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Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
#1524772 09/29/10 02:23 AM
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Hi,

I am working with Tim Richards' Improvising Blues Piano http://www.timrichards.ndo.co.uk/bluespianobook.html

Some years ago there was a Topic about it, but now it seems dead and gone.

So... Is there anybody out there working with this Book?

I am at the very beginning, but I think to spend the next 2-3 years with it and any observation, comment etc. will be wellcome!

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525001 09/29/10 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by boogieman52
Hi,

I am working with Tim Richards' Improvising Blues Piano http://www.timrichards.ndo.co.uk/bluespianobook.html

Some years ago there was a Topic about it, but now it seems dead and gone.

So... Is there anybody out there working with this Book?

I am at the very beginning, but I think to spend the next 2-3 years with it and any observation, comment etc. will be wellcome!

Thanks in advance.


I think Tim Richards's book is the best book for learning the blues, I've worked through a few different books but that was the one which was most useful.

My main advice is that the first few chapters are the most important ones so take your time and be sure to work through the sections where you are asked to improvise based on the the principles he has just explained.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525041 09/29/10 12:55 PM
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Thanks, Chris!

That's what I have decided to do, so I am working the first few chapters very slowly and step by step.

For example, when I improvise I do not use what I have learned from other books or DVDs, but I try to follow the assignments Tim has just given.

Sometimes it's a little frustrating, but I think it's the right way!

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525099 09/29/10 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by boogieman52
Thanks, Chris!

That's what I have decided to do, so I am working the first few chapters very slowly and step by step.

For example, when I improvise I do not use what I have learned from other books or DVDs, but I try to follow the assignments Tim has just given.

Sometimes it's a little frustrating, but I think it's the right way!


I also think that it is the right way. There are several distinct strategies for creating blues lines and while an advanced player will use them interchangeably it is a lot easier to learn them one at a time than all at once.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525259 09/29/10 07:58 PM
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Hi..Im using this book..there is a lot emphasis on assignments and improvisation.....I usually copy other peoples riffs as they are usually copy's of the original artist's recordings...I am a keen boogie player and are using the Colin Davey ...Learn to play Boogie Woogie book...both are excellent...have you got the Blueberry Hill syncopation left and right hand down pat??...hope we can keep talking to each other about progressing through the book.......Doug

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525365 09/30/10 01:17 AM
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Hi Dough,

the Colin Davey's book is great too and I do love it.

I bought Improvising Blues piano just a couple of days ago, so at the moment I'm working Beginner's Blues (Melodic) and its Improvisations and Assignments.

In particular I'm trying to get that driving and bouncing sound from Fig. 1.12 (b) pag.16.

The bass line in itself is easy but, as Tim Richards says, the semplicity can be deceptive!
When I listen to Yancey Stomp by Jimmy Yancey -that uses the same bass line- I wonder how he can get that bouncing sound...

Let's stay in touch and share our experience with this excellent book.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525735 09/30/10 03:29 PM
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This is a very good book on the subject. I would guess however several parts are above the reach of a true beginner.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525754 09/30/10 04:07 PM
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I think Tim Richards is right when he wrotes:

"Although a basic competence of about grade three is assumed, no matter what your level you should be able to find suitable pieces to play in every chapter of this book."

Probably it is also important how much time one has spent listening to the Blues.
In this case, imitation is the key to unlock what is too difficult from the point of view of the tecnique.

At least this is what I hope, while trying to play Beginner's Boogie (pag...18!:-)

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1525906 09/30/10 08:20 PM
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Hi Boogieman52..VideoTiger..The main objective with this book ...just work at a pace you can cope with..Listen to the CD ( burn a copy and keep the original for a master) over and over so you have got the timing in your head and I always use a metronome....I agree, imitation is what I have done playing blues guitar over the years....I have just got back into Piano after 55 years...Played as kid in late 40's early 50's..There are a lot of the left hand riffs that are copied by each of the boogie and blues players...I have about 30 different left hand boogie's in the books I have and some of them only change 1 note..
As Tim says don't be afraid to jump through the book and try different things as you can come back to the starter pages as you want ...I think technique comes with the playing....Doug

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526011 10/01/10 02:33 AM
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Hi Boogieman,

Tim Richards has put together a great course. But I do have one word of caution. On page 18, after a few beginner's pieces, he makes a huge jump in the level of difficulty, and introduces a left hand pattern that is quite difficult to play. Depending on how advanced you are, you might be wise to use a simpler left hand pattern for that lesson (and maybe some others, too.)

He actually makes it easy for you to do this, because on page 244, in Appendix II, he lists a wide assortment of blues left-hand patterns that you can choose from. That's one of the great features of the book.

Can I also toot my own horn here? On my site, I've got a beautifully produced 2-part video lesson called "How to Play a 12-Bar Blues Shuffle".

Perfect for beginners, it covers some of the same ground as the Richards book, and is particularly helpful because you can watch my playing from an overhead perspective, and also from the side view so you can grasp the technique required to play in this style.

Step by step, it teaches you the left hand pattern, all chords & fingering, how to play a shuffle rhythm and more.

Have fun with the blues!

Oh—you can find it here: http://www.doctorkeys.com/chord-piano-lessons/12-bar-blues-shuffle-pt1.html

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526015 10/01/10 02:43 AM
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Hi Dough,
thanks for your feedback!
I like to play along the CD: with the software Audacity I can slow down the tempo without altering the pitch. I start very slowly and then go faster.
In this way I don't miss the feeling and the timing of the Music I try to play.
Tim's book is great because even the easiest tracks sound like the real thing.
Goog luck for your getting back into Piano and congratulations for your Blues experience!

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526150 10/01/10 09:38 AM
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Hi b-52 .. I am using software as well..its called SmartScore...it has helped me work on sequence of bars in Albert Ammons -Monday Struggle ..it too can slow tempo down to 30 bpm...I can also make it loop just 1 bar or 10 if need be....When playing left hand walking bass as referred by Bruce this just takes a lot of practice...I was playing this when I was a kid ..In the Mood ..was one them...you have to play just left hand until it gets smooth ...it takes a long time ie: months and in short bursts or you will injure your wrist......The good thing about D/P is its ability to record the left hand boogie sequence..I can loop it in 12 bar and concentrate practicing right hand riffs ..pick ups and put downs and triplets ...not so good playing both together ...but it is coming together slowly......Doug

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526358 10/01/10 03:21 PM
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A book like this is going to have very little meaning for you unless you have experience improvising. That is, you don't read this book so that you can improvise, you improvise so that you can follow what's going on in the book. Without a trained ear, the stuff in the book will seem meaningless; and the way you get a trained ear is to improvise. To improvise, sit down at the piano and just dig in with both hands and improvise, completely by ear, with no regard for theory, or whether you're doing things "right" or not. When you do this, you really learn about the instrument and what you can do on it, in a way that you can never learn from classical piano, or books on jazz or blues. You train your ear this way, which you never get experience with in classical piano, or when studying books like this.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526528 10/01/10 08:25 PM
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Hi...Gryo....Have you heard of having a bit of fun...I think thats what boogieman 52 and myself are doing..the books are just a stepping stone and quite enjoyable to peruse through..I have started to play again for my own enjoyment not to be criticized by snobs who have their own aggenda..I have a friend who plays grade 8 classical...he wont play standards.boogie.blues in fear that it will upset his body clock....each to their own!!!!!..he lives a very boring life...I also play guitar...played in bands for 45 years... nothing more boring than so called blues lead improvisation that goes on for 10 minutes using 5 notes over and over what a lot of whale s##t..I would rather learn someone else's well though out melody for a lead break any day...Doug

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
dissyfingers #1526535 10/01/10 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dissyfingers
Hi...Gryo....Have you heard of having a bit of fun...I think thats what boogieman 52 and myself are doing..the books are just a stepping stone and quite enjoyable to peruse through..I have started to play again for my own enjoyment not to be criticized by snobs who have their own aggenda..

Critcized? I don't see it on his post nor expect it from Gyro who may be the only person at PW who I've never seen attack anyone. Gyro has simply stated his opinion on playing piano. That's it.

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526622 10/02/10 12:26 AM
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Hi Bruce,
actually Beginner's Boogie and its bass line (pag. 18) are the first hard steps for me, so -while practicing it- I'm also studying Sixth Blues (pag. 50) and its more confortable bass line.
One of the reasons I like Tim Richard's IBP is this opportunity to jump to the beginning of the next chapter and find easier stuff.
Thanks for your link: it's very interesting, but at the moment I prefer to stay with Tim's program.

Hi Dough,
I am considering SmartScore Piano Edition, even if I don't need all its functions.
I do agree with what you said about having fun: I'm 58, loved the Blues all my life, played fingerpicking guitar and now I want to spend my time fooling around with the piano.
After many books, DVD and a Gold Membership to a web site, I think that IBP is the more comprehensive tool I have ever found and I keep practicing its written music and its improvisation assignment. They are fine and in a few days I have improved my playing.

Hi Gyro,
as I said, before, I have listened to the Blues all my life and I do love to sit at the piano and improvise, but I think that IBP is helping me to do it better.
It doesn't seems to me that improvising and a good book (+ CD) on Blues go different ways.

Thanks to everybody for their posts and for reading this topic!

Last edited by boogieman52; 10/02/10 01:24 AM.
Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526642 10/02/10 02:21 AM
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Hi b/52... How long are you spending on left hand riffs... are you playing till it hurts??
I find the text is worth reading in all of Tims book...certianly reading over a chapter several times to take in what it requires next ..I read several of them at a time so I can apply several of the parts together..Can you transcribe to another key while reading what you are playing.....Doug

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526669 10/02/10 03:56 AM
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Hi Dough,
Thanks for your questions!

1) No, I don'y play riffs till my left hand hurts, because I am afraid of injuries, but I play till my fingers become weak. At the moment I have time, so I can play many hours each and every day, resting beetwen one session and the other.

2) Yes, I read the chapter I'm studying many time and I read also chapters I'm not studying yet.

3) No, I can't trascribe to another key while reading. When I played fingerpicking guitar I used tabs and now at the piano my sight reading is not very good: I can read, but I need time. Furthermore I am a little lazy and I try to play almost in the key of C.
I know many people think this is a mistake and probably I do to, but I play alone, so I don't have the urge to study other keys.
But... with the help of Mr. Tim Richards I am going to change my mind and try the key of G, F and even the key of Bb etc... :-)
B52

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1526865 10/02/10 12:47 PM
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Just started Jump Shuffle (pag. 53): a very nice swing feel!

Re: Tim Richards: Improvising Blues Piano
boogieman52 #1527214 10/03/10 02:10 AM
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Hi b-52..The jump shuffle has a great sound..Thats why I asked you if you had tried the Blue Berry Hill 4 triplets to the bar with a just a shuffle bass instead of the walking line it use's..... The 6th chording has a far better sound than the triads..I'm using them as fills on different boogie lines I'm trying out..I can transcribe as I'm reading..had to learn this when I was playing guitar in rock n roll bands backing up front artist's..this was not only chords but melody lines as well for lead breaks....Site reading is impotent as the more you do it the easer it comes....I was having a problem reading 2 to 3 octaves below middle C for a while when learning Monday Struggle but it has become easy now as I use the music sheet all the time in front of me instead of memorizing it...Doug

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