#1
What are some good rules of thumb for what notes to play when soloing?

For examples, when the song starts borrowing a lot of different chords, what notes/scales complement them well? Are there any good guide lines for this? I know there's no hard fast rule to it, but what are some guidelines to get started on?
#2
I am also interested to see peoples responses.

to contribute, whenever I approach a jazz solo, i look at the key changes, and the chords and go at it from there. as well, i try and borrow licks from the melody and make my own riffs from that.
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#3
I am studying jazz in college now and the few things i can say quickly are: Always try to outline the notes of the chord especially the thirds and sevenths. And number two is learn as many solos of good jazz musicians as possible. Those are the most important things.
#4
ughh been my mind is mind bottled with this stuff

right now im really trying to focus on placement of chormatic / un-diatonic notes and more importantly resolution notes.. this diverges slightly into secondary/ leading tone dominants, im guessing..

Brett Garsed IMO best jazz guitar solo shredder dude :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIjQDxPYA8c&feature=related

watch his picking hand
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#5
Although I'm not the most experienced Jazz musician I find that trying to match a scale to a chord often just leads to practicing scales. I much rather focus on the melody line, and learn to play it, change it, harmonize with it a bit, but make sure its still there. Pretty much put my own new spin on it. If its a riff tune(instead of melody is focused on one riff, popular for dance charts), I find that just adding to the riff and changing it a little works quite well. Its important to know your chords and scales, but its a lot easier to base improvisation on a melody then off of a bunch of scales isn't it? Also will attach your solo to the melody, and thus to the rest of the music.
#6
Determine the function of the chords you are playing over and play lines that have a clear melodic direction with the use of tension and release.
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#7
watch his picking hand

IMO when someone says that about a guitarist (especially a jazz player) that makes me think less of there playing almost instantly. The fact that phrasing, note choice, time feel, vocabulary or anything else don't stand out over his picking makes it clear hes nothing special. and while that player is very good, he isnt doing anything that hasn't been done better by people like Pat Metheny, Sonny Sharrock, Bill Frisel, John Scofield, or Alan Holdsworth. His longer lines are also really boring and (imo) poorly articulated.
If you want a bebop oriented sound, try to target 3rds and 7ths and check out the book Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon. also spend tons of time listening to jazz, and learn a lot of tunes in all 12 keys and transcribe some solos, taking your favorite lines and applying them through a ton of different harmonic situations and (obviously) learning them in all 12 keys. For chord voicings check out Jazz and Hot Guitar by Mickey Baker.
As for playing over unfamiliar non-diatonic changes, use arpeggios and chord-scales (something you should spend some time reading up about/working with with) and try to make your lines meaningful rather then correct.
Id also say check out (in a bookstore or online or you can buy it) the chord-scale chapter of The Jazz Theory book by Mark Levine. If you wana get a good altered sound Id also check out the likes of Pat Martino and most any bebop-oriented player.
#8
Quote by tehREALcaptain
IMO when someone says that about a guitarist (especially a jazz player) that makes me think less of there playing almost instantly.


The fact that he uses his other 3 fingers as picks makes notes flow naturally and avod the constant harshness from the pick..

and to boot you completley missed my point.. listen to his note selection and placement of chromaticism.

Garsed states hes heavily influnced by horn lines which is quite an interesting fusion.. Classical technique+ Sax/trumpet theory + shredder gutiar = >_<
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Last edited by seymour_jackson at Jul 20, 2010,
#9
bleh, this is a dumb argument, sorry for starting it (but really, sax/trumpet theory? i guess i only know guitar theory cause im a guitarist). But as far as note choice and use of chromatism and all that goes, theres about a billion players id rather hear, though that guy is quite skillful. Sorry for trying to assert my opinion (seriously) as fact.
#10
Quote by flashbandit
What are some good rules of thumb for what notes to play when soloing?

For examples, when the song starts borrowing a lot of different chords, what notes/scales complement them well? Are there any good guide lines for this? I know there's no hard fast rule to it, but what are some guidelines to get started on?

Well, what sounds good?
Oh yeah.

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#11
So this is what I'm hearing:

1.) Work with the melody/harmonies
2.) Outline the chord tones

What else works? Like, are there certain scales that work with certain chords? Like, I've heard something like the whole tone scales or diminished scales work well with diminished chords...
#12
^ There are a few neat "tricks" you can try to keep your improv interesting. One of my favorites is to play over a dom7 chord vamp and improvise using the diminished scale starting from the b9, 3, 5, or b7 (whichever you choose it's all the same notes). Then you can throw in notes from the parent major scale (and even the same root's minor scale, if you're feeling adventurous).

For example, this is a little run if you will that sounds very interesting over a G7 chord:

-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
-------------------7-9-10-12---
-----------5-6-9-----------------
------5-8-------------------------
-4-7------------------------------
#13
Quote by flashbandit
So this is what I'm hearing:

1.) Work with the melody/harmonies
2.) Outline the chord tones

What else works? Like, are there certain scales that work with certain chords? Like, I've heard something like the whole tone scales or diminished scales work well with diminished chords...

Each chord can have a cale that is built using chord tones that extends from the normal arrpeggio. For example over an E7 chord one might use the E mixolydian scale, that is 123456b78. Or over a minor 7 chord the dorian scale is common in jazz. Another thing to do is over a couple of difficult changes create your own 'custom' scale that you can use for melodic ideas, a scale that hits upon key notes of all the chords your playing over. Or creating your own licks or borrowing another player's licks that work over a couple of chords. But here's the thing...the notes aren't anywhere near as important as the rhythms. playing only 3's and 7's of a chord can sound incredibly hip with some real jazz articulation, rhythm and feel. Listen to wind players for this. Clark Terry, Sonny Rollins, etc.
#14
What else works? Like, are there certain scales that work with certain chords? Like, I've heard something like the whole tone scales or diminished scales work well with diminished chords..

forget all that.
the chord scales we have can all be linked (as in come from) to the Major, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor, Diminished and WHole Tone scales.
Learn all the modes of the first three and get a handle on the last 2 in all 12 keys.
then start to think about pairing them with chords. Playing major over a Maj7 chord, Dorian over a min7 chord, Locrian over a m7b5 chord and mixolydian over a dominant seventh chord for starters. Other chords (particulalry altered chords) will demand other scales and modes. Google chord-scale theory and do some reading on it.
It doesn't work very well for artistic performance (it boxes you in) but studying it and guidetone lines and basic harmonic outlines will give you a good place to start with jazz improvisation.
#15
Best advice I can give you is to play around the Chords, know your scales etc, but never actively think of them druing your solo, things go to fast in jazz. Try to work you solo around the current chord, chord tones are good, and in jazz alot of chromatics are part of the flow. So any note outside the chord notes can be used a leading note. To get better use the principal, and play alot A LOT ALOT along jazz records.