Ron Carter Playing "Blues in F" Analyzed Note-By-Note

Back again with another transcription. This time really meaty stuff for us bass player - a walking line in F Blues.

Know how to make all your tappers, slappers, hair-scrunchy users, 9-string-detuned-to-a-low-C-alto-contrabass players pipe down?

Tell them to walk over an F Blues for a couple of choruses. Yea, suddenly they have to fix some knobs on their amp or something....real quick.

But I kid, all that stuff is great, but most people want and need BASS playing underneath them, and you can't get more back to basics than playing a bass line over an F blues. People spend lives and careers doing this. I can't even imagine how many times people like Jerry Jemmott, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, John Paul Jones, or any other well known bass player walked or played blues of some style. Probably represents years worth of their time spent playing. If you can't make a blues sound good.....keep practicing!

Here is Ron Carter's bass line from a play-along he did many moons ago. It was from an Abersold playalong of Charlie Parker tunes, but this was a blues in F.

The recording is on Spotify, along with many other Abersold and Hal Leonard play alongs. Not an advertisement for them, just was up there and found there are quite a few play alongs on Spotify. So there you go, hunt it down and listen to him play it. It is from Vol 6., "All Bird".

Ron Carter gets called "The Most Recorded Bassist Ever", and it would take 10 pages to list everyone he has played with, everyone from Miles Davis to rappers. Take a look at how a master plays over one of the foundational song forms.

Some questions one might ask oneself:

  1. What notes does he use?
  2. How rhythmically complex is the line?
  3. Does he play roots on specific beats?
  4. How does he handle chords that last two measures? Or chords that only last two beats?

All the notes are labeled with the relationship they have to that particular chord. So for instance if you see the note "C" on a "C7" it is the root, ("R"), but if you see a "C" on an "F7" it is "5" or on a "Bb7" it is a "9".

Check it out and steal some lines from the best!

1 comment:

Yossarian said...

Thanks for the great post. But I have a minor objection to make. I don't think that many notes on beat 4 should be analyzed beyond chromatic approach. For example, in bar 33, beat 4 (note B) is just a chromatic to reach C in the next bar.
Thanks again

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