A Little Cheer, A Little Buddy, A Little Bluez

This is the final session with Andy, next week is our last week of class! It feels like the semester has gone by so fast, yet when I look at how I play guitar now compared to September, the improvement is pretty good!

This week Andy covered his final two videos of our course. The first was a revisit to 4 chord type progressions, this one being the open chords. Last time we did what is called “Oasis” style, which is related to a certain hit song from that band that I am unaware of, however it helps him remember it. The style this week is to the tune of “Hey Ya” by OutKast, and it is using open chords that involve a lot more movement. It still uses the G, C, D, E  chord progression from last time, but we had to focus on the movement of the chords and how to get my fingers where they need to be. To do this we did a bottom up teaching approach where we focused on the process and exact procedure of movements to improve. Sadly Andy only covered the chorus, but I hope to eventually learn the entire song.

The second portion was learning a Buddy Holly song, “that’ll be the day”. Before any Buddy fans come on here: yes, I did absolutely butcher it! I know the song, but not well enough to sing it haha. Anyways, this is our second journey into bluezy, minor chords. In the end, it uses mostly D, A, and E so it is very similar to other songs. At one point we go to a B7 which was a new chord with similar fingering from E.

The strumming pattern was different, as it uses a shuffle strum. This involved Down-UpDown-UpDown,,,on repeat where the up lands on the offbeat before the next measure (beat 4+ or 4.5 if you study music). I didn’t quite manage to pull it off in the video, but I also have trouble with percussive elements, meaning I can’t do multiple rhythms if they are incredibly different (The vocals and strum in this case). The 4 chords strum was easier for me because everything lands in a logical spot, with one offbeat that still fits in the rhythm nicely.

(Credit: Webster Fox)

The last part we covered is technically part of the Buddy Holly song, but I ended early as to not make more of a disgrace to the song! Instead I studied this separately. 12 bar bluez is a common bridge, verse, and even chorus chord progression in jazz and bluez songs. It uses similar chords to the rest of the song, just in a special pattern. While not normally taught in this way, I think the amount of repeats leads to the end (e.g. 4-2-2-1-1-1-1, it changes faster as you reach the end). Below I have created a graphic outlining the chord progression starting with A and ending with E.  In the video I apply this pattern by doing a scat vocal solo of some sort over 2 sets of this pattern. You will see in jazz music, especially standards and high school level, this is used as a bridge for people to freely improvise over using jazz scales. My high school background in Jazz and Vocal Jazz allowed me to use prior knowledge to scat, however this is not a taught skill in this course, so don’t expect Andy to teach you!

This has been an awesome experience, and I look forward to posting my summation of the project next week. Have a great semester everyone, and thank you for reading/watching!

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