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  1. #1

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    I'm curious what guitarists want from chord melody instruction. I see several posts asking about books, courses, lessons, but no real consensus about the best way forward. What are the main things players want to focus on? For example:

    1) Learning tunes
    2) How to arrange for solo guitar
    3) Best books, courses, Youtube lessons
    4) A formal, structured approach
    5) Ad hoc tips
    6) Learning how to solo/improvise
    7) Theory in harmony
    8) Technical exercises
    9) Preferred instruction delivery eg books, e-books with embedded video, or slowed down Youtube videos with notation, TAB, or private/group lessons
    10) Licks, and analysis of licks
    11) Specific things such as learning a particular tune, approaching changes, right hand technique etc

    How would you rank these in importance?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hi, V,
    It's really quite simple: a melody with a harmonic complement. . . a pianistic approach to guitar.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Hi, V,
    It's really quite simple: a melody with a harmonic complement. . . a pianistic approach to guitar.
    Play live . . . Marinero
    So how do you go about achieving that? Do you watch videos, follow books. What would be your ideal method or route for learning?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    So how do you go about achieving that? Do you watch videos, follow books. What would be your ideal method or route for learning?
    Hi, V,
    I wrote a lengthy reply that was lost in space and I don't have the energy to repeat. So, simply, you must get a good teacher and study in person. There is no substitute for this approach if you want to learn quickly. You need to learn guitar basics of the instrument, sight-reading, simple theory, and chord formation/progressions if you're interested in Jazz. You must spend at least 2 hours daily practicing(3-4 is better). In a year, or so, you should start developing a set of songs you can play from memory as you continue your studies with your teacher. If you strive to become a competent musician, you'll always do it faster with formal training. Period. However, it's very difficult to find a good Jazzer/teacher/guitarist who can develop your total musical skills since so many are "ear musicians" or only slightly better. This might be different with the younger teachers who came from Jazz Music Programs in college.
    Also, there is an alternative to this approach: sign up at a local Junior College and study Classical Guitar. You will get the complete, formal training of the guitar and will learn proper technique, advanced sight-reading, dynamics, and learn to play without a pick if that's your thing. Besides, complementing your Jazz side with some of the greatest music the world has to offer. And, if you do this, there are some good Jazz tutorials available on YT to learn about progressions, voicings, approaches to improvisation, etc, that you can work on in your spare time. But, I want to be clear, these YT tutorials are only supplements to your formal musical education--- NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO YOUR EDUCATION. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A LIVE, BREATHING, IN-PERSON, QUALIFIED, FORMALLY-TRAINED TEACHER.
    I hope this helps, V and good luck in your pursuit of beauty!
    Play live . . . Marinero

  6. #5

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    I think all of the concepts posted by the OP will come into play but the ultimate goal is to take a lead sheet and develop a few choruses of your own chord melody arrangement. To me that is the most enjoyable aspect of CM. So whatever methodology gets you going in that direction right from the get go would be the best IMHO. I have purchased several books of CM arrangements but I often just use them to steal a few ideas here and there.

  7. #6

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    I learned it (such as it is) on my own over the course of 60 years of playing. I did not live in an area that had guitar teachers (let alone jazz) and the one teacher I did find knew a lot less than I did. I listened to a lot of Johnny Smith and Wes Montgomery along with Chet Atkins and went through fake books figuring out the proper voicings to get the melody I wanted. Chord Melody was (and is) the only jazz genre that interests me because I hate hearing long lines that go nowhere and mindless improvisation for the sake of improvisation. I don't like getting too far from the melody. I've played a lot of solo gigs over the years with no complaints, so I guess I did something right.

  8. #7

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    Studying classical guitar is GREAT for many reasons but it is not really going to teach you anything about playing jazz. At least that was my experience - when I first started as a music major in college, most schools required classical guitar study if you were a guitarist. So I studied classical guitar for about three years before switching to a college that had a jazz studies program. Thus, I came to playing jazz with the basic mechanics of reading, producing a good tone, efficient LH technique, performing, and some formal studies in harmony already under my belt. While all of this was good, it did nothing to help me solve the problem of harmonizing a melody in jazz style in real time. The thing that really REALLY helped a LOT was to study chord melody with a couple of guitar teachers who could actually do it well. In my case, both were well-educated players who could explain the theory behind the applied technique, which was very helpful in furthering my understanding of how and when to "break the rules". The "rules" are basically stylistic: you learn one set of rules for 18th-century counterpoint, for example, and there another set of "rules" that might apply to your country gig :-) There is actually more than one set of "rules" when it comes to jazz guitar chord melody... someone like Joe Pass approaches it differently than someone like Ted Greene, for example. So I would definitely agree with Marinero that private lessons with the right teacher(s) is the quickest way forward, without discounting any of his other suggestions.

    As for youtube, check out Reg's channel. It's a goldmine.

    In response to the original Q, I'd pick 1-8 as the most useful approaches; as my post above implies, 2,4 and 6 would probably be best if you already have the requisite "background knowledge" and want specifically to learn how to apply all of that to harmonizing a melody in solo jazz guitar style. If you cannot construct a single line-solo that follows or implies changes, then #7 is high priority too.
    Last edited by starjasmine; 04-23-2021 at 04:32 PM.

  9. #8

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    Nothing will teach you more about chord melody (ugh, that term, but I digress...) than actually sitting down, picking 5 tunes, and doing it yourself.

  10. #9

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    Jeff is spot on, in my opinion. This is a learn-by-doing skill and your second arrangement will be better than your first, but the student should take delight in each step.

    To make that first arrangement, I really think it doesn't take more than knowing the notes on the fretboard (however you get there... learning scale forms, etc) and having a chord vocabulary which includes inversions. Maj, min, dominant. With that, you are on your way. Play the melody notes on 1st, 2nd and sometimes 3rd strings and fill in the changes from your chord vocabulary underneath.

    I don't care for the term either. Pianists don't use it (I don't think). It's just playing a song on the guitar.

  11. #10

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    I don't think there is an ideal way or one best way, but there are some very good ways.

    Firstly, I would start with "Imitation" from the masters, level appropriate of course (sometimes very tough to accomplish, depending on one's level). Wes Montgomery famously recorded a few and I would start with two of those:

    (1) While We're Young, then
    (2) I've Grown Accustomerd to Her Face. Transcriptions are out there.


    Then I would take 1-2 courses at Berklee Online. Guitars Chords 201 and Solo Guitar. If you don't need the first of those two courses, so be it. You will bust your ass and learn a good deal.

    Good luck.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine View Post
    Studying classical guitar is GREAT for many reasons but it is not really going to teach you anything about playing jazz. .
    Although I agree with almost all of your fine post...a serious study of classical theory will certainly help your "jazz" theory, since almost any harmonic or melodic concept was introduced years earlier in classical music.

    When i took a few theory lessons with ellis Marsalis back in the mid 70's, his first question was "Do you study the classics?"

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Although I agree with almost all of your fine post...a serious study of classical theory will certainly help your "jazz" theory, since almost any harmonic or melodic concept was introduced years earlier in classical music.

    When i took a few theory lessons with ellis Marsalis back in the mid 70's, his first question was "Do you study the classics?"
    Sorry if I was unclear - I didn't suggest that you shouldn't study theory. Indeed, jazz harmony co-opts pretty much every aspect of the European styles that preceded it. I was trying to suggest that the skillset required to play written classic guitar arrangements is for the most part orthogonal to the skill set required to harmonize melodies on the fly in a jazz idiom. Certainly a very strong understanding of theory is necessary to harmonize melodies in real time.

  14. #13

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    hmm. There seems to be two very similar threads running in parallel; see also Good chord melody instruction?

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Sorry if I was unclear - I didn't suggest that you shouldn't study theory. Indeed, jazz harmony co-opts pretty much every aspect of the European styles that preceded it. I was trying to suggest that the skillset required to play written classic guitar arrangements is for the most part orthogonal to the skill set required to harmonize melodies on the fly in a jazz idiom. Certainly a very strong understanding of theory is necessary to harmonize melodies in real time.
    That's Ok, I didn't mean to imply any such suggestion, I rather enjoyed your whole post.

    "I was trying to suggest that the skillset required to play written classic guitar arrangements is for the most part orthogonal to the skill set required to harmonize melodies on the fly in a jazz idiom"

    No argument here...I knew many fine classical guitarists that in a jazz scene "couldn't play their way out of a wet paper bag". I also knew many fine jazz players that were not so great on a nylon string guitar.

  16. #15
    One consistent frustration I've seen voiced for many years is the apparent disconnect between melodic playing and CM..

    How do you bridge that?
    Why is it so different from piano etc?
    Why does this seem to be more difficult for guitarists?
    Why isn't there a method?

    I have my own ideas about a lot of this, but these are the common questions Which come up repeatedly. Basic voicings, copying others arrangements etc.... Send to be plenty of that type of thing , but the itegration part seems harder to come by for a lot of players.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    That's Ok, I didn't mean to imply any such suggestion, I rather enjoyed your whole post.

    "I was trying to suggest that the skillset required to play written classic guitar arrangements is for the most part orthogonal to the skill set required to harmonize melodies on the fly in a jazz idiom"

    No argument here...I knew many fine classical guitarists that in a jazz scene "couldn't play their way out of a wet paper bag". I also knew many fine jazz players that were not so great on a nylon string guitar.
    There is a difference in the idiom, D, but, generally, not a difference in musicianship among elite players.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    One consistent frustration I've seen voiced for many years is the apparent disconnect between melodic playing and CM..

    How do you bridge that?
    Why is it so different from piano etc?
    Why does this seem to be more difficult for guitarists?
    Why isn't there a method?

    I have my own ideas about a lot of this, but these are the common questions Which come up repeatedly. Basic voicings, copying others arrangements etc.... Send to be plenty of that type of thing , but the itegration part seems harder to come by for a lot of players.

    Hi, M,
    If you mean Classical Music by "CM," there's a simple answer. Generally, I believe there's a different education for American Classical musicians and European Classical musicians--especially Eastern European musicians. American Classical musicians, IMO, are maniacally focused on technique/speed/circus while our Euro brothers still, for the most part, offer a true Classical education in Music where ***interpretation***, technique, theory, and practical matters relating to the instrument are offered in a balanced format. Now, I'm not going to create a firestorm and name these US-CG quick-draws, but they lack real artistry and none of them are my favorites. However, the East Europeans are dominating the great CG music with performers like: Pavel Steidl, Ana Vidovic, Marcin Dylla, Irina Kulikova, Zoran Dukik; and those like Fabio Zanon/Brazil; Eduardo Fernandez/Uruguay; Ricardo Gallen/Spain, to name a few. So, perhaps America's music is a reflection of our culture. Anyone want a Big Mac and fries?
    Play live . . . Marinero

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    One consistent frustration I've seen voiced for many years is the apparent disconnect between melodic playing and CM..

    How do you bridge that?
    Why is it so different from piano etc?
    Why does this seem to be more difficult for guitarists?
    Why isn't there a method?

    I have my own ideas about a lot of this, but these are the common questions Which come up repeatedly. Basic voicings, copying others arrangements etc.... Send to be plenty of that type of thing , but the itegration part seems harder to come by for a lot of players.
    That's insightful, thank you. Can you explain what you mean by a disconnect between melodic playing and chord melody? Just not enough material in general and little in the way of a structured approach?

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine View Post
    hmm. There seems to be two very similar threads running in parallel; see also Good chord melody instruction?
    Yes, thank you for that. There's some useful ideas being touted there that differ from this post. I'm trying to pin down specifics about what players think they want/need, what has been successful for them, and where the gaps are in the education and material available.

  21. #20

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    I perform jazz almost always as a trio of guitar, bass, and drums... no vocals. From a practical standpoint, that means apart from the one or two short couple of bars of drum soloing in a set, or the one or two accompanied bass solo verses during a set, or some special intros, interludes, or endings, or a couple of verses of guitar soloing per tune, the guitar is carrying both the main harmonic and melodic load of the songs. Most of what I'm doing most of the time is really chord melody.

    I think I can describe where it comes from.

    Sometimes I practice a tune by playing slowly through the chords, and experiment with different versions or voicing of them to find ways to express "how the song goes". Then I practice improvising solos by hearing the sounds of these possible chords in my mind's ear, in order to inform myself what of the soloing ideas I hear will sound nice. So when I am practicing soloing, I am hearing and planning it with respect to the sound of the progression harmony in my mind.

    Sometimes I do it the other way around and play head melodies, variations, interpretations, and improvisations, and then play those in my mind while exploring various chord versions and voicing played out loud. So when I am practicing progression harmonies, I am constructing and examining them with respect to hearing various solo ideas in my mind.

    Usually I'm more likely mixing these approaches so that the actual stuff being played is an out loud integration of chord ideas and melodic soloing ideas. So two things going on; expressing the song's harmonic progression, and playing melodic lines, so together resulting in chord melody. Depending on the song, the situation, context, and how I feel, I may "lead" with either a chord or melody basis and "fill" the other. Some tunes seem to take leading from a harmonic basis and placing the melodic lines within or about that, but other songs seem to take a melodic leading basis about or around which the chords are placed. Often it turns out that both chords and melody lines spring from the same source at the same time. It kind of depends on how much the two share as potential common pitches - an inside vanilla sound may allow more simultaneous conception whereas a more angular outside sound may lead with hearing more chord or more melody line from which to pull the other. I mean conceptually, here; what comes out as actually played does not really reveal its generation path.

    So I would suggest trying both - leading with chords and leading with lines until it feels like they are coming together. Simplest way to start is taking a song and for each chord (and each chord change!), play a chord, then play a line, then explore how to play them together. Then do it the other way playing a line first, then a chord. I idea is to learn to hear ideas of both at the same time so that you can nearly compose or improvise both at the same time whether leading one or the other, or not.

    And of course, if you can play with others all this will go much faster, more so the smaller the group and the more harmonic and melodic load you carry with the guitar.

  22. #21
    From what people are saying, here and on other posts, it seems players are divided between DIY and online lessons and using books. Matt has come up with a interesting perception. If I understand him correctly, he's saying the main problem is a disconnect between available information and practical uses. In other words, there's a gap between material, theory etc and its application. So you have all this information, but how do you use it? One suggestion is a good teacher, who may be able to fill that gap. How many competent teachers are there in this tiny niche? Probably not enough to service the demand.

    Berklee College's Solo Jazz Guitar course would be an obvious place to look. I had a look at the accompanying book, which seemed like many other books. Maybe the course has a performance aspect to it. It's a pity that all the strands out there in the ethos can't be pulled together into a comprehensive performance-driven whole. Take three or four of the best practitioners, put them in a room with the best educationalists, lock the door and return in a week to see what they came up with.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    Take three or four of the best practitioners, put them in a room with the best educationalists, lock the door and return in a week to see what they came up with.
    That doesn't work; internal mental abstract representations that comprise how things are done can't be translated into an external syllabus, method, text book, or lesson plan. The whole theory of learning that suggests pouring a bucket of teacher's knowledge into the student's head is fundamentally wrong in both directions between teacher and student. It does not matter what the attributes of the bucket or the contents proposed to be transferred - the substance of external public representations is profoundly unlike the internal private representations which require being constructed inside from within, not transferred from outside. People used to understand this.

  24. #23

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    That's how I learned chords. My teacher showed me the chords I needed for a chord melody and circled the root. It was my job to learn them in 12 keys.

    Good chord melody is all about the voicings of the main chords and the additional flavors you add to the basic tune. I don't think there's a more effective way to learn it than one tune at a time.

    Warren Nunes would play an amazing chord melody. When I'd ask him to slow down and show it to me, he'd play a completely different one (same tune). Apparently, he could do that all day. I'd suggest taking a video of a guy like that. Then learn all the voicings.

    Fifty tunes later, you'll be in excellent shape.

    It may be possible to do it with youtube videos if you can figure the voicings out by ear or see them clearly on screen.

    If somebody like Mimi Fox takes on-line students, that would be great. She is a tune and technique encyclopedia.

  25. #24

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    I think an important point is to never learn chord voicings as grips. Always be aware of each chord tone and note names. Then find other horizontal neighbours of these notes that you can alternate with.

    This will cut down on the time it takes to learn a large number of voicings,
    facilitate the use of moving lines and counterpoint,
    integrate soloing concepts with harmony,
    help see comping, soloing, chord melody and bass lines as one and the same on your instrument.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 04-25-2021 at 07:08 AM.

  26. #25

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    This also applies to the bass note. You also start discovering that many grips you conceptualized as very distinct entities are simply the same rootless chord with different bass notes.

    For example drop 3 Bb min 6 chord with bass on the 6th string (6-x-5-6-6-x):
    It becomes A7#5 when you move the bass by a half step on the 5the fret (A),
    it becomes Eb9 when you move the bass note to Eb on the 5 th string (tri-tone of A)
    it becomes Dmin7b5 when you move the bass note all the way to high E (x-x-5-6-6-6)

  27. #26

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    Another point is, you don't have to harmonize every melody note inside a bar with a different voicing of the same chord.

    Observe that if the melody note is not a chord tone, it will belong to the dominant (secondary or primary) or the related diminished of the chord. You can use these as passing chords instead of using an extended version of the chord. (Say if the chord is A minor, melody note D can be harmonized as Ab diminished instead of using an A min11 voicing).

    If the melody note is chromatic, parallel voicing of the chord can be used and resolved parallel from above or below to the next chord tone.

    Non-chord tones can also be harmonized with other diatonic chords without disturbing the harmonic function (especially if the note occurs on a weak beat).

    You can also use model interchange chords as passing chords (to create inner moving lines) or substitutes to add interest.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 04-25-2021 at 01:06 PM.

  28. #27

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    if you can play with others all this will go much faster, more so the smaller the group " pauln


    Fastest approach to learning. Period!
    Play live . . . Marinero

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    If the melody note is chromatic, parallel voicing of the chord can be used and resolved parallel from above or below to the next chord tone.
    .
    Two excellent posts. I don't think I understand the quote above though. Might you be kind enough to give an example?

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Two excellent posts. I don't think I understand the quote above though. Might you be kind enough to give an example?
    Sure. This is actually the simplest of the devices I mentioned, you probably used it a million times. If the melody note approaches a chord tone chromatically, then you can use the same voicing you use for the chord tone over the chromatic note and slide it over to the chord tone.

    Say if the chord in the moment is A minor 7 and melody notes are F E. You can play Bb minor 7 over F ( with F on top) and an identically voiced , parallel A minor 7 over E.

    Of course you can also use the same idea from below: D# E can be harmonized using identically voiced G# minor 7 A minor 7 with a parallel move.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    I'm curious what guitarists want from chord melody instruction. I see several posts asking about books, courses, lessons, but no real consensus about the best way forward. What are the main things players want to focus on? ...
    To Vsaumarez, I feel there are excellent posts in this thread. I do feel Mr. Beaumont hit it on the head as far as my personal experience. Sitting down and working songs is the best way to start down this road. To be more specific, I'd suggest considering the following steps if this is a new area for you.

    1. Find songs that you really like (as you're going to be spending a lot of time with them) and obtain lead sheets. You'll likely need to raise the melody line an octave, but not always.

    2. Put each song in a key that keeps the high and low notes of the melody at frets that make sense for you and sound good. If needed use sotware to do the transpositions and try the keys to pick the best.

    3. Start working the melody and incorporate the indicated chord voicings on the lead sheet to the extent you can. Have a chord reference guide nearby if you need it.

    4. Try and play each piece as a performance piece and work on memorizing each tune. Go as far as you can and only refer to the lead sheet when you get stuck.

    5. Keep working this on as many songs as possible. You will suddenly find the various chord forms falling under your fingers and your own style will start to emerge. You will find you are learning by doing and deriving a lot of enjoyment from the process.

    6. As you get more comfortable with the basics, incorporate tips you learn from as many sources as you can to continue to improve. For example, there are great tips from some of the excellent posts in this thread, or materials from the masters mentioned. For example you likely saw that Jake Reichbart posted an excellent video lesson in this sub-forum about using secondary dominants. There is so much you can learn to expand your knowledge and refine your playing. I'm always amazed at how much satisfaction the guitar can deliver.

  32. #31

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    Here's another idea for chord melody which I think is helpful.

    Find the absolutely perfect chord for each situation. Great players can spend surprising amounts of time looking for exactly the right voicing for a chord. One view is that you find it and play it, no matter how hard it is. Remember how hard it was to play an F chord the first time you tried? Think of it like that.

    Chuck Wayne approached chord melody by harmonizing every melody note with a separate 4 note chord. Then, when soloing he tried to play on every one of those chords.

  33. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    That doesn't work; internal mental abstract representations that comprise how things are done can't be translated into an external syllabus, method, text book, or lesson plan. The whole theory of learning that suggests pouring a bucket of teacher's knowledge into the student's head is fundamentally wrong in both directions between teacher and student. It does not matter what the attributes of the bucket or the contents proposed to be transferred - the substance of external public representations is profoundly unlike the internal private representations which require being constructed inside from within, not transferred from outside. People used to understand this.
    I hear what you say, but I believe you miss an important point. I agree education has its flaws. There are obvious mismatches between what a student needs to know and what he or she is often taught. The world of academia often seems at odds with the real world, especially in the Arts. However, learning music is not all "internal mental abstract representations" as you put it. There are very useful skills that can be imparted, offering a faster route to achieving ends than a student would otherwise have been able to achieve unaided. Formal education has its merits and has been generally successful in imparting knowledge, skills etc. If it wasn't we'd have given up on it a long time ago. However, when it comes to inner development, or innate talent—which is what I believe you are referring to—that may well be largely down to the individual's own creative strengths, or genes. That said, I still think education can help in those areas as well.

  34. #33
    Thanks to everyone for all the great contributions.

    Just a polite reminder to some posters that the purpose of the post isn't asking how to play chord melody. It is asking how players are going about learning how to play chord melody. What they find useful and what they don't. Where things could be improved. What do players want that isn't being provided currently.

  35. #34

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    Ok so you're doing some marketing research?

    Then we need folks who are in the (beginning stages of the) learning process to answer here...

    The answer to your last question is a book/video/course/magic pill that you go through once and *bam* you got it down.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave70 View Post
    Ok so you're doing some marketing research?

    Then we need folks who are in the (beginning stages of the) learning process to answer here...

    The answer to your last question is a book/video/course/magic pill that you go through once and *bam* you got it down.
    Dave, I'm more curious than anything. A book, video, course can be provided. The magic pill is the elusive one. Want to take a stab at what the ingredients might be? Something that perhaps binds the other three elements together? Different strokes for different folks so it's got to be a catch-all. I personally have always found structure ie a course to be most motivating. Something you pay for and that gives you a qualification. In the case of music, an end performance (and exam) focusses the mind. Delivery involves teachers, feedback, and regular tasks. A mixture of theory and practical exercises that takes the path of least resistance ie to reach the goal, in the shortest time possible, of a performance standard of playing and musical independence. With Zoom this could be done online. I also like the money-see-monkey-do approach ie imitation. Small chunks of concise info that builds on itself. Slowed down videos backed up by simultaneous notation, TAB, and verbal explanation. I see much of this happening already. What I don't see is that elusive glue that binds it all together into a coherent whole. This is why, in my humble opinion, many players remain in a state of suspended theoretical animation and never cross the independence/performance threshold.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    What I don't see is that elusive glue that binds it all together into a coherent whole.
    That would be the "internal mental abstract representations" which you seem to deny are absolutely fundamental.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    Thanks to everyone for all the great contributions.

    Just a polite reminder to some posters that the purpose of the post isn't asking how to play chord melody. It is asking how players are going about learning how to play chord melody. What they find useful and what they don't. Where things could be improved. What do players want that isn't being provided currently.
    What is elusive in your posts is, are you a beginner who's trying to find a good approach to learn chord melody style, or are you considering publishing a resource on chord melody playing and this thread is part of your pedagogical research?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 04-26-2021 at 07:59 PM.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    From what people are saying, here and on other posts, it seems players are divided between DIY and online lessons and using books. Matt has come up with a interesting perception. If I understand him correctly, he's saying the main problem is a disconnect between available information and practical uses. In other words, there's a gap between material, theory etc and its application. So you have all this information, but how do you use it? One suggestion is a good teacher, who may be able to fill that gap. How many competent teachers are there in this tiny niche? Probably not enough to service the demand.

    Berklee College's Solo Jazz Guitar course would be an obvious place to look. I had a look at the accompanying book, which seemed like many other books. Maybe the course has a performance aspect to it. It's a pity that all the strands out there in the ethos can't be pulled together into a comprehensive performance-driven whole. Take three or four of the best practitioners, put them in a room with the best educationalists, lock the door and return in a week to see what they came up with.
    Accompanying book? There ain't one. What are you looking at?

  40. #39

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    The Berklee course does indeed have a performance aspect to it, lol. They all do!

    It's an online version of the master class format:

    • students play - not the teach. It's not a concert.
    • everybody gets to hear their fellow student's performances
    • everybody gets to see/hear "the masters" feedback (but not grade)


    The challenging part is that the weekly assignments are exposed at midnight on Friday night, and the uploaded video performance is due the next Sunday night by 10:00 p.m. ET. A couple of assignments allow multiple weeks prep in this particular course, which is good, critical even.

    And there is lesson material to last. If you know your guitar, and you have fundamental chord knowledge (at least a few voicings for all chord qualities) you'll be good to go. You will likely find that PRESSURE enables you to do things you thought not possible for you.

    In hindsight, it was easy theoretically speaking (i already knew theory though, TBH). It was the work and performance aspect of playing CM that busted everyone's butt.

    Oh - if I recall, out of twelve weeks there are precisely two arrangements from the instructor, and they're very nice. The rest are yours. :0

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    Dave, I'm more curious than anything. A book, video, course can be provided. The magic pill is the elusive one. Want to take a stab at what the ingredients might be? Something that perhaps binds the other three elements together? Different strokes for different folks so it's got to be a catch-all... <snip> ... What I don't see is that elusive glue that binds it all together into a coherent whole. This is why, in my humble opinion, many players remain in a state of suspended theoretical animation and never cross the independence/performance threshold.

    The main ingredients for the "glue" are probably: Time Spent + Musical Skill + The Will

    Time Spent meaning putting in the work, like Mr. B said earlier. You gotta do it, it may be slow and frustrating at first but gets easier if you keep at it.

    Musical Skill meaning your chops and knowledge, talent whatever...

    And The Will meaning you're not going to give up.

    Probably no way to guarantee success to anyone just because they buy something, it's up to the player to make it happen.

  42. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar View Post
    The Berklee course does indeed have a performance aspect to it, lol. They all do!

    It's an online version of the master class format:

    • students play - not the teach. It's not a concert.
    • everybody gets to hear their fellow student's performances
    • everybody gets to see/hear "the masters" feedback (but not grade)


    The challenging part is that the weekly assignments are exposed at midnight on Friday night, and the uploaded video performance is due the next Sunday night by 10:00 p.m. ET. A couple of assignments allow multiple weeks prep in this particular course, which is good, critical even.

    And there is lesson material to last. If you know your guitar, and you have fundamental chord knowledge (at least a few voicings for all chord qualities) you'll be good to go. You will likely find that PRESSURE enables you to do things you thought not possible for you.

    In hindsight, it was easy theoretically speaking (i already knew theory though, TBH). It was the work and performance aspect of playing CM that busted everyone's butt.

    Oh - if I recall, out of twelve weeks there are precisely two arrangements from the instructor, and they're very nice. The rest are yours. :0
    Thank you Don for that very useful information.So it sounds like the Berklee course ticks many of the boxes. 12 weeks doesn't sound long enough to me, but I guess it's a start. Were the arrangements for finger style, pick, or either or both?

  43. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    What is elusive in your posts is, are you a beginner who's trying to find a good approach to learn chord melody style, or are you considering publishing a resource on chord melody playing and this thread is part of your pedagogical research?
    You are right to call me out if it's not clear. Yes, I have published three books on the subject. When I was learning there really wasn't very much material, so you picked up bits and pieces here and there. I believe things have moved on so much more, but I hear the same old questions being asked. That tells me there's room for improvement. I have no intention of trying to fill this gap myself because a) I am not a master of the form, and b) I have no teaching experience. I do, though, have an interest in seeing this art form continue to develop as jazz has been an all consuming part of my life. If there's a tiny contribution I can make, even if it's only to the debate, then I've given back something. It's an age thing.



  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    That's insightful, thank you. Can you explain what you mean by a disconnect between melodic playing and chord melody? Just not enough material in general and little in the way of a structured approach?
    Years of posts similar to:

    "I can play chord melody (CM), and I can solo over the form... but I can't seem to solo between phrases of my own chord melody playing."

    "I can solo over the form or comp over the form, but I can't manage to comp for myself while soloing ."

    I would view these as "integration problems" basically. Anyway, seems to be a common complaint /frustration. I DON'T think it's unrelated to "basic phrasing" issues which a lot of guitarists have.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by vsaumarez View Post
    Thank you Don for that very useful information.So it sounds like the Berklee course ticks many of the boxes. 12 weeks doesn't sound long enough to me, but I guess it's a start. Were the arrangements for finger style, pick, or either or both?
    Most people used a pick.

    These 12 week courses are like any other semester course (except they're not 16 weeks). They cover what they cover for as long as they cover it. There are prerequisites and as with all courses of study there is a path afterwards as well. If you want to sign up for the degree plan you'll have 9 more semesters to play chord melody and can play as much as you want.

    The thing is, with this course you will emerge on the other side being able to play about 10 chord melody performances, albeit a bit rough in spots. Can you show me another 12 week period where you'll be able to say the same? (i.e. it's not self-paced)

  46. #45

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    Absolutely the most important part should be, but never is, playing something that is musical. Before you worry about incredible harmony and voicings, you should internalize the tempo, then learn how to use the tempo with the most basic voicings you can come up with. Learn how to make music and use emotion to make great music. The coolest chords, with the longest stretch mean absolutely nothing if you can't make music with them.

    Once you do that, record it then actually listen to it with a critical ear. Chances are that it sounds a lot worse than you think. Don't ask people for opinions, because they will tell you it sounds great.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Years of posts similar to:

    "I can play chord melody (CM), and I can solo over the form... but I can't seem to solo between phrases of my own chord melody playing."

    "I can solo over the form or comp over the form, but I can't manage to comp for myself while soloing ."

    I would view these as "integration problems" basically. Anyway, seems to be a common complaint /frustration. I DON'T think it's unrelated to "basic phrasing" issues which a lot of guitarists have.
    Yes; analogous to, "Unit testing passed, but integration testing failed."

  48. #47

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    What I am looking for is Music.
    I am trying to transcribe and learn Bobby Broom's home made youtube chord melody videos. Amazing what with some triads, and three note cluster chords Bobby Broom creates

  49. #48

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    Chord melody is a nice way to enjoy playing guitar on my own.
    The past 30 years the guitar was me playing in a band. If there was no band. there was no guitar. After a brake I wanted to pick up making music, but without a band. Just on my own. And chord melody is a great way to enjoy this and to challenge myself.
    My playlist is growing.