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Old 06-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #1
RonaldPoe
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US How should a Metalhead begin Jazz Guitar

I know some of you find me annoying but I have a question. You know I'm a Metal head but I decided to take up Jazz guitar. The style and I share a few common goals and interests (tons of theory, scales, improvisation, and overall complexity). I also like to play my guitar bass-style and don't care for big chords. I also believe Metal and Jazz are more similar than you'd think.

Do you guys have any suggestions for a beginner starting Jazz guitar? Are there any arpeggios I should learn? What standards have easy melodies? Where can I learn to improvise better? What about that "swing"?

Also I haven't given up on my tonal experiments, I just put them on hold. When my next one is ready (this one will sound better and perhaps have a new tonality), I will be posting it here. I don't want the obvious and unhelpful advice like "Learn theory", "Learn and analyze some songs", ect. Have a nice day!
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Last edited by RonaldPoe : 06-06-2014 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:56 PM   #2
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There are a few things to consider when approaching jazz that will help you. One being that jazz is to 99% ear music, meaning that you have to have a good ear to play jazz well. Many styles you can play without putting much time into ear training, for example many classical musicians rather practice sight reading over ear training cause they have different priorities. Same with rock/metal players, some learn by ear and some learn by tab. In jazz, even if you are a player that uses lead sheets or learn tunes from notation, you still have to have a good ear. This helps you imitate ideas from other players and make them a part of your own playing.

Another aspect of jazz is (as you mentioned) the theory. Now this is one thing that causes some debate in the jazz community (atleast what i have seen online, and around events where i live), some people "don't know" theory and still play jazz great (i think this is more a case of that they know it by sound, they have learned jazz tunes for so long and not studied the names for things so they know it, but they know it in a different fashion) while others rely very heavily on theory.

There are a few concepts that you will approach that are very common in jazz that is rare outside of it, but not exclusive to it. One being chord substitutions, where you, literally, substitute a chord for another chord. There are many different substitutions that are common in jazz, the most common being tri-tone substitutions. Another concept you will come across is chord scales, being that whenever you switch chord in a song, you essentially switch scale aswell. For example playing over a major 7th chord you would often use the major scale or the lydian scale, over a dominant 7th you would often use a mixolydian or lydian b7 scale etc.

The theoretical side of jazz can be very confusing, since it essentially is taught as a separate school from classical theory. (In some schools here in Sweden they even teach theory from three different standpoints. Classical, jazz and folk. I would recommend getting a copy of "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine if you would like to study jazz theory. It is probably the book that presents it in the best way, and takes up most of the theoretical concepts.

What i would recommend you do is firstly to listen to a lot of jazz before even trying to tackle it. Recommendations for easier material to learn would be Chet Baker (Trumpet), Miles Davis (Trumpet), Russell Malone (Guitar), some John Coltrane is accessible (Saxophone).

Honestly, i could go on all day about things. Unfortunately it's getting late here, so i feel that if i continue writing i would most likely be doing more harm than good. I am very invested in the local jazz scene, playing mostly swing, bebop, jazz blues and jazz fusion. If you have any specific questions further regarding jazz, just let me know and i'll do my best to answer them, when i have a less strained mind.

Hope that was a helpful start atleast. Good night and best regards,
Sickz.
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:11 PM   #3
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It's cool you asked. I just took Jazz guitar lessons last semester. A good song to practice is "Autumn Leaves"--it walks you through the typical jazz chord progressions and shapes.

some good jazz guitarists: George Benson ("The World Is A Ghetto", "Nature Boy"), John Mayer ("Come Back to Bed", "Daughters"), Grant Green ("Idle Moments") and Wes Montgomery ("In and Out").

FWIW, I think Opeth is a good transition from metal to jazz (Damnation CD, "Nepenthe", "For Absent Friends")
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:01 PM   #4
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Start with some blues tunes. "Cool Blues" and "Now's the Time" by Charlie Parker. Listen to Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins as well. They're good places to start.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:15 PM   #5
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Hands down.

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Old 06-06-2014, 11:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickz
There are a few things to consider when approaching jazz that will help you. One being that jazz is to 99% ear music, meaning that you have to have a good ear to play jazz well. Many styles you can play without putting much time into ear training, for example many classical musicians rather practice sight reading over ear training cause they have different priorities. Same with rock/metal players, some learn by ear and some learn by tab. In jazz, even if you are a player that uses lead sheets or learn tunes from notation, you still have to have a good ear. This helps you imitate ideas from other players and make them a part of your own playing.

Another aspect of jazz is (as you mentioned) the theory. Now this is one thing that causes some debate in the jazz community (atleast what i have seen online, and around events where i live), some people "don't know" theory and still play jazz great (i think this is more a case of that they know it by sound, they have learned jazz tunes for so long and not studied the names for things so they know it, but they know it in a different fashion) while others rely very heavily on theory.

There are a few concepts that you will approach that are very common in jazz that is rare outside of it, but not exclusive to it. One being chord substitutions, where you, literally, substitute a chord for another chord. There are many different substitutions that are common in jazz, the most common being tri-tone substitutions. Another concept you will come across is chord scales, being that whenever you switch chord in a song, you essentially switch scale aswell. For example playing over a major 7th chord you would often use the major scale or the lydian scale, over a dominant 7th you would often use a mixolydian or lydian b7 scale etc.

The theoretical side of jazz can be very confusing, since it essentially is taught as a separate school from classical theory. (In some schools here in Sweden they even teach theory from three different standpoints. Classical, jazz and folk. I would recommend getting a copy of "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine if you would like to study jazz theory. It is probably the book that presents it in the best way, and takes up most of the theoretical concepts.

What i would recommend you do is firstly to listen to a lot of jazz before even trying to tackle it. Recommendations for easier material to learn would be Chet Baker (Trumpet), Miles Davis (Trumpet), Russell Malone (Guitar), some John Coltrane is accessible (Saxophone).

Honestly, i could go on all day about things. Unfortunately it's getting late here, so i feel that if i continue writing i would most likely be doing more harm than good. I am very invested in the local jazz scene, playing mostly swing, bebop, jazz blues and jazz fusion. If you have any specific questions further regarding jazz, just let me know and i'll do my best to answer them, when i have a less strained mind.

Hope that was a helpful start atleast. Good night and best regards,
Sickz.



I love this guy he always knows what he's talking about.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:23 PM   #7
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Find a jazz artist you really enjoy the sound of and listen a bunch. Even if it's something that's not realistic to play yet, it'll help you get the sounds in your ear.

Famous jazz guitarists include Pat Metheny, West Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, John Scofield, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Bireli LeGren, John McLaughlin, Charlie Christian... and lots more if you look to heavier Fusion stuff or Funk/RnB stuff. But listen to all sorts of players. My favorite jazzers are mostly non-guitar players.

For learning, start with a few basic RealBook tunes. Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, Fly me to the Moon, Georgia On my Mind, Good Bait... all fine songs to start with. As much as you can, try to learn tunes by ear (or at least learn someone's rendition by ear after you read the chart).

A specific exercise that will help you tremendously with jazz is learning your 7th chords in groups of 4 adjacent strings. For example
Code:
Cmaj7 e----------------------- B----------------------- G-4--5--9--12----------------- D-2--5--9--10---------------- A-3--7--10-14------------------ E-3--7--8--12------------------ e----------------------- B-5--8--12--13---------------- G-4--5--9---12--------------- D-5--9--10--14---------------- A-3--7--10--14----------------- E------------------------- e-3--7--8--12---------------- B-1--5--8--12--------------- G-4--5--9--12----------------- D-3--5--9--10---------------- A------------------------ E-------------------------


Work those out for all chord qualities: Maj7, Min7, m7b5, dim7, Maj6, min6, sus4...

Last edited by cdgraves : 06-06-2014 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:27 PM   #8
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Or you can just start with this course he lays down the basics of Jazz really well IMO.

http://justinguitar.com/en/JA-000-Jazz.php
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Old 06-07-2014, 02:37 AM   #9
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I know this is a tab site but give up on tabs if you want to learn jazz, im not saying you should learn to sight read perfectly, but you don't want to go out and buy one of those 150 essential jazz licks books with tab notation or wes montgomery/joe pass etc tab books. completely useless

you want to learn by ear:
an important part of learning jazz is to do the transcriptions by yourself and internalize the language (writing down the actual notes on staff paper instead of fret location numbers help me analyse and undertand whats going on).
the licks you transcribe by ear need to be played on different areas on the fret board and different keys. tabs will often give you often incorrect and awkward fingerings

Last edited by SuperKid : 06-07-2014 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sickz
*wisdom*


+infinity

The most important thing I want to re-emphasise is to listen...and try to figure it out of you can, but most importantly, listen.

Check out the music of all instrumentalists. Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Lester Young, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, Johnny Cobb, Billy Cobham, Eddie Gomez, Scott LaFarro. Any more and I'll be here all day
It's all really good stuff.
The most notable guitarists have already been mentioned.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:33 AM   #11
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I personally think the jodie fisher jazz books are a pretty good place to start in your shoes. I think they go beginner intermediate and advanced so 3 books total with CD's. It will give you some structure to start off.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:45 AM   #12
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Well you´ve gotten lots of great advice in this thread since i last was here, so i am going to contribute to the list of players you might want to check out.

For jazz guitar, these are some of my favorites: Joe Pass, Jody Fisher, Lenny Breau, Barney Kessel, Andreas Öberg, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Pat Martino, Grant Green, Pat Metheny, Aaron Koppel, Adam Rogers, Adrian Ingram, Alessio Menconi, Andrea Massaria, Anthony Wilson, Avi Rothbard, Hal Gaylor, Bobby Broom, Bruce Forman, CHristoph Oeding, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joe Beck, Erik Söderlind, Larry Koonse, Pat Kelley, Jimmy Bruno, George Van Eps, Ben Monder, Charlie Byrd, Charlie Christian, Chuck Loeb, Dan Adler, Dave Stryker, Doug Raney, George Barnes, Jack Grassel, Jim Mullen, John Abercrombie, John Stein, John Basile, Jonathan Kreisberg, John Stowell, Joshua Breakstone, Mark Elf, Max Schultz.

They all fall under the category of more traditional jazz, i have a fairly large collection of jazz-fusion and gypsy jazz recommendations aswell if you would be interested. Even more if we include other instruments.

Hope you find some of this helpful, you can find all of those i mentioned on spotify.

Best Regards,
Sickz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote:
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"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:10 AM   #13
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Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. I still need advice on getting the "swing" needed to play Jazz. I'd also like to know a few Gypsy Jazz (interested in that as well) recommendations. What do I do if I don't like playing chords (I sadly have trouble playing a C Major chord right) much but am more of a solo guy? I am good with a few bar-chords though (Am, A, Em, E).

Oh and did someone mention "Fly Me To The Moon"? That song's the ending theme to Neon Genesis Evangelion (I love anime). Anyone know if that's a Jazz standard? I'm going to go learn it (it's even in C Major, simple enough).
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:19 AM   #14
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If you don't know chords inside out you don't have a snowball in hell's chance of playing jazz.
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:27 AM   #15
Sickz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven seagull
If you don't know chords inside out you don't have a snowball in hell's chance of playing jazz.


This is true. Jazz doesn´t have "lead players" and "rhythm players", you have to be able to comp really good and solo really good aswell, you will need to know how to construct chords (major/minor/dominant/diminished, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 6th etc).

You will have an extremely hard time as it is, but if you are having problems with chords you will be in hell when learning jazz. It is one of the genres that uses the most complex chord extensions in all of music.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:16 AM   #16
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Believe it or not, I can construct some of the chords (like major, minor, dim, Major7, Min7, and 6th). Major7ths are easy and can be played open. I suck at chord changes though. One of my talents is playing in rhythm with other players (I've faked my way through Country songs without knowing a single note of them). Is "Fly Me to the Moon" a jazz standard? How do you swing?

Jazz does have rhythm player, they're the ones stuck comping all the time. LOL
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:26 AM   #17
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how do you swing? You swing. Listen to jazz and actually try it.
You wanna learn jazz right? Then start learning jazz songs that you think sound sweet, learn the melody and learn the chords, then cross examine them, even learn to play them in a chord-melody style.
It will show you the areas where you need to improve the most.
Also, jazz bassists and drummers are mean soloist as well. they are in charge of keeping the time and rhythm and harmony, they have to know their shit.

Jazz is mostly about self-teaching, you have to take charge and responsibility over your own learning. Its a path of musical enlightenment even, but nobody thats good, got around learning standards, listening to jazz and getting a good ear.

Last edited by Ignore : 06-07-2014 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldPoe
How do you swing?


You just do. Swing is a feel more than a set rhythm. You'll find some players like to play behind the beat (like Dexter Gordon), while others like to play on top of it. Some will swing with their notes closer together while other will do it further apart. You're a metal guy,, right? I take it that if I were to chuck you a guitar you'd be able to riff some metal stuff off the top of your head. That goes to show you've absorbed the music and it's aspects to a point where you can replicate it yourself. Much to same with jazz.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldPoe
Jazz does have rhythm player, they're the ones stuck comping all the time. LOL


But seriously, everyone is expected to do everything pretty much.

Down by me are bars where music students and professional musicians hang and jam music. See if there's something like that by you. Talk to them, get to know them, play music with them, have fun and learn which you have fun.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:03 PM   #19
Sickz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldPoe

Jazz does have rhythm player, they're the ones stuck comping all the time. LOL


Not really, as said, jazz doesn´t have rhythm or lead in mind, cause everyone does both.

If you listen to records of the guys i listed you will find often that the guitarist plays solos, the pianist plays solos, the bass player plays solos, the drummer plays solos and the saxophonist/trumpet player plays solos. They also comp, while the others play solos. The whole mentally of lead and rhythm don´t apply in jazz cause you can have a guitarplayer playing the bassline while the bassist solos, or playing a melodic line while someone solos. You rather have the trade off trait in jazz, where a tune will start and someone will play the motif of the tune, then start soloing, then someone will cut him off after a while and that person starts to solo, you trade the spotlight so to speak.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:57 PM   #20
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\I've been having computer problems and couldn't respond for a few days. Anyway I'm looking up lessons and trying to learn a couple standards (I got the notes of the melodies to "Summer Time" and "Fly Me To The Moon). My problem is getting the feel of Jazz and that Swing. Thanks for the suggestions.

To Sickz, nice Guthrie Govan Quote (No really).
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