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Beginner Saxophone blues instruction material in the wrong keys?

AndyB

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Durham, NC, USA
If you listen to his music or play it, you‘ll notice that everything falls just right on six strings.
I once played in a guitar show with this guy named Scott Ainslie who thinks he knows about Robert Johnson. But you obviously know more. You should write a book. How do you know what Robert Johnson played other than on the few recording sessions he played?
 

CliveMA

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Brisbane, QLD, Australia
I once played in a guitar show with this guy named Scott Ainslie who thinks he knows about Robert Johnson. But you obviously know more. You should write a book. How do you know what Robert Johnson played other than on the few recording sessions he played?
In the Netflix special on Robert Johnson they convey that Johnson was very secretive about his technique lest anyone copy him. If so, I doubt he would have permitted a photo to include his actual performance guitars. They also claimed he performed facing away from the audience so noone could see his technique.
 

Dr G

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Northern California
I once played in a guitar show with this guy named Scott Ainslie who thinks he knows about Robert Johnson. But you obviously know more. You should write a book. How do you know what Robert Johnson played other than on the few recording sessions he played?

You’re right. I wasn’t there, neither were you, so I’ll defer to you - you obviously know more. Bonus points for name dropping!
 

AndyB

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Durham, NC, USA
You’re right. I wasn’t there, neither were you, so I’ll defer to you - you obviously know more. Bonus points for name dropping!
I'm sure that with your total knowledge of the universe that you are aware that commercially-made guitars only became available in the rural South about the time the RJ was born. So there were probably very many home-made instruments floating around during his youth. Most likely he would have played some of them. Some people who knew RJ reported that he may have recorded with Kalamazoo and Stella brand guitars that were the property of the recording studio. He was not known to play the Gibson L-1. There is no record that he actually owned any of those brand, only speculation that he may have played a Kalamazoo similar to what he recorded with. To my knowledge nobody has ever commented on what RJ played in the jukes which is where he achieved his fame.

Here is an early 8-string homemade blues guitar for example:

ea9be7d8bceacea3ed08424b601e2465.jpg


PS. I used to be a semi-professional flamenco guitarist before an arm injury. So I played in a show that SA also performed in and we talked blues in the green room. I didn't mean to imply that I performed with him in that show in case you assumed that.
 
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Dr G

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Andy, you have planted such seeds of speculation that I am not even sure that Robert Johnson ever existed.

Do you have a point?
 

AndyB

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383
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Durham, NC, USA
Robert Johnson is rumoured to have made a deal with the devil to gain his prowess.

View: https://youtu.be/E1cIgRy7hUE
I'm sure he cultivated that myth for his own benefit.

The basic truth was:
1. First his playing sucked and everybody in town knew it.
2. He moved from Mississippi to Arkansas and got guitar lessons.
3. He returned to Mississippi and his playing was surprisingly good and he wasn't telling how it happened.
4. The crossroads myth was a long-standing myth that he capitalized on and people bought it - and bought him drinks.
 

AndyB

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Durham, NC, USA
I think this whole thread is at the crossroads and about to do a deal with the devil.
I heard a story called by some, "The Myth of Saxophone Pete", about a young English saxophonist who came to the American south where right away he contacted a voodoo priestess and caught a mojo rising to do his bidding. Then after getting a gig with a famous R&B band, young Pete got his mojo working and also used a black cat bone and a John the conqueror root to make the world take notice of the music he made with his mojo hands. Then he used the hot foot powder by the stage door to keep the hell hounds off his trail and goofer dust to ward off the competition from all the wannabe Petes. He made pretty women jump and shout and then started a saxophone website and told the world what it's all about. Some say this story is just legend. Some say it is true.

Musical References:
Hoochie Coochie Man - Willie Dixon (Muddy Waters)
Hellhound on my Trail - Robert Johnson
Got My Mojo Workin - Preston Foster (Muddy Waters)
Scary Day Blues- Blind Willie McTell
Black Dust Blues- Ma Rainey
LA Woman - The Doors
 

Dr G

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491
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Northern California
Hound Dog Taylor had six fingers on each hand.

Talk amongst yourselves.
 

playitsmooth

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37
Locality
Camas WA
"
Did Robert Johnson use 7 strings?



Image result for Robert johnson extra high string
In June 1937 he was again recorded in Dallas, and although he was reported to be playing a seven string, guitar by this time, it wasn't used on the sessions.

If you listen to his music or play it, you‘ll notice that everything falls just right on six strings.
True, but I just know that in the 70's when I was 17 learning to play I would tune to the record by ear, I kept breaking my high E string , I would catch myself with the high E to about F## to match some tone,I could be completely wrong it has been a long time, but remember I kept thinking his last string was tuned high, or some special false harmonic .
I just looked, (oh & BTW my guitar was tuned in Eb flat as well), and here is what the tuning is supposed by professionals; so it was different then Robert Johnson – how he may have tuned his guitar
Bit the songs I learned were: Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 11.48.32 AM.png
 

playitsmooth

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37
Locality
Camas WA
Screen Shot 2021-10-19 at 11.45.40 AM.png
That Muddy Waters and , Chuck Berry, and a few other albums, that is all the albums Available & I could find back then... none in E really...
 

AndyB

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Messages
383
Locality
Durham, NC, USA
I am a happy camper today. Last night I was finally able to start practicing on tenor again after about 6 months of working the alto and trying to get my breath support back and embouchure. I was also having problems with asthma but the horn practice is greatly improving that problem. Too bad horn playing doesn't fix old age too. LOL Until now I have only been able to blow the tenor for 5 minutes before having to sit down short of breath with my head spinning. But last night I was able to get in an hours practice in 15 minute intervals. A big milestone for me. I love my YAS62 but I love my 1947 Conn Pan Am tenor lots more.

Also, I sat down and figured out that I can cover 6 of the main "traditional" blues keys with only 4 blues keys on sax: F#, A, D and G.

Concert Keys:
E concert = F# on tenor
A concert =F# on alto
C concert = A on alto or D on tenor
G concert = A on tenor
F concert = D on alto or G on tenor
Bb concert = G on alto

I believe in practicing blues in all keys but concentrating on these 4 keys and switching horns between alto and tenor gives me a leg up on improv for now.

BTW, I highly recommend the "Know Before You Blow" playalongs by Santorella Publications for practicing blues across many keys. I have both the alto and tenor editions and they include blues scales, licks and a playalong for each of 10 keys. They all use the 1 1 1 1 - 4 4 1 1 - 5 4 1 1 progression so they give a good base of material. Swing, shuffle and jazz-rock styles are illustrated. While that sounds simplistic, some of my other books use such stylized jazz chord progressions that it's hard to transfer the material to any other chord progression.
 
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lydian

Member
Messages
68
Locality
USA
I am a happy camper today. Last night I was finally able to start practicing on tenor again after about 6 months of working the alto and trying to get my breath support back and embouchure. I was also having problems with asthma but the horn practice is greatly improving that problem. Too bad horn playing doesn't fix old age too. LOL Until now I have only been able to blow the tenor for 5 minutes before having to sit down short of breath with my head spinning. But last night I was able to get in an hours practice in 15 minute intervals. A big milestone for me. I love my YAS62 but I love my 1947 Conn Pan Am tenor lots more.

Also, I sat down and figured out that I can cover 6 of the main "traditional" blues keys with only 4 blues keys on sax: F#, A, D and G.

Concert Keys:
E - F# on alto
A - F# on tenor
C - A on alto or D on tenor
G - A on tenor
F - D on alto or G on tenor
Bb - G on alto

I believe in practicing blues in all keys but concentrating on these 4 keys and switching horns between alto and tenor gives me a leg up on improv for now.

BTW, I highly recommend the "Know Before You Blow" playalongs by Santorella Publications for practicing blues across many keys. I have both the alto and tenor editions and they include blues scales, licks and a playalong for each of 10 keys. They all use the 1 1 1 1 - 4 4 1 1 - 5 4 1 1 progression so they give a good base of material. Swing, shuffle and jazz-rock styles are illustrated. While that sounds simplistic, some of my other books use such stylized jazz chord progressions that it's hard to transfer the material to any other chord progression.
Glad to hear things are improving for you. But I don't understand your list. The first two don't make any sense. Can you explain how it works? Thanks
 

rhysonsax

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Surrey, UK
Glad to hear things are improving for you. But I don't understand your list. The first two don't make any sense. Can you explain how it works? Thanks

Just reversed tenor and alto, possibly ?

Rhys
 

turf3

Member
Messages
565
Locality
Earth
Looks to me like you need 8 keys facility to cover the 6 concert keys on both alto and tenor:

E: C# alto F# tenor
A: F# alto B tenor
C: A alto D tenor
G: E alto A tenor
F: D alto G tenor
Bb: G alto C tenor

So you need command in the following keys:

C#, F#, A, E, D, G, B, C.
 

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