Cool man.. I'm picking up what you're putting down..
Whenever I feel a bit lost, stagnant, meh, or whatever, in terms of the the progression of my playing abilities (which is just about everyday), I revisit the basic blues stuff.. I'm sure it goes without saying, but I really feel that a strong foundation in the blues is the key for being able to rip it up in the 'Jam Genre'.
It's evident that The Warlocks and then the early Grateful Dead's music was heavily influenced by the blues. It's to bad that blues players of today seem to stay in their comfort zone and tend not to go off into improvisational jamming.
Last edited by PaulJay on Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
PaulJay wrote:It's evident that The Warlocks and then the early Grateful Dead's music was heavily influenced by the blues. It's to bad that blues players of today seem to stay in their comfort zone and tend not to go off into improvisational jammig.
Yup, PigPen was a blues guy and his dad was an R&B/blues DJ. In the Warlocks formative year(s) they were really a blues band with some pop and R&R thrown in. That's the roots of the Dead.
"Do not write so that you can be understood, write so that you cannot be misunderstood." -Epictetus
First show: 8/16/69 (Woodstock) Last show: 3/19/95 (Unbroken Chain breakout) Member of the Four-Decade Club Charter Member, President & CEO of OAD (Order of the Ancient Deadheads)
Yeah I feel like one of my faults as a player tends to be over-playing, never coming up for air. Listening to some blues can help cure that (Miles Davis too). There's also a certain sense of drama, or swagger, or mustard, or whatever you want to call it, to good blues playing. Big dramatic licks, and very expressive--emphasizing certain notes by digging in harder, lots of bends, slides & vibrato. In that respect you can hear a LOT of blues in Garcia's style.
Coming up for air, wow. That's a great way of looking at it. What I like about John Kadelic's playin is he really lays off. His hand even leaves the neck between licks on the odd occasion. I used to think it was carpal tunnel or something. Pretty sure it's just technique.
I'm so guilty about leaving space in my solos. Garcia was a master. I remember listening to the Eleven on live dead for a year before i realized that he layed off for about a minute before he even starting his solo. Probally having a smoke.
Ya can't escape the blues that's for sure. It naturally seeps into your soul with it's attractive selection of deep soul ripping melodies and expressions and combinations that are endless. Phrasing is so important and fun too. Sometimes, "It's not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play" - Miles Davis
I actually kind of mean "coming up for air" almost literally. I was taught to think like a horn player--a horn player HAS to take a breath once in a while, forcing him to phrase in such a way that allows for it. Definitely something us guitarists can learn from.
Most great guitar players can play the Blues well, it's where even shredders add some "taste" or feeling to their solos. Paul Gilbert for example specifically cites the Blues for his inspiration and his ability to play slowly. I know an old trick for auditioning people (esp guitarists) is to play slow Blues, the slower the better. If they can hang with it, they have good technique and timing.