A short lesson on an old favorite, the 12 Bar Blues in Bb, utilizing a downward (mostly) quarter note pulse as the main rhythmic tool in the comp. I play through two choruses with quite a bit of embellishment, then settle into a ‘stomp’, ala ‘Freddy Green’ style accompaniment.
This style was popularized in the early to mid 20th century, particularly by guitarists in Europe and America who performed without amplification on the bigger ‘git-boxes’ (larger bodied acoustic guitars) in the rhythm sections of small and large ensembles. In order to cut through the sound of louder brass / reed instruments, Many guitarists playing in big bands for example, use this style to this day, to provide a warm, smooth underpinning comp that sits atop a walking bassline, hence the prevalent use of the quarter note rhythmic pulse.
There are other rhythmic elements to making this sound great of course – a subtle use of the upstroke on the swung note, implying the skip beat (the second of the 3 triplet quavers), the use of dynamics to make the down beats accented or slightly louder than the off-beats and lastly the use of the right hand slap on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar to create stability.
If you have any questions regarding the harmony please feel free to leave a comment!
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