We can move the BB Box and go from minor to major, from gloomy to bright. And it's completely automatic!
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This dance. But.
Ben, come on.
Hi, everybody, you got me right in the middle of this. I feel like I'm doing that comedy gag where the camera comes on and I oh, hi, I didn't see you there, but I was putting together this handy little chart for a little bit later today, and I had already drawn it up before we started. And I dropped it just as it was time to to go, and it's a dry erase board. And I smeared it completely with my fingertips. So I really was busy redrawing it and not doing a comedy bit.
It's redrawn now, but one last touch.
So welcome one and all. How's that for a dramatic opening? Welcome to Ukulele Practice Time with Danno Ukulele Practice Time with Danno.
So I have a very in-depth little lesson to go through.
Maybe one or two new folks here today, so I'll say my usual disclaimer that ukulele practice time is meant to be. What am I practicing? And I'm sharing it with you. It is not meant to be a teacher giving a lesson. So that said, I always try to find what is the nugget of knowledge within what I'm practicing that I can share with you. Hi, everybody, who's chiming in now, Kathleen and Warren and Gerri, nice to have you all here. So what I was practicing on was a Louis Jordan song, and I'm going to talk about that here in a second. And I realized that the nugget of knowledge from within that that I could share with you harkened back to something we worked on last week, which was the BB Box.
Who knows Louis Jordan? Louis Jordan was a proto rock and roll jazz cat. He was big in the 30s and 40s, bigger in the 40s. So World War Two and just post-World War Two. So I'm no musicologist and I'm going to get my terms all mixed up. But Louis Jordan, I would say he was jump swing. Does that sound right for anybody who knows anybody who knows his Louis Jordan? Jump swing, jump blues. So real upbeat, real swingin' stuff. In particular, funny lyrics, earthy lyrics, lots of songs about parties, including the one that we're going to look at today about paying the landlord, drinking, getting locked out of the house. So kind of like one's half a generation before guys like Big Joe Turner and those blues shouters. But a lot of people, including myself, give give these guys like Louis Jordan a lot of credit for being just this far away from early rock and roll.
The Blue Light Boogie
So I'm going to play a little bit of a song for you called The Blue Light Boogie. And then I'm going to tie it in to the BB Box that we talked about last week. I'll explain the BB Box. I'll explain this variation and I'll explain how it works, why it works with rock and roll and instead of the blues. Checking the notes real quick. Yeah, Jeff knows Louis J ordan.
So that's the introduction that I didn't want to play. I wanted to get right into the song. Let's see. See, that's the point of ukulele practice time. I'm actually literally practicing here in front of you.
So you can hear it sounds a lot like a blues song.
So my singing was a little off on that I've been practicing on the instrumental version and not really thinking about the lyrics, so I lost them there for a minute now. I called out. That sounds like a blues song, but did it also sound different than a blues song? This is like a cheerful blues. It's slow, like a blues, but it's a lot closer to like a Chuck Berry song.
In fact, if you sped it up and here's Louis Jordan.
Real similar, slower, different mix of the notes, but very, very close in that it is using its being informed by Blue's ideas, but it's not technically a blues song. And I'm going to show you exactly why.
In fact, no Ben, I need to close up camera, please. There we go. Ben is on it today, by the way, someone asked me the other day has been illiterate because they never see him doing anything. And my answer is, I don't think Ben is illiterate.
I saw him with a pen in his hand and that makes me think, granted, he was using the pen as a stick to roast some Vienna sausages over a candle flame.
But I think Ben is actually very intelligent.
So now you can see my hands and I'm going to not teach you that whole song, but I'm going to show you how the BB Box can be shifted out of the blues zone and into let's call it a major blues or a rock and roll song, proto rock and roll in this case. So just to refresh, here's here's the BB Box in the key of C.
Refresher on the BB Box
You may remember that I find the root, the root of the chord which matches the chord name, so I'm playing in C.
I need to find the key note on string two coming up from the floor, so one, two, here's the sound of the sea.
I find it on String 2.
And that's the top end of my blues box top is up here, bottom is down here. So that's the.
That's my box right there, those two notes, those two notes, let me show you the diagram may be clear on a diagram.
So here's the headstock. Here's the sound. Hold down. These are the strings going across.
So the box is here, here, here and here. There's an empty threat in between. So we call it the the box and the bump and the bump is out here.
So if you think of this, this is like a chord shape. But these are single notes that you would play to get a melody over the blues or get a solo over the blues.
Here it is on the neck again. So I finally see on the second string in my blues box is built around that. Two notes are two notes there and a bump.
So if I were playing the blues in C–
You hear how that sounds bluesy, Julie, I love your comment about the fat lines. We had a little discussion about how a good teacher needs to have crystal clear visual aids. So you hear the blues sound there.
Blues vs Major
And that's NOT the sound that I was trying to get in the blue light boogie, and here's why. Because it's not a blues, it's a major song. So watch this trick, folks. Even if you don't get the blues box completely or why what the difference is between the minor in the major version that we're doing. Think about it just in terms of cheerful rock and roll versus gloomy blues. But that blues box works in both songs. You just have to move it to a new place.
So this will be a bold headline in the transcript. Watch this. So I'm fingering the two frets of the blues box. I shift everything down. Three full frets.
One, two, three. Now it's the same shape in a new place. Here's my new major blues box.
Now, I love stuff like this because you don't have to understand how it works or why it works. You only have to trust that it does work.
And I'm watching this great show called Un Village Francais, a French village. It's in French takes place in World War Two. And what I just said is exactly what they tell the up and coming communists who are going to be the French Resistance. You've just got to trust you have to trust the party. What we tell you is true.
Shift the Blues Box
Trust what I'm telling you is true that if you shift your BB Box down three full frets, the box now works in the major key for a rock and roll song, or as we're calling it, a Proteau rock and roll song for this Louis Jordan song. So here it is.
And there's my blues box moved down into position.
And that's exactly the intro of the song when I worked that out. It blew my mind. So I hope your mind is a little bit blown to. There's a little double stop that's that's going to be Chuck Berry in another decade, so the idea is that these five notes are just a reliable spot for you to go back to if you want to find some solo notes that match the key that you're playing in. I don't want to overcomplicate
So in recap, you're Bluebox and when you're playing a blues style song.
Finds the the root note on string two and works from there, and that gives you a bluesy sound move, that same shape down three full frets and now in the same key.
It gives you a much jaunty sound, this could be used for country, blues, country, rock, rock and roll, like we've been saying, and Jerry asks the great question, the box depends on the key of the song, not the chord. Oh, right. So you can stick with that same box through the three chords of a typical Louis Jordan song or a typical Chuck Berry song with a more complex song. You'd have to have some other things, some other ideas for soloing, but for a three chord song, it works all the way through. And we're coming up at 20 minutes. So I don't want to go into any more detail, but I'm going to stick around for a minute to just answer questions. Let me play it for you one more time now that you know what what it is.
I think it's is it Charlie Christiansen who played guitar in that band with Louis Jordan band?
I lifted that pretty directly from what the guitar player is doing.
And remember, we talked about abbreviated chords recently and that's pulling out some abbreviated chords.
That's a barred second position, C chord in here. I'm just playing the middle two strings out of that shape. Play that full shape. But you don't need to because the only strings that I'm that I'm plucking are the middle to.
So we'll save that for another day, but that's a good example of the a kind of thing that I just love where once you understand how simple it is, it's almost disillusioning because it gives such a nice
So thanks, everybody. We're going to wrap things up right there. But as you know, it's fun to cover a little nugget each day. And if you have questions or concerns, maybe your question can be a nugget for another day. So don't be bashful about dropping me an email and letting me know what you're working on. you don't know Louis Jordan, my gosh, go look him up. You'll be delighted. Take care. Everybody will be back tomorrow at 12:01 ready for action. Stay healthy, wealthy and wise.
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