#1
I started playing lead guitar with a blues band, and I am having trouble figuring out what to play between solos. The singer is a good acoustic guitarist, he also plays some nice slide.

So I need to work out some parts and I am looking for examples of blues chord progression to play.

Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed

Cheers

W
#2
So I'm guessing the acoustic player is playing rhythm all the time?

There's a few things you could do, and - as you're probably guessing - less is more. You don't want to step on the singer's toes, either his vocals or his rhythm guitar.
Rhythmically, you could just put a few punctuating stabs in here and there.
Lead-wise, there's always the chance of the odd answering phrase between vocal phrases - "call and response" - but don't overdo this!
The other thing is a simple riff, which might compliment what the bass player is doing. I'm thinking of the kind of thing you hear from around 2:05 here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpKB6OZ_B4c
- there's some sample guitar fills later too.

Here's Buddy Guy filling with riffs behind Junior Wells:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygoQ3dGGPTM
(love the part where JW grabs Buddy's guitar to stop his solo!)

Obviously there's no acoustic rhythm in either of those, but those sort of licks/riffs could still compliment the rhythm. They're all based on chord arpeggios, usually adding the 6th or 7th.

If you want electric complimenting acoustic (behind vocals) on blues-based material, you could go back to those Elvis Sun recordings

When you say you're "looking for examples of blues chord progression to play", you mean new songs? Or changing or adding chords to the songs you're already playing? (I assume you know the chord progressions in the songs you're already playing... )
#3
Look up a couple of Clapton songs, Further on up the Road and Before You Accuse Me. 2nd one is on the Journeyman album, Further On is from a live album in the 80's I can't remember which one. Also Bell Bottom Blues and Key to the Highway from the Layla album.

Clapton is one of the best at fills, and aside from the Cream 3 piece he usually had a pretty big band, with at least one other guitar player.

Mustang Sally, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck is another good example.

I play in a 3 piece with electronic drums, rhythm guitar usually on acoustic, I have the same issue. I have to keep some sort of rhythm going and add some fills, without competing with vocals or stepping on rhythm guitar player's toes. I use a combination of lead and rhythm, usually keep the fills simple, and in some songs I've developed specific fills I use that are the same every time or the same as in the original recording.

It varies according to the feel of the song, in many cases I do almost no fills at all, just a rhythm part that is often pretty close to what the other guitar does and his volume is often low enough it basically amounts to filler. He can play a little lead, but I can't get him to do it. I wish he would, he's better than he thinks he is.

Mostly, keep it simple and sparse, don't play on top of vocals, and in a lot of cases you can use something like the intro to Keep Your Hands to Yourself, by Georgia Satellites, variations of that have been used on many songs. Just adjust it to the style and key of the song. It works as a moving part, but not quite an actual lead, and won't step on the rhythm part.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Dec 12, 2015,
#4
Quote by jongtr
So I'm guessing the acoustic player is playing rhythm all the time?

There's a few things you could do, and - as you're probably guessing - less is more. You don't want to step on the singer's toes, either his vocals or his rhythm guitar.
Rhythmically, you could just put a few punctuating stabs in here and there.
Lead-wise, there's always the chance of the odd answering phrase between vocal phrases - "call and response" - but don't overdo this!
The other thing is a simple riff, which might compliment what the bass player is doing. I'm thinking of the kind of thing you hear from around 2:05 here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpKB6OZ_B4c
- there's some sample guitar fills later too.

Here's Buddy Guy filling with riffs behind Junior Wells:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygoQ3dGGPTM
(love the part where JW grabs Buddy's guitar to stop his solo!)

Obviously there's no acoustic rhythm in either of those, but those sort of licks/riffs could still compliment the rhythm. They're all based on chord arpeggios, usually adding the 6th or 7th.

If you want electric complimenting acoustic (behind vocals) on blues-based material, you could go back to those Elvis Sun recordings

When you say you're "looking for examples of blues chord progression to play", you mean new songs? Or changing or adding chords to the songs you're already playing? (I assume you know the chord progressions in the songs you're already playing... )



Yes, that is the sort of thing I am looking for. Sometimes it feels like it's too easy and I am not doing much at all while the Singer on his acoustic is doing his thing.
#5
Quote by Paleo Pete
Look up a couple of Clapton songs, Further on up the Road and Before You Accuse Me. 2nd one is on the Journeyman album, Further On is from a live album in the 80's I can't remember which one. Also Bell Bottom Blues and Key to the Highway from the Layla album.

Clapton is one of the best at fills, and aside from the Cream 3 piece he usually had a pretty big band, with at least one other guitar player.

Mustang Sally, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck is another good example.

I play in a 3 piece with electronic drums, rhythm guitar usually on acoustic, I have the same issue. I have to keep some sort of rhythm going and add some fills, without competing with vocals or stepping on rhythm guitar player's toes. I use a combination of lead and rhythm, usually keep the fills simple, and in some songs I've developed specific fills I use that are the same every time or the same as in the original recording.

It varies according to the feel of the song, in many cases I do almost no fills at all, just a rhythm part that is often pretty close to what the other guitar does and his volume is often low enough it basically amounts to filler. He can play a little lead, but I can't get him to do it. I wish he would, he's better than he thinks he is.

Mostly, keep it simple and sparse, don't play on top of vocals, and in a lot of cases you can use something like the intro to Keep Your Hands to Yourself, by Georgia Satellites, variations of that have been used on many songs. Just adjust it to the style and key of the song. It works as a moving part, but not quite an actual lead, and won't step on the rhythm part.


Thanks, it's good to hear from someone that's overcome this. I am very conscience of not stepping on any toes. The singer is a very good rhythm guitarist and he plays a lot of fills as well. Some songs I don't think he really needs a lead guitar, especially when he breaks out the slide.
#6
OK then you need to work out between you who is going to do what. I like to make sure a 2nd guitar player watches me, if I know he's good I'll throw him the lead any old time, often without any set ideas on who is going to do what. Other times we'll work out in advance who plays lead and who pays rhythm on what songs. But if he also does a good job on leads and fills, that's the best way to go, keep an eye on each other and make sure you know who takes leads and fills in what songs.

In some cases, I have a hard time doing leads and vocals, so I'll get someone else to handle fills if I'm singing. One we're doing now, Melissa, by the Allman Brothers, gives me fits. I do leads and vocals, and it has leads all over the vocals, so I have to do both. I'm finally getting the hang of it after 6 months of trying and fumbling all over the place. Still missed one line of the vocals last night...got the wrong words...

Main thing that is a problem usually is volume levels. If he's going to do the majority of guitar in a song, pull your volume back and let him stand out. That's the number one problem with two guitar players, most don't know how to control the volume and dynamics in a song. After playing together 15 years we have it down pretty much, all of us know when it needs to be louder and quieter. Things like Magnolia, Wonderful Tonight or slow dance songs we keep it lower overall, things like Rockin Down the Highway we put the pedal to the floor...And we work the dynamics during the songs too. But that takes a good bit of working together...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#7
wig..sounds like you guys need to have a meeting and get a direction of who is doing what..do you record what your doing..if not .. block some time and review what you guys sound like and what you need to work on..frustration and not confronting what is a problem with organizing the band leads to early breakups and hard feelings..not a good musical environ..

if you guys are working and want to stay working get together and make it tight..being an unemployed musician can be a career you don't want
play well

wolf
#8
Mike Bloomfield was one of the masters of accenting the groove with fills, arpeggios, and little riffs to add interest without stepping all over the vocals in the Paul Butterfield Blues band. Give it a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwMqBvBLJio
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#9
Quote by wolflen
wig..sounds like you guys need to have a meeting and get a direction of who is doing what..do you record what your doing..if not .. block some time and review what you guys sound like and what you need to work on..frustration and not confronting what is a problem with organizing the band leads to early breakups and hard feelings..not a good musical environ..

if you guys are working and want to stay working get together and make it tight..being an unemployed musician can be a career you don't want


Thanks, yes we have discussed it, and the singer/guitarist is open in regads to what I play. He just doesn't have any suggestions, he bascially wants me to come up with something and he will go with that if he likes it. So far most of the solos and stuff I have he is good with.

We haven't recorded ourselves yet though... good suggestion.
#10
When you have two guitarist in a band, here are some tips:

1) play in different registers. if he's playing low chords around the first three frets, then you play further up. You don't always have to do this, but it helps sometimes.

2) this ties into #1, use small chord voicings and omit the root when possible - sometimes limiting yourself to the top three strings ( E, B and G) will help clear up space.

3) use silence and sustain to differentiate your parts from the acoustic -- for example if he's constantly strumming a low chord, then maybe simply play a voicing up high but let it ring out over a few bars - or simply play a quick rnb stab

4) single note lines - don't be afraid to simply riff some single note patterns if he's strumming away.

It's a challenge having two guitarists - the trick is to try to stay out of each other's sonic territory as best as possible. This often means playing chords and lines that you wouldn't normally do when playing alone.
#11
1) Lay out

Not playing is always an option, even if you are the only guitarist, and can actually help the song by drastically changing the texture temporarily. Sometimes its better to just let the singer sound amazing, than to over complicate with a lick that you yourself dont care for

2) Listen to sax players who accompany singers. They have this shit on lock. Trumpet players too

3) (best advice inbound) watch the links people posted in this thread

You asked for blues progressions. Well, its more or less always just about the same. 12 bar is most common, but there are 8 bar blues, 16 bar blues, etc. Really, the biggest difference between typical blues progressions *how long do you wait before going to IV (F in the key of C, or A in the key of E the first time*

That cue is usually taken from the singer. And in fact, tons of early blues tunes, that amount of time spent on the I chord changes all the time. They just chunk out on I, and when the lyrics pick up a bit, its time to go to IV


Jimmy Page is actually really great at this sort of thing. Here is an example of a pretty typical minor blues that goes to VI on the tag

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4THXeOD-Dw
Last edited by bassalloverthe at Dec 14, 2015,
#12
An awesome amount of experience & knowledge to draw upon on, in these forums

Thanks guys, I very much appreciate the help.
#13
Definitely bone up on the standard Blues accompaniment styles. When you gotta shuffle, you gotta shuffle. You can probably Youtube enough to get you started. If there are blues jams where you live, check out a few and listen to what other players are doing.

It's also a good idea to start practicing your chord inversions. It's really easy to be very generic and only use a couple of chord voicings, but knowing how to play those chords in different registers on the neck, how to alter the chords, how to play bigger or smaller voicings... opens up your playing quite a bit.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 14, 2015,
#14
Quote by Cajundaddy
Mike Bloomfield was one of the masters of accenting the groove with fills, arpeggios, and little riffs to add interest without stepping all over the vocals in the Paul Butterfield Blues band. Give it a listen.


Never heard of them, have now!!

Thanks!!