Blues Lick #7: Flat-Three to Five Patterns – From ‘A Study in Blues Piano‘
UPDATED by Kent: Mar. 30, 2021. A video blues tutorial describing a versatile lick pattern for jazz and blues piano.
This short jazzy series of chromatic notes, which I call the Flat-3 to 5, is a familiar expression in the Blues. This easy type of lick (you can alter the lick very easily) is heard in a trillion mainstream jazz and blues melodies, as well as in all related music, anything that has even a touch of Blues Inflection.
Which means, you could call this a cliché.
In the Blues, an improvising (lead) player might belt out a cliché, or ten, to explicitly let listeners know where they are: “You are in the Blues, thank you very much!” Any time you venture off into highly original blues territory, a cliché is a great place to come home to!
LESSON #7 – VIDEO TUTORIAL
More Sheet Music for ‘A Study in Blues Piano’
Updated Jan. 1, 2021.
Here’s a downloadable PDF file of sheet music covering Blues Piano Lick #10, for optional use with my course “A Study in Blues Piano” (all on this site).
This sheet is part of a supplemental collection I’m putting together, in response to recent requests.
Welcome to A Study in Blues Piano!
This is an in-depth study of twelve blues licks, with extensive left-hand support tips. Each lick/riff is explored in detail, including variations, fingering, playing tips, and supporting music theory.
More than just learning the notes by rote, you will get insight into the patterns, scales, chords and intervals involved, including how to transpose each lick.
As a result, each lick will be mastered as RAW MATERIAL for endless variations, with applications in many musical settings (genres).
Lick #10 of this group is actually more than a lick; rather, it gives you a complete two-handed 12-bar opening groove, including a left-hand pattern to support your licks throughout your soloing.
Students can download and print optional sheet music for several of the licks. There’s also a sample solo piece with a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 12-bar piano solo that features licks from the class.
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By Kent. D. Smith of Piano with Kent. (c) 2010. (c) 2021. All rights reserved.
THE TWELVE LICK STUDIES
Try this: Go to your instrument and play a C-major scale from top to bottom (C B A G F E D C). Play these as evenly spaced eighth notes in 4/4 time.
You will notice that the final note, the lower C, does not land on a solid beat (in this case, that would be beat one). Instead, it lands on the last eighth note of the previous measure.
Continue reading Jazz Soloing Tip #12
I recently received a question today (on my YouTube channel), an excellent one, the topic of which is subject to debate. The question is in response to one of my videos about using add9 chords on piano. (A link to the video is included below.)
I thought I would share the thread here:
Lesson #8 (video)
In this lesson, we master a couple of specific blues piano tricks of the trade. I’m using the word specific here, because we’re going to use these devices with a goal in mind, a musical effect that is pretty specific.
The “tricks” in this video are focused on emulating those sounds of blues singers and other instruments who can bend their notes (slide or play between pitches). You’ll learn about “blue notes,” and also pick up a blues-boogie playing technique called the slide-off.
Continue reading Blues Piano Crash Course #8: Blue Notes & Pitch-Bending
To all you funked-up rocking hip-hopping bluesy jazzy people out there,
Today’s post features an outrageously funky, bluesy chord which is also used in rock, jazz, and many other places.
This blues-based powerhouse is often called the “Purple Haze” chord, made famous by a Jimi Hendrix song of the same name. You may also hear it called, more generically, a “Hendrix chord.” (Hendrix did in fact use 7#9 chords in several of his major songs.)
First a SLIDE SHOW, then a VIDEO. Enjoy!
Continue reading The 7#9 Chord: Possibly the Funkiest Chord Ever
Today’s lesson is more than just a lick…
We have here a two-handed intro section, a great setup for getting any blues jam started. This opening groove covers a full 12-bar cycle, giving your listeners an exciting intro (a.k.a. “head”) which leads nicely into the next 12-bars, where you can begin your right-handed soloing. Note, you can use the left-hand (bass line) of this groove throughout your entire jam. It’s a simple and powerful bass line that keeps the beat going strong. But wait, there’s more! This lesson also includes a sample opening for your solo.
In this lesson you’ll learn a versatile way to group any “pentatonic” scale into a pair of three-note, three-finger clusters. Using this three-finger approach makes it easy to play fast and interesting licks, up and down the keyboard.
Continue reading Blues Lick #11 “Pentatonic Pads”
PREMIUM CONTENT (Lesson #3 is a free sample).
Lesson Six (video) “Put Your Hands Together – Again…”
More tips and practice on two-handed coordination for piano, using notes from the blues.
Continue reading The Blues Piano Crash Course – Lesson #6: More practice & help with two-handed coordination