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  1. #1
    Somewhere along the line I picked up George Van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms For Guitar volumes 1, 2, & 3. I've never really dug into these books as an initial quick scan of them didn't get me very excited.

    Amazon.com: Mel Bay George Van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms for Guitar, Vol. 1 (9780871669063): George Van Eps: Books: Reviews, Prices & more

    Has anyone else studied the material in these books and found it to be worth while? If so, what did you get out of them.

    thx!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    OK - I just got Volume 1 down off the shelf - haven't looked at it in years. I'm on page 6 and I think I hooked. There's some good stuff in here.

  4. #3

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    Apparently some people use them as reference material and not as a strait through method. That is, when a particular chord or usage comes up, they look it up in the books and work on that particular area. I have them, but have not really done much other than glance through them. I bought them mostly because I like Van Eps stuff and I enjoyed his one volume method, which is out of print. It may be available as an eBook, but the one at Django books has a different cover from the one I have. I'll have to take another look at the three volume set.
    Brad

  5. #4

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    I was lucky enough to see and hear George Van Eps play when I attended GIT. It was truly amazing.

    The George Van Eps Guitar Method, at 40 pages, is not as daunting as the Harmonic Mechanisms Vols. 1-3, but it is out of print and the only place I know of to find it other than eBay is the eBook sold at Djangobooks.com.

    I used the GVE Guitar Method as a teenager to learn about triads and the fingerboard. There are a few things that tend to confuse folks who use the book for the first time. The major scale triads are harmonized as first inversions with the root on top, except for the 6th degree, which is harmonized as a second inversion IV triad. There can also be some confusion with the minor scales also which are harmonized to "tonicize" the minor chord rather than as scale degrees. This is due more to common usage at the time the book was written rather than a mistake on Van Eps' part.

    The Harmonic Mechanisms, however, are harmonized exhaustively in all keys according to scale degree. The Harmonic Mechanisms volumes are a compilation of many smaller books that GVE wrote on various aspects of playing harmony, technique and chord melody. There are many exercises in the books that deal with various problems such as sustaining two notes while moving a third, voice leading, dexterity and such. Pardon the pun but they are a handful.

    If anyone is serious about fingerboard harmony and the operative word is serious, I recommend all of these books without hesitation. If anyone decides to get into these books, I will be happy to offer any assistance that I can in answering questions. Just eMail or PM me.

    Prior to the emergence of Charlie Christian and the electric guitar, George Van Eps was considered by many to be the most accomplished guitarist in America. There are quite a few folks who still feel that way.

    Aside from the few recordings GVE made under his own name, one has to wade through a lot of big band and small group recordings to hear eight or sixteen bars of his genius. I've always considered it to be worthwhile and have amassed quite a bit of GVE. If anyone is interested, I'll be happy to point you toward sources.

    And here's the man himself.



    Regards,
    monk

  6. #5

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    monk,


    I have 4 cd's by GVE. Two from the 60's and one with Howard Alden. The other is the Concord "double" with Johnny Smith.

    I also have his book of compositions, which are a study in themselves if you follow the fingerings correctly.

    Lastly I have a copy of They Can't Take that Away that I once posted here (but removed due to copyright). I think the version. I have was transcribed by Bucky P. If you want a copy PM me your e-mail address.

  7. #6

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    Interesting video, monk. From watching, it strikes me that this is the lineage that brought us Chet Atkins.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster
    Interesting video, monk. From watching, it strikes me that this is the lineage that brought us Chet Atkins.
    Not really. In his early years, Van Eps played with a plectrum. He didn't record much fingerstyle until the 1950s. By that time, Chet was already established for nearly a decade as a pop/country fingerstylist.

    Chet's primary influence was Merle Travis with some Django Reinhardt and pre-effects Les Paul mixed in. Later, in the 1960s, Jerry Reed and Lenny Breau brought Chet new ideas to experiment with.

    The one common thread that GVE and CA share is that they both self studied classical guitar and Chet took some lessons from Bunyan Webb in the early 60s.

    Regards,
    monk

  9. #8

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    great books....

    great for disipline (sp)...you really learn the fingerboard...

    time on the instrument man..pierre

  10. #9
    From page 17, Volume 1....

    ================================================== ==

    GENERAL REMARKS - SELECTIVITY

    If 6 objects are placed side by side, the rearranged one at a time so they are always in a new position and relationship to each each other, it will require 720 moves to complete teh cycle. In other words, the number of distinct linear arrangements of six is 720.

    If the 6 objects were the open strings of the guitar, there would be 720 different ways to sound them before repeating.

    Now, when this arithmetic form is applied to 12 consequtive tones of the chromatic scale, the number of moves required in order to complete the cycle is 479,001,600.

    The huge difference between the 6 and 12 figure is of course due to geometric progression.

    479,001,600 = the possible combinations of 12. When multiplied by 720 totals:

    344,881,152,000

    344 billion, 881 million, 152 thousand combinations.

    Spending one second on each one of the possible combinations 24 hours a day - 7 days a week - 52 weeks a year - to reach the end of the order would take 11,036 years. This gives one small idea of the many choices available - this is "selectivity" - music as we know it today is less than 400 years old. This means that we have not even scratched the surface yet, not even near the surface.

    The meager use of notes does not mean a lack of quality or sound. The lightness of heaviness of sound depends more on the choice of notes, register, voicing, the timber of the tones, etc. rather than the quantity of notes.

    Closing a voicing, or opening and thinning a voicing is an audio equivalent of letting in fresh air.

    Moving lines must have space. In order for an inner voice to be able to stand out in any harmonic situation it must be given room to be heard. If all the notes on an organ were sounded simultaneously, all motion would be smothered - buried.

    ================================================== =

    Thanks for scrambling my brain Mr. GVE!

  11. #10

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    hey swing..

    ever read Leonard Bernsteins (sp) The Infinite Variety Of Music..

    he talks about the math too..

    time on the instrument..pierre

  12. #11

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    New here and to forum-izing in general, so hope I am doing this right (!)

    I am coo-coo for the Van Eps books and can definitely vouch for their applicability to chord melody playing and life in general. Firstly, as monk noted, Steve Herberman is absolutely the dude to check out for this style. Amazing. What he emphasizes in his lessons is to start by playing standards with half-note bass lines on the bottom and the melody line on top, making sure to use fingerings that allow the bass notes to sustain. On a simple tune like Autumn Leaves, this is pretty easy to get into just using roots, fifths and thirds on the E and A strings and the melody on the top 2 strings.

    The next step is "filling in the middle" with a bass and a melody note held down. Here is where the Harmonic Mechanisms books are replete with exercises geared toward building facility with this: e.g. holding down a 10th interval on the A and B strings, and playing arpeggios as inner lines, and then moving the patterns up and down the major, melodic minor, and harmonic minor scales. It really frees you from block chord-itis, and gets you into pianistic territory. Oddly enough, some of it also opens up a lot of pretty/chimey/dissonant counterpoint stuff that reminds me of Bill Frisell's playing. I wonder if he worked with the GVE books?

  13. #12

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    Yeah,

    Those Harmonic Mechanism books are on my list. I should probably start spending 15 minutes a day on them, maybe that would be a good New Year's resolution. The books are exhaustive, that's for sure. But it is a great way to break away from block chords and to learn how to get some inner-voice movement. My only complaint is that there aren't any examples of applications, but I guess that once you're at this level, you're supposed to figure that out for yourself.

    Peace,
    Kevin

  14. #13

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    Monk, do you recommend the ebook or just take the dive off the deep end?

  15. #14

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    I have these books for sale.Set of three.
    There are a lot of information about chords,chord constraction etc.
    Good for practicing chord-sale,fingerstyle.
    A lot of pages...:-)

  16. #15

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    They are an exhaustive examination of moving lines within chords and voicing. It's great stuff but it is a lot of work.

    Peace,
    Kevin

  17. #16

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    Who has a pdf. copy of The George Van Eps Method for Guitar the book is out of print I think is ok to share.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandro
    Who has a pdf. copy of The George Van Eps Method for Guitar the book is out of print I think is ok to share.
    Available here:
    eBook: The George Van Eps Method for Guitar
    Brad

  19. #18

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    As Kevin said, it's a lot of work. This is George Van Eps's life work. It should be noted that these volumes are predominantly exercises.

    The first volume covers major, harmonic minor and melodic minor triads in close and open voicings of root position, first and second inversions in all twelve keys. No TAB, all standard notation with few diagrams.

    Fingerings for the same triad may change from key to key. Van Eps's intention is for the student to acquire versatility and dexterity in fingering, with the end result being the ability to improvise harmonically. There are exercises for sustaining a voice or voices while others move.

    As I've mentioned before Van Eps's first book, The George Van Eps Guitar Method, is less daunting at at only 40 pages. It can be a good primer before tackling the Harmonic Mechanisms.

    Because the books are predominantly exercises, your main challenge will be to learn to apply the material to songs in a musical way. Steve Herberman has said that he spent five years going through these books but not full time. So it may be possible to do so more quickly. A good teacher who has been through the books would be helpful in showing you how to apply what you learn.

    Listening to as many Van Eps recordings as possible would be a great help to hear how he used these concepts. Van Eps practiced what he preached and played what he practiced.

    Regards,
    monk

  20. #19

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    You may want to hold off on all 3...The first one could keep anyone busy for years!!!!

  21. #20

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    I have these books and have spent a lot of time going through them. They are terrific books for a very advanced student who is interested in voicing and movement of the voices within chord progressions. IMHO, they are very thorough, very time consuming and very worthwhile for a dedicated chord melody enthusiast.

    wiz

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcfrost78
    Monk, do you recommend the ebook or just take the dive off the deep end?
    dcfrost78,
    I apologise for not responding to this sooner. I received an eMail this morning about a recent post to this thread and saw your question from December.

    The George Van Eps Guitar Method is 40 pages and has some specifics on studying and picking that aren't in the Harmonic Mechanisms. There are also a few exercises that don't appear in HM. The GVEGM is a concise method. GVEHM is an exhaustive method. Both require thinking on the student's part in regard to application. The GVEGM occasionally shows up on eBay, sometimes at a reasonable price. The eBook will probably be cheaper unless you find a great deal.

    The GVEGM was Van Eps' only instructional work for 40 years and plenty of guitarists learned enough from it to become good chord soloists.

    Regards,
    monk

  23. #22

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    I think I have most of his books including one that has been out of print for many, many years. He was my first influence for playing chord melody back in the early 50's. Howard Roberts introduced me to George at one of the NAMM shows, 1979, I think. Yes, He did influence many good players including Howard Roberts, Ted Greene, Jimmy Wyble and Howard Alden. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1965, I wanted to take lessons from him but he was not accepting any students at that time. I ended up studying with Ted Green for a few months prior to enrolling at G.I.T. and then with Howard Roberts for about a year. After G.I.T. graduation, I took lessons from Jimmy Wyble (1978-79) before moving back to Arizona in 1980.

    wiz
    Last edited by wizard3739; 04-17-2011 at 04:40 PM.

  24. #23

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    Question--are these books written for the 7 string guitar specifically in mind, including the relevant fingerings associated with the 7 string?

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ
    Question--are these books written for the 7 string guitar specifically in mind, including the relevant fingerings associated with the 7 string?
    The GVE Method and Harmonic Mechanism are written for six string guitar. Everything in the books can be applied to seven string, if you wish.

    Remember that from 1938 to 1969, George Van Eps was pretty much the only seven string guitar player out there. When Gretsch started manufacturing the GVE Model was when Bucky Pizzarelli and other players started taking up seven string. Most of Van Eps' students over the years were six string players.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk
    The GVE Method and Harmonic Mechanism are written for six string guitar. Everything in the books can be applied to seven string, if you wish.

    Remember that from 1938 to 1969, George Van Eps was pretty much the only seven string guitar player out there. When Gretsch started manufacturing the GVE Model was when Bucky Pizzarelli and other players started taking up seven string. Most of Van Eps' students over the years were six string players.
    ah thanks for the prompt response--makes sense--music is music.

    just asked because I consolidated my guitars, getting rid of a few, down to a few. But I did add a guitar, coming next week, an El Rey -1 7 string.

    Looking forward to it. and this book, which I will now order. I appreciate the feedback on this. Cheers.