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 Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Bob A 
Date:   2003-03-24 23:27

My neighbor is an awesome Blue Grass guitarist. Me, I'm a noodler Bass player. We want to get together BUT I need help as to what keys will be easiest for me as:
A: I am musically dense.
B: I don't transpose.
C. I get wiped out above two sharps.

Rude answers accepted if constructive. [I don't need to be told to learn how to play better. At 78 I'm just glad to get up each morning.] Thanks.
Bob A



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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: William 
Date:   2003-03-25 00:31

Two thoughts: 1) the guitarist could use a bar (correct term not known) to raise the chords he plays to a playable key for you; these things clamp around the neck and a bar lays across the frets raising the open strings by one half step per fret; 2) retune the guitar to allow him to play in "your key."

Another thought--why not get better (or at least tempt fate and try)??? Learn the "blues" scale on A, have your friend play the blues (or bluegrass) in G, and your in business: A, C, D, D#, E, G and A. Just improvise some riffs using only the "blue sclae" notes and you will be surprised how well it works. It is almost impossible to play a wrong note if he sticks to traditional blues chordal patterns. Bluegrass is not the same as Blues, but it is worth a try if you both are willing to compromise a bit. But try to play in A and let him play in G--it is a good compromise of keys for both of you.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2003-03-25 00:35

William wrote:

> Two thoughts: 1) the guitarist could use a bar (correct term
> not known)

capo

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Synonymous Botch 
Date:   2003-03-25 11:27

Just to bend your noodle... have a listen to recent Bela Fleck and the Flecktones stuff (New Grass from the planet Saturn) the horn player accompanies a banjo and rhythm section.

Perhaps it will give you an idea of counterpoint?

If your guitar playing buddy has any charts, you could prepare.

If not, there's no shortcut to musical theory.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: John O'Janpa 
Date:   2003-03-25 12:14

Being a noodler on both guitar and clarinet, here are some thoughts.


G= guitar F This one should work.
D = guitar C This one should work

If you can convince the guitarist to use a capo ? kapo? (thing that goes over strings around the neck to change guitar keys) then other keys will work too.

For example:

C= guitar Bb (not good) , but with kapo (sp?) at ist fret = guitar A (good)

The best thing to do is to noodle around together, trying different keys, and see what works best.

John

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: FrankM 
Date:   2003-03-25 12:40

If you want to play with guitars ( except for maybe good jazz guitar players) you are going to find yourself in sharp keys most of the time.....and often more than just two sharps! Of course, sax fingerings are a little less complicated than clarinet in the multiple sharp keys. Actually, I've thought about using an "a" clarinet to play with blue grass type music. It would simplify things, I would think.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: ginny 
Date:   2003-03-25 14:56

Most bluegrass tunes are in D or A concert. If he capos on the 3rd fret (or 1st for his key of A) he'll be in F or Bb, which are G and C for you (if I did this right.)

The other thing is, if you start by playing the bluegrass bass (usually upright string) parts you'll have no trouble, in any key. They play the root of the chord and its fifth. Typically bluegrass uses 'Gods Chords' I, IV and V. some times II major (V/V)

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: FrankM 
Date:   2003-03-25 16:08

I'm confused....are we talking about playing a bass clarinet or a string bass.......why would sharp keys be a problem to a stand up bass player?

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Don Poulsen 
Date:   2003-03-26 12:32

Since he used Bass <i>Clarinet</i> in the title of his post, we can safely assume he's talking about a bass clarinet. And even if he didn't, this is a clarinet forum which would raise the probability he was talking about a bass clarinet.

And, if you're referring to the reference to upright string basses in Ginny's post, she was suggesting that he play the string bass parts on his bass clarinet.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: FrankM 
Date:   2003-03-26 13:08

How could I be so dense...thank you Don for your explanation...it was worded so that even I could understand it

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Bob A 
Date:   2003-03-26 14:29

And also I--dense as I am. Thanks all, Bob A

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2003-03-26 14:32

One of the sponsors/web sites I host here is for the The Lightwood Duo (http://www.lightwoodduo.com). It's a guitar/clarinet duo, and some of their arrangements are really fun. You might want to contact Eric Nelson about the availability of their arrangements.

NB - Eric is also the author of the fabulous articles on the Nielsen Concerto I have at http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Study/Nielsen.html.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2003-03-26 15:08

For another crossover source, Check out Margot Leverett's band Klezmer Mountain Boys at their website:

http://www.klezmermountainboys.com

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: dfh 
Date:   2003-03-26 17:33

Hey , Bluegrass and Clarinet, something I've wanted to do for a while! Sounds like a lot of fun. I'm classically trained but have always wanted to explore other types of music. I've recently been playing with whatever random musicians walk in my front door (none are classical), and I've found that it's so easy for any guitarist who knows his instrument well to play in just about any key, that they'll adjust to me. I started by playing the scale that we're "jamming" in, and then just picking a note and making up a cool rhythm and then playing different notes with that rhythm. and from there going for melody/style etc. It's easier to start playing over a vamp than over chord changes. (a vamp is a repeated chord or riff)

I had a guy tell me recently, who plays the flute, that there are 12 notes, he figures out which ones fit, and which ones don't and then he just plays with the ones that do! And he plays some pretty cool stuff! (even if it takes him a minute to figure out which ones don' t fit ;-)

have fun!!

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: allencole 
Date:   2003-03-27 16:25

This has always been a fantasy of mine, dfh--and a very modern use for your A clarinet!

Allen Cole

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Bob A 
Date:   2003-03-27 20:15

Unfofrtunately they don't build Bass Clarinets in A (???) And if they did I couldn't afford it on an old man's pension. [I'd ask for contributions but MARK/Sneezy is first in line] [grin]
Bob A

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: allencole 
Date:   2003-03-28 10:38

That's okay, Bob. It won't be that hard to play bass lines on a B-flat instrument. Melody lines are another story...

Allen Cole

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: William 
Date:   2003-03-28 14:36

"Unfofrtunately they don't build Bass Clarinets in A (???) "

Yes they do. Charles Bay had one for sale in the Sneezy Classifieds for quite some time.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Eileen 
Date:   2003-03-28 19:19

You might want to pick up a Mel Bay or similar book for beginning (electric) bass guitar. The book should be a guide to what the bass player would usually play in different styles of music. Things like the root note of the chord and its alternating bass note. The standard bass runs ("walk-ups" or walk-downs") between chords. Generally speaking, bluegrass is based on the conventions of country music (not jazz, not classical). Given your instrumentation and the relative experience levels, I'd focus first on how to be a solid rhythm player supporting the lead guitar - the primary role of the bass instrument in country and bluegrass. Then when you're more comfortable, work on an occasional solo. And make the guitar player use a capo or transpose the chords since it's a lot easier to do on guitar.

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 Re: Blue Grass & Bass Clarinet
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2003-03-28 21:24

Rite heare in River Citie, we have a H&W duo, Caswells, who put on their C&W songs at our June Mozart Fest, she blows [some] bass cl, and I believe he uses a capo, so she will be in a playable key. When I ran a 4+ piece jazz combo, I made up a list of "playable keys" for our tunes, mainly flat keys for piano, so in F, C, G, D for Bb and Eb horns, exception Stardust in 5 b's , as it should be!! It worked. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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