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David's Tip of the Day: Openings, Part 2 - From the I (Common Jam-safe Blues Openings)

David Barrett Admin's picture

Our first type of opening is simply from the beginning of the 12 Bar Blues Form, from the I (from the one... we use Roman numerals for chords). The speech will be as follows for "Need My Baby" by Big Walter Horton...

1) "G"

2) "Shuffle" (in this case with a Quick Change)

3) "From the I"

4) Count the band in and play

Make sure to hear the song in your head before tapping your foot and counting them in (it's easy to count the tempo too fast, or slow if you're not careful). Count 1 2 3 4 and play. If you need more time in your count (the band is busy tuning or just generally distracted), then use a Pre-Count, which is the 1, 2 that Walter uses preceding the 1 2 3 4. With the pre-count you say 1, then skip a beat, 2, skip a beat, 1 2 3 4.

Extra Credit for Advanced Players
Walter says, "1, 2, a 1 2 3 4." The "a" in there is an advanced way to count a song in that's a shuffle, swing or slow blues. With that simple "a" he's telling the band that it's a shuffle. The "a" is only used for rhythms that use the typical swing eight feel. If it were a Two-beat (such as "Got My Mojo Working") or Rock Beat (such as a Tramp groove), you would not say that, you would use "and," like 1, 2, and 1 2 3 4 and away you go with a rock beat (straight eighths).