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Thread: Resource(s) for learning blues?

  1. #1

    Default Resource(s) for learning blues?

    I've found a few interesting YouTube videos but would like something a little more structured, ie gradual progression from easy to more difficult and ideally with some explanation of what is going on from a music theory standpoint. I found some possibilities with a forum search but given that the newest posts that I found were over 4 years old I thought it a good idea to ask again.

    A couple of contenders that have been mentioned:

    Ukulele Blues, by Bruce Emery
    How to Play Blues Ukulele, pdf book from Ukulele Hunt

    I would appreciate any other suggestions, opinions on "best" for a beginner, comparisons of the above, etc.

  2. #2
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    As has been said before and will probably be repeated further down this thread, you don't "learn" the blues, you "have" the blues.

    You need to find a song or tune that reflects your mood or feelings and play around with it until it reflects yourself ... then you're "playing the blues"!

    To suggest one can "learn" the blues much like one learns a cake recipe just doesn't work for such an expressive genre.

    Take a "simple" tune like St. James Infirmary or Pretty Polly, just two chords needed, and work on it 'till it sounds like what you want it to sound like ... then you're getting somewhere

    YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  3. #3
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    The "old school" method is talk to that guy named snatch. He hangs around the crossroads.
    Kamaka HF3 Tenor
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    Martin T1K

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    As has been said before and will probably be repeated further down this thread, you don't "learn" the blues, you "have" the blues.

    You need to find a song or tune that reflects your mood or feelings and play around with it until it reflects yourself ... then you're "playing the blues"!

    To suggest one can "learn" the blues much like one learns a cake recipe just doesn't work for such an expressive genre.

    Take a "simple" tune like St. James Infirmary or Pretty Polly, just two chords needed, and work on it 'till it sounds like what you want it to sound like ... then you're getting somewhere

    YMMV
    That's an interesting idea that I have not heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by kkimura View Post
    The "old school" method is talk to that guy named snatch. He hangs around the crossroads.
    I went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride, nobody seemed to know me, everybody passed me by.

    But, I did buy a house by the river side.

  5. #5
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    To learn the Blues you need a lot of money and a bad, bad woman. In lieu of that you can get How To Play Blues Ukulele from howtoplayukulele.com. I went through the book and it is great. Another one of my favorite resources is the youtube channel, tenthumbs. It is quite a mixed bag, catering to a wide audience, but he does have periodic blues tutorials that are devoted to stuff like technical questions, turnarounds, blues songs, how to make things tasty, etc.

  6. #6
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    Manitoba Hal has some good videos online (youtube) that can get you started.

    For a humorous take featuring a "middle class" blues and bottleneck uke, check out Martin Mull's version


  7. #7
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    Robert Klein tells it true;



    Seriously though, You can learn to play a "blues song" but you can't learn to play "the" blues. For that you just do.
    Last edited by kkimura; 08-12-2019 at 07:40 AM.
    Kamaka HF3 Tenor
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  8. #8

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    It seems as though I may have mis-stated my intent. My apologies.

    I want to try to learn to play some "blues songs," as I enjoy the genre. I don't want to "be" the blues or "have" the blues (life is pretty good right now) any more than I want to "be" a chocolate cake; but I sure enjoy me some chocolate cake, given that I "have" the right recipe.

    I'll see if I can figure out how to change the thread title. In the mean time, I'll check out what kind of contract Ukulele Hunt requires to part with his educational material (thanks, ripock). If he's looking for a soul to steal, forget it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    It seems as though I may have mis-stated my intent. My apologies.

    I want to try to learn to play some "blues songs," as I enjoy the genre. I don't want to "be" the blues or "have" the blues (life is pretty good right now) any more than I want to "be" a chocolate cake; but I sure enjoy me some chocolate cake, given that I "have" the right recipe.

    I'll see if I can figure out how to change the thread title. In the mean time, I'll check out what kind of contract Ukulele Hunt requires to part with his educational material (thanks, ripock). If he's looking for a soul to steal, forget it.
    Speaking of the last remark you made, have you ever pondered what a horrible deal-maker the devil is. I was thinking about this earnestly the other day. So his deal is to give you something really good for what, 40 years or so, and in return you suffer for eternity. That's not even close to a good deal.

  10. #10
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    Oh I don't think Riley B King or Bonnie my fave female singer ever sold their souls. Might be thu that uke as a happy go instrument is not exactly one to choose.

    With our ukes we can definately cry and sing too with some bad bad experiences we have had, but after a while it is good to find a happy song that suits better. And makes us feel better. I can never listen very long Bonnie's blues singings and much prefer some other genres she play have played and plays. But so good hear her souring electric slide guitar that she always have played better than than other players.

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