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R&B Guitar


(@akflyingv)
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What exactly is r&b guitar? Is it like a cross between blues and country?

I've been listening too a lot of artists that play a sort of hybrid of folk-rock and it always seems to say under their genre: r&b. This got me wondering what characterizes that style of guitar playing? The majority of videos on youtube seemed to just put up some funk style strums or modern r&b artists like Usher.

I know there are a lot of older style singers in that genre like Otis Redding but it seems like the guitar isn't to far removed from a blues/country or early rock feel, is that right? My first thought of someone modern in this genre was Prince as far as guitar playing goes but I've always considered him to be more of a funk or hendrix style guitar player. Now I do realize that Hendrix played in a lot of early "r&b" bands but I never really could decide what part of what he does is the rnb feel.

hopefully this makes sense


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(@ricochet)
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R&B stands for "Rhythm & Blues." It's a term that was first used in 1947, I think, to replace the older term "race music" that used to be used to refer to music primarily made by and for black Americans. Of course it came to appeal to and be marketed to a far wider group of fans. :D

As for Hendrix, he played some killer blues! "Red House" is great stuff!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@ricochet)
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BTW, if you want to see how rock and roll developed out of R&B, spend some time exploring this: http://www.hoyhoy.com/

Some of those guys were rocking out way before the term "Rock & Roll" was applied to the music!

(And most everything "radical" that Jimi did had earlier precedents as well.)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@akflyingv)
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Topic starter  

That website is exactly what i was lookin for, so r&b is really just blues music with a gospel beat, atleast in its simplest form.

Thanks you


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(@ricochet)
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Of course, that site's about the R&B of 55-60 years ago. What's called "R&B" today isn't the same.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Ricochet's right to point out that the definition of R'n'B has changed greatly over the years - when I was younger, the genre was defined by records such as Route 66, Got My Mojo Working, Smokestack Lightning, etc. Nowadays, it seems to encompass anything from Beyonce to Eminem, for some reason - I can see where they get the rhythm from, but what about the blues?

The Stones were considered at the front of the r'n'b boom in the sixties, along with bands like the Yardbirds and the Spencer Davis Group and the Pretty Things - bands who were influenced by people like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino as well as Robert Johnson. I always understood r'n'b to be blues-influenced, but with a rock'n'roll rhythm - but maybe I'm over-simplifying.

R'n'b guitarists? I'd have to mention Steve Cropper - tight rhythms, short solos, keep it simple but effective. Or listen to some of the more up-tempo Motown records from the 60's. Records like Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour" and Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music" and Booker T and the MG's "Time Is Tight" and Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" would be considered (by me, anyway!) as r'n'b rather than rock, or soul, or blues.

But it's certainly a broad genre, and you can have a hell of a lot of fun exploring it!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@dogbite)
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R&B from the 50's and 60's is what I listened to when starting out on guitar. like Vic says, the early Rolling Stones did some covers on their first few records. Solomon Burke had the bluesy feel and Chuck Berry rocked it. I have been scouring that genre lately because I just finished two covers for soundclick. it was a cool experience understanding the genre more by attempting to play it.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@akflyingv)
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Topic starter  

Thanks everyone, I've never really listened to a lot of straight rnb. I've always seemed to listen to either people that were influenced by it or just straight blues, I guess i should give a few of those examples above a listen. I've heard of most of them but don't know why I never listened to them.


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(@ricochet)
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Seriously, there's some great music to be heard there!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@dogbite)
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Seriously, there's some great music to be heard there!

very seriously 8)

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@stormymonday)
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You could do a lot worse than checking out songs that had the Funk Brothers as the backing band--which is to say the vast majority of music that came out of Motown in the 60s and early 70s. In fact, if you go to YouTube you can find a plethora of those recordings, even many without the vocals so you can really hear the instruments.

Here's It's a Shame by The Spinners before the lead vocals.
Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me
The Supremes You Keep Me Hanging On

Just to get you started.


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(@notes_norton)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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To me R&B is far removed from country. While country leads tend to lean more in the major modes, R&B tends to revolve around minor pentatonics with a tri-tone added. At least the classic R&B that I call R&B (perhaps "roots" R&B?)

R&B was basically Mississippi delta blues "plugged in" and then it evolved into it's own art form.

Listen to Bobby "Blue" Bland (especially anything released on the Duke label), T-Bone Walker, BB King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Otis Rush, early Ray Charles, pre funk James Brown (the first Live At The Apollo disk recorded in 1962 is excellent), Koko Taylor, Etta James, Otis Redding, and you get a good idea of what I call rhythm and blues. In the 60s groups like the Stones, Cream, Blues Breakers, Yardbirds, Zeppelin, Allman Bros, and others paid homage to the original artists and made something a bit removed from the original, but still nice in its own way.

I rented a nice Martin Scorsese disk set called "The Blues" from Netflix http://www.pbs.org/theblues/ that is a great introduction to the Blues and Rhythm and Blues and I feel that if you don't know what R&B is, this is a good place to start. Listening to a lot of old music on the Chess or Stax label is also a good education.

I cut my musical teeth in Rock bands that listened to R&B when we weren't playing top 40 music (and sneaked as much R&B into the act as possible). I sat in with a lot of blues bands, and even though my tastes have widened and matured (everything from R&B to Symphonies), I still thoroughly enjoy a good Bobby "Blue" Bland, Muddy Waters, pre-funk James Brown, Etta James, etc., R&B song, and there are plenty on my iPod.

Unfortunately for me, what they call R&B now is not necessarily what I call R&B, it's changed. Not that the current music on the R&B charts is either better or worse (that's of course a matter of opinion) but different. I think it deserves a different name, but nobody asked me ;) If they gave it a different name, it would be easier to identify it.

But labels are put out by record company executives, not necessarily the musicians. The musical meanings of words like Jazz, Funk, R&B, Dance and others have gone through many changes in my lifetime so far, and I don't expect them to change. Example, Duke Ellington (jazz), Charlie Parker (jazz), Weather Report (jazz), and Kenny G (jazz) have little in common.

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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