We are on the last lesson for "Little Wheel" this week and I reitterate many of the points about this song and John Lee Hooker's style. My most important advise is to really get the basic feel and groove down first before concentrating on the vocal. When you do sing it remember that you can change (in the sense of where the lyrics are) anytime you want. It may be hard to feel the freedom of putting the vocal anywhere you like but believe me, once you get comfortable with it, it becomes a great release and a lot of fun. Try to absorb John Lee's music and just feel it instead of being to thoughtful about where to come in. Remember, this s should feel like freedom not a planned effort to "appear" free. Let lose and let the blues come out naturally.
Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Little Wheel
Loop 0:00 Practice Loop of Little Wheel Ending
Loop 2:53 Breakdown Last Two Choruses and Ending
Loop 14:21 Closing Thoughts
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Sounds great Bruce. Nice tone and your metronome sound just like the one on Boogie Chillin'. What kind is it?
Thanks, Duke! It's nothing fancy, just an app on my phone called "MetroTimer". I felt like I was getting the groove when the metronome started to sound hip. ;-) The pickups on this 335 are so responsive! They whisper when you play light and howl when you dig in, like playing a tenor sax. It's so much fun to play, I feel like I'm singing through it. Thanks again for the kind words; great to have you back! Best, Bruce
Here's another try with my 335, which distorts pretty nicely on my vibro champ all on its own, without the need for a pedal, which makes me happy.
Ok, maybe fourth time's the charm. I think it's better.
Alright, here's another one, with more distortion as suggested by Steve. Distortion is kind of fun, I have to admit. Thanks again for the advice, Steve!
And Peter, nice job! I really enjoyed it.
Thanks Bruce. Awesome groove from you!
I agree with Steve. I used a 5 watt amp, rolled down the bass, and cranked the gain. I also rolled down the tone on my guitar. I aimed to sound like a guitar with crappy pickups, going into a crappy amp, pushed way beyond its limits.
Cool, but be careful, too much and it'll sound lke an electric kazoo :)
Unfortunately, it's hard for me to get just a little natural distortion. I live in a small apartment with lots of neighbors, so even with small amps, it's hard to play loud enough. I have one of those little Marshall 5 amp jobs, and it's WAY too loud at full 5 amps, but it has the switch for headphone mode, which allows me to get distortion at a low volume, which is what I did. I have an old TS-9, and have used it sometimes, but I always feel like it gets in the way somehow. Maybe I'll have to check out one of these bad monkeys.
I like this one also. Love Casinos!
Oddly... rough, sloppy playing, and sounding like I am struggling with the guitar has never been a problem for me. Nor has deviating freely from the 12-bar form ;-)
Witness my struggle!
Hey Duke. So here's another try at this. I practiced playing it along with JLH and I think I've got a much better handle on the groove now. There's a kind of a bubble you feel when the vocal and the guitar go together just right.
And Steve, cool stuff! Nice hearing you sing. Thanks Duke!
Hey Bruce, sounds good. If you have a small amp (5 watts) that you can crank, i think it adds to the vintage of the track - notice Duke's track has that breaking up sound. Thick strings would also help here - they were all wound G sets back in the day.
According to Duke's website, his tour dates keep him in Europe until the end of the month. So these lessons must be taped and I don't expect any feedback until at least the beginning of next month.
Hey Steve, thanks for the advice! I can always use it. I have basically zero experience playing lead guitar outside of my guitar room, except for noodling at the guitar shop. I played this through my '65 Vibro-Champ turned up to 8 or 9, but I was taking Duke's advice about playing the strings super lightly, so no matter how loud I cranked it up, it always sounded whispery. The amp was just aching to break up -- you can hear it a bit on my so-called "lead" part. So maybe I took it too far with the lightness, though it made it a lot less painful on my fingers and easier for me to keep the groove going because my fingers weren't getting sore and tired. I haven't played a lot with different string thickness. I usually use 11s, though I have smooth wound 12s on my ES-175 (which keeps it challenging!) and I have a guitar or two (my Strat, I think) with 10s on them. I've never tried anything lighter than that. I'll do some experimenting with my sound and see if I can get a bit more of a bite in it. Maybe I'll try it today on my Epi Casino. That might give it more character. Thanks again for the kind words and good advice, Steve!
Yes, Duke said to keep it light. But to emulate the tone on his track it needs to break up. He has an overdrive pedal - a bad monkey. But i don't think he is using it here. Its all that airline guitar and amp. And your 11s are a great gauge for this.
A fun song. I am going for the feel/mood here more so than correctness. A couple of cloth bandaids are allowing me to continue due to blisters. I do very little finger picking.
The only way i could get a vocal down, was by putting a mic (it is a cheapo) into my 5F1 amp with my guitar.
I think the P90s are great for this song.
Hey Duke! Glad to read on your Facebook page how much you are enjoying Poland! I'll bet the food is amazing! Here's another attempt at Little Wheel. It really is such an elusive groove that you lay down with amazing authority. Thanks for the great lesson. Would love to hear any thoughts. Best, Bruce
Blisters, ouch, and no crazy glue to remedy :(