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  1. #1

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    If I get a piece of music labeled "guitar" in a big band setting, I try to play it as written as much as possible. I'll definitely try to play the written out parts, because it is clearly what the arranger intends. But sometimes I wonder about the chord symbols.

    Overall, I am assuming the root is specified just for informational purposes (giving you the chord name). There is no reason to play the root note; that's for the bass player. So I read the chart to say, it's a whatever chord, but you don't have to play the root.

    But arrangers still seem to specify too many notes.

    For example, you are playing an up tempo swing piece that has chord symbols with four slashes per bar, and seems to clearly call for a Freddy Green style of playing. So if left on my own, I'm mostly playing the 3rd and 7th (omitting the root and fifth; let the bass player play that) on the middle two strings. But if the chart says, for example:

    Bb | Bbdim | F/C | D+7(#9)

    The first two bars, no problemo.

    On bar three, I am guessing that the slash C is intended to suggest playing the C as a bass note. Why is the arranger telling me that, rather than the bass player?

    On the fourth bar, why is the arranger giving me all of those notes to play? Omitting the root, that's still four notes (#9, 3rd, aug 5th, 7th). Do you play all four? Or just play two or three note voicings, and pick and choose the notes to play?

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  3. #2

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    I think most big band arrangers are not guitar players and know nothing about guitar.

    It seems they pile up all the notes the rest of the band is playing then try to name the chord.

    I try to go as simple as possiable with only 3 note chords sometimes 4.

    Rhythm is more important than all those extensions.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    If I get a piece of music labeled "guitar" in a big band setting, I try to play it as written as much as possible. I'll definitely try to play the written out parts, because it is clearly what the arranger intends. But sometimes I wonder about the chord symbols.

    Overall, I am assuming the root is specified just for informational purposes (giving you the chord name). There is no reason to play the root note; that's for the bass player. So I read the chart to say, it's a whatever chord, but you don't have to play the root.

    But arrangers still seem to specify too many notes.

    For example, you are playing an up tempo swing piece that has chord symbols with four slashes per bar, and seems to clearly call for a Freddy Green style of playing. So if left on my own, I'm mostly playing the 3rd and 7th (omitting the root and fifth; let the bass player play that) on the middle two strings. But if the chart says, for example:

    Bb | Bbdim | F/C | D+7(#9)

    The first two bars, no problemo.

    On bar three, I am guessing that the slash C is intended to suggest playing the C as a bass note. Why is the arranger telling me that, rather than the bass player?

    On the fourth bar, why is the arranger giving me all of those notes to play? Omitting the root, that's still four notes (#9, 3rd, aug 5th, 7th). Do you play all four? Or just play two or three note voicings, and pick and choose the notes to play?
    For Bb, I might play the root on the low E. Hopefully, the bassist will be an octave below. If not, it still won't make mud.

    But, for F/C, I'm not going to play the root at fret 1 of the low E, because that will risk making the band sound muddy since the bassist will probably be playing a nearby C.

    For a chord with a lot of alterations, oftentimes, the arranger is telling you what the horns are going to be playing. So, if there's a +5, you may want to avoid the natural 5. 3s and 7s still work, but in the chord you mentioned, you have to play the #5 and #9 and not the natural 5 and 9, if you're going to play any of them. If you play the same chord as the horns, the band can sound much sweeter, to my ear.

  5. #4

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    If you're doing the Freddie Green thing, don't worry about the extensions and just play the one to three note FG voicings on the low E,D and/or G strings. You're part of the rhythm section so lock in with the bass and hi-hat/cymbal.
    The arranger is writing out the full chord that the piano/band is playing. You've got to choose the right voicing based on voice leading from the FG voicings.
    That Chirillo dude says the D string is the most important note, because it doesn't clash with the register the piano is playing in, so he concentrates on good voice leading on that string.

  6. #5

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    Think of the chord symbols as telling you what the band is playing, not necessarily what you will play. The slash tells you the bassist is playing something other than the root. The extensions give you an idea what the horns are playing. The guitar typically focuses on the 3rd & 7th or 6th, but it’s ok to sneak in some other notes as long as they complement what the rest of the band is doing. If you only see chord symbols, the arranger has left that decision entirely up to you!

    The most difficult aspect of big band for me was working with a piano, especially if the pianist liked to do a lot of comping. I enjoyed rehearsal the most when the pianist couldn’t be there! It wasn’t intolerable, otherwise I wouldn’t have played in amateur big bands for years. And weekly big band was good for my playing in smaller ensembles and even solo guitar. I came to think of it like going to the gym once a week.

  7. #6

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    Really depends on the style.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP View Post
    Think of the chord symbols as telling you what the band is playing, not necessarily what you will play. The slash tells you the bassist is playing something other than the root. The extensions give you an idea what the horns are playing. The guitar typically focuses on the 3rd & 7th or 6th, but it’s ok to sneak in some other notes as long as they complement what the rest of the band is doing. If you only see chord symbols, the arranger has left that decision entirely up to you!

    The most difficult aspect of big band for me was working with a piano, especially if the pianist liked to do a lot of comping. I enjoyed rehearsal the most when the pianist couldn’t be there! It wasn’t intolerable, otherwise I wouldn’t have played in amateur big bands for years. And weekly big band was good for my playing in smaller ensembles and even solo guitar. I came to think of it like going to the gym once a week.
    I found it necessary to accept that the guitar is in a subordinate position to piano in some big band settings. Well, maybe most.

    I haven't noticed the pianists doing much differently when I'm playing vs when I lay out. Some are busier than others.

    Some arrangers account for this, at least part of the time, by specifying tacet choruses in piano or guitar. So, only one comping instrument is playing, at least sometimes. Other arrangers slap slash marks onto the page and leave it at that.

    A common situation in one band is that there's a written out guitar part for the head and slashes for the solos. Often, I lay out during a soloist's first chorus. Then, for the second chorus, if there are horn backgrounds, I phrase with them. That's by ear. I've never seen an arranger specify it.

    If there isn't any direction from the arranger, I usually just accept that the piano is primary and I'm just trying to enhance the sound of the band any way I can, including by laying out.

    It can be fun when the pianist doesn't show up. There's a lot more freedom for the guitarist and a lot less risk of clashing with something (i.e., the piano). OTOH, there's nobody to hide behind and there's an excellent chance that everybody in the band reads better than the guitar player. So, I enjoy it more when I've played the chart a few times.

  9. #8

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    Well, if the bass is playing bass, the horns are doing extensions and the piano is backing as well, what's the point of having a guitar? Unless they specifically want a guitar solo, of course.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Well, if the bass is playing bass, the horns are doing extensions and the piano is backing as well, what's the point of having a guitar? Unless they specifically want a guitar solo, of course.
    Some bands don't use a guitar.

    But, it's a good question. The arranger has to find a way to use the guitar to enhance the overall sound.

    Here are some things I've seen.

    1. FG style comp behind piano to drive band Basie style

    2. Alternating with piano to change the overall sound of the band.

    3. Voicing guitar as another horn to deepen harmony or play countermelody.

    4. Using guitar on some grooves to play funky in a way piano cannot.

    5. Get screaming leads over forte passages.

    6. Duet sections between guitar and another instrument.

    7. thickening the harmony (at the risk of making mud and making the groove worse).

    8. Double bass lines to thicken the sound.

    etc.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Well, if the bass is playing bass, the horns are doing extensions and the piano is backing as well, what's the point of having a guitar? Unless they specifically want a guitar solo, of course.
    In addition to the fine suggestions of @rpjazzguitar there's this:

    A big band isn't just stands, it's people. Some of those people are an asset to the band even if they play guitar.
    > Some people are nice
    > Some people have connections
    > Some people own a shweet book of big band charts
    > Some people write or arrange a shweet book of big band charts
    > Some people are responsible and punctual, which can be handy if some other people are not
    Etc.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  12. #11

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    Looks like the Bbdim ... could be Bdim etc... Bb ,B ,C ,D, G- C7 F etc... without more info. I've performed in big bands for over 40 years... old school to contemporary.... The old school charts are old school harmony... they suck. Good rhythm sections... know how to actually make them sound good... keep the vanilla old school harmony implied... but actually make the the band lock in and groove.

    Most horn players don't know what, yet alone know how to make charts or the BB's actually groove... both harmoically and rhythmically. Not all obviously... But most guitarist don't get to perform with them.

    Our job as the rhythm section is to make the arrangement work.... that means fix the harmony and rhythm aspects as needed. Sight reading must be second nature.... enough so that your able to hear and see ahead... along with being able to communicate with the rest of the rhythm section while playing. When solos are going on... the parts need to change to reflect who's soloing and depending on where the gig is reflect the audience etc.. We make the arrangement come alive, the horns sections are busy making their phrasing and sections work.

    Many more modern charts use the guitar like a horn.... play lines with different sections etc... I still work and sub for BB... I have My book.... which I feature the guitar and arrange with horn sections etc... One of the BB I gig with... usually doesn't have a piano.... we have killin trios. I also sub for a no guitar BB... yes I have to sight read Piano book etc...

    nopedals... you need to make quick analysis of the chart.... so you know what the notation is trying to imply.... before you perform.... and make adjustments as your playing. If you haven't played and don't know the chart... make notes on chart... so you do know. Use your ears, that's what they're for. You may make some mistakes... but you'll learn from those mistakes.

    The whole issue about what notes, voicing, and what range etc... doesn't really matter.... Generally with big bands.... all the chord tones are already played.... If all you know is basic changes, the 3rd and 7th thing etc... ... that's what you need to use.... and our job is to help imply the Tonal Targets.... without stepping on anything. Make the horn sections sound right.... they're going and coming from somewhere. ... you either play percussive part or blankets and work with rest of rhythm section.... All charts have Form.... use the sections of the Form to help design your playing... along with the piano etc... The general shape of what your playing, with respect to the Form, and repeats of.... will also help create the effect of "you know what your doing"

    Play something or pick some tune and I'll be glad to get very specific... with lots of details....
    The LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS TO SOUND LIKE A BACKING TRACT...

  13. #12

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    Hey missed part of questions...
    So arrangers give you more details for changes because... they generally have specific harmonic references when notating out the horn sections. They have specific complete note collections for each chord or voicing.... what they want played or not played.
    You don't need to always play exact chord or voicing... but what you do play needs to come from the same harmonic organization.

    If the arrangement is using standard functional harmony.... what you play, at least be implied is just that.

    So the four chords you posted... have lots of possibilities...

    So if the changes are Bb / Bbdim / F/C / D+7#9...

    X X 8 7 6 6
    X X 5 6 5 6
    X 8 7 5 6 X
    X 5 4 5 6 X

    You can fill in lower notes... but top notes are always heard first... then the bottom notes, then middle. You also always need to mute etc... You also don't want to use any close intervals on top... I know hipper voicings with 2nds on top etc... are cool and make you sound.... but unless you can back it up.... stay simple.

    And why I might use voicings above.... I would be using a lead note as organization for holding the changes together... the obvious Bb on top for Bb and B dim... and the F on top for the F/C and the D+7#9..... I didn't spell out the aug 5th in the D+7#9 because... there are too many possibilities of lousy harmonic spellings....

    When you get better.... you'll be able to hear from the chart... what's actually going on harmonically as well as mechanically, the mechanical part is what else is being played by rest of band... the horns, ranges and how busy etc... which would be reflected in what style to play.... basic blanket harmony... simple changes with simple attacks sand sustain. Or more active harmony with more rhythmic attacks and adding more changes, using chord patterns as compared to basic changes.

    Freddie Green style is very simple harmony and really doesn't imply any more than root motion.... as mentioned above... your a metronome. I get it... It's fun, feels good... and if your good... you can help with as much swing feel as your can pull off. But a good bass player can cover just as well.

  14. #13

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    Hah Reg couldn’t dep you half of my gigs. The kids like old fashioned suckage....

    But then I guess you wouldn’t want em ;-)

    I’m curious as to the set up... It does sound like the way you are doing it you have more influence over the harmony. When I do the Freddie green thing I’m basically percussion. Very specific brief.

    When I’m not - well there’s a keys player or an arrangement, so comping generally tends to be quite sparse.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    If

    On the fourth bar, why is the arranger giving me all of those notes to play? Omitting the root, that's still four notes (#9, 3rd, aug 5th, 7th). Do you play all four? Or just play two or three note voicings, and pick and choose the notes to play?
    The arranger is letting you know what else is going on in the band. That allows you to play the same voices as the horns, if you choose, and keeps you out of the bassist's way.

    Perhaps more important, at least at times, is that it gives you more information about what you're hearing at every moment. So, it makes it harder to get lost and easier to find your place if you do get lost.

    A digression: I play charts by both top pro arrangers and amateur arrangers. The pro charts rarely contain anything that is physically difficult to play. They typically don't include complicated road maps. In fact, the older charts I've played usually read straight through start to finish -- maybe with a repeat of a solo section here and there -- usually on one page. They rarely require that you find a segno 4 pages back.

    Also, the pro charts typically show you something about what the rest of the band is doing. So, for example, it will say who is soloing. Pickups will be included in a different font. There may be one chord symbol right above another, separated by a horizontal line -- telling you what the pianist may be doing with each hand and what to expect from the horns. The pro charts often have rhythmic accents which can be hard to read, but the difficulty is mental, not physical.

    The amateur charts are more likely to include things that are difficult to play, like a long string of fast 16ths. Or a duet between two instruments with no comping. One chart I play calls for guitar to play harmonics (mostly natural but some not) in unison with piano at a slow tempo with nobody else playing. Very easy to create a flam. And, the amateur charts rarely tell you what else is going on in the band. Sometimes, there are rests with fermatas leading to a horn pickup -- not included in the guitar chart -- and the guitarist can't tell on which beat the pickup begins. So, there's no way to know when to start to play, until you've heard the arrangement.

    Interestingly, neither the pro nor amateur arrangements typically tell you exactly how to comp. You get to interpret the slash marks.

    The point is, a well written guitar part should give you plenty of information about what else is happening in the band. That allows you to select voicings that will compliment the arrangement. And, it helps keep you from getting lost. It makes it more likely that you can play a good guitar part the very first time you see the arrangement, even if you've never heard the tune.

    EDIT: Not exactly relevant but I need to get it off my chest. Arrangers: don't put random numbers of bars per line. The last thing I want to see is 13 tiny bars on one line with a lot of slash or repeat marks then 9 on the next line, and so forth ... without any indication of where motifs change. I don't want to see a two page chart with a bunch of packed-in stuff on page one and most of page 2 blank. In a 6 page chart, don't send me back from page 6 to page 2 to play 6 bars, then take the coda back to page 6. Write the ^&*() thing out a second time! Last night, I played a chart that began with 4 sections of repeated rests. After the third one of those there was a bar which was not repeated. Then another four bars of rest, which I found out was for a repeated bass figure. Arranger: why not write "bass begins" and save me from making an error in all that rest counting? Yes, I wrote it in during the rehearsal. But, this arranger sometimes hands out new charts on a gig -- which means my pencil marks are not on the chart I'm reading. I could go on.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 09-18-2019 at 03:31 PM.

  16. #15

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    lol... Yea Christian... I'm already over booked locally... But I'm due for a trip to England.

    rp... nice post, you sound like good player...

    So I'll post a few charts from my book.... comping examples... pretty standard, easy... one old, two newer.

    With big bands... the rhythm section is the band.... you can have amateur horns sections and if the rhythm section is pro etc... the band will still be smokin... but if the rhythm section sucks.... the band sucks.

    (there aren't too many dance gigs anymore... ) and the senior circuit... is what it is...

    Yea... most of the pros like myself... like to play in BB's because... we catch up with friends, not to mention... good bands have good charts.... which are great sight reading practice. They also are great rhythm section work outs.... usually play almost all styles and tempos in one night. Which... leads to....Different styles of tunes have different harmonic, melodic and rhythmic requirements.... How many different feels and styles can you play a I VI II V ...

    When you have great soloist... the rhythm section needs to raise the level of their performance to support them. When solo sections are open or called out to become open... the rhythm sections needs to create different feels within the same style for the same charts. Good rhythm sections can change the harmonic implications from Chord patterns and make same changes feel new for different soloist.

    Personally... yea ... I don't get out of the way of bassist or drums... I want to lock in with them... take them somewhere, we're improvising also... as a section. Help soloist push etc...anyway check out the 3 examples...

    Smoke gets into... is hip swingin ballad ... harmony isn't simple ...modern blues harmony
    The Swagger is newer harmony swing
    Blues machine is newer version of Nestico's 1983 chart for Basie

    Sorry for changing thread direction.... but I'll go almost anywhere...you want
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    If I get a piece of music labeled "guitar" in a big band setting, I try to play it as written as much as possible. I'll definitely try to play the written out parts, because it is clearly what the arranger intends. But sometimes I wonder about the chord symbols.
    The better arrangers have a good handle on the chord symbols, often more info than you need, but giving you some insight into harmonic context. They can present you with more options for different voice leading than just shell chords. With experience, you start to recognize the flavor of some chord sequences and you'll know what sound the arranger was suggesting.

  18. #17

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    I've played guitar in big swing bands. Here's my advice:
    When you practice alone in your studio, for starters try to play the symbols exactly as written. No cheating. Do your best to understand each symbol and its purpose, i.e the harmonic function. If you don't like the sound, try different voicings/inversions till it makes sense. Now, when you understand the intentions and have internalized the sound, feel free to make your own variations and finger arrangements that support your purpose (technique, memorization, orchestration etc.)

  19. #18

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    Just checking in again to thank folks for all the comments above. And yeah, it should be Bdim ;-)

    Picking and choosing notes is helping me get through a chart for a tune called Blues in Hoss Flat, what should be a simple 12 bar blues, but, once again, I want to play the chords as written. Most bars have four chords in a bar, some bars easy to play using standard 3 7 shell voicings

    Eb7 Ab7 Eb7 Bb7

    x x 5 6 x x
    x x 4 5 x x
    x x 5 6 x x
    x x 6 7 x x

    on some I'm hunting voicings that don't jump around much

    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb9sus

    thinking ...

    x x 6 8 x x (3 and 7)
    x x 8 10 x x (ditto)
    x x 10 10 x x (3 and 6)
    x x 8 8 x x (1 and 4) or x x 10 8 x x (9 and 4)

    How would Freddy Green have voiced that four chord bar?

    PS: I'm a total amateur playing in a community band, so I won't take offense at being told I'm headed in the wrong direction.
    Last edited by nopedals; 09-22-2019 at 10:02 PM.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    Just checking in again to thank folks for all the comments above. And yeah, it should be Bdim ;-)

    Picking and choosing notes is helping me get through a chart for a tune called Blues in Hoss Flat, what should be a simple 12 bar blues, but, once again, I want to play the chords as written. Most bars have four chords in a bar, some bars easy to play using standard 3 7 shell voicings

    Eb7 Ab7 Eb7 Bb7

    x x 5 6 x x
    x x 4 5 x x
    x x 5 6 x x
    x x 6 7 x x

    on some I'm hunting voicings that don't jump around much

    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb9sus

    thinking ...

    x x 6 8 x x (3 and 7)
    x x 8 10 x x (ditto)
    x x 10 10 x x (3 and 6)
    x x 8 8 x x (1 and 4) or x x 10 8 x x (9 and 4)

    How would Freddy Green have voiced that four chord bar?

    PS: I'm a total amateur playing in a community band, so I won't take offense at being told I'm headed in the wrong direction.
    Acoustic guitar players had a hard time cutting through a full sized swing band. Fortunately the electric guitar came to rescue and now everyone can hear your soft double stops. Question is why anyone would like to hear them and what is your purpose, your role? Maybe you are trying to figure out what to do in-between your solos?

    The guitar is traditionally part of the swing band rhythm section, meaning you're supposed to provide a steady beat. Maybe you like to leave that to the drummer and the bass player? When thinking about it, -why not leave the double stops to the horn players and get down on the dance floor

    Seriously, don't be concerned about "leaving notes to the bass player". Forget "horn like" and think of your role as a provider of harmony and rhythm. You've got an amplifier and don't have to play the guitar like a washboard, but you still got six strings to make use of.

    Make use of barre chords and half barre chord for punchy rhythm work.
    Here's a simple straight forward approach to the progression Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb9sus4

    x31111
    x63333
    xx1111
    x11111

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb9sus

    thinking ...

    x x 6 8 x x (3 and 7)
    x x 8 10 x x (ditto)
    x x 10 10 x x (3 and 6)
    x x 8 8 x x (1 and 4) or x x 10 8 x x (9 and 4)

    How would Freddy Green have voiced that four chord bar?

    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb9sus

    Interesting that Fm7, Ab6, and Bb9sus can be inversions of each other as four note chords. You are asking for two note chords with some kind of voice leading...

    What you have could work, and shows that you're looking at things logically. Sometimes Freddy would play just one string, sometimes along with hitting other muted strings to get some chunk.

    I might modify your choices for this voice leading that I hear...but the difference is subtle. I think you're on the right track for two note voicings.
    x x 6 5 x x (3 and 5)
    x x 8 7 x x (3 and 5)
    x x 10 10 x x (3 and 6)
    x x 8 8 x x (5 and 4)

    Depending on the sound of the arrangements, I'm always game to shoot for 3 and 4 note chords very closely voiced if they sound good.

    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb9sus....I might attempt this -
    x x 10 8 9 8
    x x 12 10 11 10 or x x 8 10 8 10
    x x 10 10 9 8
    x x 8 8 9 8

    I could even do this for the strong rhythmic feel it would give - similar to jcat's suggestion.
    xx1111
    xx3333
    xx1111
    xx1111

  22. #21

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    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb7sus is an ascending line in the roots.

    So you can play a series of triads. xx111x, xx333x , xx654x, and xx876x. This option has the advantage of every note moving a whole or half step up on the same string. It gives an ascending feel, at least to my ear.

    Of course, there are many other options, including playing the Ab6 and Bb7sus with the same Abmajor triad. xx654x.

    The bass notes are playable in each voicing. I'd suggest trying it both ways and see which one sounds better. That will depend on the sound you're getting from your guitar, what else is happening in the band and so forth.

    When I play with horn bands, I usually omit the bass notes. If I play the right one, all I'm doing is reinforcing something that the bassist is already doing. If I play a conflicting note, the band's sound gets muddier. FG played just a few notes and used a guitar that was very percussive. If you do it his way, and if the bassist is walking, that can work. But, if you're playing a guitar with more sustain or a guitar on the verge of feeding back. or simply if the room is enhancing the low frequencies, you're better off not playing the low E or A strings. Some nights, the G and B strings sound better than the D and G. And, depending on the tune, I might comp an octave higher.

  23. #22

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    > Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb7sus is an ascending line in the roots

    Now I see it. That bar is bar 10 of a 12 bar blues in Eb. Looking at bars 9 and 10 together:

    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Gm7 |
    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb7sus

    The roots are a walking bass II V. The bass player should play that, and all I have to do is play a II V, right?

    I know that I have an electric guitar, but for this style I just turn up loud enough to blend well with the drums and bass like Freddy Green did.

  24. #23

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    Duh should have seen that. Kind of thing I play on a blues .

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    > Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb7sus is an ascending line in the roots

    Now I see it. That bar is bar 10 of a 12 bar blues in Eb. Looking at bars 9 and 10 together:

    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Gm7 |
    Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Bb7sus

    The roots are a walking bass II V. The bass player should play that, and all I have to do is play a II V, right?

    I know that I have an electric guitar, but for this style I just turn up loud enough to blend well with the drums and bass like Freddy Green did.
    If you're the only chord instrument and it's bar 10 of a blues, yes. Especially if the tempo is brisk.

    If there's a piano, you don't want a situation where one of you is playing Fm7 and the other is playing Gm7.

    And, if it's a slow tune with a melody that wants the Gm7 (say, an Ab over the Fm7 moving to an A over the Gm7), you might create a problem if you sustain an Fm7 against the A note.

  26. #25

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    Yea... basic Eb blues, look nopedals.... if your having trouble playing a simple Blues.... you need to work on your basic playing... chords.

    Trying to play 3rds and 7th or 2 and 3 note voicings might be a waste of time.

    Learn the basic chords used with jazz... three versions of each and be able to play them. Start with a low , mid and high version etc...
    so anywhere your playing you have a voicing... a version of any chord to use.

    Once you have some chords... you can start just playing whatever notes you want from each voicing you want... full, thin even just a note.... the point.... is to be able to play the chords of tunes without having to work out a memorized part....

    As you become a better player... you'll develop chord patterns.... standard series of chords that are used for most tunes, that imply different styles....

    I still perform with a few big bands... and a million other bands etc... comping isn't playing simple voicings, with very little movement... unless the point is to not really be performing. Eventually, if you keep playing... your going to start learning how to comp... use lead notes and lines... that work and help melodies and soloist develop into something.
    Who's arrangement are you playing... Rick Stitzel or mark Taylor's they're both Eb basie blues right.

    Here are standard 7th chord jazz blues chords.... I don't want to do all the work.... if you need more ... I'll help. These is a pretty simplistic part... with blue repeating lead line... try and come up with the last 4 bars.

    X 6 5 6 6 8...Eb13
    X 6 5 6 6 6...Eb9
    X 4 5 5 4 X... Eb9
    X 4 5 5 4 X

    X 3 4 3 4 X...Ab9
    X 3 4 3 4 X
    X 3 4 3 4 X
    6 X 6 7 7 X...Bb7b13

    X 4 5 5 4 X...Eb
    X 3 4 3 4 X...Bb
    X 4 5 5 4 X...Eb
    X 4 5 5 4 X

    X 4 5 5 4 X...Eb
    X 3 4 3 4 X...Bb
    X 4 5 5 4 X...Eb
    X 6 5 6 7 X...Eb7#9

    X X 6 8 7 8...Ab7
    4 X 4 5 6 6
    X 3 4 3 4 X
    X 3 4 3 4 X

    X 3 4 3 4 X...Ab9
    X 3 4 3 4 X
    X 3 4 3 4 X
    6 X 6 7 7 X...Bb7b13

    X 4 5 5 4 X...Eb
    X 3 4 3 4 X...Bb
    X 4 5 5 4 X...Eb
    X 4 5 5 4 X

    Etc...

  27. #26

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    It's the Taylor arrangement.

    When a chart seems to call for a Freddy Green style, I tend to default to two note voicings on the D and G strings, and 1) look for ways to play them that don't require jumping around the fret board, 2) have some logic to them (voice leading), and 3) carry out the arranger's intent. I've had trouble getting a convincing FG sound playing four note voicings, but will give yours a try.

    For other styles, I may omit the root, but otherwise I'll play all the notes in the chord symbol on the indicated beats (or, if indicated, as arpeggios).

    What I am learning from this thread is that you don't necessarily play precisely what the arranger writes down (some of it may be telling you what other instruments are playing), but a bit of study and experience is required to know what to omit.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopedals View Post
    It's the Taylor arrangement.

    When a chart seems to call for a Freddy Green style, I tend to default to two note voicings on the D and G strings, and 1) look for ways to play them that don't require jumping around the fret board, 2) have some logic to them (voice leading), and 3) carry out the arranger's intent. I've had trouble getting a convincing FG sound playing four note voicings, but will give yours a try.

    For other styles, I may omit the root, but otherwise I'll play all the notes in the chord symbol on the indicated beats (or, if indicated, as arpeggios).

    What I am learning from this thread is that you don't necessarily play precisely what the arranger writes down (some of it may be telling you what other instruments are playing), but a bit of study and experience is required to know what to omit.
    A friend who is a fine player recently got a book of big band charts in the afternoon of the gig. He told me he spent a couple of hours looking over the charts, crossing a lot of things out.

    The arranger had written a lot of chords without symbols, just notes on a stem. I attended the show and I noticed that he didn't play throughout. But, the band sounded fine.

    You have to omit stuff you can't play -- and, often, that will be because the chart, as written, is unplayable. Or, sometimes it will look unplayable, but with some thought you might be able to figure something out, which you then have to remember and be able to do on the fly, probably at a faster tempo than you practiced it.

    You have to deal with stuff that doesn't sound good when you're reading it correctly. Modify? Omit? The arranger wants it like that?

    And, then, usually, a rhythm section player has to, in effect, add to the arrangement. The horns are given notes. There's an art to playing them well. The guitarist, often, gets slash marks. He has to figure out a part to play -- meaning he should get an arranging credit, because he's doing part of the arrangement that the arranger left out. To be fair to the arranger, trying to write in a specific comping part for a guitar (which you do sometimes see) is tough. Hard to read and maybe not that helpful.

  29. #28

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  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    This is a better one:

    The Freddie Green Web Site

  31. #30

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    Yea... Freddie Green, the actual chords don't really even matter. It's an old style that's built from the bottom up and are the jazz version of rock power chords. You could play almost anything and if you keep the rhythm "solid" (cool FG tune)... you'll cover. But that is the point.... the guitar, harmonically and melodically doesn't matter.

    One of the reasons the style is great for beginners... the technique is simple, the chords are simple etc... But.... if you actually learn how to comp.... you can work with the rhythm section and create very live and much more interesting grooves. Bigger picture, both Rhythmically and what make the chart come alive, Harmonically and melodically. If you make the harmony and lead lines also rhythmically Solid.... the result is what your playing , as a rhythmic section actually raised the level musically of what the arrangement is.

    nopedals... is a beginner. before one learns how to perform.... you need to learn how to play. Get your technical skills together. In his example... Freddie green style of comping.

    I posted very basic Root 6, Rt5 and Rt4 chord voicings years ago... I'll dig up again. They are simple organized diatonic 7th chord voicings that give you the technique to be able to play Freddie Green style anywhere on the fretboard. You can alter the chords as needed. The Point is they are organized from the Lowest chord Note. The root.... They give you a musically organized approach for being able to play any jazz chord anywhere on the neck. The Guitar... that's what your trying to play.

    You can Leave Notes Out or add notes....but again, you'll be using a musically organized system of playing chords on the Guitar..... That Repeats.
    Eventually you'll be able to play without having your eyes glued to the fretboard.

    I posted an example of a simple part which would reflect the OP's chart... Mark T. chart of old Basie Blues. The only difference is I added the lead note aspect to the comping part.... a melodic line that also repeats and reflects the chart and style. Along with better harmony.

    I understand that beginners won't be able to actually play the part without rehearsing etc... But sometimes it helps to see and hear where you what your playing can become. I played two BB gigs last week, they seem to never end.... unlike rpjazzguitars story above... I just show up and play charts. I'm just an average pro but I have my technical skills together... so when I perform. My Performance skills are not rehearsed parts...I just play, I'm able to interact with Rhythm section and rest of band.

    Again... there are technical skills that need to be worked out and practiced. (musically organized system of playing chords) Which will greatly help the results of your Performance Skills.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    That is a good one.

  33. #32

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    I was gonna ask Reg - are you working with a piano when you do that stuff?

  34. #33

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    Here is what I ended up doing. I just played FG chords omitting the bass.

    So Fm7 Gm7 Ab6 Gm7 would be fingered

    8 x 6 8 x x
    10 x 8 10 x x
    11 x 10 10 x x (edited)
    10 x 8 10 x x

    But just played the middle two strings.
    Last edited by nopedals; Yesterday at 03:45 PM.

  35. #34

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    Looks OK... must be mistake for the Ab6 chord, but I get the style. Using intervals of 5ths and 4th for chords... (sucks, unless your playin in a power trio thing). Not tryin to get on you... but. They're just to thick and imply nothing. But if that's what your after... yea maybe a book like Charlton's four to the bar would be helpful. He's a cool rocker, dig his work with Dee Dee That's not going to help you develop any jazz skills.. jazz comping. But it's very simple and if your like many guitarist, you started in pop, rock or R&B style of playing, and that's your basic starting organization on guitar. At least you will end up with some more standard basic chord grips that can cross over. (if you want some better grips... write out the changes... it's only 12 bars and I'll post some better voicings with typical common fingers and strings that create that feel).

    yea Christian... I work with pianist, you do need to be aware of what the band is playing and play a part that adds to what the music is after. Generally I can pick up a pianist style and harmonic approach... within a few bars. And then I just play in one of the styles or techniques that are typical... For most gigs... I get asked to turn up. Which is really difficult for horn players.