Blues progressions (licks, analysis, and pentatonic patterns)


New member
Hi everyone,

Jazz Lick Of The Week #9 is up.
It's a big one and took me ages so hope it's of value to some. It includes some licks for beginners (with backing tracks), pentatonic licks for more advanced, and a good chunk of blues analysis looking at some "less obvious" progressions.

My previous post in this forum attracted one comment, and it was negative. Please let me know if you get something out of my Lick Of The Week pages to help me justify continuing it.

Hope you enjoy

Last edited:


Mis-post removed. Thought this was about blues blues, but now I see it is about Jazz blues.
Last edited:


Chief assistant to the assistant chief
[FONT=&quot]Rob, I love jazz as do quite a few others here how about posting a video or two of you playing with a group.[/FONT]


Chief assistant to the assistant chief
In jazz it was Double Bass but over 50 years ago plus a bit of clarinet but that never went anywhere, then up to 5 -6 years ago the flute but had to give that up as well due to sight problems couldn't see the dots.


Chief assistant to the assistant chief
To get things rolling again Rob here is a terrible pic of a new trio the pianist and myself were forming roughly about 55 years ago, we were auditioning drummers this guy was the only one to to start with brushes he got the job.

Trio @ Longford.jpg


New member
Nice one JHC :) Did you guys keep pretty busy?

I've not got any video footage but will try to grab a bit on a suitable gig.



Chief assistant to the assistant chief
Busy! Only as semi pro, playing in various ens and venues plus dance bands, the Saturday dance was the place where boys and girls met in those days so that paid reasonable rates. Still had to keep the day job :lol:

John Watt

Active member
Hey! How come JHC can ask jazzrob about putting up some vids of him playing,
and get into it here,
when my similar comments, previously, can be seen as negative.
I know I'm not,
but it was more about the domain and build, not the person or playing.

And jazzrob, if it makes you feel any better, I do have a major musical weakness.
I'm still licking 9-volt batteries, getting my wah-wah, fuzz-distortion and phase shifter lined up.
Plus, being left-handed does make it easier to feel detached from most righties.

John Watt

Active member
Considering that all the pianos I've ever seen anywhere are all the same,
with no synthesizer having a reverse note option,
I have to admit, I'm still not sure if a piano was built by a lefty or a righty.

What would be your strong hand, your left one, for hitting bass notes and beats,
thinking easier,
or your right one, if you're right-handed, being the best for right hand notes, mostly melodics, and faster.

Anyway, it's easier to play vibes upside down.

John Watt

Active member
Hey! He wasn't playing guitar and reaching around to play someone elses' instrument.

Remember that scene in Amadeus, in a bar, when Mozart sat under the keyboard,
not upside down, but underneath.
That meant he was playing reverse handed upside-down,
and I've never seen anyone else do that. I believe that of Mozart.
Just like I believe what they say about Nicolo Paganini.

Final answer.
My left hand, being left-handed, is the strongest and gets the most action by far.
So let that pound the bass and hit beats with bass notes on the left side.
My right hand, not as abused, is still the fastest, good for right hand melodics.

So okay, a piano is left-handed for me.

I really notice the difference sitting behind a drum kit.
I can work a 4/4, but I've only tried left-handed drums twice,
and it was so easy I really wanted to play.
I always say I'm an insistent left-hander.
When I'm bumping into women in the supermarkets,
I'm always saying sorry, I'm left-handed.

My new Panasonic Blu-Ray player, also online through my 48" flat screen monitor,
got me looking at YouTube for the first time, looking at Frederik Magle.
I watched "Ragnarok, dark piano", and went for some "dark organ" right away,
beautiful and tormenting playing, wonderful graphics.
But I couldn't subscribe. I figured that's the least I could do,
especially if it looks like he's picking up a Canadian audience.

JHC! You're a bassist, for god's sake. Get out there!

Any British influence or inference was inspired by reading Niagara-on-the-Lake British documents.
Dating 1784 to 1787.
Last edited:


Chief assistant to the assistant chief
I did not see Amadeus but if Wamy was sitting beneath the piano how did he play the keys ? with his knuckles :p
now which way was he facing that would determine if it was caggy handed or the right and proper way.
How many instruments can be played any handed?

John Watt

Active member
all right JHC! You might be the only human on earth who never saw Amadeus.

Imagine sitting on the floor under a piano, under the keyboard, facing the bench,
holding your arms up, turning your palms to your face,
reaching up and over and towards you to play. I've tried it. A few times.
Your left hand is playing the right side parts upside-down from behind,
and your right hand doing the same thing for the left side.
In Amadeus, Mozart does this while playing a spritely air, maybe a harpsichord.
He might have had only so much worked out to play that way,
but hey, who knows, once he got going he might have gotten into it.

I've had Amadeus on VHS and would buy it on DVD.
It's got the music, non-stop, and Mozarts' opera music translates well as a soundtrack.
It's got the architecture, inside castles, estates, concert halls, opera halls,
the clothes, everyone always dressed up or dressing down on purpose,
the paintings, art and sculptures, always decorations that look historic,
the horses and carriages, the symphony performances and operas themselves,
a fabulous movie, even if Tom Hulse was criticiaze for his laughing and giggling Mozart.
That worked for me. He also got down on the floor to chase his wife around,
getting both-handed under the piano with her.

I have to admit, even if it might not be the best here,
but Mozarts' father had a strong resemblance to Frederik Magles' father.
I saw a self-portrait oil painting he did, and there is a strong resemblance.
I had some comments at the time, analyzing it, and I'd say the same things here.

If you don't see Amadeus, I'll type your user name jhc from now until 4eva.

Before you see the movie, I'd like to pull a Salieri and knock on your door,
late at night, but you're too long distance.

yeah, Amadeus is a hard core top twenty pick for the best movies I've ever seen.
The best thing about this old movie, is it's about Mozart and his life, antique already.
Very nice.

I see Mozart working hard to be exceptional any way he can, mostly because of his father.
That's a big part of the movie, his father, his music, and when they meet.
I find it hard to believe that in all of human history,
only Mozart is said to be writing out symphonies and operas like they were perfectly notated the first time,
not making one mistake.
I would think he did that in secret, writing out scores as a finished piece, not a composition.
They say no-one saw Jimi Hendrix writing lyrics. He'd leave the studio and come back with the lyrics.
Nobody can do it all at such high levels of performance, but it's putting on the act that's the biggest head trip.

on my own, I can wander through this wonderland alone,
never knowing my left from my right, my hat from my glove,
I'm so Misty, and so much in love.

Apparently, Mozxart wanted to write the most complicated and highest female vocals,
having a diva on tap, putting her through the wringer, tired of all this high notage dotage.
That's in the movie, what, almost three minutes of the most dramatic, high vocal singing you've heard.
When the woman looks like she's ready to pass out at the end, it's very believable.

The movie itself is very operatic, visually soft, characters moving like they're on a stage,
all the world becoming a stage, and all of the earth becoming his burial place.
That's one of the most moving scenes in the movie, at the end,
when his funeral carriage is being led down a tree-lined road,
and it has to stop for some cows, everyone funereal about it.
Mozart loved animals. He always tried to get live animals into his operas,
and these cows, the most artistic cows I've ever seen, are just so nice.

That was hot at the time, that atmospheric fog, and the lime powder.

When I went with my library technician girlfriend to see the movie,
I was laughing out loud like I was laughing along with Mozart, every once in a while,
something I normally don't do.
My girlfriend asked me what made me laugh, and I said I know how it feels to be like Mozart,
and he was the one who was starting the laughing.
It was nervous laughter,
but he was laughing at the stupidity of the royalty and courts around him.

I'd be willing to be his lead guitarist, and jam along to the soundtrack.
If it's a remix, I'll hold his royalties.

Tinkle tinkle, I played in bars, now I wonder how I got this far.

For heaven's sake, JHC, you're a bass player. Help out a band.
Last edited:


Chief assistant to the assistant chief
But he would need suckers on his fingers to pull the keys down I just can't see it working and how would he operate the pedals, no I think the film had it wrong at least IMHO. My poor old bull fiddle went walk about years ago ,,,,, I hope it is happy just stringing along from bar to bar.

John Watt

Active member
What did I just say? What was all this leading up to?

Hey! I've just reassembled the same equipment I first used with a Marshall stack.
A Dallas Arbiter fuzz-distortion, original Crybaby, and an MXR phase shifter.
I should take it somewhere and start making some noise in public.


New member
Got some good mileage out of this thread guys :)

I've been slowed up somewhat at the moment having been asked to take a school stage band for a term (which has now been extended to a small jazz band and a bunch of students). I'm fitting this around my day job so is stretching me a bit. Tiring as is it, it's a real eye opener having not taught school aged students for quite a few years, and am benefitting greatly from it.
Enjoying the friendly banter.


John Watt

Active member
It could have been friendly banter, and jamming, but it wasn't.
Those were some serious musicians who were there to play,
and for the first time with pros, I was just singing, no guitar in my hands.

That put my head through big time, a wonderful time.
I've been saying I caught a big splash of Niagara Falls,
and it's enough to make me want to move there.
It's tough, breaking into Niagara Falls, on the off-season.


New member
One reason pentatonics are so flexible is because they can function as "partial" scales of several 7-note (diatonic) scales. Guitarists can memorize one pent pattern, then simply move it around to see where it works, and with what color notes get emphasized, and view them as adjuncts to other scale patterns. Steve Kahn's Petatonic Khancepts is a good book for guitarists.
Another thing about pentatonics, they can be viewed as "complements" to a 7-note scale (7+5=12). By "complement," I mean the left-over notes. Harmonically, a complementary pent scale, such as the left-over notes of a C major scale, Eb minor pent or F# major pent, can be ways to go totally outside the key, and guarantee the playing of "all wrong notes" within that key.
Last edited: