Home Forums Saxophone Lessons Question about the licks in Killer Blues E-Course

This topic contains 7 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Johnny Johnny 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #81277
    Michael Bishop
    Michael Bishop
    Participant

    Hi Johnny,

    I started working on reviewing your licks in the Killer Blues course (one of my favorite courses of you have). When working on these licks in each Blues Scale, (one at a time) it seems like it’s much easier to simply know the pattern vs trying to ‘memorize’ the individual notes of these licks in each scale? An example is for lick one that’s called ‘The Starter”. When I look at this lick, the pattern is 5, 6, 1, flat 3 and 3. So if I wanted to play this lick over 12 Bar Blues in C, the pattern simply tells me to play G-A-C-Eb-E over the C Chord, then play C-D-F-Ab-A over the F chord, and then play D-E-G, Bb, and B over the G chord? It feels so much easier to think of these licks/any lick in terms of the pattern vs trying to memorize a bunch of notes?

    #81281
    Johnny
    Johnny
    Keymaster

    yes, exactly. most experienced musicians will always talk in numbers rather than actual note names. this is good practice because numbers always remain the same and chords names change every time a key is changed, and if there’s instruments that arenten’t in concert pitch (like saxophones) names can get confusing but numbers never do.

    as soon as we learn our scales and chords (really well inside out) we can easily transpose a lick from one key to another because we can simply think in numbers….just like your examples above.

    #81294
    Michael Bishop
    Michael Bishop
    Participant

    That just makes everything so much easier 🙂 So, if the other musicians are talking to me about a flat 3, flat 7, etc.. it doesn’t matter what the scale is. Based on these intervals, I’ll know exactly what note they’re talking about and can transpose it/play it to any key…..very cool 🙂

    #81314
    Johnny
    Johnny
    Keymaster

    ya, if you playing alto with a band and the guitar player says he’s staring the riff on a minor 3rd and he’s playing the song in C (concert of course) you already know you’re in your key of A and so your minor 3rd would be your C.
    This is the right way to communicate. Can you imagine if you had to have a discusiion with him about the relationship between an alto and his guitar etc? It takes sax students long enough to understand these things let alone a guitar player who has no idea or interest in it most likely…..but we can all relate to what a minor 3rd, or 5th or 4th is….in whatever key we;re in

    #81316
    Michael Bishop
    Michael Bishop
    Participant

    Before my Oral Cavity ordeal (doing great now), I became a member of the Blues Society here–was a member for a couple of months before my ordeal happened. Being around those guys was the first time in my life I’ve ever been around live musicians…..and it literally felt like learning a new language of sorts, for the exact reasons you mention LOL They let me play back up lines behind them, but I wasn’t ready to solo with them at all. All’s I had done up to that point is playing my own solos/licks over recorded backing tracks….trying to solo with a live band is a totally different’ball game’.

    I’m really jealous of people who can just, on a whim, pull out the Sax and Improvise with Blues players. I can do it with backing tracks, but I have listen to the track, give the licks/riffs going in my head and play around with it on the Saxophone. But to just do it right on the spot….way harder to do. I’ve been told it’s like anything else, the more I work at it, the better I’ll get at it. I don’t wanna just be limited to nothing but playing songs with a backing track all the time.

    #81321
    Johnny
    Johnny
    Keymaster

    think of the backing tracks like playing with a band….same thing
    when you get with a band to jam some blues, think of it as playing with the backing tracks…same thing

    this is true especially in 12 bar blues cause they ain’t gonna be doing anything different than your 12 bar backing tracks so don’t overthink and get nervous. workout at home on them and when you get with real musicians it’ll be the same thing

    #81330
    Michael Bishop
    Michael Bishop
    Participant

    That’s my problem–overthinking it. My Sax instructor I’ve worked with (we start resuming lessons again on Wed., March 20th) told me the same thing you just did–I think about it too much. He feels like I know my scales and I needed to stop thinking about it and ‘let it happen’. I talked to him yesterday and he said we’ll be working on some exercises regarding what he called chord ‘inversions’ and doing different things with Pentatonic scales that will help me to ‘play on my toes’. He told me I need to get away from just practicing scales in a ‘scale form’ because the whole point of learning scales is to help me learn to play music vs just technical exercises–makes sense what he’s saying, so we’ll see how it goes 🙂

    #81364
    Johnny
    Johnny
    Keymaster

    sounds like he has some useful exercises for you.
    inversions will expand your head, or thinking about the scales/chords.
    this is why I created those exercises in my Killer Blues course…same thing
    it goes beyond just practicing a scale, it gives you a few different variations of actual licks derived from the notes of that scale.

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