1. #1

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    Ok, chord melody or solo guitar seems to be the way that I'm going and I am willing to get a nice repertoire together and do a few solo gigs. I've done some solo gigs in the past and did my usual songs and then bass and melody fillers to make up the rest of the set (and yes I've had that person that stands two meters away and just stares at you Ha ha at least he was complimentary when I did speak to him).

    I'm currently into Tim Lerch's Chordal Improv course as I have a few arrangements but want to improv for at least 2 choruses on each tune. Getting there slowly but I want to devote a good portion of time to this course.

    Anyhow what would you add or subtract to the following practise schedule aimed at chord melody guitar? I have about 1 - 2 hours per day available for practise.

    Warm Up - I'm getting on a little bit and got a sore fretting hand when practising for my classical exams so I do warm ups -

    * scales up following the circle of 4ths and down one string and improvise a little with them. Sing the scales and improv.
    * Sing the root of chord progressions
    * A few Mickey Baker exercises

    Main session

    * Tunes - melody in different positions, melody and bass, chord melody
    * Chord scales derived from chords that I like the sound of (Maj7ths and b9ths etc)
    * Tim Lerch's Chordal Improv course

    Extra

    * Transcribing - Working on Ted Greene's version of Send In The Clowns atm

    Ok, over to you.

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  3. #2

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    I get my arrangements together then play through the tunes. If there is a rough spot I focus on that until I get it right. Occasionally while playing through I will 'hear’ some new bits that I may try to develop. Sometimes those work out and sometimes they don’t. So my practice routine is basically working on tunes I am putting together and also playing through the older arrangements so I don’t forget them. I don’t leave too much room for improvisation in my solo arrangements, but I don’t consider what I play to be strictly Jazz. I practice technique only within the context of the tunes I play.

  4. #3

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    I am in the midst of the same activity however I am chord melody player of old. Since I lack the burning bebop chops I have to stick to what I can do. One thing is that I only work on technique in that I need to get through a passage smoothly. Just playing the tune over and over again and again. I start with the most basic of playing the melody and simply adding a chord here and there to give it fullness especially on longer held notes. Playing over and over you get to the point that it falls within your fingers and ears. Adding then chords and subs that make things flow.

    1) I try to tie chords together with same top note on long passages
    2) I think bass and melody and fill in between those points
    3) Use some sense of time at least at first, play the tune in tempo
    4) Use open strings in the bass when possible this allows nice ringing of primary chord tone.
    5) Try and think like Joe Pass and then think like Johnny Smith two very different approaches but big time stuff
    6) Know the words to the tune and hopefully find a good rendition of it by a good singer. Think of Anita O'day and sweet georgia brown or Streisand and Why Did I Choose You.


    Now for the problems of chord melody specialization. If you only focus on the chords and melody and thinking changes and melody as separate, believe it or not, actually playing the tune with a rhythm section only the melod,y or only the chords you might not really know the tune. That was my problem in my earliest years of playing some 40 years ago. I would learn a cool chord melody tune then not really "know" the tune. In the end you simply cannot know the melody too well. Thinking in terms of comping at the same time.

    Onward and Upward

  5. #4
    Cheers brion and deacon Mark.

    Focusing on songs and building technique through songs is an excellent way to practise.

    My song sheet is divided into 3 columns. The first has a heading New, the second Learning and the third Know It. My songs are categorised accordingly so I know exactly which songs to practise and which ones to maintain.

    I want to develop in a few other areas too including ear training and knowing where everything is on the fretboard cold hence my other practise areas.

    It's certainly a life long journey but such fun.

  6. #5

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    Something I've done is to act like I'm on the gig and play sets. Especially if it's been a while, it helps build stamina for the real thing.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker
    Cheers brion and deacon Mark.

    Focusing on songs and building technique through songs is an excellent way to practise.

    My song sheet is divided into 3 columns. The first has a heading New, the second Learning and the third Know It. My songs are categorised accordingly so I know exactly which songs to practise and which ones to maintain.

    I want to develop in a few other areas too including ear training and knowing where everything is on the fretboard cold hence my other practise areas.

    It's certainly a life long journey but such fun.

    I love this organization idea. I am going to steal, err I mean, borrow it

  8. #7

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    On of the biggest helps for me was my teaching having me open up a fake book to a ballad I did not know and work up being able to "sight read" through these with chord melody playing. This really helps with visualizing what melody notes are on the top of voicings and getting them in your playing. I also never really work up a "set" arrangment for a chord melody that I play the same way everytime. It will usually be similar, but I want to know the tune well enough to be able to slightly improvise my way through.