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  1. #1

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    I have been playing 7 string off and on for years and can comp like crazy on one. (With all due humility). I have played my share of gigs backing singers or instrumentalists and have always had great success.
    But for some reason I always feel lost when attempting solo guitar. I end up back on 6 strings and end up feeling like I am cheating myself. I am not sure why this is. Has anybody had this issue and found a way to overcome the issue? I am open to any and all suggestions
    Eastman 810 7 string
    D'Angelico Premiere Double Cutaway with Stetsbar Pro II
    Cigano GJ 10
    Frankenstrat Controller With Midi Pickup For Vintage Roland VG8
    Roland Cube 60 amp
    Acoustic AG-30 Acoustic Amp

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Always a problem unless you work out a little something to get started with, especially on up-tempo swing tunes. I've found that a solo on the bass strings can save you in those situations; ballads and bossas are much easier to actually play a linear and chord-melody solo on.

  4. #3

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    If I understand your dilemma correctly, a couple of options to explore:


    1. Artistworks where you can study directly with Martin Taylor, online via Skype!

    2. A new course at Berklee Online with John Baboian. Solo Guitar, guitar arranging, chord melody etc. (exact title eludes me at the moment)


    Technology is amazing.

    Now, improvising a chord melody is a different ballgame. Very few players seem to be able to do that effectively, even ones that play great solo guitar. Or so it seems to me.

    Joe Pass was pretty darned rare.

  5. #4

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    If I may ask, do you use a low A or B? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but as a low B user, I tend not to think of it as a low note filling in a bottom note, but rather the same way I see the other strings. At the 5th fret, it's very similar to a 6 string open.
    A lot of this I had to work out myself because there aren't a whole lot of resources, but what was helpful for me was to work out melodies in "regions" of the fingerboard covered by the 1st and 5th of the chord; that's where the low B is nice, the layout is the same. Once the bottom of the chord is covered, you can play melodies based on the area of scale that's within reach. 7th string gives you the tonic on the 4th and 2nd string, just as root on the 6th gave me root on the 3rd and 1st. This led me to being able to move linearally up and down the fingerboard as well as across.
    When I spent a while just seeing the fingerboard this way, all sorts of voicings emerged; I took the ones that sounded good to me and they got incorporated into my vocabulary.
    7 strings forced me to "rewrite the book" of chord grabs and forced me to see things regionally connected rather than chord shaped oriented. Once I had the root voicings down, then I found scale regions in inversion bass notes.
    I had to write out a lot of my own voicings but in the end, that 7th string became another part of a whole fingerboard.
    Don't know if this makes any sense...

    David

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    If I may ask, do you use a low A or B? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but as a low B user, I tend not to think of it as a low note filling in a bottom note, but rather the same way I see the other strings. At the 5th fret, it's very similar to a 6 string open.
    A lot of this I had to work out myself because there aren't a whole lot of resources, but what was helpful for me was to work out melodies in "regions" of the fingerboard covered by the 1st and 5th of the chord; that's where the low B is nice, the layout is the same. Once the bottom of the chord is covered, you can play melodies based on the area of scale that's within reach. 7th string gives you the tonic on the 4th and 2nd string, just as root on the 6th gave me root on the 3rd and 1st. This led me to being able to move linearally up and down the fingerboard as well as across.
    When I spent a while just seeing the fingerboard this way, all sorts of voicings emerged; I took the ones that sounded good to me and they got incorporated into my vocabulary.
    7 strings forced me to "rewrite the book" of chord grabs and forced me to see things regionally connected rather than chord shaped oriented. Once I had the root voicings down, then I found scale regions in inversion bass notes.
    I had to write out a lot of my own voicings but in the end, that 7th string became another part of a whole fingerboard.
    Don't know if this makes any sense...

    David
    While it makes a certain amount of sense, the big problem is the concept of "chord grabs", which is a very limiting way to go about it, in my experience. This is a chordal instrument, as such, voices and voicing are more useful than "grabs" or "grips". Having an A on the bottom actually eliminates rewriting the book, once all you have to do is move the 5th-string note to the 7th to put a "real" bass note note on the bottom, while maintaining the relevant fingerings already learned over many years on the top half of the string set. Of course, this is a different way of looking at it from yours, in which we see the 7th and 6th as "bass" voices rather than just lower notes for linear playing. I always considered the 7-string two instruments, bass and guitar, and as much as I love Van Eps and his approach my goal was to sound more like Ron Carter and Jim Hall, or Gene Bertoncini and Michael Moore.

  7. #6

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    You could use 3 note shell voicings with the roots on the 6th and 7 to strings to start off. That leaves one or two fingers for melody and improvising while doing some bass walking. It's a pretty good way to break the ice. As you get more comfortable with it you can add in subs and inversions, but you can really get a pleasant sounding CM using simple shells. Just my experience. Also, you can find a lot of easy CM around that you can just play with the low A to get ideas. The best thing to do is just find something and start.
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross