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Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style
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Default Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 24-01-2009, 11:57 PM

Judging by the votes in the recent poll, it seems some of you are contemplating getting into multi-tracking but maybe struggling for ideas.

A good way to get started is with a basic 12 bar, which I'm sure most of us enjoy playing. As we're only dealing with 3 chords it means we don't have to worry where the next chord change appears, and whether we can remember the fingering etc. With a 12 bar, you can just relax and have fun.

Coming up with a good melody line is often a tough assignment. For our purposes here, don't worry about it. Just concentrate on getting a half decent backing track down.

Whilst our keyboards' onboard styles are pretty awesome, they can sound a little too perfect for our needs sometimes. (Not knocking styles in any way, I'm talking from a non-gigging home setup stance where making music is just for fun). For instance, I prefer a 'live' sound for certain tunes, so a style just wouldn't work if you want to sound like some guys jamming. (Styles don't make mistakes! ).

On the attached mp3/midi, we want to sound like a big band, so we have to first think of the instruments we'll be using.

Please note:
this is not a finished piece of music, but is just a basic example of what instruments we would use, and when to bring them in etc., and yes I know the ending's rough, but it's just for getting an idea on using different instruments.

Our band consists of:

Drums
Piano
String Bass
Rhythm Guitar (heavy use of tremelo arm to slide up to chords)
Organ (not entirely necessary, but many big bands have an organist, so why not!)
Harpsichord (in intro & ending) strange choice I know, but there are no rules!

Trumpets
Trombones
Saxes
Bass Trombones

mp3: https://app.box.com/shared/t2gh28j1k5

Getting started.

I used the drum beat from the 'Rock Shuffle' style at 121bpm.

Recorded 2 bars of drums only, and then started playing.

Intro
:

No time for intros, we're just jammin'.

1st 12 bar sequence:

Began by putting the left hand piano part down. That's the basic boogie shuffle of C to F (left hand playing chords C,E,G to C,F,A in shuffle style) and this you repeat until you've had enough, or your hand gets too tired! (The drums would also be recorded at the same time).

Next to go down was the string bass. Experiment with a basic shuffle beat, or try a 'walking' bass to see which fits better. Again, keep playing until you hear the piano stop. The bass alone can change the whole feel of a track. You could start with a shuffle rhythym, and when you want to kick it up a notch, have the bass 'walking'.

The rhythm section, mainly drums, guitar & bass, is really the backbone of any band so it's especially important to get a nice groove going before you start to add any of the brass instruments.

I wanted to save the rhythm guitar for the start of the second 12 bar sequence, so added a bit of harpsichord, as a clavi didn't work.

A bit of mellow organ added also.

2nd 12 bar sequence:

We now start bringing in the rest of the band.

Instead of just strumming away on the rhythm guitar, try and think how a real player would approach the part. I've gone for slide effects, using the pitch bend wheel, and although not a guitar player myself I feel the part would be playable.

I've used saxes to play a similar shuffle part to the piano, plus other saxes for runs here and there. (A lot of this stuff is lost in the mix on the mp3 I'm afraid). Trombones & trumpets are used for some accent stabs. Bass trombone also used now for stabs when in key of C only.

Manual addition of closed and open hi-hats.

3rd 12 bar sequence:

Much of the same as the previous 12 bars, only I've now added a bit of tinkly piano in the right hand.

4th 12 bar sequence:

Key change. (see below)

As sometimes happen in a jam, we have too many instruments competing for attention, and there's no exception here. It's all just got a bit busy however, you can shape an arrangement by thinning out bits, here and there.

You simply have to record some blank space over any part you want removed. If you save the original midi and use a copy, you can experiment away and can always go back should you need to.

I've left the piece with a bit too much going on as an example how not to do it.

Ending:

You can either peter out and do a naff ending like I've done, or you can put the effort in and work out a neat ending.

If you've got stuck over the ending, or you've got a nice groove going, then a fade-out might work really well.

Extra bits:

You can now add some extra drum accents, either using a multi-pad, (if your k/b has them), or failing that, select a drum kit and play a snare & crash cymbal together. Floor toms & open/closed hi-hats were also added.

Don't worry about melody lines, just have some fun putting some instruments together.

Also, if you make any minor errors whilst recording, just keep going. Sometimes, the mistake will get lost in the mix, (and if you're aiming for that loose, 'live' feel, then it all adds to the realism anyway), and if not, you can always edit them later.

Keep it simple:

A lot of boogie, 12 bar types of tunes will benefit from a key change. Rather than make it harder for yourself by trying to play the key change, consider letting technology do it for you.

a) If your keyboard's onboard sequencer supports it, knock every part, (except the percussion parts), up by a semitone exactly at the point where you need it.

b) Import the midi into a PC/Mac sequencer and make the edit. You would 'select all tracks', do a global 'split', and remembering to deselect any percussion parts, select all tracks that need nudging up by a semitone. It's actually very easy to achieve.

c) Make the transposition, as I did with this piece, at the 'exporting' stage. On the Tyros 2 the midi is set to play, and then recorded to the internal/external hard drive. The Tyros will then convert the file to .WAV format.

However, whilst recording the midi to the hard disk, it's very easy to 'ride the faders', i.e. alter the volume, pan and other settings on the fly. Transposing is also a case of just hitting the transpose button at the right spot. If you've used all 16 channels on your recording, you could even play another extra part 'live', whilst the midi's being recorded to the hard drive.

Final touches:

Don't forget the powerful effects our keyboards have built-in. Reverbs, flangers, phasers, chorus, delays, echos etc., can all be used to get that sound you're after, whether it's a studio sound, or something a bit more on the raw side.

Panning: - keep your drums and bass guitar in the centre of the mix.

If you have two instruments playing a lot at the same time, consider the following: if they both have similar timbres, then split one left and the other right. If one sound is mellow, (low organ for instance) and the other sound is bright, or high-pitched, (el. gtr. maybe), then you can pan them both the same way, as the high-pitched tone will cut through the mellow one.

Look to mix your other instruments in this way where necessary.

Try making a dry sound to begin with, (turn down the reverb on each instrument), and then add a little reverb to each instrument in turn. Do this when you're hearing the sound in solo mode, so the rest of the mix doesn't interfere with what you're doing.

Use very little reverb, or any other effects on the bass otherwise the overall mix will just become muddy.

Experiment away, but remember not to get too carried away with things like compression/EQ etc., as although you might get it sounding great on your k/b, when it comes to making an mp3 you may end up with some undesired results. Remember, the .wav file is having the hell compressed out of it!

I tend to leave the EQ and compression settings 'flat' on the k/b, and tweak these on the PC just before making the mp3.

As we're putting down a 'jam', there's no reason to make it all note perfect. Although our drum track, coming from an onboard style, is already perfectly quantised, (every note exactly on the beat), it means you can afford to play a little sloppily and this will add greatly to the realism.

Certain tunes you'll need to get your act together and play as accurately as possible, but for a 12 bar jam just enjoy yourself.

Before attempting a solo on any instrument, make sure you are in record mode. If any part of the solo has gone wrong, just mute that track and have a go on another spare track. You might end up with 3 or 4 tracks, but you'll be able to merge them, with a bit of judicious deleting here and there, into a single track.

I hope one or two of you found this exercise useful, and hopefully spurred on to have another bash at layering your tracks.

The midi is in the key of C, with no key change.

The mp3, (thanks to the transpose button), starts in B and then ends in C.

Paul

mp3: https://app.box.com/shared/t2gh28j1k5

P.S. If anyone has any questions, please fire away and I'll do my best to help.
Attached Files
File Type: mid 12bar_jam.mid (47.0 KB, 5 views)


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Last edited by nozzmoking; 27-01-2009 at 04:19 PM.. Reason: More info added
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Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar in a jam style
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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar in a jam style - 25-01-2009, 10:29 AM

Hi Paul, If that's your first attempt, it's not bad at all, I keep saying I'll have a go, but I'm too impatient, and just want to play, my multitracking consists of adding another voice over the original recording...Pam
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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 29-01-2009, 03:27 PM

Hi Paul
This is a good pointer on how to build up a song using multi-tracking principles, it tells you exactly what to do. For the folks who have never tried it before can I suggest you tell them how to get these tracks onto the keyboard, ie the actual recording process, what buttons to press, which track to put the drums, bass, chords etc onto.. Yes it's all in the manual but we all know how clear the manuals are .
What newcomers to multi-tracking could also do is to get hold of a midi like this , strip away the melody tracks and experiment putting their own in.
Cheers
Spike
Oh and BTW it's a great jam session you've put together.


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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 30-01-2009, 03:12 PM

Hi Spike

Thanks for taking a listen, and your comments.

I think the problem with documenting the whole recording procedure is that it would only relate to the Tyros 2 keyboard, so would only benefit a very few.

I'm inclined to hang on to see if there are any T2 users who specifically ask for help in this direction and then take it from there.

Since we started the workshop no-one has actually asked for any assistance in the recording process, so I can only assume most members are up to speed in this area.

However, I will try and think of useful articles that would benefit members, other than just T2 users.

I think 'quantising' would be an interesting subject for some?

Cheers

Paul


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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 30-01-2009, 03:18 PM

Hi Paul
No it won't relate just to the T2, it's the same process (even the buttons are the same) on all the Tyros models and the PSR models (9000,1000 and later plus the S series)
Quantizing is a good subject as it can be overdone and also areas where it is a 'must' ie Trance
Cheers
Spike


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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 30-01-2009, 07:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spike View Post
No it won't relate just to the T2, it's the same process (even the buttons are the same) on all the Tyros models and the PSR models (9000,1000 and later plus the S series)
I was worried you were going to say that!

Next time I get the T2 out, I'll have a go at jotting down the button procedure. I'll also try and source an mp3 player that can be embedded in a post. That way, we can post the separate sections of a tune if required.

What do you reckon?

Cheers,

Paul


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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 11-12-2011, 03:26 AM

G/day, thank you for allowing me access to this wonderful site. I'm learning all aspects of music from you very people.
I've spent most of my time playing guitar/banjo/mandolin, but I'm now intending to learn as much as possible about keyboards. I have a Roland EM-305. I love to play the Boogie on any instrument.
Again thank you all for your input that helps fellas like me learn much quicker.
Regards popmccoy
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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 15-01-2012, 06:59 PM

I agree that Styles... as good as they are... just can be too good and not have that live feel you need for Jamming. I've been trying to put together styles that feel more human and ending up not sounding like so much Elevator music.
I'm glad to see others who feel this way.


Hello from Canada....George
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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 02-05-2012, 10:14 PM

Excellent all round
Many thanks!
Barry
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Default Re: Arranging a basic 12 bar boogie shuffle in a jam style - 02-05-2012, 11:48 PM

Thanks Barry.

I want to hear your elephant sounds you refer to in your sig!

Cheers

Paul


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