Jazz Guitar
Learn how to play jazz guitar with our eBook bundle
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1

    Jazz Guitar Phrasing

    Hello fellow guitarists,

    I have been trying to work on my phrasing lately. When soloing, I have a bad habit of playing too many phrases that start and end on the downbeat. Any ideas, exercises, techniques, thoughts on how I can correct this.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    5,826
    transcribe solos and work on them...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A View Post
    I have a bad habit of playing too many phrases that start and end on the downbeat. Any ideas, exercises, techniques, thoughts on how I can correct this.
    Yes, just don't do it!

  4. #4
    Bert ligon says to tape the words "on-before-after" to your music stand and apply to all of your playing/practicing. Any new vocabulary is practiced all three ways. Difficult to improvise off beat if your practice is all on the beat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    4,847
    Check out this lesson I put together, it'll help with jazz phrasing.

    mattwarnockguitar.com/jazz-phrasing
    Matt Warnock Guitar
    FREE 84-Page Jazz Guitar eBook

  6. #6
    Work slower and with intention. Bad habitual playing comes out of desperation where you close yourself off to options to keep yourself safe.
    Keep a conscious lexicon of options, rhythmic, melodic and dynamic. This is called vocabulary; conscious and aware vocabulary. Then find the way to integrate that broader vocabulary into your subconscious playing. Practice this.
    One way is to take a tune, and work with it, maybe over the course of a week. Start below ballad speed, and find the speed of thought. Then solo at that speed. Next day bring it up a notch, increasing the speed of thought with it. End the week at the limit of your ability. It doesn't matter what the tune was originally, use this to build your nuance in phrasing. Gee, maybe do a tune a week.
    Keep a journal of the your lexicon and consult the "options page" in your mind when you're playing. Then observe your notes after each solo. If you did something habitual, or aggrivatingly annoying, go back and replace your phrase with other options.
    You can get ideas from other people, but know that it's not your own until you know where that phrase is coming from and how to manipulate it to make it your own. Lift and innovate, don't copy... even from yourself.

    Phrase construction comes from a working awareness of many options, and an internalized kinesthetic command of how to play them.
    Practice with awareness.

    David

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    960
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Phrase construction comes from a working awareness of many options, and an internalized kinesthetic command of how to play them.
    Practice with awareness.

    David
    That sums it up so nicely it had to be quoted for truth. You can also substitute "Pharse construction" with "Playing with confidence".
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.


    "I never practice. I just open the guitar case and throw in a piece of meat." (Wes Montgomery)

  8. #8
    I'd suggest writing out a line for, say, 4 bars.

    Start on the beat, but then, in bar 2, set up the line so it crosses the bar line and ends somewhere in bar 3. Maybe simply a displacement/elaboration of the lick in bar 1.

    Keep editing it until you like the line.

    If you can't make one up, find one in the Parker Omnibook or anywhere.

    Then, loop the 4 bars with a backing track and sing the line until it feels natural.

    Then, put it on the guitar.

    Play it in 12 keys. I suggest IRealPro's key change feature. 10 bucks and works on your phone.

    After you can feel it, do the whole thing over with another lick. Or, maybe the same lick displaced by an eighth or quarter.
    So, at first you start it on beat one. Next time on beat 2. Next time on 1-and. Etc.

    After this becomes super natural and your self-esteem is getting too high, try the whole thing again in 5/4 or 7/4. <g>. Then, when you finally try it on a gig, tell the comping instruments that you want to hear a BOOM on the 1 of every bar in odd meter. And, no matter how exciting your solo gets, they continue to play the same damn pattern including the BOOM. There's a reason Brubeck played the lick throughout Desmond's solo on Take Five.

  9. #9
    A fun phrasing study taught to me by a local pro:

    Have a friend write down 4 rows of random integers between 1 and 4. If you have no friends, use random number generator.

    Each integer dictates the length of the phrase. For example, use this.

    | 1 | 1 | 4 | 1 |
    | 3 | 1 | 3 | 4 |
    | 3 | 2 | 3 | 3 |
    | 2 | 4 | 1 | 3 |

    The first two phrases are short. You can interpret it as 1 beat. Or half beat. That's up to you. The relative length of the phrases doesn't have to be exact, but try to be consistent with your interpretation.

    Do it in free time. When you're set, try it in real time over changes.

    Another side of the same coin: interpret the numbers as the length of time between phrases.

    This exercise doesn't explicitly focus on beat placement, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't give you ideas.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    A fun phrasing study taught to me by a local pro:

    Have a friend write down 4 rows of random integers between 1 and 4. If you have no friends, use random number generator.

    Each integer dictates the length of the phrase. For example, use this.

    | 1 | 1 | 4 | 1 |
    | 3 | 1 | 3 | 4 |
    | 3 | 2 | 3 | 3 |
    | 2 | 4 | 1 | 3 |

    The first two phrases are short. You can interpret it as 1 beat. Or half beat. That's up to you. The relative length of the phrases doesn't have to be exact, but try to be consistent with your interpretation.

    Do it in free time. When you're set, try it in real time over changes.

    Another side of the same coin: interpret the numbers as the length of time between phrases.

    This exercise doesn't explicitly focus on beat placement, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't give you ideas.
    Great idea !!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Bert ligon says to tape the words "on-before-after" to your music stand and apply to all of your playing/practicing. Any new vocabulary is practiced all three ways. Difficult to improvise off beat if your practice is all on the beat.
    This is really working.
    Thanks for the tip.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A View Post
    This is really working.
    Thanks for the tip.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    It's helped me a good bit as well. I usually practice vocabulary on-before-after with 8ths and then with triplets.

    The phrasing benefits go way beyond simply being able to start on different parts of the beat. If you practicing vocabulary several different ways, you get all kind of variations in accents, and pick direction etc. as well.

  13. #13
    My timing for rock, classical and other styles is pretty dead on. But when I started to get more into Jazz(it's almost all I work on now), I had to work on my swing feel and my accents. I was doing well. Had some different timing exercises I was working on from the guitar.


    But I bought drums(electronic/Roland, for now) and started teaching myself how to play. Just for fun and further development. Play lots of style of beats and have started working out of a book(additional independence exercises and beats).


    I find the more I play anything triplet based, shuffles, swing, rudiments...my swing feel and accents take care of them selves. Especially the last few months. I actually think all musicians should play some drums and if they don't already, a chordal instrument.

  14. Relax and let the downbeat pass away.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by DS71 View Post
    I actually think all musicians should play some drums and if they don't already, a chordal instrument.
    I don't want to sound too wise here but I agree and say that unless you become the time(the drummer) you have no idea what time is. It's an exaggeration for sure. Ok, lets retract that - before I was into drumming, I had no idea what is this thing called "time". Good drummers are awesome musicians. Without knowing a single note's name sometimes.

    That said, with all kinds of respects, unless doing something real curious with those electric drums, avoid them at all cost. Rent a garage and spend a few hours in a week there with your REAL drums.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    I don't want to sound too wise here but I agree and say that unless you become the time(the drummer) you have no idea what time is. It's an exaggeration for sure. Ok, lets retract that - before I was into drumming, I had no idea what is this thing called "time". Good drummers are awesome musicians. Without knowing a single note's name sometimes.

    That said, with all kinds of respects, unless doing something real curious with those electric drums, avoid them at all cost. Rent a garage and spend a few hours in a week there with your REAL drums.
    The original plan was to get an acoustic set, and still plan on it. I have the room for sure.
    Thought I could teach myself for a bit on the Roland set. They're pretty nice for now. All mesh heads. I can just throw the headphones on and not disturb anyone.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Work slower and with intention. Bad habitual playing comes out of desperation where you close yourself off to options to keep yourself safe.
    Keep a conscious lexicon of options, rhythmic, melodic and dynamic. This is called vocabulary; conscious and aware vocabulary. Then find the way to integrate that broader vocabulary into your subconscious playing. Practice this.
    I had a golf pro who videotaped me, showed me bad stuff in my habitual swing, and then showed me how to correct it.

    His first instruction was "put down the damn club !", meaning, just become conscious of pure body movement.

    He said "the club is a tool....an implement...it does what your body tells it", and when you pick up the club, and swing it unthinkingly, his expression was "the old software just loads again", i.e. you repeat the bad habit.

    So, some real words of wisdom in the above post.

  18. #18
    The drummer Tony Moreno used to make us play a game that helps with this. It's a bit academic and intellective, but if you give it a chance and follow through with it, it can be really helpful at helping you HEAR and GET MORE COMFORTABLE with other parts of the measure.

    -Take a blues
    -Pick a starting point...
    -beat 1
    -the & of 1
    -beat 2
    -the & of 2
    -etc. all the way up to the & of 4 in measure 2 (2 full measures of 8th note subdivisions)

    -Start at the beginning of the list, beat 1. Turn on a play along and play a phrase that last just under 2 bars starting directly on that beat. Continue all the way through the form ALWAYS starting your phrases on beat 1 of measure 1, and always ending your phrase at least 1-2 beats before the next starting point (which would always be 2 bars later... so in this case, beat 1 measure 3). Continue through the entire form and then loop it. It needs to get to the point where you don't have to think or count anymore. You should just be able to feel exactly where that starting point is and hit it every time.

    -Then, same thing but start your phrase on the & of 1 in measure 1. Same deal. Play your phrases ALWAYS starting there and ending a bit before the next phrase starts. 2 bar long phrases mean you would play the & of 1 in bar 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.

    -Then beat 2 measure 1

    -The & of 2 measure 1
    -beat 3 in measure 1
    etc.

    -Eventually, if you keep moving in 8th notes, this will carry you over to starting your phrase on beat 1 of measure 2, playing through measure 2 and some of measure 3, and then starting your next phrase on beat 1 of measure 4. And then continuing on to starting on each of the 8th note subdivision with the even numbered measures.

    It can get pretty quirky, and VERY heady. But again, the point is to use the intellect and counting to get into the swing of things, and then to stay there and keep up with it until our internal sense of time takes over and learns what it feels like to start a phrase on any particular point of the measure. We could almost think of this stuff as rhythmic modes in a way. Same chord progression and form, and same length of phrases, but learning what it sounds and feels like to start on different parts of the rhythmic landscape.
    NYC Jazz Guitar Masterclasses - Free Weekly Lessons

    "Jordan Klemons is a great guitarist with unlimited potential. His prodigious technique is never an end in itself but instead the means to musical expression. He is a musician who looks to the past for inspiration and influence yet has a modern conception; he is someone to look out and listen for!"
    -Peter Bernstein

  19. #19

    ...

    When you work on a legato technique. Play the upbeat and slur to downbeat. When you learn this Phrasing approach you have to start your phrases on Upbeats. furthermore it's easy to feel the end of a phrase on a upbeat, because you have to pick it.

    So its easy to feel where is the Upbeat and where is the downbeat.

  20. #20
    Melody is one of the tools that make harmony move... that is... if you just outline harmony with your phrases on downbeats... you in a way just duplicate harmony... to make harmony move with melody is like making phrasing in wave: you approach - you go off.. you approach - you go off...

    Count 4/4 in 8/8.. it gives another perspective of where the accecnts could be, start the phrase from 2nd 8th in the beat as an excersise (with relation to harmony).

    Make sort of 'pickup' phrasing.

    Think of downbeat as of climax or the phrase - (not the beginning or end).. so the notes you play before climax are 'approach notes'.. notes you play after it are 'going off'.

    Anyways.. beginning on downbeat all the time can sound quite annoying, but ending on downbeat is quite ok to my ear (much better then loose off beat occasional accent).

    Imho the last note in phrase is very important... it should be clear and cofindent choice.

    To me there are two most important notes in short phrase:respectively important... 1st is 'climax', 2nd is 'final'

Join our Facebook Page

Get in Touch


Jazz Guitar eBooks
How To Get a Jazz Guitar Tone?
Privacy Policy

 

 

Follow us on:

Jazz Guitar Online on FacebookJazz Guitar Online on TwitterJazz Guitar Online on YoutubeJazz Guitar Online RSS Feed