more holes at the start, and fill them more towards crescendos.

 

Of course, what I've said above applies equally to piano. But on organ, especially with legato lines, there's a bit more room for walking melodic lines, compared to the more percussive and outspoken piano.

 

A fun thing to do, especially if you're playing with a good soloist, is to remember melodic themes and "pre-echo" them before the solo.

 

And the most important thing is to LISTEN to the band and make it your goal to only do what makes them sound better, whatever they're doing. I'm not a very skilled player, but folks enjoy playing blues with me because I listen and I'm delighted to let the others shine. Sometimes I even sit out a whole verse. It's hard to do! But it really adds by subtracting; when the organ does come in for the next verse or a chorus, it adds to the drama without stealing anyone's thunder.

 

My weakness is solos. Once I've played both my licks ...

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Forget the jazz stuff for now. It is way more advanced than what you need to know for blues playing.

 

Pick up some old Allman Brothers (Live at the Fillmore East, for example) and listen to Gregg Allman's simple but effective playing. Start there.

Moe

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Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?

I do listen to a lot of good players but its not always easy to find out what they are doing back there :)

cheers

Otto

 

 

Hei Hei

 

Also go to the jam sessions in Oslo (usually in Grønland) .... I sometimes go there... blues playing is not really my thing but I can survive on a rhodes sound ;)

 

btw. If you really want to get good, I can recommend a fabulous organ teacher in Oslo.

 

hilsen!

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Stick to these four simple rules and you will sound like a pro:

 

1. Don't "jump" from chord to chord, voice-lead by moving each chord tone the smallest possible distance. It sounds self-evident but you'd be suprised... I.e. 3 moves to 7, etc. This is the same as it applies to piano voice leading, or any voice leading for that matter.

 

2. When holding a pad, make sure you don't just play through the entire song. Everyone loves chocolate, but you don't want to eat it every day....

 

3. Volume pedal, volume pedal, volume pedal. Assuming the band you're playing with is dynamic (and we hope it is!) make sure you're aware of your volume relative to the overall dynamics of the band/song. The biggest mistake new organ players make is that they slam down the pedal and play at full volume for the whole song. The masters apply the pedal, in conjunction with the drawbars, in a way that adds character, tension, and release. These things can't be taught, but they can be learned after years of being yelled at on stage...

 

4. I know you mentioned in your OP that you are a good soloist.. Just be aware that playing a good, musical solo on the organ is not as easy as you may think. If you come from a piano background, it is especially tricky at first. "Un-learn" your piano instincts. Think "I'm singing" rather than "I'm hitting a key..." Generally speaking it's not good to play "notey, noodlely" leads that try to cram in as many notes as possible into a single bar. Think "I want to play something sexy that will get me laid" rather than " I want to impress my jazz teacher..." If you are asked to play a solo, you'll never be faulted for quoting the melody. Singable lines are good. Singable lines with great rhythm are even better. If you can't sing and dance to what you're playing, than it's not musical and it won't be a good solo.

 

 

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Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?

 

Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

 

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.

I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.

Don't rush me. I'm playing as slowly as I can!

 

www.stevenathanmusic.com

https://apple.co/2EGpYXK

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I won't go in-depth chord-wise since pretty much everything has been covered in the previous posts(a lot of it is Japanese to me, anyway), but here are few tips...

 

LISTEN to and follow the dynamics of the band. This is especially important. When the band goes low, you get low. When the band goes higher, you do the same. Someone mentioned about the volume pedal. It is your friend.

 

DRAWBARS, drawbars, drawbars!! I change them a lot during a song. I don't like to use the same registrations during the whole song. Again, always follow the dynamics of the band. During slow blues, I like to use more of a mellow setting, like 80000008 or so and may change during the higher points. Also, be aware of the turnarounds. I may try some soulful licks during the turnarounds and in between some chords. With blues, everything is done in small doses. So do very little at a time, and not during the entire song. With shuffles, I play accents, using fewer notes to enhance the groove.

 

..and finally, play with feeling!

Kronos 88 Platinum, Casio PX-5S, Subsequent 37, Korg CX3, Nord Electro 5D 73, QSC K8.2, Lester K

 

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Forget the jazz stuff for now. It is way more advanced than what you need to know for blues playing.

 

Pick up some old Allman Brothers (Live at the Fillmore East, for example) and listen to Gregg Allman's simple but effective playing. Start there.

 

I agree completely. People tend to think they can learn stuff from DVD's or they over think it. My experience is they can be a huge waste of money unless your someone that can cop licks or really pick out what they are doing. Your not going to use a DVD or website for reference in the field.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

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Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?

 

Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

 

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.

I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.

 

I don't know why anyone would give you shit for this. :idk: Seems pretty rock-solid. :thu:

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Hei Hei

 

Also go to the jam sessions in Oslo (usually in Grønland) .... I sometimes go there... blues playing is not really my thing but I can survive on a rhodes sound ;)

 

btw. If you really want to get good, I can recommend a fabulous organ teacher in Oslo.

 

hilsen!

 

hei!! Ja takk, kan du sende meg en PM, prøvde en til deg men kom ikke igjennom?

:-)

 

mvh

Otto

 

sorry for talking Norwegian, I am just saying thanks........

 

C3 & 122, XK3C & 3300, SK2 & Ventilator/3300

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Hei Hei

 

Also go to the jam sessions in Oslo (usually in Grønland) .... I sometimes go there... blues playing is not really my thing but I can survive on a rhodes sound ;)

 

btw. If you really want to get good, I can recommend a fabulous organ teacher in Oslo.

 

hilsen!

 

hei!! Ja takk, kan du sende meg en PM, prøvde en til deg men kom ikke igjennom?

:-)

 

mvh

Otto

 

sorry for talking Norwegian, I am just saying thanks........

 

Yep I sent you a PM after I wrote the first message, but seems like something isnæt working as I have not seen your message either.

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Economy is deinitely the key, especially if your playing behind a guitar player who is channeling his inner Stevie Ray (Who I believe was actually channeling his inner Hendrix). Around these parts in blues bands they call the organ solo "the inconsequential space between the last guitar solo and the next guitar solo.......
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Forget the jazz stuff for now. It is way more advanced than what you need to know for blues playing.
That really depends on the kind of blues you're talking about. It's a deeply rich and varied genre, and some of it does require a good jazz knowledge to play effectively.

 

Pick up some old Allman Brothers (Live at the Fillmore East, for example) and listen to Gregg Allman's simple but effective playing. Start there.
Heh, I have to admit I've never thought of Allmans or Gregg as particularly effective, especially when it comes to blues.

 

I'd look to cats like Booker T, Bill Doggett, and Steve Winwood, for simple yet effective. You can branch out from those cats in a wide variety of directions.

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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I'd look to cats like Booker T, Bill Doggett, and Steve Winwood, for simple yet effective. You can branch out from those cats in a wide variety of directions.

 

+1, especially,for me, Steve Winwood. When I was playing blues and blues rock, he really was an influence for me. I concur with others here that say really listening with an intent to absorb what you are hearing, and trying to emulate that, is the best way to learn this kind of music. Basic voicings for guidelines are OK to start (and you have some great suggestions here) but for every example of its use, you can probably find another that is an exception. That's why listening to the music you want to play, identifying what you really like, and picking it out by ear is really a preferable way to learn. And you get the feel of the music that way too.

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"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Yep I sent you a PM after I wrote the first message, but seems like something isnæt working as I have not seen your message either.

 

I have mailed the admin about the PM trouble, maybe it will be fixed fast :-)

my mail is rojohn at broadpark.no

cheers

otto

 

C3 & 122, XK3C & 3300, SK2 & Ventilator/3300

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Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?

 

Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

 

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.

I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.

 

Steve, you are of course very right, but not all of us are built the same way, I could really use a little help to lift me

up a bit to become a better player.

I guess that I am not completely alone as there are quite a few

music teachers in the world ?

:)

cheers

otto

 

C3 & 122, XK3C & 3300, SK2 & Ventilator/3300

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To the OP: Basic blues is the easiest improvisational system - but like any music, deeper blues is rooted in feeling, with shades of jazz and other things. There are tons of tips and courses on playing blues you can research, but no one can teach feeling. That's why listening to records and practicing is the only way to discover your own feeling and what you like, so you can play authentically and organically. What you play eventually has to come from you.

 

If you already have true feeling for the blues, you're halfway there. Talking about how to play the blues won't get you there, but it could give you a case of the blues (which would be valid.) :laugh:

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Can you point me in the direction of some good learning material?

 

Listen to records endlessly. Train your ear to figure out what you're hearing, and copy it. Lather/Rinse/Repeat

 

I've known a lot of great blues organ players in my life. Not one of them has ever said they learned to play Blues by reading about it.

I know I'll get some crap for this, but I guess I don't care.

 

So, before you take any of my advice over Steve's, you should find out who he is and who I am. (Hint: I am a dude who plays on the weekends for stupidly small amounts of money.) ;)

 

Having said that, I would add one this to this: Play, play, play! (Is that three things?) Play with other people. Do it a lot.

 

For me, I can learn a lot of stuff in my room with headphones on. And that's great. But until I try to play that stuff in real time, with other musicians, I don't really know whether it works for me or not.

 

Good luck!

 

--Dave

 

 

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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The other is the same trick I use more on piano, which is to take the standard 7-3-5 voicing for a dominant chord, and walk it up and down the scale 2 steps (3 chords altogether). Also, omitting the middle of the three notes.

 

great

thread - learjeff - a little thick here - can you (re)explain what you mean with up and down the scale 2 steps?

 

thanks!!

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Part 1) Classic blues ballad organ sound at 2:00 Jim Toney (organ) with BB King from 1968.

 

A great organ SOLO at 6:30

And at 8:27 watch the organ players left hand playing bass:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWcSc3nPow

 

Part 2) Classic blues ballad organ sounds again by Jim Toney with B.B., briefly shows the organists hands :

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5URVbh3KX8

 

Footnote: Published May 06, 2007.

 

TONEY, JAMES

 

JAMES TONEY Las Vegas musician, James S. Toney, 65, passed away Wednesday, May 2, 2007. He was employed as a keyboard player for over 30 years with B.B. King. He is survived by his wife, LaVerne; daughters, Donna and Tonia of Michigan; sons, Jason and Michael of Las Vegas; brothers, Thomas of Mississippi, Robert of Texas and Paul of Michigan; sisters, Mary of Mississippi, and Pat of Arkansas; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Visitation will be from 1-2 p.m. Thursday, May 10, and services to follow at 2 p.m., at Palm Mortuary, 7400 W. Cheyenne Ave, Las Vegas

 

 

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."    Facebook Harry spends his time teaching jazz piano online and playing solo piano gigs.

 

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