Swing Blues covers a variety of genres from the jazzy influenced Jump and West Coast styles to the Western Swing and Rockabilly styles of the 40’s, 50s and 60’s. Guitarists like T-Bone walker, Bill Jennings, Tiny Grimes, Duke Robillard, Hollywood Fats and Charlie Christian are widely acknowledged for establishing the role of the guitar in this exciting musical genre.
David Blacker’s Rhythm Edition of the Swing Blues Survival Guide guides you through all of the essential concepts and techniques you’ll need command of to play solid rhythm guitar across virtually the entire Swing Blues songbook.
”Swing blues rhythm styles cover a range of genres, from classic swing to western swing, rockabilly, jump blues, west coast blues and bebop. Having a range of these sounds and textures to play with is the key to solid swing blues rhythm playing. Aside from absorbing a new rhythmic vocabulary, playing swing blues rhythm requires an advanced understanding of blues harmony and chord substitutions, all which we’ll cover in the Rhythm Edition of the Swing Blues Survival Guide.”
David organized the course into two sections. In the first section, you’ll learn the key concepts that form the theoretical basis for playing swing blues rhythm, while also examining key techniques which are used frequently: Basic Swing Blues Harmony, Advanced Swing Blues Harmony, Half-Steppin’, Comping Study 1 and Comping Study 2.
In the second section, you’ll play your way through 10 specific Performance Studies designed to give you the chordal and rhythmic vocabulary of some of the greatest swing blues guitarists.
David demonstrates all of the Performance Studies over rhythm tracks and then breaks them down by stepping you through the key concepts, techniques and creative approaches that he used in each study.
T-Bone's Choice Cuts - ”T-Bone Walker is a great guitar player to study when it comes to rhythm playing. As with many jump/swing guitarists, T-Bone's approach often blurs the lines between rhythm and lead. In this segment, we'll look at two really characteristic T-Bone rhythmic vamps in the key of C. They both work well over a mid-tempo swing groove and can be used interchangeably. In the first segment, we'll look at some simple horn like stabs that outline the I, IV & V chord changes. In the second segment, we'll look at backsliding into some fat 9th chord voicings.”
The Hollywood Shuffle - ”In this study, we're going to look at Hollywood Fats' rhythmic approach to a shuffle in E, based off the tune Red Headed Woman. We'll look at things like the interplay between rhythm and lead elements, walking bass lines, and some characteristic Fats voicings. Take note of the interplay between the E13th chord over the I (major sound) and the A7 chord over the IV (dominant sound), which Fats used a lot in his playing.”
Tiny's Time - ”In this lesson, we'll look at voicings on the top three strings in the key of Bb, inspired by some of the comping patterns played by guitarist Tiny Grimes. One of the key takeaways from this piece is the endless possibilities that can come from small moveable chord fragments on the top three strings. We can move up the neck, down the neck, and play different inversions to really create a unique rhythm sound and approach.”
T-Bone's Weather Report - ”In this piece we'll take a look at T-Bone's rhythmic approach to his classic "Stormy Monday Blues." This classic rhythm pattern is a MUST KNOW for any Swing Blues player. You can cop it note for note, or use the elements to craft your own rhythmic variations. It's in the key of G, and features some great fat 9th chord voicings, half-step approaches, and arpeggiated picking.”
Swingin' With The Duke - ”Aside from being able to mimic many of the classic swing blues guitarists to a tee, Duke Robillard mixes it all up into his own unique thing. This piece was inspired by his take on some of Freddie Green's 4-to-the-bar style comping ideas. It's in the key of Bb, with chord movement spanning the fretboard from the 1st to the 12th fret.”
8 Bar Blues’n - ”The 8 bar blues is a format used widely in swing blues, so it's good to get comfortable with the changes and possibilities. In this piece, we'll look at a double stop style approach to comping through an 8 bar blues in Bb. You can hear this kind of thing in the playing of guys like Hubert Sumlin, Hollywood Fats, Cliff Gallup, and others. “
Jumpin' With Junior - ”This approach is in the key of G, based off some of Junior Watson's ideas on the album Double Dealin’ by William Clarke. It's a pretty straight-forward rhythmic approach to jump blues. Take note of the different harmonic textures, from 6's to dominant 7th & extended dominant sounds.”
Swing It On Over - ”This piece was inspired by the pedal steel solo on the Hank Williams song "Move It On Over." Pedal steel riffs often incorporate some really great chordal moves, and can provide a wealth of inspiration for new comping ideas. The idea behind this one is to tune into the different chord melodies as well as the different shapes and fragments used.”
Hollywood Stomp - ”Hollywood Stomp was inspired by the rhythm playing of Hollywood Fats. I highly recommend picking up his two album set entitled The Hollywood Fats Band, which has a ton of great jump blues rhythm ideas. This piece is in the key of D, featuring some nice moveable chord shapes built off the top four strings. Try to tune into the subtle differences in tonality from chord fragment to chord fragment.”
All of the Performance Studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons. Plus, David generously includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s get swingin’ with David Blacker!