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David's Tip of the Day: Band Training, Part 5 - Endings

David Barrett Admin's picture

This is the #1 challenge for new bands. At School of the Blues we CONSTANTLY work on this with our house bands.

The most common ending for blues is where the ending lick happens in Bar 11. There are two common ways to approach this ending:

1) If the leader (singer or last person to solo) looks back to the band at Bar 10 (the IV Chord) and nods there head or says "here we go," or saying something of that nature, then EVERYONE should play an ending lick.

Reference Improvising Study 6 ( and make sure to memorize at least two licks that you like so you can whip them out without thinking about them.

2) If the leader raises their hand at Bar 10 (remember, up slow for four counts) and drops it on the downbeat of Bar 11 (the I Chord) then ONLY the leader plays an ending lick and the band enters back on BEAT 2 of BAR 12.

Two things are important here...

#1 - As the leader you must be SOLID in your rhythm and play a lick that logically leads to Beat 2 of Bar 12 (again, reference the endings lesson)

#2 - The band needs to be assertive and come back in on Beat 2 of Bar 12. Most new bands are gun-shy to count and play confidently when it comes to coming back in on Beat 2. So, if you're a band member, it's important that you be assertive and enter back in on Beat 2, unless something difference has been arranged.

Happy New Year to everyone!