Blues Rhumba in C Major
The Blues rhumba (or rumba) has almost an “island” feel. There’s a bit of syncopation to it, and it’s important to play it with feeling. You won’t hear a rhumba as often as you will a shuffle, but when you do hear it, you remember it. And that’s why it’s important to play it with authority. So let’s start working on it now.
The video opens (as many of them do) with a demonstration of the riff over a 12-Bar Blues – this time in C Major. Next, I show you the notes, one at a time, then play the basic riff at three different speeds, starting with the slowest. At the end, I play the 12-Bar Blues again.
Here’s the best way I know to learn this (and most other) riffs over chord changes. First, learn the sequence of notes, so you know exactly where you’re going to put your fingers. Don’t try to play in time; just learn where the notes are. Next, start at a very slow tempo so that you can play the riff perfectly, ten times in a row. Then work your speed up two beats per minute at a time. Once you can play it on C, and at a tempo that feels comfortable, but not necessarily normal tempo, you can practice it on F, then G. Chances are, you won’t have to start as slow as you did on C, but make certain you can play it perfectly ten times in a row before increasing speed.
Now, once you can play it over all three chords you’ll use in a C Major 12-bar Blues, practice going from C to F and back. Slow down if you have to, and play back and forth until you can do that change perfectly – yes, ten times in a row. Next, practice C to G and back in the same manner. Finally, practice G to F. Once you can change between those chords with accuracy, you’re ready to play the song. And you already know exactly how to move between each chord and the others, because you’ve perfected each individual move. Pretty neat, huh?
In future lessons I’ll show you two other fingering patterns for the rhumba, and will also do a lesson/video on variations. For now, get this one down in C Major, then practice it in other keys. You don’t want to get caught off-guard when someone calls for a rhumba, no matter what key they want to play it in.
Until next time, have fun, and…
Aim High – Play Low
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