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  1. #1

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    I'm working on "Four until late" by the great Robert Johnson. There are countless great Blues-Tunes and it's a welcome change for me to
    leave the "Standards" behind for a while.

    Would anybody here be interested to share their Comping skills and show us their ideas ?


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Here's my first simple comping-idea for this great song.

    Jazzin' up old Blues Tunes-four-jpg

    Chords in pdf
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #3

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    It's pretty cool that Robert also plays a II V in Love in Vain...I have not heard any Delta blues guys play a II V besides RJ.

  5. #4

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    I've done some of it. For a straight 12-bar like Norfolk I usually just use the standard jazz blues format. Other things can get more complicated :-)
    Last edited by ragman1; 03-13-2020 at 07:35 PM.

  6. #5

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    Idea: we could agree on a blues song, give it a new set of jazzy chords and present the results
    in this or any other thread of our choice.

    My next project will be "Red House" and I'll try to turn it into a little swing number.
    Let's see...

    Here's a great version by John Lee Hooker...cool


  7. #6

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    Do you think there might be a danger of spoiling the basic feeling of the song? The old blues classics were very straightforward and meant to be raw. Jazzing them can dilute the rawness if one's not careful.

    There's only so many things one can do with, say, a 12-bar progression. I suppose one could simply complicate it and then put extensions and alterations on the chords. Or tritone some of them. That would make it 'jazzy'.

    Have a look at this. Lots of different ideas!

    Jazzin' up old Blues Tunes-blues-progressions-jpg

    Red House is very simple. Hooker does it in E. That's a bit 'open' for jazz so maybe F is better. Forces you to think differently. We could choose one that suits the melody and go from there.

  8. #7

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    Here's a progression based on No. 14 above. I've altered a few chords but it's basically there. There are 2 versions:

    1) Solo still based essentially over the 3-chord trick idea but extended a bit.

    3) Solo is more like a jazz player would do it, outlining the harmonies as they appear.



    Anyway, the point is: is it Red House any more? Or any other blues classic? But that's thing with jazz. Get a recording of a well-known jazz tune and start playing it somewhere in the middle... you wouldn't know what the hell they were doing. Could be anything :-)

  9. #8

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    How about checking on some of Blind Boy Fuller's recordings? A lot of his tunes have chord progressions outside of the basic blues changes and may be easy to adept to jazz them up.

  10. #9

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    A lot of good ideas. Thanks guys ! ...and a lot of questions.

    My intention is to find jazz/blues chords as the background for a swinging guitar-solo (and fills) based
    on the melody and/or singing.

    Blind Boy Fuller sounds great. Here's Lonnie Johnson with Georgia White. He's a perfect example
    of what I'm talking about.


  11. #10

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    I remember hearing the guitar parts on tunes on the radio and didnt realize they were a "jazzed" blues progressions..

    the old tune "high heel sneakers" by tommy tucker had some super tasty guitar licks over the funky feel of the tune..

    the tune "honky tonk"..by bill doggett has classic guitar parts all over it..take that to the ultimate and listen to what Jimmy Smith does with it

    taking raw acustic blues from the guys who wrote and played it and finding some jazz chords to put on top of them..to me it is a defeat of the soul of those works.

    each note and some of the chords that were used are templates of what came after them..

    we have to remember...there are "new" players that have no idea that there was "blues" before eric clapton

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen

    taking raw acustic blues from the guys who wrote and played it and finding some jazz chords to put on top of them..to me it is a defeat of the soul of those works.
    Absolutely, that was my first reaction. Then I thought about it and I think there are probably some tunes that could take an altered chord or two, wouldn't hurt. I mean, that tune above could sound fine with a few changes on it, maybe even better. I've already done it in my head, I know it would sound fine :-)

    each note and some of the chords that were used are templates of what came after them.
    .

    Quite so.

    we have to remember...there are "new" players that have no idea that there was "blues" before eric clapton
    :-)

  13. #12

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    ...take for instance Blind Willie McTell. He took all kinds of popular songs
    and "changed" them into Blues ("Pal of mine" etc.). So what did he do with the "soul of these works" ?

    I don't want to steal the chords of Lonnie Johnson. That song was just an example for good solo-work.
    If I'd turn "Red House" into a Billie Holiday like Blues...would I stab the hearts of countless
    purists ?




  14. #13

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    Red House in A it is...(I'm already "on it")
    Next one's of course your choise if you want


    By the way, what do think about Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell ?
    Can' get enough of it...


  15. #14

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    I like it. All good stuff :-)

    OK, Red House in A. Let's do that first. Have you got recording facilities so you can post what you do?

    By the way, how are you doing it? Solo fingerstyle or picking with a backing?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    we have to remember...there are "new" players that have no idea that there was "blues" before eric clapton
    We have to remember there are OLD players that have no idea there was blues before Robert Johnson's 1936/7 recordings. Those old country and delta players sounded like they invented the blues, but they were just isolated farmers banging out mostly self taught primitive stuff on guitar, while 20-30 years earlier, the blues was already a jazzy sophisticated genre being played from New Orleans to Memphis.

  17. #16

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    I remember in the late 50's early 60's it was" uncool" to like Bill Broonzy or Josh White because they were too jazzy. I loved them both
    '

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I like it. All good stuff :-)

    OK, Red House in A. Let's do that first. Have you got recording facilities so you can post what you do?

    By the way, how are you doing it? Solo fingerstyle or picking with a backing?

    My recording facilities are very limited. I'll work with the lyrics and chord-symbols (or pictures)
    I scanned quite a lot out of my books, so I'm prepared. But let's see what I can come up with.
    I use a pick.

    Here, for something different:

  19. #18

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    Over to you :-)

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Over to you :-)
    Here my first draft for the Intro. Is that dribble clear to you ?

    Jazzin' up old Blues Tunes-intro-jpg

  21. #20

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    Yes, but I want to hear you play it!

    I just use the computer's built-in microphone and Audacity, a free editing program. No problem at all. Make your own backing track and play over it.

    Audacity (R) | Free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing.

    Or turn on your cell phone and record yourself. Most guys here do that.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    taking raw acustic blues from the guys who wrote and played it and finding some jazz chords to put on top of them..to me it is a defeat of the soul of those works.each note and some of the chords that were used are templates of what came after them..
    I know what you mean, but, alas, we may be too far gone (with 'advanced' harmony) now. There's all kinds of opinions on styles: it's heretical not to keep them pure; you're doing them no favors not to open the door and let 'progress' in, etc., etc.

    I only know this: it's a hell of a discipline to say something in 2020 on those original 3 or 4 chords w/o 'cleverness' or 'sophistication'. (I put them in quotes b/c of the different slants and the debate). I think you ought to play the style---whatever style---keeping the basics as a touchstone. It's very hard to be 'pure'---and you can't stop the clock. But do show that you know and respect the tradition somehow in your approach.

    In 1981 I got a call to work at Tramps with Big Joe Turner---a dean of Kansas City style----more 'sophisticated' than, say, delta blues. He came out of the '30s KC period with Basie; Moten; Pres----and a young Charlie Parker with his ears wide open. It was a slicker, smoother, more urban kind of sound---and blues.

    I only knew the name, not his music. But I was honored to work with one of the originals (of rock, too), and took the gig very seriously. I immediately bought some of his recordings and studied.

    Get to the one and only rehearsal. Doc Pomus, running the gig for an ailing Joe greets me in his salty voice:

    'If you can play the blues you got a gig'.

    We ran through a tune. The first words out of Mr. Turner's mouth:

    'Good Guitar'

    Then Dr. John came in to pay his respects. I was already on the stand and he sat down at the piano to play a slow blues. He didn't kick me off. I figured it was cool by then, I got this.

    2nd night, the drummer, Honeyboy (I swear) comes up to me on break:

    'Sounds real good, but you're not playing the same kind of blues he's singing'.

    (to myself). 'Oh, s##t!'

    I had been hangin' out with bebop and post bop guys like C. Sharpe and Tommy Turrentine---going to Barry Harris's sessions at the Jazz Forum. Guess I thought I was halfway slick. But Joe's gig was blues in C at two tempos: shuffle and slow. You didn't play anything more than a 9th chord---if that---and it was mostly major chords. Funny thing was, I thought I was a kid blues player 10 or so years before. We lived for that music back in Canarsie, ca '68-'71.

    But I got 'corrupted'!

    Long story short: by the end of the week I was gone, at the behest of Doc Pomus, who was giving me nasty looks the whole time anyway. I didn't feel too bad, b/c Joe dug me, and he was the leader---or so I thought.

    But it was an important lesson, a real example of culture shock----and not being prepared, not knowing your environment. Firing me was right, b/c I was too far gone into the other thing, and couldn't turn back even though I wanted to, for the experience of playing with a giant and to please him, give him what he wanted.

    I had 'jazzed up' the simple blues----and this time it didn't work...

  23. #22

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    Success at last. Soundcloud works. Well, here it is. "Recorded" with a 25 Bucks cell phone, pushed through three different
    "little helpers". It's only the first draft.

    Intro: A9-Ab9-G9/11/9(you know what I mean)-Gb9

    Chorus:
    A6/A9 - Am7/Am6 - A6/A9 - A13/A7+5
    Am7/Am6 - Am7/D13 - A6/Bm7 - C#m7 Cm7
    Bm7/Bm6 - Dm7/9/7 E13 - A6 Cm7 - Bm7 E13b5b9 :||


    Your turn...

  24. #23

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    Wake me up for dinner...

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by crusoe


    Success at last. Soundcloud works. Well, here it is. "Recorded" with a 25 Bucks cell phone, pushed through three different
    "little helpers". It's only the first draft.

    Intro: A9-Ab9-G9/11/9(you know what I mean)-Gb9

    Chorus:
    A6/A9 - Am7/Am6 - A6/A9 - A13/A7+5
    Am7/Am6 - Am7/D13 - A6/Bm7 - C#m7 Cm7
    Bm7/Bm6 - Dm7/9/7 E13 - A6 Cm7 - Bm7 E13b5b9 :||


    Your turn...

    Chords work just fine for me, nothing too fancy or too out of bounds reharm wise.

    I don't think there was any intention in this video other than to "present" the chords, but now I'd say the next step is "feel" (which I'm guessing you're well into)

  26. #25

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    crusoe -

    Hey, lift off! Well done.

    Did you see that post by joelf up there? It's a blues gig and he was playing bop stuff over it and got the chop.

    Mr. Beaumont's one of the better players here and worth some attention (he's from Chicugo, whaddya expect?). As he says, your chords work fine, we haven't gone too far way from the blues sound, or perhaps the blues 'spirit' would be better.

    Like I said before, that's a danger in this - unless it's the deliberate intention to do so - that the raw spirit of the blues feel is diluted. 13s, 9s, #9s, and so on, work just fine, even some ii-Vs. But one has to be careful that it doesn't begin to sound like a 12-bar ballad :-)

    There's also the question of soloing. Given a strong bluesy background, banging out the blues sound is fairly easy. But when the chords get smoother, more subtle, any good soloist is going to have to echo that... and is it 'classic' blues any more?

    Red House is a a straightforward 12-bar, nothing fancy about it. To be honest, the melody's nothing much to write about by itself. It's the lyrics that make it an independent song. So what do we do?

    Here's a solo. I haven't tried to play the Red House melody and I've tried to keep it as raw as possible. Usually in jazz blues the Bm7 would sound very scalar but I haven't done that.

    I've kept your introduction but after that played the chords myself to maintain the rhythm. But I have played them with shell voicings. I'm afraid mine sound less raw but can't help that.

    See what you think anyway. I like your chords, they're good

    Last edited by ragman1; 03-02-2020 at 03:10 PM.

  27. #26

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    Still very much the blues, in my book. A lot of these extensions, the flat 5, the #9...maybe they weren't in the accompanist's chords, but they sure could be in the melody.

    There's so many styles and subsets...and a blues needn't be i IV V or 12 bars or none of that. And in fact, a lot of the earlier stuff wasn't. Blues, like jazz, is a how, not just a what. (Although there certainly are "blues" what's too, I just find them less important than the how)

    Being from Chicago really just means that I can go around and hear both the best blues on the planet and the worst

    Joel's story is quite poignant for me. There's a lot of curation in the blues community...a lot of gate keeping...playing the wrong kind of blues can definitely turn some eyebrows. But sometimes the sweep from an electric, West Side kinda of blues to a more jazz like "uptown" approach isn't such a stretch. Bend through those chromatics instead of playing them as 8th notes, for example

    Incidentally, it's blues week over at Jam of the Week on Facebook...gonna have a go at "Away All the Time," thanks for turning me on to that one, y'all...great tune. And gotta love Lonnie.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Did you see that post by joelf up there? It's a blues gig and he was playing bop stuff over it and got the chop.
    Not exactly, but whatever it was was not what was needed. Pomus had definite ideas about what was blues and what wasn't. And he was the boss.

    And everybody in the business has to get fired at least once. Rite of passage...

  29. #28

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    Jeff -

    Absolutely.

    Being from Chicago really just means that I can go around and hear both the best blues on the planet and the worst
    I bet :-)

    Glad you like that Away tune. Me too, very nice

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Not exactly, but whatever it was was not what was needed. Pomus had definite ideas about what was blues and what wasn't. And he was the boss.

    And everybody in the business has to get fired at least once. Rite of passage...
    Way it goes. I've been fired too (once) :-)

    when I wasn't doing the firing...

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Way it goes. I've been fired too (once) :-)

    when I wasn't doing the firing...
    Let's don't even talk about 'regular' jobs.

    Oi vay...

  32. #31

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    Oh, I've walked out of more 'proper' jobs than most people have had pancakes for breakfast

    Never without due cause, though.

  33. #32

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    Here's a 2 chorus blow on "Away all the Time. Tried to throw in some $10 chords

    Great tune, thanks again for turning me on to it.


  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Here's a 2 chorus blow on "Away all the Time. Tried to throw in some $10 chords

    Great tune, thanks again for turning me on to it.

    You have a real feel for this stuff, Jeff---especially the time feel. Please keep it up. Really enjoying you...

  35. #34

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    throw in some $10 chords
    See, I told you he wasn't cheap

  36. #35

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    I'm absolutely baffled...you're all wonderful players.

    Here's a video by Duved Dunayevsky in a blues-style I really love.
    I'd call it : "Pre-Django Eddie Lang"


  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Still very much the blues, in my book. A lot of these extensions, the flat 5, the #9...maybe they weren't in the accompanist's chords, but they sure could be in the melody.

    .
    So this comment made me wonder.... what's the difference in "jazzing up a blues tune", and a jazz player playing "a blues"? I've heard jazz players use that phrase a lot.... what makes it "a blues" to them? That's it's 12-bar? That's it's I-IV-V? What?

    FWIW, some of my all-time favorite jazz playing is very VERY bluesy... the OLD Louis Armstrong stuff (before the "Bing Years" lol). In my ear, you can't really separate the blues from the jazz on those tunes.... nor would I want to...

  38. #37

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    There's a big difference. Jazzing a blues is just putting in extended chords like 9ths and 13ths, etc, and playing extended lines that outline those chords. And it generally sounds like a blues should but with more subtle sounds. But the progressions don't have to be 12 bars, they could be 8 or 16, and so forth.

    Jazz players playing blues is like this. Sandu is just a straightforward jazz-blues 12-bar progression, nothing fancy, but the playing style isn't at all straightforward!


  39. #38

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    crusoe -

    Were you going to do something with 'Four Until Late'?

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    So this comment made me wonder.... what's the difference in "jazzing up a blues tune", and a jazz player playing "a blues"? I've heard jazz players use that phrase a lot.... what makes it "a blues" to them? That's it's 12-bar? That's it's I-IV-V? What?

    FWIW, some of my all-time favorite jazz playing is very VERY bluesy... the OLD Louis Armstrong stuff (before the "Bing Years" lol). In my ear, you can't really separate the blues from the jazz on those tunes.... nor would I want to...
    Jazz players still use the 12-bar blues form, but they make it more complex by adding passing chords, or prefacing some of the chords with a ii-V, etc. Something like this for example:

    Jazzin' up old Blues Tunes-0835dcb1-a63e-42cb-b062-b8fa5d20cff7-jpg

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    So this comment made me wonder.... what's the difference in "jazzing up a blues tune", and a jazz player playing "a blues"? I've heard jazz players use that phrase a lot.... what makes it "a blues" to them? That's it's 12-bar? That's it's I-IV-V? What?

    FWIW, some of my all-time favorite jazz playing is very VERY bluesy... the OLD Louis Armstrong stuff (before the "Bing Years" lol). In my ear, you can't really separate the blues from the jazz on those tunes.... nor would I want to...
    sure, Lonnie Johnson (on some the Louis sides), Bessie Smith, Bechet with Josh White, old WC Handy songs. That kind of thing. Never get old....

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    There's a big difference. Jazzing a blues is just putting in extended chords like 9ths and 13ths, etc, and playing extended lines that outline those chords. And it generally sounds like a blues should but with more subtle sounds. But the progressions don't have to be 12 bars, they could be 8 or 16, and so forth.

    Jazz players playing blues is like this. Sandu is just a straightforward jazz-blues 12-bar progression, nothing fancy, but the playing style isn't at all straightforward!

    I have to say the contrast between Peter and Gilad’s take on soloing on a blues is very marked. I find GH’s approach to be very clever.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by crusoe
    I'm absolutely baffled...you're all wonderful players.

    Here's a video by Duved Dunayevsky in a blues-style I really love.
    I'd call it : "Pre-Django Eddie Lang"

    interesting. I heard this playing as extremely faithful to Django’s mid 30s style.

    listening to it again - yes I can hear the eddie Lang influence. But as the clip goes on there’s some very Django stuff that no one else plays. Like that deft little picked glissando between melody notes. Django played that all the time c1935. No one else does it. They all do the monster J’attendrai/Montaigne st Genevieve lick, but not these more subtle little things.

    Duved’s playing kind of underlines that modern gypsy jazz style players don’t really sound like Django.

    TBH you can play anything on that type of guitar and people will say it sounds like Django. It doesn’t mean it does. People react to tone colour and the tone colour of the Selmer guitar is very reified, like the banjo.

    Which can be fun if you subvert it.

  44. #43

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    I've seen that Duved video before...I actually think it's one of the most "Django" sounding recordings I've ever heard by one of the "new guard" guys...I absolutely love it.

    I think I'll transcribe it.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    You have a real feel for this stuff, Jeff---especially the time feel. Please keep it up. Really enjoying you...
    Thanks Joel...I really like playing in this style. Bend a few strings, bash out some chords...it's very "guitar."

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I've seen that Duved video before...I actually think it's one of the most "Django" sounding recordings I've ever heard by one of the "new guard" guys...I absolutely love it.

    I think I'll transcribe it.
    why not just transcribe Django?

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    crusoe -

    Were you going to do something with 'Four Until Late'?
    ...just crying over it (from four until late...)
    Serious: No, it was just a "balloon". What shall we do next ?


  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    why not just transcribe Django?
    I have. I like this too. I transcribe things I like. Plus, this doesn't have as many "How in the living fuck did he do that?" moments, because I can watch and listen. Win-win

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I've seen that Duved video before...I actually think it's one of the most "Django" sounding recordings I've ever heard by one of the "new guard" guys...I absolutely love it.

    I think I'll transcribe it.
    YES YES YES...please start at once

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by crusoe
    What shall we do next ?
    Well, I'm game. Let's choose something with a really strong melody, something that'll stand up without lyrics (because presumably we're not going to sing it).

    Also, do you want to try some soloing? If you use that Audacity program you can put down the backing and play over it. Way to go.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by crusoe
    YES YES YES...please start at once
    I probably will start today, but don't expect anything written out nicely. That's like school. I spend my whole life in school, I don't need to be in it at home too

    When I say "transcribe," I really mean scribble down some stuff so I remember as I steal all the parts I like.