Tommy Harkenrider Blues & Roots


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    As for T-Bone, as much as I love him, looking at Pee Wee Crayton seems more sensible to me–if you’re just getting into T-Bone. Pee Wee’s licks/lines are much more stated–like simple sentences with clearly defined punctuation. He comes straight out of the T-Bone camp, but with lines that are easier to lift and use. Every time I sit down with a T-Bone tune, I end up just figuring out how to cop the feel and tone of the song–which is ultimately what we should be doing, but if you want specific licks, his lines run around just enough to keep you fiddlin’ around with the trivial nuances. Pee Wee’s lines are straight out of T-Bone, but much more stated, and thus much more approachable–if you’re trying to lift specific lines.

    If you’re looking for specific examples to woodshed:

    Pee Wee:
    After Hours
    Cool Evening

    Jr. Barnard:
    Fat boy rag
    Milk Cow Blues
    Brain Cloudy Blues
    Sweet Jennie Lee

    If you haven’t yet, spend a little time with Honky Tonk, by Bill Doggett.

    As for the pentatonic scale:
    Even if you just use the tones of that scale, or the same licks you already play, the sooner you start seeing those specific tones (notes) as they relate to the chord at hand the better–i.e. the 6, 7, 9, 11 etc. Then the cage mindset will slowly begin to take form and you can play your same licks all over the neck, without having to rely on what box position you’re in.

    Then a lot of the stuff you’re trying to learn that seems soo’fist’t’a’ma’cated because you’re having a hard time relating it to the pentatonic scale will begin to seem much simpler and approachable. You’ll still have to make your fingers do it, but you’ll begin to make sense of it much quicker.

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