To play the Blues is more a matter of personal emotions than a structured song that can be written in Guitar Tabs and have it in front of you so you hit every note in the song every time the same way. The blues has been around in some form or another for over one hundred years. The folks who first sang and played the blues may not have had reading and writing skills for that matter. But they were able to communicate through the blues.
The blues is like an Alligator waiting to strike. Once it gets a hold of you, it is all over. You know I live, eat and drink the blues, I also play the blues on my guitar. No matter what I start out playing, I always drift back to the blues. Mostly heavy, dirty rotten low down blues. I’m under it’s spell.
I started this post with a specific thought in mind. That most of the blues is pretty much play it the way you feel at the time. I have heard so many versions of ‘Red House’ by Jimi Hendrix, played by Jimi Hendrix, it’s like once you know the tune, play it the way you feel, use your emotions. I mean, no way he was writing down the notes. Any transcription of Hendrix in writing was done by someone who transcribes music, like Andy Aledort.
Take the song ‘Texas Flood’ written by Larry Davis and Joseph Wade Scott, made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan. I have never heard Stevie Ray play it the same twice. His walk-arounds are always different if you listen real close. Watch Ray on a DVD, it is not hard to tell SRV is in a spell himself. Emotions brother. By the way, Texas Flood is not about the weather, listen to it a few times, let me know what you think it is about.
I’m not saying I don’t use tabs, I do, but you have to know the song intimately because tabs don’t give you timing or rhythm, which makes this complicated ultra difficult vibe hard to play unless you know the song or can sight read music in the classical manner.
I was psyched and ready to learn to sight read music, it is harder than I though, I will put it on the back burner now, but won’t forget about it.
The more I play my guitar the better I get qnd it becomes easier to express emotions when you don’t have to think about what you are playing, it flows out of you instinctively. What a great feeling. At this point in my guitar playing and practicing vibe, the blues and it’s free form style comes easier to me. I have never liked being pinned down or put in a mental or physical cage.
I have always been very independent and done things my way, I think the blues suits me well in more ways than one.
The people who know me know I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I can’t fake it, bottom line. When the emotion hits me, I play what I feel. What ever comes out of my brain and penetrates my fingers is what comes out, pieces of Hendrix and his influences, Stevie Ray licks, they all mix together and form my vibe.
My goal is to play the guitar like Hendrix. A lofty goal I will never realize, but I’ll have a lot of fun trying to get there. I will get there too, someday I’ll meet Jimi and Stevie and all the late great bluesmen on the next world. And I’ll probably be late. GuitarPlayersCenter.com