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Old 11-14-2012, 06:07 PM   #1
ChucklesMginty
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Solo Jazz Guitar

I've decided I'm really going to start taking my study of jazz more seriously, on both guitar and bass.

My two main goals are:

1) Be able to read the changes to any standard and play an appropriate part.
2) Be able to improvise over difficult bebop changes like Donna Lee or Giant Steps.

My main jazz guitar inspiration is Joe Pass, I'm in love with his style of playing. I haven't got a damned clue where to start though. I'm still struggling with some fairly easy barre chord shapes... But that will come with time.

Can anyone recommend a good approach to learning to play like that?

Also, I figure I should invest in a Real Book but there seem to be quite a few available. What does MT recommend?

Thanks!
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Last edited by ChucklesMginty : 11-14-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
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I'd tell you the same thing I tell any one wanting to play like someone else.

Don't try to play like someone else, just find your own style. Be original.

I'd recommend the Just Jazz Real Book by Alfred. It has 250 jazz tunes and standards. It also has some common jazz fingerings in the back, but you'd probably do well to purchase a jazz chord bible, unless you know how to figure out chords on your own. Jazz fingerings are in a world of their own. When I started playing jazz, I felt like I was learning to play all over.

A knowledge of the notes on the guitar neck are going to be a plus. Knowing the modes will be a plus. Knowing how to recognize ii - V - I progressions will be valuable, as is knowing what to play when it's not a ii - V - I. And probably the most important one of all is one my instructor used to point out - no bending in jazz. I still used to sneak them in.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:15 PM   #3
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Well, I'd listen to how the melodies are phrased, regardless of the instrument used. Try to figure out what they're playing, and how they are playing it. If you can figure out the rhythm too, then you're in business. Basically, if you suck at phrasing, then you'll sound boring, and people won't want to listen to your music.

If you can, listen to blues as well, as the phrasing there is pretty damn important too.

Also, I'd think it's a very good idea to buy a Real Book, but seeing as I don't own one, you might want to ask the other MT'ers on their opinion on the issue.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:22 PM   #4
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Well, there's a complex answer...

My first piece of advice would be to dig in and learn some harmony. I don't know where you stand on that right now, but knowing this stuff is pretty much the only path to being able to play this type of music, and it's obviously beneficial for other styles as well. Below is a link to a PDF file of Berklee's core harmony curriculum (it's an old edition from the late '80s, but most of it is the same as it is now - plus, it's free!). I've posted it in this forum a couple times before but I can't stress how useful a resource it is.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/40489485/...Harmony-1-2-3-4

Once you have a firm grasp on the harmony you need to know, you'll be able to incorporate it into your playing. You'll be able to develop chord voicings on your own, in addition to elaborating on the shapes you already know. This knowledge will also inform your melodic improvisation; you'll know what notes fit and don't fit with each chord, and over time you'll find ways to connect them.

Joe Pass is no joke; learning to play in his style takes some serious dedication. Because of your thread title, I'm assuming you're talking about playing tunes unaccompanied. To get started on that, I'd suggest trying to find some transcriptions (not necessarily of Joe Pass, but just of solo guitar arrangements). It'll take a lot of time, but unless you can write or improvise an arrangement yourself, (which apparently is not the case) that's the only way to start getting this stuff under your fingers.

One thing you could get started on is something called 16 Scale Concept. The idea is that if you know these 16 scales all over the fretboard, you can adapt them to play over the overwhelming majority of complex changes. (Note: These scales are guidelines; if you just go up and down them and don't play anything outside then your playing will be really boring!) The scales (and their corresponding chord qualities) are:

Seven modes of the major scale (yes, actually learn them as modes as well as just positions):
Ionian (maj7)
Dorian (-7)
Phrygian (-7)
Lydian (maj#11)
Mixolydian (7)
Aeolian (-7)
Locrian (-7b5)

The next five are derived from the melodic minor scale:
Melodic Minor (-6, -maj7)
Lydian Augmented (maj7#11,#5) (third mode of mel. minor)
Lydian b7 (7#11) (fourth mode of mel. minor)
Locrian Natural 9 (-7b5 with natural 9) (sixth mode of mel. minor)
Altered (7b5,b9,#9,b13) (seventh mode of mel. minor)

The remaining four are:
Mixolydian b9,#9,b13 (7b9,#9,b13 with natural 5) (fifth mode of harmonic minor with an added #9 - also called Spanish Phrygian or Phrygian Dominant)
Whole Tone (7#5 with natural 9) (all major seconds starting from the root)
Symmetric Diminished (dim7) (alternating whole and half steps starting from the root - also called Whole-Half Diminished)
Symmetric Dominant (7b9,#9,#11,nat13) (alternating half and whole steps from the root - also called Half-Whole Diminished)

This list may seem intimidating, but the first 12 can be learned (in a physical sense - you'll have to work on hearing them yourself!) just by learning all positions of the major and melodic minor scales down the fretboard. The whole tone and symmetric scales are symmetrical, so they're easy to learn; the whole tone scale can be learned with one fingering, while the symmetric diminished and dominant scales are essentially the same thing starting on different notes. All that's left is mixolydian b9,#9,b13, which you'll have to learn all fingerings of down the neck. The next step with all these scales is to derive cool chord voicings from them! Remember, if in doubt, make sure a voicing has the 3rd and 7th of the chord. Also, remember that these scales mean nothing if you don't know the harmony to back them up!

As for Real Book recommendations, the Sixth Edition is, from what I understand, the "standard" one. It's the one I have at home and it serves its purpose. If you can find any of the New Real Books by Chuck Sher they're generally a lot more accurate and have some more modern tunes. Also, real books can be a great way to improve your reading. For a few minutes every day, just open to a random page and try to read the tune's melody and changes. You'll see your reading improve really quickly.

Well, I know that was a lot of information, but good luck! Let me know if I can clarify anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KG6_Steven
And probably the most important one of all is one my instructor used to point out - no bending in jazz. I still used to sneak them in.

That's bullshit! Plenty of jazz players bend strings, especially more modern ones. Only a super-traditionalist old fart jazz player would say something like that. Yes, if you want to play a "pure" jazz style that sounds like it's from the mid '40s, you probably shouldn't bend notes, but don't let silly stylistic things like this hurt your creativity!

Last edited by mattrusso : 11-14-2012 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
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No bending? really? Jazz is no more than improv. you can do whatever you want. thats the point of jazz. A realbook would be a good idea. Try also to play with other jazz musicians.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:48 PM   #6
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transcribe

if you have trouble with something, break it down, assess it, work on it slowly until you get it

learn it by ear and the nuances of your influences will invariably penetrate your sense of musicality and help you emulate phrasing, ideas, tones, relationships, etc. prevalent in music you wish to borrow from

jazz is like any other music - listen, learn, apply. wanna learn to play over giant steps? learn the harmony backwards and forwards. learn how other people approach it. slow it down and write it out in arpeggios, in abstract movements, in however works for you, and play it until you understand the piece.

it comes in time. there's no secret to growing but to work your ass off and keep plowing through it until something "clicks", then you push further until something else clicks, as is the nature of any art or science.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrusso
Well, there's a complex answer...


Thank you, very helpful indeed! I had a look over the Berklee book and I'm familiar with most of it up to about half way. I guess now I know how I can continue.

I am going to take this very seriously, I've put off doing it for a while but I now have the time and patience to nail this stuff. I'm planning to put in 4 hours a day, with an hour for each section.

1 - Theory and Harmony
2 - 'Playing' (warm up, chord voicings, playing through standards)
3 - Transcription and music writing. (Listening to music and writing it straight to paper, with the aid of my guitar. Hopefully a piano in future.)
4 - Improv and soloing, applying scales and trying to play over pieces. Perhaps recording the chords and playing over.

I think that covers most of it, but if anyone has suggestions on improving that I'll be all ears. Hopefully I'll eventually be able to increase it to 6 hours+ Seeing as I have 2 instruments to learn but the tendonitis needs some more time to heal...

Forever I've been a rock and metal player, and I'm pretty good at that stuff. But jazz feels more 'me.' I'd be much happier calling myself a jazz guy than a rock guy.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:32 PM   #8
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Just realized you mentioned Giant Steps. That particular tune is basically an exercise in a concept called Multi-Tonic Systems (3-Tonic System in this particular case). This basically means you use symmetrical division of the octave to organize (usually rapid) modulations, which creates a "bigger picture" effect of all the targeted locations being key centers. It's some pretty heady shit, and I wouldn't recommend learning it until you've covered some other, more fundamental stuff. For now, I'd focus on standards with more conventional changes, modal tunes, some blues, and maybe a couple rhythm changes tunes to build up your vocabulary.

Your plan sounds pretty good, though! If you put your mind to it you'll be playing this stuff in no time. Just be kind to your hands! Shocking them with an obscene amount of practice out of nowhere can really make them hurt. If you're gonna binge on either instrument, some hand stretches wouldn't hurt.

Last edited by mattrusso : 11-14-2012 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
I've decided I'm really going to start taking my study of jazz more seriously, on both guitar and bass.

My two main goals are:

1) Be able to read the changes to any standard and play an appropriate part.
2) Be able to improvise over difficult bebop changes like Donna Lee or Giant Steps.

My main jazz guitar inspiration is Joe Pass, I'm in love with his style of playing. I haven't got a damned clue where to start though. I'm still struggling with some fairly easy barre chord shapes... But that will come with time.

Can anyone recommend a good approach to learning to play like that?

Also, I figure I should invest in a Real Book but there seem to be quite a few available. What does MT recommend?

Thanks!

Study walking bass, and 4 note chord voicings (7th chords) in all inversions on all string sets. That also includes maj7, m7, dim7, alt.

Apply that to a simple blues. Don't forget to swing.

Last edited by mdc : 11-14-2012 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:09 AM   #10
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What is the best jazz guitar neck pickup?
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #11
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OP, get the DVD Solo Jazz Guitar by Joe Pass, it's exactly what you are looking for. Joe does a comprehensive look into his solo jazz guitar concepts. You can find it on netflix and most of it is probably at youtube too. Don't wait, go find it.

I also have a few tutorials that cover what you're looking for, include some transcriptions I've done of Giant Steps even.

Read these in this order and they will definitely change things for you and help you get to where you want to go, from the ground up (I am also available for one on one online lessons using skype, don't hesitate to inquire via a private message):

II-V-I: Playing over the changes: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/ii-...hanges-t19.html

Substitutions and the VIm-IIm-V-I progression - Part 1 of 2: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/sub...-1-of-2-t3.html

Substitutions and the VIm-IIm-V-I progression - Part 2 of 2: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/sub...-2-of-2-t4.html

Directional playing FROM chord tone TO chord tone over modulating ii-V's: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/dir...ead-of-t47.html

Cop some Jazz Lines: Love Being Here With You, straight up jazz blues solo: http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/cop...th-you-t46.html

Common Sounds Found In Jazz - this is a thorough, in-depth look at jazz by way of a solo that covers many aspects of jazz solo'ing all in one: http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/Jazz1/Jazz1TOC.htm

I suggest reading in the order I posted. Spend a weekend with them, they'll definitely get you some of the jazz sound and understanding for sure. I've learned a lot of Joe Pass and Jazz in general and those are some serious meat and potato tutorials.

Here's some transcriptions I've done too:

Giant Steps head and first pass of John's solo - http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/gia...iption-t65.html

Tal Farlow - Night and Day solo - http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/som...nd-day-t59.html

You can find a LOT of info relating to specific jazz tunes here (Footprints, Autumn Leaves, Night and Day, Bluesette, etc...): http://mikedodge.freeforums.org/one...9270ad3e69034dd

And there are more transcriptions here that I've done (Miles Davis, Gary Burton, John Mclaughlin, etc...): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/

That should help you "get your jazz on". Again, if you'd like one on one instructions, I've been teaching online for about 4 years now and it would be worth your while to learn from someone who can show you the ropes.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:20 PM   #12
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It's also helpful to remember that Wes couldn't read a note. But I guess he was born with it in his bones. Most of us aren't so blessed. However it's been said that he practiced a whole lot.

Last edited by Dick Foster : 11-15-2012 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:33 PM   #13
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Playing like that happens naturally after being proficient at comping and soloing.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrusso
That's bullshit! Plenty of jazz players bend strings, especially more modern ones. Only a super-traditionalist old fart jazz player would say something like that. Yes, if you want to play a "pure" jazz style that sounds like it's from the mid '40s, you probably shouldn't bend notes, but don't let silly stylistic things like this hurt your creativity!



While there are some jazz players who bend, it still isn't all that common. Most of the jazz purists avoid doing it to get away from the "rock" feel. I hear occasional bending on contemporary jazz, but I just don't hear it very often with regular jazz. Most of the time, sliding a half note or whole is more common than bending. Like I said, I used to occasionally sneak them in, when I felt a song needed a good bend, but I didn't make it a regular practice. I don't think I'd refer to my previous instructor as a super-traditionalist old blah blah blah, either. He was quite knowledgeable and had a lot of experience.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrusso

Anywhere I can download this without creating a scribd account? Could you upload it to mediafire please?
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:05 AM   #16
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Everybody bends to some extent, other than tweaking the bluesy notes most do it just to play in tune regardless of style. Bending is part of playing guitar in tune.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:17 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by RU Experienced?
Anywhere I can download this without creating a scribd account? Could you upload it to mediafire please?

Here you go:

http://valdez.dumarsengraving.com/P...ny/Harmony1.PDF

That's only the first part, but if you change the 1 in the address bar to 2, 3, and 4, you'll get the other three.

God, my teachers would hate me if they saw this.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:21 AM   #18
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Thinking aloud here: What is the point of being confined to, and thus playing in modes, when you can just play in key? Playing in the key of E-flat and see an A-natural? Don't sweat it, play the A and keep playing the rest of the piece.

No?
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:38 AM   #19
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Thinking aloud here: What is the point of being confined to, and thus playing in modes, when you can just play in key? Playing in the key of E-flat and see an A-natural? Don't sweat it, play the A and keep playing the rest of the piece.

No?

I'm assuming that by "modes" you mean scales that correspond to certain "out" chords.

The answer is simple. While everything is diatonic, you can absolutely think in a key. But when the harmony starts to get "weird", you have to adapt. For example, if you're in Eb major and all of a sudden you run into a Gbmaj7 chord (a very standard modal interchange chord), you have to know how to deal with it AND be able to transition to the next harmonic event, whether it's a move back to Eb or somewhere entirely different. These scales (IF you know how to interpret them correctly) give you the bigger picture of the harmony of the moment. You get all the chord tones and available tensions, plus (sometimes) some passing/approach notes that will make sense with the chord. Often, the scale choice is dictated by the key you're in: for example, if you're in F major, an A7 acting as V7/VI will get the tensions b9, #9, and b13 because they are diatonic to the key (unless, of course, you decide to impose different ones, which is another discussion entirely!).

Hope that helped!

Last edited by mattrusso : 11-16-2012 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWACS
Thinking aloud here: What is the point of being confined to, and thus playing in modes, when you can just play in key? Playing in the key of E-flat and see an A-natural? Don't sweat it, play the A and keep playing the rest of the piece.

No?



Modes aren't used much on jazz standards. There is a genre of jazz called Modal Jazz or Modern Modal Music that utilizes them though...but it's very different than jazz standards. If you are looking at jazz standards it's pretty much melody, playing in Key, understanding tension and resolution, modulation, extensions, substitutions, etc...

This is how you create straight lines of site in a ii-V-I, in modulating ii-V's or V-I's, and things like that. And all of those elements of music you learn from jazz can fall over into Modal Jazz too...

it just all teaches you how to find paths to get from point A to point B as opposed to playing over point A then jumping directly to point B. That's not what jazz does. We don't talk that way, we don't walk that way, so there is no sense in having to play that way...especially if your goal is to play jazz.
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