#1
Hey guys I'm gonna be tryin out for my schools jazz band in a few weeks and I'm decent at theory and jazz guitar but there are 7 or 8 other guitarists tryin out,and I would like some suggestions on what would be some good things to work on before try outs!!
#2
Well if you know what songs you're going to be doing, just work on those a whole bunch. That's all you can do really.
#3
Unfournately my so called "band director" doesnt have the slightest idea what he wants to play....so thats a no go.
#4
For a (presumably) high school jazz band, what you need is to know your chord voicings well. Odds are the other guys will come in with power chords, triads, or big ugly 6-string voicings. Get familiar with some real jazz voicings and your comping alone will help your chances immensely.
#6
You better be able to read, too.

If you can read, improvise, and be a complimentary player even when you're not soloing, they'll probably pick you up.
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#7
Really know and be able to read down your upper-structure and altered voicings. all those sharp and flat 5s 9s 11s and 13s are essential to a big band guitarist. And (as I'm sure you know) its all about the Freddie Green comp style in big band, so work on your time.
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#9
Quote by grampastumpy
For a (presumably) high school jazz band, what you need is to know your chord voicings well. Odds are the other guys will come in with power chords, triads, or big ugly 6-string voicings. Get familiar with some real jazz voicings and your comping alone will help your chances immensely.
HEY, I like my big six string voicings. If they're done right, they sound thick. Better than those weesly 3 string voicings some retard jazz players do. Ever noticed that you're starting to sound thin and dead? Blame your voicings.

Anyway, T/S, know 3 voicings of the most popular chords, know 2 voicings of all the altered dominant chords and know how to build chords QUICKLY (you'll be doing alot of sight reading of chord progressions) Timing isn't much of an issue as we normally only hit our full chords on all 4, 2 and 4 or 1 and 3. Otherwise, the rhthym is apparent and easy.

You will also need to know how to read sheet music. I mean really read, as in if it takes you longer than a few minutes to learn to play some sheet music, you are not reading it. No more FACE and every good boy deserves fudge.

Not as important but possible needed, learn to improvise. This means more than just finding a pentatonic shape and keeping the beat. Play the changes* and hit chord tones on stressed beats and play the right modes/scales.

*What I mean by play the changes is that if theres an Xm chord you would play X *minor mode* or X *another minor mode.* And then when the progression changes to Y chord, you would play Y *insert mode.* You get me?

Jazz guitarist don't normally play melodies or improvise, so focus on your chords.

Don't get discouraged, it's all alot easier than it sounds.
#10
Listen to Freddie Greene of the Count Basie band comp. The style you should emulate on swing chart is his. Remember you don't need 5th's or roots in your voicings. You can get away with 3rd's and 7th's and it can sound nice in a big band situation. Know how to read music and if you can sight read that's a big plus.
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#11
Quote by demonofthenight
You will also need to know how to read sheet music. I mean really read, as in if it takes you longer than a few minutes to learn to play some sheet music, you are not reading it. No more FACE and every good boy deserves fudge.

Ah, c'mon! I still use FACE! Unless it's a advanced jazz band, I don't think he needs to train himself rigorously to read music perfectly. It will help, yes, but sometimes when trying out the teachers would test you on things like rhythm, theory, and ear-training.
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#12
Quote by demonofthenight

Jazz guitarist don't normally play melodies or improvise, so focus on your chords.


While I agree that knowing chords and voicings is important, your first statement is untrue. Its important for guitarists to understand playing melodies and improvisation because they will find themselves doing both often in anything that isnt Basie or Monk.
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#13
Quote by demonofthenight
HEY, I like my big six string voicings. If they're done right, they sound thick. Better than those weesly 3 string voicings some retard jazz players do. Ever noticed that you're starting to sound thin and dead? Blame your voicings.
Naww dawg, I'd never use a voicing rooted on the low E anywhere before the 7th fret, at least in a big band where just about all the sonic range is covered and you're just there to establish harmony. And the "traditional" way is to play some "weesly" 3 string voicings and will probably still get him in over a guy who plays a Gm7b5 as a G5(true story, both guitarists in my school jazz band. I need to find myself a replacement basser to take their spots once they've graduated next year...)
#14
If the director has any sense he'll simply pick the best comper, which means to impress him you want to walk in with:

1. Good time. Tap your foot on 2 & 4 if you're swinging, and otherwise just make sure it's really solid.
2. Taste. When in doubt, leave it out (of your voicing). Don't overplay, no 6-string giant voicings, and don't feel the need to be always playing all the time. And you want to be just barely heard (but not lost) - a guitarist who plays at a good volume level without being repeatedly asked is golden.


If you've got those and you don't get the gig, either there was someone who had them better (better luck next time) or the director probably isn't worth playing for if you can find a different gig (most communities have youth big-bands you can audition for).
#15
Quote by grampastumpy
Naww dawg, I'd never use a voicing rooted on the low E anywhere before the 7th fret, at least in a big band where just about all the sonic range is covered and you're just there to establish harmony. And the "traditional" way is to play some "weesly" 3 string voicings and will probably still get him in over a guy who plays a Gm7b5 as a G5(true story, both guitarists in my school jazz band. I need to find myself a replacement basser to take their spots once they've graduated next year...)
The new guitarist in my jazz band (my co-ord thought I was ditching the band, now he's stuck with 2 guitarists) can barely play more than minor and major chords. I had to tell him how to voice major sevenths and minor sevenths. He'll learn fast though.

Still, playing a Gm7b5 as a G5? That takes the cake. I wish guitarist were falling over backwards to get into my band, it might make my job a little more prestigious.

And what's wrong with rooting a chord on the low E-string lower than the seventh fret? Too low?

If the director has any sense he'll simply pick the best comper
This. Band co-ords don't care if you can shred 21nps or can improvise the changes to giant steps, they want a rhythym guitarist.

1. Good time. Tap your foot on 2 & 4 if you're swinging, and otherwise just make sure it's really solid.
Seriously? It's really not that hard to keep in time, especially if theres a drummer playing with the band.
2. Taste. When in doubt, leave it out (of your voicing). Don't overplay, no 6-string giant voicings, and don't feel the need to be always playing all the time. And you want to be just barely heard (but not lost) - a guitarist who plays at a good volume level without being repeatedly asked is golden.
Yeah, when I was new I turned up really loud and annoyed the hell out of the old band co-ord. Not cool.

I don't think I like your approach of thinning out voicings. I normally try to include as many notes in my voicings as possible and only leave them out when they get too hard to play.
#16
Quote by demonofthenight
The new guitarist in my jazz band (my co-ord thought I was ditching the band, now he's stuck with 2 guitarists) can barely play more than minor and major chords. I had to tell him how to voice major sevenths and minor sevenths. He'll learn fast though.

Still, playing a Gm7b5 as a G5? That takes the cake. I wish guitarist were falling over backwards to get into my band, it might make my job a little more prestigious.

And what's wrong with rooting a chord on the low E-string lower than the seventh fret? Too low?

This. Band co-ords don't care if you can shred 21nps or can improvise the changes to giant steps, they want a rhythym guitarist.

Seriously? It's really not that hard to keep in time, especially if theres a drummer playing with the band.
Yeah, when I was new I turned up really loud and annoyed the hell out of the old band co-ord. Not cool.

I don't think I like your approach of thinning out voicings. I normally try to include as many notes in my voicings as possible and only leave them out when they get too hard to play.


You must have never played with a bassist or a pianist. In any real jazz situation if you start using full 6 string voicings with roots on your E you're gonna have some big dude holding a 6 foot tall hunk of wood start yelling at you to stay off his note. And full voicings WILL clash with piano voicings. In a big band your job is "chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk" its not outlining harmonies. All you need to concentrate on is playing the 3rd 7th and any extensions that you can grab at.
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#17
Quote by demonofthenight
Still, playing a Gm7b5 as a G5? That takes the cake. I wish guitarist were falling over backwards to get into my band, it might make my job a little more prestigious.
Well, let's see, the one guy always plays power chords, and the other, who is marginally less bad, plays only root triads. Both of these guys are actually pretty good players, but they have no idea what they're doing in a jazz setting. Guy 1 is a metalcore kinda guy while guy 2 is a hard rock/alt rock kinda guy.
Quote by fusionsan
You must have never played with a bassist or a pianist. In any real jazz situation if you start using full 6 string voicings with roots on your E you're gonna have some big dude holding a 6 foot tall hunk of wood start yelling at you to stay off his note. And full voicings WILL clash with piano voicings. In a big band your job is "chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk" its not outlining harmonies. All you need to concentrate on is playing the 3rd 7th and any extensions that you can grab at.
Basically this.
#18
Well at risk of sounding cocky, the pianist is new and gets lost easily and the other guitarist is only vagualy better at jazz tha guy 1 of stumpys story and the bassist is content at walking riffs instead of implying the harmony. Effectively, I'm the only one playing the chords. Regardless, the other guys in the rhthym section are younger and smaller than me. If they don't voice chords like I want them to be voiced...

Hey stumpy, why don't you take guitar in the band and leave bass to someone else?
EDIT: just realised my failure in comprehension...
Last edited by demonofthenight at Nov 24, 2008,
#19
Quote by demonofthenight
Well at risk of sounding cocky, the pianist is new and gets lost easily and the other guitarist is only vagualy better at jazz tha guy 1 of stumpys story and the bassist is content at walking riffs instead of implying the harmony. Effectively, I'm the only one playing the chords. Regardless, the other guys in the rhthym section are younger and smaller than me. If they don't voice chords like I want them to be voiced...

Hey stumpy, why don't you take guitar in the band and leave bass to someone else?
IMO, you shouldn't be trying to compensate for the other guys, and you could be stunting their musical growth by trying to cover all their ground. Plus, even in a minimal guitar bass and horn trio or something, those voicings are a bit much. You should(I hate saying it like that) be picking the interesting tones, not the root the bass is playing or the fifth that's so naturally implied(unless it's altered). Quality over quantity.

I'd love to. This is my second year on bass and it's because we don't have anyone else. The other bassist has a fairly bad sense of rhythm and can't keep track of key signatures with 4+ flats at all. I tried to switch from bass to guitar this year, but the band director told me that I was needed on bass. Fortunately I've got a good friend who plays bass and guitar who I jam with a lot and hopefully I can shove him in my spot.
#20
Basically, you need to learn how to read music to a decent level and know how to play extended chords. Knowing a bit of improvisation is a good thing too, although in my school jazz band I mainly play chords, with a few improvs from time to time. good luck!
#21
Quote by demonofthenight

And what's wrong with rooting a chord on the low E-string lower than the seventh fret? Too low?

This. Band co-ords don't care if you can shred 21nps or can improvise the changes to giant steps, they want a rhythym guitarist.

Seriously? It's really not that hard to keep in time, especially if theres a drummer playing with the band.
Yeah, when I was new I turned up really loud and annoyed the hell out of the old band co-ord. Not cool.

I don't think I like your approach of thinning out voicings. I normally try to include as many notes in my voicings as possible and only leave them out when they get too hard to play.


Yes, too low, you're stepping on toes and nobody likes that.

Between someone who can merely keep in time and someone who actually has good time there is an entire world. Playing with Monk was compared to "riding a magic carpet" because his time was so good (that's also how he was able to get away with all those crazy rhythmic displacements), and your mission should be to try for that.


Musicians are afraid of silence, and afraid of playing less. Break out of that. Also, listen to Jim Hall. In fact, buy Undercurrents (with Bill Evans). It'll teach you the exact perfect way to play with a pianist and not get in his way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3a1-ay2tnE This is your model for big band work that swings. Notice how Freddie Green only plays 2 or 3 notes at a time.
#22
Quote by Nick_
In fact, buy Undercurrents (with Bill Evans). It'll teach you the exact perfect way to play with a pianist and not get in his way.


Thank album is the album that made me start playing jazz. Excuse the language, but I ****ing love that album.
The hip cat says; "Mhm, okay, I can groove wit' this"
#23
Quote by Punk Poser
Listen to Freddie Greene of the Count Basie band comp. The style you should emulate on swing chart is his. Remember you don't need 5th's or roots in your voicings. You can get away with 3rd's and 7th's and it can sound nice in a big band situation. Know how to read music and if you can sight read that's a big plus.


This is correct. +1 sir, +1.

Also, to demonofthenight

Three string voicings sound ****ty cause you have no bassist
Try it with a bass player catching the root.