Improvising using “Blues Solo Construction Kit” and “How To Improvise Blues Solos”

Discussion in 'How To Improvise Blues Solos' started by Silicon Valley Tom, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    For the purpose of clarity, I am going to use a 12 bar Blues as an example. The purpose of this post is to point out some basic differences in these two courses. It is a matter of approach. I also have a question which perhaps someone can answer?

    Blues Solo Construction Kit

    Shuffle

    We have a “blueprint” page, which utilizes five “Positions”

    We have as many as 13 bars to “squeeze” into 12 bars. The terms Position and Licks are used together. You learn a series of Licks (1-5), to be used in specific positions (5). Each of the series of licks (1-5) has five examples from different sources or styles.

    Slow Blues

    We have a “blueprint” page, which utilizes seven “Positions”

    We have as many as 15 bars to “squeeze” into 12 bars. The terms Position and Licks are used together. You learn a series of Licks (1-7), to be used in specific positions (7). Each of the series of licks (1-7) has five examples from different sources or styles.

    How To Improvise Blues Solos

    Shuffle

    We have as many as 15 bars to “squeeze” into 12 bars.

    The term “Lick” is used without reference to “Position”. You learn a series of Licks (1-5) to be used in any of 6 possible areas of a 12 bar Blues. There are from 2-6 examples within each of the 5 series of Licks. The licks within a series (1-5) are the same and may be in a different key or guitar neck position.


    Slow Blues

    We have 12 bars to fit into 12 bars.

    The term “Lick” is used without reference to “Position”. You learn a series of Licks (1-5) to be used in any of 6 possible areas of a 12 bar Blues. There are from 2-3 examples within each of the 5 series of Licks. The licks within a series (1-5) are the same and may be in a different key or guitar neck position.

    On the last page of the manual (page 76) there is a comment about the “4 Steps For Mastery for every new lick that you learn”. I must have missed something as the only reference I can find to that term is on page 4 in the title “Shuffle Lick 1 – 4 Steps To Mastery”

    Can someone tell me what those 4 steps are?

    It appears to me that a major difference in these two courses is the concept of how many “positions” or total number of licks exist within a 12 bar Blues. Comparing the two we have:


    Blues Solo Construction Kit


    Shuffle --- 5 positions

    Slow --- 7 positions


    How To Improvise Blues Solos

    Shuffle --- 6 positions

    Slow --- 6 positions



    To me this indicates that a lick, has to have the ability to “fit” into a specific space. You have to pay attention to that reality as well as having a lick that has the correct “feel” for the type of Blues you are playing.

    Personally, I am not one for stringing together any just licks. I like to use licks that allow the song to have the sound of a conversation, and flow, while not sounding like a “Chinese Laundry”! Some words are emphasized more than others. A conversation may be “in your face”, or any number of emotions you can consider. If the licks you choose sound good then use them.

    So after all of this I repeat my question: Can someone tell me what the 4 Steps To Mastery are?

    By the way, that term - "4 Steps To Mastery" reminds me of my Karate and Judo days. My thanks to Ralph Castro and Ben Palacio, my instructors. I miss you guys.

    Tom
     
  2. Thatman

    Thatman Playin' for the fun of it.

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    This is an extract from the HTI course pdf:

    The 4 Qualities Of A Blues Lick

    There are 4 qualities you have to know about a lick before you can really know it and use it:

    1. When it starts – What beat does it start on? Is it in the middle of a bar or is it a pickup to the measure to come?

    2. When it ends – What beat, speci cally, does it end on? Does the last note ring out such that it could be shortened if needed? Know when the last note is struck, not just how long it rings out.

    3. What chords are involved–Is the lick meant over the I, IV, V, or a combination of chords? We are focusing on blues so we’ll stick to the 3 primary chords found in a blues progression.

    4. What scale(s) and pattern(s) is it from – What scales and/or patterns created the lick? Is it from the minor blues scale? Is it box 1 or box 4? Is it a major blues sound or a minor blues sound?
     
  3. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    Thank you for your answer. On the last page of the pdf we have:

    The best thing that you can do for yourself now is to continue to use the 4 Qualities to evaluate a lick, and the 4 Steps For Mastery for every new lick that you learn.



    You have to excuse my Catholic School Education, as the comma and the conjunction “and”, made me think that there were two subjects being referenced. :) I do like your answer, as I would otherwise not be sure of a suitable solution.

    Tom
     
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  4. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    They are 2 separate things, I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.

    In the manual, on page 3, I believe, is the 4 Qualities of a lick:
    1. When it starts
    2. When it ends
    3. What chords are involved
    4. What scales/patterns are involved.

    The 4 Steps To Mastery are used throughout the course, but broken down the most for the first lick. The thing is, in the manual they aren't listed as such. Because of the fact that they are used so much throughout the video, and I mostly just put transcriptions in the manual, you won't see them in the manual.

    The 4 Steps To Mastery are (in a nutshell):
    1. Count out loud and play the lick every time it’s starting beat comes
    along. Do this as long as necessary until you have the lick
    memorized and it’s comfortable up to speed.
    2. Count out loud through the 12 bar form that you’ll be soloing over,
    and make any adjustments to the lick that need to be made for the
    chord changes.
    3. Turn on the jam track you’ll be playing over and “hum it.”
    4. Play the lick along with the jam track – creating a “1 lick solo.”

    That was actually covered in one of the "preview" videos, but like I said, doesn't appear in the manual for the course as such.

    Griff
     
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  5. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    As for using HTI with BSCK, they are slightly different.

    BSCK is very "Plug and play," in that, if you use the licks in the position they are intended for, you won't have to make any modifications. So all you need to know is 1 of the 4 qualities (when it starts.)

    So if you are playing a shuffle, and there are 5 positions, you simple choose 1 lick for each position, note when it starts, and play it at the right time. If you do that, your solo will sound pretty good - it's really hard to choose stuff that won't sound good together.

    As long as you stick to the program, you can come up with a lot of cool solos.

    However, at some point, there is a glass ceiling, and you'll probably want to venture "off the reservation," and in order to do that, you need the other 3 Qualities, and you need to be able to master a lick completely using the 4 Steps or you're really going to struggle, and if you are able to turn a lick into something useful, it'll basically be luck.
     
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  6. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    Thank you very much Griff. That is a great explanation and I appreciate it.

    Tom