Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 42 of 42
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    As someone who lives in a rural desert ( actually a bit of an exaggeration ) here in SW France and unlikely at this point in advanced retirement to locate many amateurs keen to play jazz, I am wondering if chord-melody is the way to go rather than endless jamming to backing tracks. How many forum members play chord-melody exclusively I wonder?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    As someone who lives in a rural desert ( actually a bit of an exaggeration ) here in SW France and unlikely at this point in advanced retirement to locate many amateurs keen to play jazz, I am wondering if chord-melody is the way to go rather than endless jamming to backing tracks. How many forum members play chord-melody exclusively I wonder?
    Exclusively, no, but I live under the adage of Joe Pass, who said that a guitar player should be able to sit down and play music, unaccompanied, for an hour.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    As someone who lives in a rural desert ( actually a bit of an exaggeration ) here in SW France and unlikely at this point in advanced retirement to locate many amateurs keen to play jazz, I am wondering if chord-melody is the way to go rather than endless jamming to backing tracks. How many forum members play chord-melody exclusively I wonder?
    Actually Joe Pass was amazing not because he did chord-melody (others did it) but that he could blend that style with long bop lines. Listening to his recordings more and more I'm hearing in his solo guitar work some mind-numbing lines. He wasn't afraid to give several measures to single-note lines even in a solo performance.

    I think all the tasks of music reinforce each other. Jamming to backing tracks will give you a solid sense of melody, but for solo playing chord-melody type work is the foundation. You are basically a pianist at that point but with a more interesting sound! But being able to mix in some edgy line playing that meshes with your chord-melody will keep it from all sounding the same.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Je joue exclusivement en solo jazz guitar depuis la mort de mon batteur et le départ de mon contrebassiste aux Émirats

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Exclusively, no, but I live under the adage of Joe Pass, who said that a guitar player should be able to sit down and play music, unaccompanied, for an hour.
    Thanks Jeff - I had forgotten that quote. As good a starting point as any I guess!
    David

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Actually Joe Pass was amazing not because he did chord-melody (others did it) but that he could blend that style with long bop lines. Listening to his recordings more and more I'm hearing in his solo guitar work some mind-numbing lines. He wasn't afraid to give several measures to single-note lines even in a solo performance.

    I think all the tasks of music reinforce each other. Jamming to backing tracks will give you a solid sense of melody, but for solo playing chord-melody type work is the foundation. You are basically a pianist at that point but with a more interesting sound! But being able to mix in some edgy line playing that meshes with your chord-melody will keep it from all sounding the same.
    Thanks Lawson for expanding on this, because my fear is/was that all the previous work I put into single line approaches would go to waste - clearly not.

    David

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by emilP
    Je joue exclusivement en solo jazz guitar depuis la mort de mon batteur et le départ de mon contrebassiste aux Émirats
    Cela vous donne clairement une grande satisfaction de jouer en solo et j'apprécie toutes vos vidéos. Je vous remercie.
    Musicalament,
    David

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    Thanks Lawson for expanding on this, because my fear is/was that all the previous work I put into single line approaches would go to waste - clearly not.

    David
    I don't think any musical work is ever wasted. Jamming with the backing tracks is at the very least teaching you how to move melodically around the fingerboard, how to play through the changes, and how to develop rhythm and melodic sense. All that is helpful in solo guitar playing.

    Solo guitar is a thing of its own as well. I used to do it all the time, then realized my ability to "take a solo" was very weak, so I've spent several years now focusing on the melodic improvisational side, and my chord-melody playing has suffered. So I think I need to work a bit on integrating them.

    Also: play what gives your heart satisfaction. That's why we do this.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Choose which you enjoy more. At times I have the inspiration to really sit down and concentrate on a chord-melody. But other times I just want to play melody and that is enough for me.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I'm an older retired guy that has been working on CM/solo guitar for some time now, purely for my own entertainment, but I don't have the ability of many of the players here (Mr. B, for example). I participated in two Jazz Guitar Summer camps these last few months and as a result I have started using backing tracks to help me work out my connecting solo lines between chords and it has been really helpful. I use either iReal Pro or BIAB. I find iReal Pro easier to deal with as I have it on my phone and can practice anywhere.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Gabor Zsabo, Baden Powell (60s) & Bill Frisell (now) are 2 examples of solo guitar relatively sparse- very effective.
    Anouer Brahim- oud player- only single lines! Yet great solo sound!







    Bonjour!

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem
    I'm an older retired guy that has been working on CM/solo guitar for some time now, purely for my own entertainment, but I don't have the ability of many of the players here (Mr. B, for example). I participated in two Jazz Guitar Summer camps these last few months and as a result I have started using backing tracks to help me work out my connecting solo lines between chords and it has been really helpful. I use either iReal Pro or BIAB. I find iReal Pro easier to deal with as I have it on my phone and can practice anywhere.
    There are parallels here! I am in my 70s, but highly active and seemingly fit, but not envisaging travelling to major conurbations to seek out a bassist or drummer and in any case, Covid has put all that on hold for the immediate future. Since arriving in France in 2003, I have co-organized and played in one or two large charity gigs two of which were fund - raising for the Tsunami disasters, but they were rock/pop orientated. I have jammed at weekends with a named blues guitarist who wanted to get into jazz and I co-founded an atelier/workshop group with my jazz guitar teacher here which was all-age and multi-instrumentalist and jazz or rock/pop focussed depending on the groups one joined. Some participants were conservatoire and some auto-didacte (moi), but beware those who did not use Solfege routinely! This led to concerts at the chateau where we rehearsed. Patchy to this point. Now, I feel that chord-melody represents a real challenge and when I listen to people like Chris Whiteman I am genuinely inspired. Finally got a tablet and irealpro' so it looks like this could be happening.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I guess I'm the lone dissenter In my opinion there's nothing better than playing with others. I realize the covid pandemic currently makes this impossible, but hopefully once it subsides I plan to return to group playing.

    Yes, solo guitar is great, and an art unto itself. But I disagree that it's the 'be all, end all' of guitar playing.

    I can always tell when a person I'm gigging with plays mostly solo gigs. Why? Because they have a tendency not to listen in a group setting. They tend to overplay and fill up every sonic space, which leaves no room for anyone else. What's worse is they have no idea they're doing it. Reminds me of someone who's been 'home schooled'. They're book smart but they tend to lack social skills (listening, empathy).

    For me, my favorite thing with jazz is the interaction between the players, especially when they're really in the zone and reacting to each other. That shit is magic.

    Solo guitar has many advantages. No band members to deal with or share gig money with. No rehearsals to book. Don't have to fight over which tunes to play. But one misses a lot when one doesn't play with other people. And I reject the idea that somehow it's a 'higher' level of playing.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    I guess I'm the lone dissenter In my opinion there's nothing better than playing with others. I realize the covid pandemic currently makes this impossible, but hopefully once it subsides I plan to return to group playing.

    Yes, solo guitar is great, and an art unto itself. But I disagree that it's the 'be all, end all' of guitar playing.

    I can always tell when a person I'm gigging with plays mostly solo gigs. Why? Because they have a tendency not to listen in a group setting. They tend to overplay and fill up every sonic space, which leaves no room for anyone else. What's worse is they have no idea they're doing it. Reminds me of someone who's been 'home schooled'. They're book smart but they tend to lack social skills.

    For me, my favorite thing with jazz is the interaction between the players, especially when they're really in the zone and reacting to each other. That shit is magic.

    Solo guitar has many advantages. No band members to deal with or share gig money with. No rehearsals to book. Don't have to fight over which tunes to play. But one misses a lot when one doesn't play with other people. And I reject the idea that somehow it's a 'higher' level of playing.
    Hi, D,
    You have some interesting ideas in your post and I'd like to comment since I have played solo for the last 30 years. First, There is no substitute for ensemble playing. The interplay between musicians is a major element in a musician's personal growth and the years I played in R@B and Jazz/Rock big bands were a major part of my musical education. Potentially, you can learn more in a three-hour gig than weeks spent in a practice room by yourself--all things being equal. There's always a new interplay, idea, or epiphany that's just waiting around the corner if your ears and eyes are open. And, it is this magic and the camaraderie of fellow musicians that I miss the most.
    However, I began my solo career for two reasons: 1.) I lived in a rural area with little or no contact with "real musicians" as I experienced when I lived and played in Chicago and Miami, 2.) I didn't have to deal with the aberrant personalities and poor work ethic with which many musicians I've played with in the past were plagued, and 3.) I made more money and completely controlled the business end of my bookings/contracts which grew exponentially in a short period of time. So, from a practical perspective, it was a win-win. And, when you play solo, it sharpens your skills and confidence since if you falter, everyone knows it--- you're the only one on stage.
    So, D, there is no substitute for playing in ensembles but playing solo is not a negative. And, in many cases, it necessitates a higher level of musicianship than when hiding behind others in an ensemble. But, once this madness ends(?), I would like to start a guitar duo/trio with, perhaps, a Latina vocalist if the musicians/vibe is right but, in the meantime, I enjoy solo playing and a bigger paycheck at the end of a gig. Play live when?????? . . . Marinero

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    And I reject the idea that somehow it's a 'higher' level of playing.
    It is actually the other way around often. Lots of what passes (here) as solo jazz playing is no more than prefab chord melodies from a book. That is not even jazz IMHO. That's a jazz etude at best. Jazz is improvised music and when that component is missing, I refuse to call it jazz.

    I vastly prefer single line playing in a combo with real people myself.

    DB

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    So, D, there is no substitute for playing in ensembles but playing solo is not a negative.
    Hi Marinero,

    I appreciate your reply, but to be clear I never said playing solo guitar was a negative. What I specifically said is that I reject the idea that playing solo is the epitome of guitar playing (an opinion held by some guitar players that only play solo guitar).
    Last edited by Dana; 09-08-2020 at 11:32 AM.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    I guess I'm the lone dissenter In my opinion there's nothing better than playing with others. I realize the covid pandemic currently makes this impossible, but hopefully once it subsides I plan to return to group playing.

    Yes, solo guitar is great, and an art unto itself. But I disagree that it's the 'be all, end all' of guitar playing.

    I can always tell when a person I'm gigging with plays mostly solo gigs. Why? Because they have a tendency not to listen in a group setting. They tend to overplay and fill up every sonic space, which leaves no room for anyone else. What's worse is they have no idea they're doing it. Reminds me of someone who's been 'home schooled'. They're book smart but they tend to lack social skills (listening, empathy).

    For me, my favorite thing with jazz is the interaction between the players, especially when they're really in the zone and reacting to each other. That shit is magic.

    Solo guitar has many advantages. No band members to deal with or share gig money with. No rehearsals to book. Don't have to fight over which tunes to play. But one misses a lot when one doesn't play with other people. And I reject the idea that somehow it's a 'higher' level of playing.
    I can only refer you back to my original post at the beginning of this thread. Otherwise, you surely make some valid points.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    It is actually the other way around often. Lots of what passes (here) as solo jazz playing is no more than prefab chord melodies from a book. That is not even jazz IMHO. That's a jazz etude at best. Jazz is improvised music and when that component is missing, I refuse to call it jazz.

    I vastly prefer single line playing in a combo with real people myself.

    DB
    Dick,

    All very true and I am sure that you excel at it, but see my original post.

    David

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    " can always tell when a person I'm gigging with plays mostly solo gigs. Why? Because they have a tendency not to listen in a group setting. They tend to overplay and fill up every sonic space, which leaves no room for anyone else. What's worse is they have no idea they're doing it. Reminds me of someone who's been 'home schooled'. They're book smart but they tend to lack social skills (listening, empathy)." Dana

    Hi, D,
    You must understand that this is your personal opinion and does not represent any reality I've ever experienced. To assume that solo players don't listen to anyone and overplay does not jive with my 50 plus years of performing. And, to state they have no idea that they're doing it and lack social skills is patently absurd. I gigged with piano players for years who made a full-time living playing solo in big Chicago and Miami hotels. They played solo because it was very lucrative, very steady, and they played union gigs in beautiful venues without flying beer bottles, sloppy obnoxious drunks, and owners who cheated them at the end of the night. And, in their free time, they jobbed with various groups around the city to fill out their week. They were always consummate musicians and in no way resemble your fantasy portrait of solo players. I doubt you have played much with professional musicians, if ever, based on your ridiculous remarks. Play live . . . Marinero

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Notwithstanding my narrowly drawn OP, I now wonder what someone like Martin Taylor might think of some of the comments appearing latterly in this thread

    David

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    Notwithstanding my narrowly drawn OP, I now wonder what someone like Martin Taylor might think of some of the comments appearing latterly in this thread

    David
    MT is a jazz musician. He improvises a lot when he is playing solo, even though he probably uses preconceived stuff. He is a fine single line player as well by the way. He does not play prefab chord melodies played earlier by others from books or other sources. Same for Joe Pass. They are playing their own stuff in their own voice and they create music on the spot, single line or chordal. If you can play solo jazz guitar like that you have my blessings.

    Jazz is instant creation to a large degree. Never 100% reproduction. That was my message. Reproduction is a learning tool, not a performing one.

    DB

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    MT is a jazz musician. He improvises a lot when he is playing solo, even though he probably uses preconceived stuff. He is a fine single line player as well by the way. He does not play prefab chord melodies played earlier by others from books or other sources. Same for Joe Pass. They are playing their own stuff in their own voice and they create music on the spot, single line or chordal. If you can play solo jazz guitar like that you have my blessings.

    Jazz is instant creation to a large degree. Never 100% reproduction. That was my message. Reproduction is a learning tool, not a performing one.

    DB
    Accepted.

    David

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    " can always tell when a person I'm gigging with plays mostly solo gigs. Why? Because they have a tendency not to listen in a group setting. They tend to overplay and fill up every sonic space, which leaves no room for anyone else. What's worse is they have no idea they're doing it. Reminds me of someone who's been 'home schooled'. They're book smart but they tend to lack social skills (listening, empathy)." Dana

    Hi, D,
    You must understand that this is your personal opinion and does not represent any reality I've ever experienced. To assume that solo players don't listen to anyone and overplay does not jive with my 50 plus years of performing. And, to state they have no idea that they're doing it and lack social skills is patently absurd. I gigged with piano players for years who made a full-time living playing solo in big Chicago and Miami hotels. They played solo because it was very lucrative, very steady, and they played union gigs in beautiful venues without flying beer bottles, sloppy obnoxious drunks, and owners who cheated them at the end of the night. And, in their free time, they jobbed with various groups around the city to fill out their week. They were always consummate musicians and in no way resemble your fantasy portrait of solo players. I doubt you have played much with professional musicians, if ever, based on your ridiculous remarks. Play live . . . Marinero
    I love it when people have to include personal attacks when they disagree.

    I clearly indicated this was my personal experience. You obviously missed that. If your experience is different, then have a Coke and a smile.

    As far as my own experience, I'm an honors graduate of a well known music college in Boston. I have 35 years of gigging experience all over New England. During that time I've gigged with some fairly well established artists. I too have experienced my share of obnoxious audience members (what that has to do with this discussion I have no idea).

    I notice you say 'They did this' and 'They did that', which clearly means you're not speaking from your own personal experience. You're trying to use other people's experiences to support your argument.

    To call my personal experience a fantasy is weak. I can only assume my comments hit a little too close to home for you.

    I suggest you try to learn how the forum software works. Your post looks like it was formatted by my 4 year old nephew.
    Last edited by Dana; 09-09-2020 at 05:10 PM.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    I am wondering if chord-melody is the way to go rather than endless jamming to backing tracks. How many forum members play chord-melody exclusively I wonder?
    I don’t play it exclusively, but I have been messing about with solo guitar quite a lot the last few years. I spent years working on single-note playing, and to a lesser extent comping, so I felt it was about time I seriously tackled solo guitar.

    I prefer the term ‘solo guitar’ rather than chord-melody, because I want to include improvisation as well. (To me the term chord-melody tends to imply fixed arrangements without much improvising, maybe that’s just my view though). The way I look at it, you do need to learn chord-melody approaches first, because that still underlies how you approach arranging the melody statement. But I don’t like using other people’s arrangements, nowadays I always do my own, and I try to do them as ‘off the cuff’ as I can, rather than labouring over them for days. Of course it takes quite a lot of experience before you can do this, but it’s what I always aim for.

    Then I want to include one or two improvised choruses. This is the really hard bit, quite honestly there are many ways to approach it and it’s a fun rabbit hole to go down! I got some very useful video lessons from Andy Brown and Bruce Forman which gave great ideas, and of course there are the ‘hot licks’ videos by Joe Pass.

    You also have to consider whether to use fingers, pick, or hybrid. Personally I use either pick or fingers depending on tempo and other considerations. I guess you can simplify the basic method to ‘do I play a bass note, a melody note, or a chord, or any permutation of the three’ for any given point in the improvisation. I find the level of improvisation increases the more I incorporate single-note lines, which is not surprising really.

    Another thing is keeping time, I don’t mind a bit of rubato for an intro perhaps, but not too much. Once I go into tempo I want it to stay there and have as good a rhythm as possible.

    Anyway I find solo guitar a lot of fun but it is a challenge, I’m never satisfied with the results but I keep doing it!

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I don’t play it exclusively, but I have been messing about with solo guitar quite a lot the last few years. I spent years working on single-note playing, and to a lesser extent comping, so I felt it was about time I seriously tackled solo guitar.

    I prefer the term ‘solo guitar’ rather than chord-melody, because I want to include improvisation as well. (To me the term chord-melody tends to imply fixed arrangements without much improvising, maybe that’s just my view though). The way I look at it, you do need to learn chord-melody approaches first, because that still underlies how you approach arranging the melody statement. But I don’t like using other people’s arrangements, nowadays I always do my own, and I try to do them as ‘off the cuff’ as I can, rather than labouring over them for days. Of course it takes quite a lot of experience before you can do this, but it’s what I always aim for.

    Then I want to include one or two improvised choruses. This is the really hard bit, quite honestly there are many ways to approach it and it’s a fun rabbit hole to go down! I got some very useful video lessons from Andy Brown and Bruce Forman which gave great ideas, and of course there are the ‘hot licks’ videos by Joe Pass.

    You also have to consider whether to use fingers, pick, or hybrid. Personally I use either pick or fingers depending on tempo and other considerations. I guess you can simplify the basic method to ‘do I play a bass note, a melody note, or a chord, or any permutation of the three’ for any given point in the improvisation. I find the level of improvisation increases the more I incorporate single-note lines, which is not surprising really.

    Another thing is keeping time, I don’t mind a bit of rubato for an intro perhaps, but not too much. Once I go into tempo I want it to stay there and have as good a rhythm as possible.

    Anyway I find solo guitar a lot of fun but it is a challenge, I’m never satisfied with the results but I keep doing it!
    Thanks for that Grahambop - really useful and instructive.

    David

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by blackcat
    Thanks for that Grahambop - really useful and instructive.

    David
    Thanks. If you check my YouTube and Soundcloud links below there are a few solo guitar tracks here and there (I have titled them as ‘solo guitar’) which may give you some ideas perhaps. Not all of them have improv sections as I’m still working on that!

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    I play mostly chord melody, for both musical and practical reasons. A long time ago I mostly played bebop, so playing was mostly just lines or banging out changes.

    Not so different from playing rock, unless you're with a band, when Joe Citizen says, "hey, you play guitar, play a song"...if you don't have chord melody skills, you're limited. I realized I should learn to play not only chord melody, but also fingerpicking styles. There's a lot of music you can make solo on a guitar.

    Yes, jazz is generally a group endeavor, and is marked by improvising- but the formula of head/solos/head goes away when you play chord melody. Even great players like Martin Taylor, Bucky Pizzarelli- they have arrangements they use as a basis, and often they don't get too far from the melody.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    I love it when people have to include personal attacks when they disagree.

    I clearly indicated this was my personal experience. You obviously missed that. If your experience is different, then have a Coke and a smile.

    As far as my own experience, I'm an honors graduate of a well known music college in Boston. I have 35 years of gigging experience all over New England. During that time I've gigged with some fairly well established artists. I too have experienced my share of obnoxious audience members (what that has to do with this discussion I have no idea).

    I notice you say 'They did this' and 'They did that', which clearly means you're not speaking from your own personal experience. You're trying to use other people's experiences to support your argument.

    To call my personal experience a fantasy is weak. I can only assume my comments hit a little too close to home for you.

    I suggest you try to learn how the forum software works. Your post looks like it was formatted by my 4 year old nephew.

    Hi, D,

    I once knew a guy in the 80's who had lost his lower leg in Vietnam. He was, formerly, a member of an elite US Force called the "Recondos" whose job was to engage the Viet Cong in the jungle on search and destroy missions and provide advance intelligence to US troops behind the lines. One afternoon, we were drinking in a lounge and a guy came in and sat across the bar from us. He noticed a tattoo on my friend's forearm and asked him if he was in Vietnam. And, after about 15 minutes of non-stop talking by the stranger about his experiences in Vietnam , my friend turned to me and said "Let's go!" I was surprised since I thought he was interested in the conversation and when we walked outside I said to him "Why did you want to leave?" He looked at me with a wry smile and said calmly,"That guy never spent a day in Vietnam." I guess some things are just that way in life. Play live . . . Marinero

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, D,

    I once knew a guy in the 80's who had lost his lower leg in Vietnam. He was, formerly, a member of an elite US Force called the "Recondos" whose job was to engage the Viet Cong in the jungle on search and destroy missions and provide advance intelligence to US troops behind the lines. One afternoon, we were drinking in a lounge and a guy came in and sat across the bar from us. He noticed a tattoo on my friend's forearm and asked him if he was in Vietnam. And, after about 15 minutes of non-stop talking by the stranger about his experiences in Vietnam , my friend turned to me and said "Let's go!" I was surprised since I thought he was interested in the conversation and when we walked outside I said to him "Why did you want to leave?" He looked at me with a wry smile and said calmly,"That guy never spent a day in Vietnam." I guess some things are just that way in life. Play live . . . Marinero

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    I love it when people have to include personal attacks when they disagree.
    .
    .
    .
    I suggest you try to learn how the forum software works. Your post looks like it was formatted by my 4 year old nephew.
    I had a really good laugh over this, thanks.

    I was a "professional" musician in WNY from ages 20 to 30, playing double bass and sax/flute, depending on what band I could book. I ended up playing a lot more bass than horn. By professional, I mean that some months I could actually pay my meager bills with what I made gigging, and other months I had to supplement my income by unloading trailers for ManPower (shout-out to Stevebol!). I guess in your opinion I wasn't a pro; no matter. At 30, I went back to uni and ended up with a pretty good, non-musical career. I didn't play much until retirement because I never wanted to be one of those "Sunday Players" that showed up at the jam sessions I ran.

    Oh, how time changes a perspective!

    After retirement and pre-covid, I played double bass with a bunch of retired professional guys in a quartet (engineer, bizzo, music educator), not album worthy, but a lot of fun.

    All of this is to make the following point; it turns out that I know many excellent musicians, some always gigging, some touring, some gigging and teaching, some just for their own amusement. 3 that I know of (and I suspect a few more) are graduates of a fancy music school in Boston. Another is from the old GIT, but I realize that doesn't have the same gravitas as that other place for some people.

    In any case, the point is, none of them felt the need to tell me about it, I had to ask over beers, and in some cases I knew them for some time before we even talked about it. They were just good players.

    When I used to hire sidemen, I never asked where they went to school, I just asked them to sit in on a chart or two. When I auditioned for my bass chair with the quartet, no one asked where I studied, they just put me through a pretty grueling audition and I was good enough to be the guy they wanted (and yes, there was more than one of us at the audition, lol!).

    It's not really attractive to get all showy with other musicians; when they hear you play, they'll know if you got the goods or not.

    I guess I got 'em on double, not so much on CM/solo guitar, but I'm fine with still learning.

    Just my opinion.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem
    I had a really good laugh over this, thanks.
    Time for some perspective here.

    I only mentioned my background because Marinero put his out there and suggested I had little or no playing experience. And the irony isn't missed that you criticize me for posting my background and experience, and in the same thread you posted yours.

    Frankly, I agree with you. There's plenty of hacks that come from music schools. Never have I believed or made the claim that going to a music school automatically makes you a great player or an expert on music. It doesn't, and I'm certainly not. But I'm not going to be ashamed of it, and I'm not, as Marinero suggested, a complete novice. He threw out his experience first, and I responded. No one seems to point that out though. I think it's 'cause I mentioned that evil term 'music school'. People see that and go mental.

    The point of my earlier post was:
    - Playing only solo guitar is not the epitome of guitar playing.
    - People that play lots of solo gigs have a tendency to not listen and empathize with other musicians when the do play in a group setting.

    Of course people respond by saying I'm wrong and that Joe Pass or Martin Taylor isn't like that, and I agree. But I'm not talking about those guys. I'm not talking about the pros at all. They know better than to play selfishly. I'm talking about average players like myself and perhaps some others on this board.

    If you don't like my opinion, fine. Have a contrary opinion? Go ahead and make it. I'm always open to hearing another person's perspective, and happy to correct any mistakes I've made. But if you need to use insults to make your point, I'm going to call it out. Hence my response to Marinero that you quoted. My own personal experience is not a fantasy, as he suggested initially. It is what it is, my own personal experience.
    Last edited by Dana; 09-11-2020 at 08:01 AM.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Hey, blackcat. Whereabouts in SW France are you? I spend a lot of time in the Dordogne and have a little jazz trio there. There are two jazz summer camps in the Dordogne and a jam session in Perigueux. Check out your local town for jam sessions, also check AngloInfo, Leboncoin, etc.

    To get back to your question, I have had to resort to playing solo for the very reasons you state. I live in Hawaii, which isn't exactly a bastion of jazz. So, I have turned increasingly to solo playing. I see there are some Joe Pass references above, but actually he said it was the best way to play jazz on the guitar. I agree with that to an extent. It can be very rewarding, if a little challenging. And I disagree with the comment above that solo players aren't suited to playing in a band setting. The reverse is true. It will equip you with a deeper understanding of harmony, strengthen timing and feel, and give you a greater spatial awareness. All of this comes with a caveat of course; it takes time to develop the skills and there are few comprehensive aids, courses, and books to get you there.

    So, it is well worth pursuing but not to the exclusion of seeking opportunities to play with others. They complement each other.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    It seems to me that:

    Observations:
    1. Improvising solo jazz guitar is very challenging, and the more that one does that with chords as opposed to melodies, is even more so.

    2. There are/were a very few who could do it masterfully. And when I say "masterfully" I mean (1) with ease, and (2) in a manner that listeners have repetitive interest in.


    Conclusions:
    1. Joe Pass was one very special and rare player.

    2. I'll take Wes' While We're Young, and I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face as "Jazz", because I don't hear guitarists from other genres arrange or play like that. Not anything like that.

    Just my two cents.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I’ve been going through a solo guitar kick for the same reason as the OP. I hate backing tracks and this seems more of a honest thing to me. I think chord melody is a good thing for general playing. It’s good for understanding harmony and deeply learning songs. Not so great for cultivating your time feel haha (practice with a metronome once you have your fingers around an arrangement.)

    On doing it: Quiet as it’s kept, one of the best ways to learn to improvise is to compose.

    So if you try and compose/arrange lots of chord melody things, you will eventually get better at doing it on the fly. They don’t have to amazing at first; basic is fine.

    Use published and recorded arrangements to give you ideas, rather than just learning the arrangement (though feel free to do that as well.)

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    That is most helpful. Will check out your references tho' obviously Covid will have put the brakes on things. I live close to Cahors in fact. Can you send any specific references?

    Thanks,

    David

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez
    Hey, blackcat. Whereabouts in SW France are you? I spend a lot of time in the Dordogne and have a little jazz trio there. There are two jazz summer camps in the Dordogne and a jam session in Perigueux. Check out your local town for jam sessions, also check AngloInfo, Leboncoin, etc.

    To get back to your question, I have had to resort to playing solo for the very reasons you state. I live in Hawaii, which isn't exactly a bastion of jazz. So, I have turned increasingly to solo playing. I see there are some Joe Pass references above, but actually he said it was the best way to play jazz on the guitar. I agree with that to an extent. It can be very rewarding, if a little challenging. And I disagree with the comment above that solo players aren't suited to playing in a band setting. The reverse is true. It will equip you with a deeper understanding of harmony, strengthen timing and feel, and give you a greater spatial awareness. All of this comes with a caveat of course; it takes time to develop the skills and there are few comprehensive aids, courses, and books to get you there.

    So, it is well worth pursuing but not to the exclusion of seeking opportunities to play with others. They complement each other.
    That is most helpful. Will check out your references tho' obviously Covid will have put the brakes on things. I live close to Cahors in fact. Can you send any specific references?

    Thanks,

    David

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Cahors? Nice! David, here are the workshops:

    Dordogne International Jazz Summer School This is run by Brits in the summer. Andrea Vicari has been running workshops for years. The other is run by French in Monpazier. I can't find any links, so may be it's stopped. Here is the jam session link in Perigueux Jazz Session | Entertainment Events | Dordogne Then there's the Marciac festival, which I'm sure you know about. I expect they have courses. Martin Taylor runs workshops all over. I have also published on the subject.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Hi Dana !
    I totally agree with you.
    But after the departure of my last trio( drummer dead) and bassist gone elsewhere ,I decided to play only jazz guitar solo.I am in my 70´s now and after all that interesting social musical contacts,I judged I could play alone now

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    Cahors? Nice! David, here are the workshops:

    Dordogne International Jazz Summer School This is run by Brits in the summer. Andrea Vicari has been running workshops for years. The other is run by French in Monpazier. I can't find any links, so may be it's stopped. Here is the jam session link in Perigueux Jazz Session | Entertainment Events | Dordogne Then there's the Marciac festival, which I'm sure you know about. I expect they have courses. Martin Taylor runs workshops all over. I have also published on the subject.
    Brilliant, really appreciated and once we are out of lockdown (!) will investigate further. In fact, went to Marciac for ten years up until Covid. Remarkable event - 2.5 weeks, hundreds of international volunteers, fantastic food and it represents 84% of the GDP of the town I think. Hope it survives. Have seen, Bireli ( as mentioned ), Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour and many, many more. Thanks again.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    On the subject of "chord melody" on guitar, someone on this forum once said something that I found impressive. Pianists don't say "Hey I'm doing a chord-melody arrangement of that tune." They just say "I'm playing that tune." Playing a melody, supported by harmony, is not "chord melody piano" it's just "playing the piano." And of course, pianists can play "single note" lines as well.

    If one is going to play solo guitar, it seems to me one is obliged to play the melody, under-gird it with interesting harmonic support, and put it forward in a rythmically interesting and musically appealing form. That's not "chord melody" it's just "playing a song on the guitar."

    I think our tendency to treat chordal and/vs line playing is a hold-over from our transition out of merely being a better banjo in big bands to being a melodic voice. Maybe we'd do better to drop the dichotomy?

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Like others here I don't have the luxury of playing jazz in a group. There simply are no jazz musicians where I live. So I either play jazz solo or not play live at all. So, I have to rely on solo, chord melody jazz. I do practice playing with CDs and ripped CDs. That at least gives me some experience playing within a band context. Certainly not ideal, but better than nothing.

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    I think my reason for being interested in chord melody is probably a bit simpler than most here. Firstly I want to spend the most time working on what I'm going to be playing 99% of the time as I rarely play in bands so solo guitar fits my needs that way.

    Secondly the times I do play in bands, they aren't "exclusive" jazz bands as most would imagine them. It's a mish mash of musicians with varying degrees of skill and differing interests in musical styles and therefore none of them really care if I can improvise over a tune as opposed to can I tastefully comp along to actually finish the song and in that respect I can already see the benefits of increased chord vocab helping with that.

    I suppose my ignorance and being the bobbins musician in the group has some blissful benefits. :-)