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  1. #1

    Horns for theory and composition

    The best local jazz guitarsists in my town all play one or more horns and completely swear by it for helping guitar in jazz.

    The next most common suggestion is to read music which is a no brainer.

    So what horns do you play or plan to play if it's in your wheelhouse? Suggestions? Is a C trumpet good so I don't have to transpose?

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  3. #2
    If I had time to learn another instrument I think it would be piano, it would really help with harmony, chords, arranging etc. In fact we already have a decent piano (my wife plays) so I have access to one!

    I did try and play sax for a few years but couldn't get on with it, so went back to the guitar. In any case I could never have practised the sax once I had young kids, it would have been impossible.
    Last edited by grahambop; 04-08-2017 at 01:50 PM.

  4. #3
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    If you have the time to spend on really learning a completely different instrument in addition to the jazz guitar, you probably don't have a life.

  5. #4
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    Bb trumpet (I've started developing my chops since I took up swimming 3 times a week since last summer), and I know my way around piano well enough to play chord progressions in time. I hope to play trumpet in public this summer.

  6. #5
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    Keyboards are a great second instrument.

  7. #6
    Well the good thing about a horn is that you have to take a breath every once in a while, which forces you into better phrasing. With guitar and piano, you can run eighth notes until the cows come home and bore everyone to death...

  8. #7
    Nothing worse than a boring fast guitar player.

  9. #8
    There is no practical reason to play yet another instrument , especially if you're already trying something as ambitious as jazz. But somethings in life aren't about practicality. The real reason most of us take up extra instruments at the expense practice time on our main one is that we are compelled to do so.

    Sometimes I question myself for the impracticality of playing other obscure styles, or other instruments - like piano or ukulele. I mean, I've got so much to get together on the guitar.... but then I see what Rob McKillop is doing and other eccentrics like myself, who are compelled to do these things, for no reason then our own personal satisfaction and curiosity.

    There may be a quantifiable justification for learning a little horn to make you a better guitar player, and then again, the justification may not be required.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 04-09-2017 at 07:42 PM.

  10. #9
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    So what horns do you play or plan to play if it's in your wheelhouse? Suggestions?


    I played trombone and trumpet in the army band. I did not play like real horn players but still did my job as 2nd trombone more or less ok.
    I kept playing trumpet after the army for a while... but later I did not have time for all.
    Because it's duty service in my country and bands take all teh musicians but they have to learn some horn or basic drums to be useful in band.

    I did not choose the instrument. They just gave me a trombone. In teh army they have methods to teach you very quickly... you know..

    I think alto sax is much easier for a novice horn player than trombone or trumpet.

    Does it help in general? Sure it does.. breathing, hearing, phrasing - everything is different - closer to vocal stuff...
    Besides on brass you must hear what you play otherwise you will not make a sound... if your fingereings are wrong you won't make a different note as with guitar or piano... you will make a moaning..
    because

    you lips will instinctively try to play the note you hear...

    Is a C trumpet good so I don't have to transpose?
    C trumpet sounds a bit different....

    I see no problem in playing Bb trumpet... I could read both from Bb and C charts... it's not so difficult to get used to it.

  11. #10
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    There is no practical reason to play yet another instrument , especially if you're already trying something as ambitious as jazz. But somethings in life aren't about practicality. The real reason most of us take up extra instruments at the expense practice time on our main one is that we are compelled to do so.

    Sometimes I question myself for the impracticality of playing other obscure styles, or other instruments - like piano or ukulele. I mean, I've got so much to get together on the guitar.... but then I see what Rob McKillop is doing and other eccentrics like myself, who are compelled to do these things, for no reason then our own personal satisfaction and curiosity.

    There may be a quantifiable justification for learning a little horn to make you a better guitar player, and then again, the justification may not be required.
    That's always a problem for me... I get anxious to try another instrument or another style ... and I dive into it very passionately..

    Though I admire people do only their own way... on the other hand I see that everythiong I did helped my jazz guitar.

    With multiinstrumentalists and multi-stylists... I cant remember one with whom I did not have this strange feeling... it's like a retrospective over different cultures and instruments... it gives you a general impression
    but it is not as deep as it would be if a player were dedicated to one instrument only...
    At least I cant remember one.

  12. #11
    [QUOTE=matt.guitarteacher;760567]There is no practical reason to play yet another instrument , especially if you're already trying something as ambitious as jazz. >>>

    Several guitarists who have great time attribute it to playing drums before starting guitar. Mimi Fox is one. Hand percussion is also helpful, particularly if you're playing styles that include it.

    Knowing how to construct a good bass line is useful. I know guitarists who are also excellent bassists.

    I have a piano which I use occasionally to hear chords that are not playable on guitar. Pianists may think very differently. For example, I recently heard a pianist talk (and demonstrate) a number of combinations of a tritone in the left hand and a triad in the right. That's so hard to do on guitar that I've never heard anybody talk about it. But, to the extent you can do it (with tricky fingerings or via instructions to the bassist), you can play some interesting harmony.

    That said, my second instrument is chromatic harmonica. There's nothing to see and nothing to feel. The layout is, frankly, bizarre (and every alternative is worse). So, it's you and your ear. And, that's the advantage.

  13. #12
    [QUOTE=rpjazzguitar;761597]
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    There is no practical reason to play yet another instrument , especially if you're already trying something as ambitious as jazz. >>>

    Several guitarists who have great time attribute it to playing drums before starting guitar. Mimi Fox is one. Hand percussion is also helpful, particularly if you're playing styles that include it.

    Knowing how to construct a good bass line is useful. I know guitarists who are also excellent bassists.

    I have a piano which I use occasionally to hear chords that are not playable on guitar. Pianists may think very differently. For example, I recently heard a pianist talk (and demonstrate) a number of combinations of a tritone in the left hand and a triad in the right. That's so hard to do on guitar that I've never heard anybody talk about it. But, to the extent you can do it (with tricky fingerings or via instructions to the bassist), you can play some interesting harmony.

    That said, my second instrument is chromatic harmonica. There's nothing to see and nothing to feel. The layout is, frankly, bizarre (and every alternative is worse). So, it's you and your ear. And, that's the advantage.
    I was going for irony, brother... mentioned that I play multiple myself...

  14. #13
    I used to play trumpet in my dreams. Turned out to be a psychological problem. I was 'tooting my own horn'.

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