I hope you’ve been having fun exploring your creativity and expanding your groove vocabulary with this series! As with previous installments, the untweaked version reprises our familiar straight 8th-note groove in Am (as well as the corresponding drum groove with 8th notes on the hi-hat and kick drum on beats 1, 3, and the “and” of 3).

Our tweaks today reflect a couple of options for implying the blues style.

It’s important to reiterate that our aim with this series to inject different musical genres and treatments into the original (untweaked) line—as opposed to simply playing a brand new line in the respective style.

In the case of blues, such a big part of the style is the rhythmic idiom of swung 8th-notes (essentially interpreting them as the first and third notes of 8th-note triplets). The examples today are to be played without shuffling those 8th notes, which allows the original straight 8th hi-hat pattern to remain intact.

The two tweaked versions employ harmonic idioms of blues, while both the vamp on a single chord—versus the typical blues I-IV-V motion—as well as the aforementioned rhythmic aspect keeps things from going all the way there. Obviously, keeping the first measure intact helps preserve the original vibe too.

In the bluesier 2nd tweaked groove, it might be cool to alternatively play it as a repeating 8-bar phrase, with the first two measures being played three times, then the 2nd half of the written example played as the last two measures. The repetition would help establish things, while the last measure would introduce variation and additional blues harmony.

As always, if you’d like to explore musical styles in detail, the topic is covered extensively in both Volumes 2 and 3 of my Grooving for Heaven instructional DVD series, as well as the ArtOfGroove.com instructional website.

Happy woodshedding!

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