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playing the blues
February 26, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This week's lesson is sticking with the blues again. Last week, you learned the basic 12-bar blues form and the blues variation. Now, we're going to talk about how to change the melody in the right hand to create a bluesier feel.

Let me start by saying that if you are singing a bluesy melody, you only need to bend certain notes in your voice to get the effect you want. The same is true if you play the saxophone, trumpet or guitar. You bend a note by either starting on the written note, then bending down then back up. Or you can start on the written note and bend up then back down.

I'm sorry to say that you cannot really do this on the piano. There are 88 defined notes/strings/hammers that cannot be bent. You actually can bend a note on a keyboard with the bend switch but you wouldn't want to be a cheater now would you?! So what do you do? I got the secret!

Blues lesson
If you want to learn lots more about the blues, I highly recommend "How to Play Blues Piano Styles" by Robert Laughlin. You can't get it on Amazon or in stores but I sell many of these in classes that I teach and I learned everything I know about how to play blues piano from this program.

You will learn the blues form, many variations, blues scales, boogie-woogie, the shuffle rhythm, chord voicings, and basic improvisational techniques. The program is $39 plus $5 shipping. Because you cannot order this item on the website, you can send $44 by Paypal to or a check to PO Box 1360, Burlington, MA 01803.

Until next time,

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