The other day I found myself building a simple midi jam track so I could practice a particular 4-bar turnaround lick with it. I wanted something I could easily change the tempo on, because it was a complicated lick and despite learning it really slow, like around 50 beats per minute, ultimately my goal was to play it at 100 bpm, or even 120 bpm.
So, I built a little track, and after using it to increase my speed on the lick from 50 to 135 bpm (it’s best to practice past your target bpm, because then playing it at the target will feel effortless), I realized what a powerful little tool that was.
So today we’re going to look at how you can build these for yourself. I’m using Logic Pro X, but the basic process using other software would be similar, I just can’t tell you exactly how.
The track we’re making is going to be really simple – just drums and bass, and I’m pulling the drums from a Groove Monkee pack I like using.
If you’d like the file that was created in this video, you can download it here. You’ll have to unzip it first.
12 Bar Blues
Here’s a real quick refresher on 12 bar blues, if you need it. Basically, you’ve got 12 bars, and you can do with them what you want. How’s that? ?
That’s actually true, but what is also true is that there are “classic” ways of using 12 bars that you bump into all over the place. The following diagram represents one of those:
To use this, you’ll need to know a little about the numbering system, but if we applied it to the key of G major for instance, the I would be G, IV=C, V=D.
In the video, I used the key of A, so I=A, IV=D, V=E.
You could play these all minor as well (Am, Dm, Em) or you could add additional chords from the key, or you could change up the placements. It’s a very flexible tool, so don’t let yourself get caught in a box by it (har har).