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Joined: Sep 2006 Posts: 3,860rocket88
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Originally Posted by dissyfingers
Just dont over play and injure your hands...most of us are clumsy when learning this type of music..dont let it overpower you and have a rest from it like before...Left hand walking bass is like Boogie left hand ..it takes years..the left hand will eventually play by its self as the brain trains its self to play in an auto mode..I've read where pros can take years to achieve the proficiency they require to play a single piece in public..have fun ...Doug
Thats is so right. It takes a long time, but time is not the only thing. You can practice it incorrectly forever and never get anywhere except learning some bad habits and perhaps injuring yourself.
What helped me to learn the LH walking Bass is to first master rocking the LH on an octave. Do this slooowly and very carefully, and stop before the pain occurs. This teaches your hand to do the basic movment, and if you go slow, and stop before the pain occurs, you will eventually build up endurance.
Then, start doing the walk-up thu a root chord, i.e. C - E - G - E - C. This teaches the hand to go up and down without having the jumps be too complicated.
Once you can do that consistently you can go up and down more, and slowly increase the tempo. Use a metronome or drum machine so you are also building in proper tempo control.
The bottom line is go slow, careful, precise, and take baby steps. Its like the tortise and the hare....the slow tortise won the race.
Hope this helps, and good luck!
Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
Hi rocket88.... I couldn't agree more with you...this is very good advice for novice blues and boogie players....and any type of playing...boogie dosent happen over night...I have been working on a Albert Ammons piece..."Monday Struggle" for 8 months and it still going to take another 12 months to get it at comfortable playing tempo that I will be happy with..the trouble with learning this type of music is you cant take a break from it....if you dont play it for a week ..it takes two or three days to get it back to speed..........Doug
I'm a bit further on now than I got the first time around and I'm starting to learn some really cool new songs.
So far my progress looks like so:
Chapter 1 (Triads) - All pieces / Assignments completed. Chapter 2 (Sixth Chords) - All pieces / assignments completed. Chapter 3 (Seventh Chords) - I'm currently working on two pieces in this section at the moment:-
On-Off Boogie #2, currently trying to learn this with a walking octaves bass, after that I will be spending some time learning the piece with 3 note chords and spending some time in that area in general. My octaves walking bass is now starting to come along quite nicely.
Blue Monk - I've more or less got his one down now, just working on the melody in thirds assignment and I'm then planning to start looking at stride.
Chapter 4 (Ninth Chords) - Working on Ninth Blues, again this ones nearly there, just need to work on consistently finding the turnaround and ending chords.
Chapter 5 (Minor and Diminished Chords) - Just started looking at How Long Blues. Really great piece of music.
Regarding the last one, I'm finding that I dont have the hand span for the second chorus tenths (where the bass note is held for 4 beats and the other notes are played on the beat for 3 beats). Does anyone have any playing tips for this? On the recording it doesnt sound like Richards keeps the bass note held but I may be wrong. I was wondering if this would be an appropriate place for the sostenuto pedal?
Not sure if anyones still following this thread but to answer my own question from before, I actually got in touch with Tim Richards by email to ask him the same question and his response was that its fine to play the tenths seperately which he does on the cd or together if you have big hands.
Also here's a couple of recordings I did at the weekend. I've been trying to get my piano set up correctly for recording for a while and finally had some success. The first is an improvisation on Smooth Blues, and the second is an improvisation on Syncopated Blues and Happy Blues. There a couple of obvious mistakes in there but feel free to post some feedback.
I have been working on a Albert Ammons piece..."Monday Struggle" for 8 months and it still going to take another 12 months to get it at comfortable playing tempo that I will be happy with..the trouble with learning this type of music is you cant take a break from it....if you dont play it for a week ..it takes two or three days to get it back to speed..........Doug
Hey, dissyfingers, which "Monday Struggle" are you working on? The boogie-woogie one or the stride one? I know Colin Davey sells sheet music for the BW song, but I'm currently working on (my own transcription of) the stride one. Completely different songs. The BW one has a lot in common with "Shout for Joy," with the same LH and turnaround. The stride one is like nothing else I've heard by Ammons.
Incidentally, it's the stride version one hears if one Googles the title or searches iTunes or Amazon.
Hi shepdave...I am working on the Colin Davey transcription....ie:April 8,1939.....Solo Art Recording.....The closest version is Utube...Freakyfingers20 performance.....he also has a stride version there as well..another close version in Utube...Cam1987.....I have been plodding along with this piece for 9 months now...can play several sections OK...but still needs a lot of work..have allowed myself 18 months to play it..but I doubt if I will ever play it at recommended tempo...have another 7 or 8 Boogie pieces I would like to play eventually.......Doug
I've seen both Eeco's and Cam's renditions of the BW versions on YouTube. Very impressive. I have also seen Eeco's performance of the stride version, which is close to the Ammons record, but not exactly the same. Nonetheless, it's pretty impressive.
Sorry to sort of hijack this thread on IBP. I have the book, but I haven't really dug deeply into it so far. I've mostly been working with the Colin Davey/Frank Poloney BW book and with transcribing and learning a few of these old songs. It's amazing how hard they are to play. The boogie-woogie masters made them sound so effortless and joyful.
Hi shepdave...I dont think Adalberto would mind ..its the same type of music and he is a keen boogie woogie player.....I have the Colin Davey /Frank Poloney tutor....it has taught me heaps and I use it as a referance...when you see someone who is a confident player ...looks easy....BUT...it takes years and you have to play it every day or you loose it very quickly...then it take days to get play ability back...I have also been tinkering with Swanee River Boogie....its a piece I can relate the melody too..Blueberry Hill ..using the Yancy Special left hand also is a great slow blues number..Learn the IBP Rockaboogie...page 226..this has both a shuffle and boogie bass and a tricky rundown third chorus...bars from 9 to 13....Doug
Hi Tim Richards..followers...Have been a bit busy doing some Willie Myette ..Boogie Jazz lessons...but I always come back to IBP as a reference .and its the Slow 12/8 Blues P.208..it user's the Fats Domino types riffs and left hand in the first chorus.... then changes to Stride left hand in the 2nd chorus ...the stride left hand is good as I also play Black & White rag and 12th street rag...its quite a struggle sometimes to keep up the octave bass over each of the chords..the left pinky gets lazy and doesn't hit the key..I've always admired a good stride player...lot of practice involved to get it perfect.....Doug
Hi To... Tim Richards IBP students...Have been playing the Blues In Thirds...Page 96..This has the Jimmy Yancy feel..I have several different riffs ..including a blanket riff..turn arounds and endings for this feel now...the more I play this it will get me closer to attempting the Yancy Special...not so hard on the left hand as Boogie and Shuffle...Doug
Hi Tim Richards .followers..Here's an update for the people who are going through the BPI book..I have been using the book as a reference and enjoy going over the favorite blues pieces I have learnt from this fantastic book..I'm going to try some Funk blues next.....Doug
Hi Tim Richards IBP Students.....Have been playing some broken octave 184.108.40.206.7th bass runs lately.. can't do much more than 3 -12 bars without the wrist getting pretty heavy...its a great boogie sound and can break up the monotonous shuffle when playing a boogie-shuffle improvisation... I'll use about 4 different bass lines..and sometimes use it as the melody only... "Back in the Ally" P80 #30 has a broken octave bass line and a few good right hand patterns you can use in any impro you are playing..there is a carpet run...a thirds chorus...Also P103 #37 "On Off Boogie" #2..you can practice a broken octave's to the right hand chord pattern in this one..Theres a great left bass run on P 226 #70 Rockaboogie...its the third chorus from bar 5..this is a Johnny Johnson type left hand riff...also got a nice carpet run in the second chorus and bar 9 is a great finishing touch to a lot of Boogie Takes a bit of practice..but has a great feel and sound..Theres a lot of fun in this book if you want to find it..I use this book as a reference..theres a lot off information here.....Doug
Hi Tim Richards IBS students...Have been playing around with the Stevie Wonder song Superstition..Its a little repetitive just playing the riffs over but as I get more into it I will do some recorded overlays on my CVP505...and have a more band like setup to play along with..I see in his videos he has another 2 keyboard players behind him...this brings me to the piece on page 168 Down Home Funk..its in Eb and is neally all black notes..has a 16th note groove..takes a little practice..but gets you movin and have the piano set to clav for the clunky sound...Have fun....Doug
Hi IPB fans, I have just started with Tim Richards book after seeing all the good reviews here. As a 64 year old beginner, having just started on piano 2 years ago, I find his tunes with very different rhythms in each hand quite challenging! Any tips with how to go practice with "Blues with Pick-ups" (p. 66) for example? (my right hand wants to keep bouncing to match the left!!).
Anyway, I am enjoying the challenge.
Up to this point I was using Willie Myette's Jazz site, but after I finished all his beginner stuff, most of his newer chapters seem too advanced for me - too many very complicated chord changes. So IPB will keep me busy and happy for at least a year I should think.
Hi Brian...Welcome to the forum...It just takes a lot of playing...I usually learn the left hand ..play it until it plays itself without looking...and then the right hand and eventual put them together...the great thing about this book is you dont have to go page by page..you can try any thing in the book and if its a bit hard you can always come back to it latter when you are a bit more confident with your playing..I have a Gold Pass Willy Myette subscription best money I have ever spent...Jazz..Funk..Blues..Rock..I down load the lessons so I can go over them..I have a dedicated hard drive just for the lessons..Just have fun playing and dont over do it as boogie will strain you wrist....Doug
Have to agree with Doug about the Willie Myette lessons, they are really good. I just signed up a few weeks ago, although I only signed up to the blues site, and Im now considering a gold membership.
The nice thing about IBP is that the songs are really very good also. I've got together a nice repertoire of different songs just from this one book and they can be combined and modified endlessly using the techniques the book gives you.
My main problem is focusing my practice sessions rather than just sitting down and playing the same old stuff. Its difficult when you have so many enjoyable tunes to play though!
Hi pbluesman...MaverickPaino ...I think most of us have that problem playing a repertoire that is hard to move away from...may be it just the enjoyment of being able to play something through without having to concentrate to much..I play a couple of Rags and find them challenging to play .. make mistakes in them and never in the same place...as for practice sessions I never take it to serious..MaverickPiano..just dont over do the boogie or you will injure you wrist..I've been playing again for a year after a 55 year silence....Doug
Hi Tim Richards IBS students.....I was learning a jazz piece recently and it had two alternate bass lines that could be played ...one was a walking bassline.....which I am rather partial to..this brought me back the to the T.R IBS book for a referance..and on page 182 Medium Jump has a walking bass for the complete piece...its comping chords on the right hand and walking on the left hand....breaking into melody into the 2 nd chorus....the walking bass uses scale notes from the chords with some chromatic spacer notes on the 4th beat..I find playing a walking bass super smooth and give a great tone to a piece ..have fun playing Doug
Well, I guess it is time to "throw my hat in the ring", so to speak. I have been working with the Frank Caruso improvising book, which is quite good. However, it does not develop the left hand beyond block chording. I feel that its real strength is attention to the kinds of details one would normally get from a live teacher, especially its discussion of theory in context of improvising and real attention being paid to fingering. In fact, that is the book's primary goal - to develop muscle memory as the basis for being able to freely improvise. It is a very good book that I would certainly recommend along with the Jimmie Amadie books on harmony and improvising. But these do not develop the left hand independence as the Tim Richards books seem to.
I have the three Tim Richards books, the blues book being discussed here and the two jazz piano books, all with CDs. I ordered them when I read some of this thread some time ago, but then set them on the shelf as other things in my life took priority (my wife's health issues). Then, today, I saw this thread again and started reading through it. I looked through the blues book and saw that all the things I like about the Frank Caruso book are well attended to in the Tim Richards book - along with decent development of the left hand for independently playing the patterns that are idiomatic to blues and related styles. On top of that, having a support thread specifically for the study of this book - who could ask for more, especially for self-study.
My keyboard is a Yamaha Motif XS8 (Motif XS with 88 keys). It has 88 piano-action weighted keys, some decent piano sounds, a sequencer, and a sampler with a bunch of very nice large piano sample libraries (Steinway, Bosendorfer, Yamaha C7, etc) that I can load when I want a really good piano sound to play with. The Motif XS is a "sampler/workstation" keyboard that doubles very nicely as a full digital piano. Since I did not grow up playing piano, I don't really have an attachment to having a real acoustic and am perfectly happy with my Motif XS. Since I live in a condo, being able to use headphones is a real benefit.
My first instrument has been guitar for many years. I play some jazz and some fingerstyle on acoustic and have played electric in bands. I have dabbled with piano/keyboard off and on in the past, especially with the Sudnow method, from which I learned a lot. I think that was good preparation for working on books like these Tim Richards books. I can read music (unusual for a guitar player, I know...), understand theory, and have some facility on the keyboard through the Sudnow method and later, the Frank Caruso book.
I ripped the CDs for the three books onto my little Tascam DR-05 handheld recorder that also serves as an MP3 player so I can slow down the tracks without changing pitch and loop parts of them as I need to. This is a really inexpensive device that is a sort of "Swiss Army knife" for recording and learning. I don't really like using a computer for music-making (probably because I work with them all day), so the little DR-05 is perfect for working with the CD material. I can hear it and my keyboard together through my headphones as well as being able to record directly to it from my keyboard.
In Minnesota, the winters are long and fall is a good time to pick a project for the winter. I think this blues piano book and the follow-on jazz piano books are perfect to take me through the winter and well beyond for years to come.
My piano interest are blues, jazz, and new age piano - all solo (i.e. I love to listen to these styles and want to learn to play them reasonably well). I am not interested in memorizing and playing what other people composed (except as steps to developing my own musical vocabulary) and would much rather come up with my own music, so I think these books are perfect for where I want to go musically.
Reading through this thread, it seems there is a good mix of playing levels represented and a lot of really good support and advice for working through this book. I hope to become a contributor as I progress.
Hi Tony ... Welcome to the Tim Richards forum...no doubt you can contribute to the quest all blues players who aspire to playing there their own improvised pieces..I use it as a reference book and have the two jazz books as well..it is cleverly thought out as each piece has homework on improvision..I think there is a lot of people read this forum but are reluctant to post because they cant play very well and would feel intimidated asking simple questions ..Doug
Hi Tony .. It dosent matter how well you play .... long as you are enjoying what you are doing...improvement comes with practice and the amount of effort you want to put into it..just have fun......Doug
Well, this seems to happen whenever I get going on keyboard...something comes up that gets in the way. Usually, it is something involving my wife's health issues, but right now, it is some involvement with the guitar that I need to prepare for. The guitar is my primary instrument and from time to time, some opportunity to play or learn will come up. So I need to focus on that for the next three weeks or so before getting back to keyboard. It is all music, so I don't mind.
Just had to share this with you! It's my student playing "Rockaboogie" from Tim Richards Improvising Blues Piano! This kid would learn a piece in a week! This was recorded not long after he learned it. Little over pedaling, & some adjustments, but he played this for kids at his school, & they loved it!
Hi Diane..Welcome and thanks for for posting your student..there are some people that have great enthusiasm and this makes learning easy and usually can remember music without site reading..you probally look forward to having this student for lessons every week...certianly makes your job easy ...no doubt you will get his technique under control and he will have a bright future in blues and boogie piano...Stephanie Trick also comes to mind ,read her bio...Rockaboogie.is a favorite of mine..it has the classic blues moves ..if you can get this down pat you will move along fairly quickly to other good feel pieces..took me about 2 weeks before I could play it smoothly..Doug