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Blues Jam Preparation


drohm

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B major...I'm doing a fill in gig tomorrow. At last night's rehearsal the guitar player called a tune that I had charted in A. At least he looked at me apologetically when he said "...in B." Great!

 

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I have a question regarding common keys at jams. I know that some guitar players tune down a half step, but if a keyboard player calls tunes in less common keys (F sharp; A flat, E flat...), or a few more chord changes than usual (maybe something like "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" ..."in C sharp" :whistle: ) are people going think that he's being a dick?

 

You are the keyboard player. At a typical blues jam YOU do not get to pick keys, songs, etc. Your job is to fill in the place between the last guitar solo and the next guitar solo as unobtrusively as possible.....

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WavePackets, just curious, what blues keyboard players are you into these days?

 

Bruce - I really like band players like Reese Wynans, Chris Stainton, James Toney, ...too many to list. I'm also into the older stuff and jazz roots. I also play guitar so I get into a lot of blues that have both great keys and guitar. Any great suggestions?

NS3C, Hammond XK5, Yamaha S7X, Sequential Prophet 6, Yamaha YC73, Roland Jupiter X

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Don't forget the Key of B! Blues Jams are guitar player dominated, and they LOVE the key of B

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If you get to pick a tune to play or sing do a blues song in F.....most guitar players hate that key....the good ones don't, but the wanna-be slingers just can't handle it. They will want to move the key to E....tell 'em no.

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I have a question regarding common keys at jams. I know that some guitar players tune down a half step, but if a keyboard player calls tunes in less common keys (F sharp; A flat, E flat...), or a few more chord changes than usual (maybe something like "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" ..."in C sharp" :whistle: ) are people going think that he's being a dick?
Yes.

 

Edit: the whole point of a jam is to play tunes that everybody can pick up on easily and play and have fun. There are a few players at my regular jam who think the game is "Stump The Band." They call tunes with fast and unusual changes or ones that are way far away from blues or rock standards. There's one guy who brings his electric 12-string and wants to do Byrds tunes(!). When these guys call these tunes, usually the other players turn away and make a face. Later on they say to me, "It's supposed to be a jam." So yes, they think these guys are dicks.

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Don't forget the Key of B! Blues Jams are guitar player dominated, and they LOVE the key of B.
I've been in a lot of blues jams and rarely hear the key of B called. Maybe Bm for Thrill Is Gone.
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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I've never had guitar players tune down at a jam, because everyone would have to tune down then.
Some guitar players tune down a half step, usually Jimi Hendrix or SRV wannabes. But nobody else has to tune down. If the guitar player calls a tune, he calls it in the key he's in and everybody else plays in the key. If he plays a tune in his open E form, he says he's in Eb, then everybody else plays in Eb. I've had one of these guitar heroes in a jam and he would call the key in what it was for the rest of the band, not what it was for him. So for instance, he's playing in B position but he's tuned a half step down so he calls the tune in Bb for everybody else.
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Many times whoever calls the tune will give a clue about the changes just before the downbeat - stay on the I, there's a quick IV (or no quick IV), V to sharp V, minor blues IV and V are dominant (or all minor), VI II V, II V I turnaround, etc. If you know what those mean, you're good to go.

 

Sometimes they'll call the beat for the drummer - fast shuffle, flat tire, rhumba, slow blues, etc.

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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If someone calls out "Stormy Monday" LAY OUT the first verse.

 

There are so many different versions of this song chordally, that you need to wait to see which they're doing.

 

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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