Watch the Blues Bass Survival Guide online guitar lesson by Andrew Ford from Blues Bass Survival Guide
Blues is that one style of music that every bass player should aspire to play well. It is the foundation of many contemporary music styles such as jazz, rock, soul, R&B, gospel and country. So if you play one of those styles of music, you have already been exposed to the blues because all those styles have borrowed from it. Let's say you find yourself on stage with an R&B drummer, rock guitar player, jazz piano player, and a singer, and you need to find a song to play together. The common thread is almost always the blues. When we think of blues bass the first thing that may come to mind is dum-da dum-da dum-da dum. Although that is a big part of the blues, in this course we will play a variety of grooves that make up the blues tradition current and past. The blues is very diverse, along with the shuffles, there are funkier blues, rockin' blues, New Orleans style blues, jazz style blues, waltzes, soulful blues and many other varieties. Don't let its simplicity fool you though, the structure may be simple but playing blues bass is not easy, though it can be fun and extremely valuable in developing your overall groove. As a bass player in the blues you are driving the truck, you are not only holding down the groove rhythmically with the drums, but often providing melody and harmony in your bass lines, especially in a trio setting. If you are going to be a well rounded bass player you have to get comfortable with the blues, it will surely pay musical dividends. There is a rich heritage of the blues, delta blues starting with artists like Son House, Robert Johnson, and Charlie Patton that lead to more modern artists like Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Albert King, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker who influenced today's artists like Eric Clapton, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, Robben Ford and many others. It's important to go back and get some historical perspective because like Johnny B. Gayden, bass player for Albert King and many others says "start at the roots to develop the best fruits".