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  1. #1

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    I'm looking for books that could help me to learn how to play chord melody in a systematic way.

    I made some arrangments myself but it takes me a lot of time, and I think I could improve them.

    I know the basic theory about chords inversions, scales, improvisation, and I have enough technique to get me start because I have studied classical guitar for a lot of years.

    Can you advise me some chord melody books?

    Thanks

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    It might be a good idea to read Howard Morgan's Book "Through Chord-Melody and Beyond".
    This book presents thorough insight into the melody-chord technique. The only hang-up is that there are no preliminary chord forms that you can learn to play the chords beneath the melody notes. A good chord book is a book by Arnie Berle "Modern Chords and Progressions for Guitar" published by Amsco. The book may be out of print. However, you may be able to pick one up on Amazon.
    I hope this information is helpful. Joe

  4. #3

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    I have Howard's book, and while I haven't gone all the way thru it, it is outstanding. I really like Jody Fisher's books on the subject also. Good luck

  5. #4

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    The two Barry Galbraith books of chord melody arrangements are worth studying. They are books of arrangements rather than method books but there's a lot in the arrangements that "makes sense" on a guitar and is therefore memorable and transferrable, imo ...

  6. #5
    It looks like Howard Morgan's Book "Through Chord-Melody and Beyond"., is a good way to go. I've read the first pages of demonstration in Amazon and it looks nice. If i study also some of Barry's Galbraith arrangements i think i'll go in the right direction.

    Thanks!

  7. #6

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    Hi: I have the Barry Galbraith melody-chord solo book too. I believe that analyzing his chord structures and harmonies are very difficult to do, if not impossible ! Galbraith was a master jazz player, bordering on genious. I tried to analyze his chords and harmonic movement and found myself totally confused ! If you accomplish this feat, please let me know. I would be very interested in your result.
    Best regards and lots of luck. Joe S.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S.
    It might be a good idea to read Howard Morgan's Book "Through Chord-Melody and Beyond".
    This book presents thorough insight into the melody-chord technique. The only hang-up is that there are no preliminary chord forms that you can learn to play the chords beneath the melody notes. A good chord book is a book by Arnie Berle "Modern Chords and Progressions for Guitar" published by Amsco. The book may be out of print. However, you may be able to pick one up on Amazon.
    I hope this information is helpful. Joe
    If you want to complement these excellent books with some chord voicings check out this book:
    Amazon.com: Chord-Melody Guitar: A Guide to Combining Chords and Melody to Create Solo Arrangements in Jazz and Pop Styles (Musicians Institute: Private Lessons) (9780634032110): Bruce Buckingham: Books

  9. #8

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    Great suggestion! I own this one, too.
    I think in chord-melody it's very important that you can apply the material immediatly and play some pieces. Otherwise the motivation gets lost, cause it's hard in the beginning. That's why the book by Howard Morgen is so great. You learn the theory, the voicings, the bass lines and there are arrangements of songs in every chapter. But in my mind you learn most by not just copying his arrangements, but by making your own by modifying his versions. And the book by Buckingham is one that gives lots of ideas for doing so, too. And it's cheap...

    Cheers, Modalguru

  10. #9

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    I'd recommend learning a bunch of chord-melody arrangements and observe what's going on, what chords are being used, substitutes, chord-scales, pedal tones, etc. One good source for a lot of free arrangements is the TedGreene.com website. In the "Tunes" section of the "Lessons" you can find many of his pages. In addition, you'll find a lot of helpful info about those arrangements in the "From Students" section.
    Good luck!
    --Jay

  11. #10

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    The best way to learn this stuff is by doing. Take some easy standards - ones whose melodies have a bunch of long notes (e.g. What Is This Thing Called Love, All The Things You Are, Blue Bossa, Cherokee, etc.) and then just use the chords you already know, or snippets of them, to outline the underlying harmonic progression while you play the melody on top.

    It's slow going at first, but you start to get better at it.

    I've found that getting yet-another-book-on-the-subject just feeds into my own illusion that if I find the right method book that I'll suddenly "get it." In reality, it does little to help me actually play.

    As Pierre would say, "Time on the instrument..."

  12. #11

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    Another Howard Morgen production in ebook form with video is "Fingerboard Breakthrough" its very good for chord construction and easier to understand than his other book. There are some videos taken from it on Youtube, worth a look. Also totally agree with Fatjeff, you just have to keep plugging away at it until you get to where you want to be.

  13. #12

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    +1 to Fatjeff on the learn by " doing "......I started with expanding my chord voicing vocabulary, i.e. using the CAGED system as a starting point, and creatively elaborated from there.....may be primitive to most schooled upper crust jazz ears, but it works for me.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff

    I've found that getting yet-another-book-on-the-subject just feeds into my own illusion that if I find the right method book that I'll suddenly "get it." In reality, it does little to help me actually play.
    Excellent observation. and I'd add that all those companies (book and DVD publishers) already know that we're constantly creating that illusion, so they add more and more material to keep us busy, but we actually never learn that way.

  15. #14

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    I agree wholeheartedly with FatJeff. I imagine there's a lot of people like myself. Lots of practicing, studying, learning bits and pieces here and there. You know a bunch of jazz chords, scales, triads, etc but at the end of the day can't play a chord melody from beginning to end.

    Many of the chord inversions you learn will rarely be used. As I write out chord melodies I'm able to get all the melody notes with just a few chords, and ones that are easy to finger.

  16. #15

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    Steve Crowell has some of the best but there are plenty to choose from. Chordmelody.com has a great section to pick from. You need to decide if you want pick or finger style, block chord or tab notation or both.

    Steve Crowell writes some of the best pick style transcriptions with block chords diagrams I have seen. I've been buying and using Steve's books since 1979 and I still refer to them often.

    Easy Jazz Guitar - Jazz Science Series
    https://www.chordmelody.com/

    It takes some time to figure out the key words to look for in the item description and whether or not they apply to your style. I have plenty of books that do not meet my preference for chord block and pick style.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards -

    Cliff

  17. #16

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    Frankly I am nopt much into learnign and performing ready arrangements but whenever I see the book I try to go through it mostly sight-reading looking for ideas... so these are ones I had a chance to play through more or less


    Chord Melody Solos in 2 volumes - quite simple arrangements and being made by different players they are often different in style and approach.. mixed fingerstyle, pick, hybrid

    Dan Towey 'Duke Ellington - 15 sensational songs' - quite ok mixed pick, fingerstyle, hyprid

    Dan Twoey - ' Jazz Guitar Chord Melodies' - quite complex arrangements... include not only the melody arranged but also kind of solo... more kind of transcribed solo concert performance than arrangemnet

    Howard Morgan 'The Ellington Collection' - nice fingerstyle arrangements reflectin Howard Morgan's individual approach

    Robert Yelin's 'Jazz Classics for Solo Guitar' - quite special arrangements... pros and cons were discussed on this forum (also by me) - so try the search

    Barry Galbraith - very cool arrangements

    Steve Hancoff - 'Duke Ellington for fingerstyle guitar' - technique-wise more rag-style arrangements than conventional jazz... big intro on harmmny chords etc

    John Miller - 'Fingerpicking Gershwin' - also look more like classical or rag style arrangements in approach to texture

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by nick1994
    I'm looking for a good chord melody book, with arrangements. Not really interested in method books. I've seen a couple online but not sure which to get. Any suggestions?
    It depends where you are what your goals are etc etc. but my top 2 suggestions would be

    Joe pass Chord Solos.
    Joe Pass Chord Solos: For Guitar, Vibes & All Keyboard Instruments: Joe Pass: 0038081001630: Amazon.com: Books

    and anything/everything by bill McCormick

    Bill McCormick | mPub | Jazz Guitar Books for Sale

    The pass book is a classic. Memorize it and you're set for life.

    the bill McCormick books are really outstanding. I'm not sure why they never get mentioned here, but they seem like a labor of love and unlike some other advanced books, are not that hard to play, although harmonically they get really out there as you work through them.

  19. #18

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    +1 on the Barry Galbraith.

    There was also some discussion on this forum some time ago about a very nice folio of Johnny Smith Chord solos.

    This link will take you back to those pages.
    Johnny Smith Chord Solo Book

  20. #19

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    Mike Elliot had a really good series from Hal Leonard, Volume 1 was called Expanding Jazz Harmonies, V2. Contemporary Chord Solos.
    They are written with melody and chord grid.
    I got a lot from these, the chord movements and harmonies are nicely explained and the songs within are beautiful examples. There were others in the series but the Mike Elliot ones were my favourites.


    Good Chord Melody Book?-photo-7-jpg

    If you want some really beautiful arrangements of popular tunes, Toru Takemitsu wrote pieces for classical guitar.



    You can get a lot out of these, dense with well thought out lines and beautiful use of techniques.
    David
    Last edited by TH; 06-17-2015 at 03:54 PM.

  21. #20

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    I agree whole heartedly. I bought these ages ago and they were the most useful books both in "steal-able" harmonic approaches and good sound practical theoretical instruction. I carried these around and learned the solos, and parts of them are still in my vocabulary today. They're easy to visualize (chord grid is really effective sometimes) and they're easy to play with the melody outlined as it is.
    I too wish Hal Leonard would reissue them. There were other volumes but not with the treatment of good workhorse standards that Volume 1 and 2 had.
    Somebody should scan them. Better yet, the publisher should get hip to one of the gems they are sitting on.
    David

  22. #21

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    No specific recommendation except that if you're getting a book of tunes there should be actual audio examples. That always frustrated me about the Joe Pass Chord Solos book which to my knowledge were not even transcriptions of existing recordings. It's really hard to struggle through complex notation when you don't know what it's supposed to sound like! Plus, being able to listen to the actual tune is important because you might not want to learn a whole solo but only some particular phrases.

  23. #22

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    "Solo Jazz Guitar"- Bill Hart-published by Hal Leonard.

  24. #23

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    I bought both volumes I and II on Amazon.com. The weren't cheap when I bought them but this is crazy:

    This is Volume I at $552.00 which can't be right.

    Contemporary Chord Solos - Book 1: A Simplified Approach to Substitute Harmonies: Mike Elliot: 9780793524143: Amazon.com: Books

    This is volume II at a fair price of $30.00

    Contemporary Chord Solos - Book 2: A Simplified Approach to Substitute Harmonies: 0073999552188: Amazon.com: Books

    And this is how I was introduced to Mike Elliot:

    Mike Brookfield doing Mike Elliot's Come Rain or Come Shine from Volume I.



    Here's Mike's Transcription: [ATTACH]21389
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by ckrahenbill; 07-01-2015 at 01:45 AM.

  25. #24

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    Very nice transcription in terms of the arrangement. Disappointing to see it just in tab, but that's ok. I don't hear so much substitutions as just good voice leading. Nice version.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by targuit
    ... Disappointing to see it just in tab, but that's ok. I don't hear so much substitutions...
    The Elliot arrangements are not meant to be completed integrated technique performances pieces, they are from a book of pieces that use standards as vehicles that elegantly demonstrate certain techniques that are introduced, discussed and demonstrated. These books are first and foremost great instructional books, like a class on using harmony in solo chord arrangements and an etude using a standard. So no. You're not going to see substitutions, harmonics, great liberties with the melody, harmony or the rhythm.
    The original Elliot books have notation of the original melody, chord symbols and the supporting chord presented in a chord block form. That's not in tab. The curious can scroll up to post #8 and see an example.

    If you're looking for an arrangement with more advanced techniques, chord substitutions, different linear ideas and a concert quality arrangement, probably don't think about the books we're discussing here on the Mike Elliot sub topic; you'll likely find these below your level and unsatisfying.
    I've found them useful in the way they presented material that does make a good chord soloist.

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrahenbill
    I bought both volumes I and II on Amazon.com. The weren't cheap when I bought them but this is crazy:

    This is Volume I at $552.00
    I wonder if Mike Elliot is still around, if he could be convinced to present an integrated Volume 1&2 to the publisher, or if some letter writing might help turn Hal Leonard's decision makers to make this move for Mike. I've seen other publishers re-issue classics like the Van Eps book and others.
    It won't kill you not to have them, there are certainly good books out there, Galbraith, Takemitsu, etc, but the Elliot ones did have a unique visual approach and very nice etudes for study.

    David

  27. #26

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    Good points, David. Actually, I did like the arrangement per se. Clear and musically right on point. I suspect the method books would be valuable. Personally I don't seek out others' arrangements much these days, though I would like to get Roland Dyens' arrangements of standards.

  28. #27

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    Mike Elliott 1940-2005

    Born May 18, 1940 in Chicago, Mike studied guitar as a teenager in Colorado under the legendary Johnny Smith. His long career included extended periods in the Twin Cities, where he played and recorded with the influential jazz group Natural Life, and Nashville, where he was a studio musician, producer/engineer and songwriter on hit country recordings. During his Nashville years (1982 – 1997) his many accomplishments included serving as music director for the great Nashville producer Jack Clement, contributing a song to John Anderson's triple platinum album “Seminole Wind,” working on staff for Gibson Guitars and writing instructional jazz books for the Hal Leonard publishing company. As a jazz guitarist, renowned critic Leonard Feather considered Mike to be one of the very best. His versatility on guitar led to performances with the Toronto Symphony, road work with Victor Borge, recordings with stars like Johnny Cash and much more. A devoted and brilliant educator, Mike presented guitar clinics with people like Les Paul and taught countless students from beginners to Bela Fleck.

  29. #28

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    G'day , Nick1994.

    I can recommend the 5 books by Robert B. Yelin , as I have them all. Each book contains 35 classic jazz standards and include the lyrics and original chords with recommended substitutions below in tablature. They're very chord heavy which some find off-putting, but if they appear too difficult, nothing prevents you from using a single note until such time as you feel confident to employ them all. A similar method is recommended by Robert Conti, who also has a number of jazz standard chord melody books available. By the way, Hal Leonard publishes the Robert Yelin books here in the US and priced at $17.95 , they're an absolute bargain in my humble opinion !
    The Yelin and Conti books are still in print, too ! Best of luck with your proficiency - they've been a tremendous help in my advancement !

  30. #29

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    Contemporary Chord Solos - Book 1: A Simplified Approach to Substitute Harmonies: Mike Elliot: 9780793524143: Amazon.com: Books

    Table of Contents

    Yesterday
    Like Someone in Love
    Yesterdays
    Come Rain or Come Shine
    Moonlight in Vermont
    My Funny Valentine
    Things We did Last Summer

  31. #30
    Broken Record:
    Nick1994 - If you bought the two Robert Conti books (Assembly Line and The Formula) you would be able to open a fake book to any song and make your own chord melodies in endless variations and be free of Tab forever!

    In the time it takes to learn two written out chord-melody arrangements by Robert Yellin, you'd be through both Conti books and on your way to building your own repertoire with your own ideas and variations and endings.

    How do i know this? I memorized others' chord melodies but it was just so rote and non-improvizational. Sounded OK but when i played for people, they noticed there was zero embellishment. Play a song thru and done. I regret wasting my time doing it that way.

    Best luck.

  32. #31

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    if anyone has mike elliots book and would like to post scans orpictures id be more than willing to pump them through Sibelius and make clean versions

  33. #32

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    Wow i have 2 Mike Elliot books somewhere in my library of literature ive collected over the years.I cant remember what they are but i am gonna go find them and probably to sell o need to up grade my amp.I really think i need a Quilter and cab.oh sorry hope you find what fits you best.I have not been to my basement library in a while but i remember a Tommy Tedesco and A couple of Fred Sokolow books that were good i still play some of his arrangments i think.What ever you do not get old!!Oh and some William or Willard Nunes no Warren that were specifically for backing a singer with chord melody.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by ckrahenbill
    Mike Elliott 1940-2005

    Born May 18, 1940 in Chicago, Mike studied guitar as a teenager in Colorado under the legendary Johnny Smith. His long career included extended periods in the Twin Cities, where he played and recorded with the influential jazz group Natural Life, and Nashville, where he was a studio musician, producer/engineer and songwriter on hit country recordings. During his Nashville years (1982 – 1997) his many accomplishments included serving as music director for the great Nashville producer Jack Clement, contributing a song to John Anderson's triple platinum album “Seminole Wind,” working on staff for Gibson Guitars and writing instructional jazz books for the Hal Leonard publishing company. As a jazz guitarist, renowned critic Leonard Feather considered Mike to be one of the very best. His versatility on guitar led to performances with the Toronto Symphony, road work with Victor Borge, recordings with stars like Johnny Cash and much more. A devoted and brilliant educator, Mike presented guitar clinics with people like Les Paul and taught countless students from beginners to Bela Fleck.
    Though I never met Mike, I know that he used to teach through McPhail. I wish I had known about him then. One connection I do have with him though is that I own his Gibson Johnny Smith archtop. He bought it from Johnny Smith, and somebody else bought it from him and later consigned it at Willie's in St. Paul, where I bought it just a couple of years ago. This is the model that has two pickups instead of the more common single pickup model.

    Regarding the books, there were 4 in the chord melody series. The first two were standards done by Mike Elliot, and the second two were contemporary "pop" tunes done by Len Braunling. All 4 books described and used the same approach to putting together the solos. This system used the bass line to derive the chords, and described the most common bass line movements. All the arrangements illustrated practical application of this system.
    Last edited by tbeltrans; 07-03-2015 at 07:56 AM.

  35. #34

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    Not so long ago Barry Greene published a nice iBook called Chord Melodies. It has something like 10 songs and includes him playing them.

  36. #35

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    Getting back to the basic question of a chord / melody book, hands down, The Real Book, which has (mostly) jazz chords and melodies is, I believe, a good compilation, with a variety of "popular" jazz tunes. I'm using the 6th Edition, so I'm not sure which is the best and if there are newer editions. All the others are, I'm sure, great, but this one is chords and melodies.

    On another 'note,' I am looking for a copy of the Volume 1 "1000 Standard Show Tunes." I have two copies of the Bb transposition. It's been around forever and, I believe, my dad and uncles used it in the "post big band era" when they played 'society' gigs. it's what I used playing those same gigs when younger. If anyone knows where I can get a C melody copy, I'd be interested in it, either to buy or trade one of the Bb copies. Those I have, I used playing sax and trumpet. The first song in the Partial Scores - Broadway Musical & Movies list is "Allegro" (page 111, 148), with the last being "Ziegfield Show Girl" (page 212). In the Index To Songs, the first is "Acabaste" (page 282) and the last is "Zip-A-Dee, Doo-Dah" (page 168). Usually, I believe, it was sold in a 3-ring binder and was probably popular in the '50's and '60's.

    In the mean time, Hal Leonard's The Best Fake Book Ever, having a ton of basic chord and melody charts is, obviously, more than Jazz but would probably be worth having.

    Thanks

  37. #36

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    I am surprised that nobody has mentioned Robert Conti's signature arrangements. I have almost all of them and they are great.

  38. #37

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    Yes, Steve Crowell Chord Melody books are some of the best that I've studied from. The way he has them written, you really don't have to read music at all. I haven't tried the 84 Jazz Guitar equation books though, or the Candy Bars for Jazz Guitars, at least not yet. His study course or 24 lessons for $99 is the best in my opinion. Steve has been around for a long time and studied with Warren Nunes for years, date on some of my books is 1979. He also has a few free lessons on his website. Everything in the two top links below, I bought and studied. good stuff! ~Cheers!!


    Easy Jazz Guitar - Self Development in Music


    Easy Jazz Guitar - Jazz Guitar Books


    Steven Crowell Jazz Guitar Course

  39. #38

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    can't stand ted greene - it seriously encourages a way over-the-top academic outlook (i must learn all these so i know EVERYTHING i must know....) - and that bogs you down in endless work on musically non-functional variations

    if you dipped in once in a blue moon and found three ways of moving to the 1 or the 2 etc. that were new to you - and then put the book back in the drawer - then you might get away from them without losing the will to play music

    (forgive me ted greene lovers - he gets SO much love in these places it seems to me justified to sound a note of caution)

    -----

    try ron eschete's book 'intros and endings' - very practical - great cd - very easy to use.

  40. #39

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    I agree with Groyniad. If you take everything that a great "chord melody" guitarist does intuitively, define it, state it, define the conditions it happens in, and make a rule from it, then assemble them all into a massive theoretical model, it would be amazing, but it might not... probably would not... help most to play that way. I like Joe Pass's frequent comment about not looking for hard stuff. When you watch him play, he never seems to have to stretch. The notes, the chords, the voicings, always seem to be right under his fingers.

    I started off learning a bunch of Steve Crowell's arrangements rather literally, because he wrote them to illustrate the main chord-melody devices. From that I learned a lot of good ways to get from A to Z chordally, and got launched into a lot of fun playing standards. If someone doesn't know the basic, almost cliche voicing and movements, they can be learned from any of the good books.

    Don't make it hard. it's hard enough already. Have fun. Play melodies on top. Put the closest chord voicing available underneath it. Add an interesting moving base line on the bottom.

    Done.

  41. #40

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    I recently tried out the John Stein book mentioned above, but I haven't warmed to it yet.

    The Joe Pass is great & tough IMO, but it feels like there is a missing component -- it's like he goes straight for an arranged solo, but doesn't bother with showing a basic melody approach-- and that's the part I need most! I'm only 2 1/2 tunes into this book, but I sure am learning a lot.

    Now I'm also working with a Chord Melody Notebook by Jerry Hahn. Much more straight to the point. So far so good

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    I recently tried out the John Stein book mentioned above, but I haven't warmed to it yet.

    The Joe Pass is great & tough IMO, but it feels like there is a missing component -- it's like he goes straight for an arranged solo, but doesn't bother with showing a basic melody approach-- and that's the part I need most! I'm only 2 1/2 tunes into this book, but I sure am learning a lot.

    Now I'm also working with a Chord Melody Notebook by Jerry Hahn. Much more straight to the point. So far so good
    You might be a bit too hard on Joe Pass. I watched a video by him early on, dealing with chordal playing, and it was super-helpful. It de-mystified the whole walking bass thing and he also frankly admitted that chord-melody solo playing involves a lot of "smoke and mirrors" in which we create the impression, say, of a walking bass when in fact we only walked maybe 2 notes per measure, used one chord-shot, and played the melody on top, but the combination actually created the overall impression of very much more.

    I really liked that and it freed me to play.

    I'd also emphatically suggest you learn a bunch of Steve Crowell's arrangements. They are what you want, chord-melody arrangements of standards, and they're performance quality. But he also creates them with pedagogy in mind, helping you learn the basic and intermediate "devices" that allow you to harmonize any melody.

    Another old and under-rated resource that I learned a ton from is the old Mel Bay book on Melody-Chord Playing. It's been in print for decades. It's Mel Bay's Guitar Melody Chord Playing System : A System for Playing Guitar Solos in Chord Style Using Popular Sheet Music.It assumes all you have is sheet music, or a lead sheet, and teaches how to create a harmonized melody. Parts might be too arcane or demanding, but overall it's a sound book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Melody-...+melody+guitar

  43. #42

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    Cool. Thanks for the great info. That's what makes this forum so awesome.

    Steve Crowell is next on the !!

    BTW, I have total respect for the Joe Pass book -- I just need a few extra pages for dummies

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    Cool. Thanks for the great info. That's what makes this forum so awesome.

    Steve Crowell is next on the !!

    BTW, I have total respect for the Joe Pass book -- I just need a few extra pages for dummies
    I hear you. The Joe Pass Chord Solos book is merciless, but honestly, just working through "Misty" in that book teaches about a dozen ii-V chordal progressions alone that are worth the price of the book. All the devices in that book are things you hear Joe doing on every recording. None is an abstract, academic "lick" but they're all meat-and-potatoes gig-worthy chordal lines.

    But yeah, I could have used a few chord diagrams in that book!

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by ckrahenbill
    Steve Crowell has some of the best but there are plenty to choose from. Chordmelody.com has a great section to pick from. You need to decide if you want pick or finger style, block chord or tab notation or both.

    Steve Crowell writes some of the best pick style transcriptions with block chords diagrams I have seen. I've been buying and using Steve's books since 1979 and I still refer to them often.

    Easy Jazz Guitar - Jazz Science Series
    https://www.chordmelody.com/

    It takes some time to figure out the key words to look for in the item description and whether or not they apply to your style. I have plenty of books that do not meet my preference for chord block and pick style.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards -

    Cliff
    Crowell's materials were incredibly helpful to me when I first started studying jazz guitar. The first thing I learned was his chord-melody treatment of "The Girl From Ipanema" and I still find it a compelling way to play that song. I used a series of 4 little books all entitled Guitar Solos: Jazz Standards in Chord Style. I haven't been able to find those book on his site. I wonder if he has them any more? Do you know?

    His arrangements were at a sufficiently advanced level that they were satisfying--and still are--to play, but were also pedagogically useful because he intentionally explored different concepts along the way, and identified in each various techniques used in the song that could be used elsewhere, so I didn't feel like I was just learning tune arrangements by rote, but rather learning chord-melody method in context.

  46. #45

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    So what about on the other side of the spectrum from the Joe Pass books? What could I recommend to someone just starting out in chord-melody playing?

    I recently worked through an online course with my nephew by a player named Frank Vignola called "1-2-3 Chord Melody" that was surprisingly easy to absorb and fun. His arrangements were quite straight forward to play. No one is going to win any gigs doing these arrangements, but it was a reasonably way to start.

    What would people recommend along those lines that would help a player new to chord-melody playing build some repertoire?

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Whoa those are the very ones. I don't recall them costing $20 a pop, but the arrangements are very helpful. I still have them, still refer to them from time to time.
    Yeah, I think they used to cost a bit less but I don't think they were that much less. Even for $20 a pop they're worth it even if you don't read music very well. That's why I bought them, one page listed the chords and the next page listed the notation. Here's a couple of pics so y'all can see what I'm talking about, apologies for the lousy slanted pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images Good Chord Melody Book?-picmix-174-jpg Good Chord Melody Book?-picmix-171-jpg Good Chord Melody Book?-picmix-169-jpg 

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    So what about on the other side of the spectrum from the Joe Pass books? What could I recommend to someone just starting out in chord-melody playing?

    I recently worked through an online course with my nephew by a player named Frank Vignola called "1-2-3 Chord Melody" that was surprisingly easy to absorb and fun. His arrangements were quite straight forward to play. No one is going to win any gigs doing these arrangements, but it was a reasonably way to start.

    What would people recommend along those lines that would help a player new to chord-melody playing build some repertoire?
    I have just completed Frankie Vignola's courses.ie 123 Chord Melody- Essential Chord Melody Etudes and Next Steps Jazz 2-5-1 progressions. Frank is a monster player in any genre jazz ,rock, swing, blues,country even classical They are fairly basic but give a good grounding in how to do your own simple chord melodies,
    which he wants you to do. Then do your own jazz arrangements.
    I did them over a period of 3 to 4 months.
    The idea really is to be able to hear a tune then transfer it to a single string then two ,work out simple harmonies then build chords around the tune. If you don't your are really consigned to reading/playing others arrangements. If that's ok fine, just enjoy the music that this wonderful instrument offers.

  49. #48

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    That Frank Etudes course looks interesting. I have loads of books...some I like more then others.

    I'm fairly new to chord melody...been hacking away for two maybe three years. What I try do is take Bill Frisell's advice and learn one song really well. So to that end I've been working on "In a Sentimental Mood" for many months even over a year...on and off. I also flatpick and fingerpick blues so I go off on those tangents from time to time.

    My method is to take the Real Book page and try and come up with something on my own first then I start scouring YouTube and books for ideas so end up with sort of a composite arrangement. That's why I like to have a library of chord melody books...I take little snippets from each of them here and there. So I keep looking at threads like this for new sources.

    For "In a Sentimental Mood" I've used bits and pieces from the Simon, Hart and Crowell books...even a private lesson (highly recommended) Not sure I used anything from the Jeff Arnold book. As of yet his arrangements do not lay under my fingers well...yet.

    I have to keep reminding myself that it's okay to just play the melody if a particular chord passage is too difficult at first. Also it's more then okay to edit someone's arrangement to suit your style or skill level.

    Just started working up Nuages using this methodology. BTW the classical guitarist Roland Dyens does a very nice version of Nuages..so that's a source outside of the typical jazz world.
    Last edited by alltunes; 12-01-2015 at 08:56 AM.

  50. #49

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    Further to above post, can't resist adding a link to Roland Dyens performance of Nuages in Paris, for the celebration of Django's 100th birthday. A long intro, you can skip to 2:40 to hear the famous melody with chords.



    And to make good measure, another pretty good arrangement

    Last edited by mhch; 12-01-2015 at 10:51 AM.

  51. #50
    Maybe not for everybody, but Robert Conti's Source Code books show you how to take any lead sheet and create your own chord melodies so that each chorus you play is voiced/harmonized in a different way. You can improvise nearly endless variations of any song you choose with basic subs, diatonic movement, minor third movement, back cycling, etc.
    Bonus: You'll throw your Tablature crutches away forever.

    I bought Yellin's book and downloaded countless written chord melodies but once i memorized them, that's all i could do. One time through the song and that's it. Sounded jazzy but it wasn't improvised and even my friends could tell it was missing something.