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  1. #1

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    So right now I'm going through the Mickey Baker jazz guitar book and in the second half he gives lessons on writing solos. My question is would this be a worthwhile thing to do to get better at improvising solos? For example, I write out a solo for the changes to a tune and learn it, and use the solo as reference for when im really improvising. Do other players make use of writing out solos to get better at improvising? I hope this question makes since.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    A teacher had me write out a bunch of lines over ii V I's years ago. He had me put chord tones on downbeats. I wrote them in a notebook.

    I still use some of the lines. So, yes, I think it can make sense.

  4. #3

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    I'm just starting composing solos over some of the tunes I'm learning. It's working for me!

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    I'm just starting composing solos over some of the tunes I'm learning. It's working for me!
    would you say its helping you with improvising on the songs?

  6. #5
    Was a key part of an old method I had. Mike Christiansen I think....

    Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk

  7. #6

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    Any time you use your notational skills it's a good thing.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81
    So right now I'm going through the Mickey Baker jazz guitar book and in the second half he gives lessons on writing solos. My question is would this be a worthwhile thing to do to get better at improvising solos? For example, I write out a solo for the changes to a tune and learn it, and use the solo as reference for when im really improvising. Do other players make use of writing out solos to get better at improvising? I hope this question makes since.
    This question attaches a whole class of questions for which the answers depend on how you grasp music and what conceptual strategies you employ to construct, organize, and execute what you play. You must first identify which most describes your experience of the fundamental musical objects:

    [position in staff (visual)
    [named notes (verbal)
    [pitch (aural)
    [something else


    A trumpet player I admire told me that when he plays and when improvising, he is literally imagining the image of the staff, with the notes already there for playing heads, and him placing the notes as his ideas when improvising. In essence a classical approach, like many trained musicians, he associates everything he plays with staff notation, so musical ideas eagerly take that same form conceptually.

    Some jazz guitarists likely use a similar visual strategy as above where their source is sheet music and show scores, but apparently a good portion of jazz guitarists use the verbal strategy within a harmonic theory context, deriving from charts, lead sheets, fake/real books the names of chord types, their functions, chord tones, melodic intervals, scale types, etc., and apply the verbal relationships comprising theory to inform their playing.

    And of course some of us play by ear, or some other way. So, as in transcribing, the "writing" out of a solo may mean scoring it to be viewed, just memorizing it to be recited silently to oneself, internalizing it so that you hear it in your mind's ear, or recalling it as a feeling or something... this all makes a difference in how you approach improvising, and how you would approach learning and practicing how to improvise.

  9. #8

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    You should NEVER write out a solo on a tune.


    Write out 3 solos.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    You should NEVER write out a solo on a tune.


    Write out 3 solos.
    Lol, would you say that some of the great wrote out their solos. I would be interested if some of heros like Coltrnane wrote out their ideas.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81
    Lol, would you say that some of the great wrote out their solos. I would be interested if some of heros like Coltrnane wrote out their ideas.
    Well, are we talking about learning how to improvise or the greats in the middle of their careers?

    Listen to alternate takes on blue note albums...listen to players different solos on the same tune from the same recording session...

    But if we're talking about learning how to improvise, yeah write a few. Keep them loose, ideas, not set in stone. If you write 3 choruses, record yourself playing one chorus and see if you can pull ideas from all 3. See if you can leave space and connect on the fly. That's how you learn to improvise... training wheels, touchstones.

    If you do it enough, you really can make up a whole solo in the moment...but you might still have a plan going in...even if it's not written out.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81
    Lol, would you say that some of the great wrote out their solos. I would be interested if some of heros like Coltrnane wrote out their ideas.
    ...that's why I included the strategy of "something else". Coltrane did write something he was reported to have routinely stared at continuously as he practiced for hours. Definitely in the class of "something else" for sure.

    Composing solos to get better at improvising-coltrane-circle-jpg

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    ...that's why I included the strategy of "something else". Coltrane did write something he was reported to have routinely stared at continuously as he practiced for hours. Definitely in the class of "something else" for sure.

    Composing solos to get better at improvising-coltrane-circle-jpg
    Lol im not that good yet.
    But I will start composing and writing out licks to the standards im playing. I was just wondering if the Mickey Baker idea of writing out the solos and learning them in different keys was a way that jazz guitarist could really use to learnt to improvise

  14. #13

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    Use this to help write solos.


  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Use this to help write solos.

    haha...thats brilliant!!..had to be written by someone who really played....good stuff

    happy holidays


    cheers

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Use this to help write solos.

    Lol only the true greats can achieve a perfect solo in this manner. And get some "yeah mans" from the band

  17. #16

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    composing does not necessarily means you sit down at the desk with a paper and pencil like Shostakovich - without even approaching an instrument --)))

    It can be just working out with an instrument...


    Actually in jazz I am so focused on (and so captured with) improvization and spontaneousness that I like to practice quite the opposite thing... practicing repeating something... not just a phrase... to repeat a phrase is a bit of a problem for me becasue it goe out of context but to repeat a chorus where everything is thought through could be a real pleasure sometimes

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81
    would you say its helping you with improvising on the songs?
    Too early to say yet. I'm really just learning songs at the moment - keeping it really simple. Vanilla changes, one key, no pressure. But I'm also trying to get a little more jazz articulation into my playing, so I've learned a few licks and arpeggios (a very few) and in an effort to drive these home I've built them into a few composed solos. Over time I think I'll get quicker at composing these solos, and one day I suspect that I'll write one on the fly at slow speed. After that, it'll just be a question of doing the same thing faster :-)

    I put up one example on my "Del's Tiny Step" thread, sitting just below this one in the beginner's section.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81
    Lol, would you say that some of the great wrote out their solos. I would be interested if some of heros like Coltrnane wrote out their ideas.
    I know this question was addressed to Mr Beaumont but what's interesting for me is that, since adopting my new strategy (i.e. learning tunes and keeping it all simple) I've noticed several mentions in the forum of folks composing solos. It seems to be a bit like noticing a particular make of car once you become interested in them, when you've never noticed them before.

    First there was a Steve Swallow video when he was talking about Miles Davis (and to some extent Louis Armstrong) "composing" solos over a period of time - okay, not on paper the way I'm doing it, but certainly using the same ideas over a period of time to slowly compose the perfect solo for a particular vision of a particular song. Then there was a Wes Montgomery thread where it was mentioned in the early days that he only knew Charlie Christian solos and so had to write out solos for other sets of changes so as not to sound bad. Then there was the entire musical memory thread. There have been a few others, too. And that's only from the threads I read.

    Okay, it's not much, but it's enough to suggest there's some merit in this, and it's a way forward.

    Regards
    Derek

  19. #18

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    Writing out solos as part of improv training?

    Yes, it's a step,
    It can help you organize your ideas,
    And once you get the hang of it, begin "working out" your solos without writing them down. (which is still more composition than improvisation, of course)
    Then keep going...

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    composing does not necessarily means you sit down at the desk with a paper and pencil like Shostakovich - without even approaching an instrument --)))

    It can be just working out with an instrument...

    Actually in jazz I am so focused on (and so captured with) improvization and spontaneousness that I like to practice quite the opposite thing... practicing repeating something... not just a phrase... to repeat a phrase is a bit of a problem for me becasue it goe out of context but to repeat a chorus where everything is thought through could be a real pleasure sometimes
    Lol, i dable in composing more classical style music. It might be a cool idea to write a jazz tune over some standard chords along with a solo ?

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    Too early to say yet. I'm really just learning songs at the moment - keeping it really simple. Vanilla changes, one key, no pressure. But I'm also trying to get a little more jazz articulation into my playing, so I've learned a few licks and arpeggios (a very few) and in an effort to drive these home I've built them into a few composed solos. Over time I think I'll get quicker at composing these solos, and one day I suspect that I'll write one on the fly at slow speed. After that, it'll just be a question of doing the same thing faster :-)

    I put up one example on my "Del's Tiny Step" thread, sitting just below this one in the beginner's section.



    I know this question was addressed to Mr Beaumont but what's interesting for me is that, since adopting my new strategy (i.e. learning tunes and keeping it all simple) I've noticed several mentions in the forum of folks composing solos. It seems to be a bit like noticing a particular make of car once you become interested in them, when you've never noticed them before.

    First there was a Steve Swallow video when he was talking about Miles Davis (and to some extent Louis Armstrong) "composing" solos over a period of time - okay, not on paper the way I'm doing it, but certainly using the same ideas over a period of time to slowly compose the perfect solo for a particular vision of a particular song. Then there was a Wes Montgomery thread where it was mentioned in the early days that he only knew Charlie Christian solos and so had to write out solos for other sets of changes so as not to sound bad. Then there was the entire musical memory thread. There have been a few others, too. And that's only from the threads I read.

    Okay, it's not much, but it's enough to suggest there's some merit in this, and it's a way forward.

    Regards
    Derek
    Thats a cool insight, especially with Miles, who seemed to be more thought out with his solos. Im thinking that having composed ideas will help with soloing, but blows my mind when i hear great players. Thats makes me think that the great have to had to written out their solos or thought them out beforehand

  22. #21

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    Soloing is composition in real time. Pre composition can be the first step. Then a little less, then a little less etc. Over a period of years.

  23. #22

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    Baker was my first "jazz" book.. and Downbeat Magazine..

    I did book one as baker suggested..one lesson a week (in ALL keys) and I did write out the lessons he suggested to do so..again in ALL keys..then repeat the entire book !

    now what this did for me..increased my fretboard knowledge ALOT..and my sense of key..developed my ear also..
    and increased my reading & writing ability to where in later years I was able to do some studio work.

    now with the study of improvisation and solo work..this just takes time-years- and lots of playing..all styles of music and with other musicians
    that are better than you..it pushes you to keep up and improve your playing..

    but yes learning to write out your own ideas and solos (I do this alot) can be a valuable reference..it becomes like a guide to your musical growth..
    what to me were simple four bar lines grew into completed tunes -head-solo-solo-head- type and from there into experimental harmony and melodic lines ..

    the Coltrane graph ..I use some similar guides..in my augmented and diminished scales/chord study..

    so yeah..writing music can only be helpful..do it

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    Baker was my first "jazz" book.. and Downbeat Magazine..

    I did book one as baker suggested..one lesson a week (in ALL keys) and I did write out the lessons he suggested to do so..again in ALL keys..then repeat the entire book !

    now what this did for me..increased my fretboard knowledge ALOT..and my sense of key..developed my ear also..
    and increased my reading & writing ability to where in later years I was able to do some studio work.

    now with the study of improvisation and solo work..this just takes time-years- and lots of playing..all styles of music and with other musicians
    that are better than you..it pushes you to keep up and improve your playing..

    but yes learning to write out your own ideas and solos (I do this alot) can be a valuable reference..it becomes like a guide to your musical growth..
    what to me were simple four bar lines grew into completed tunes -head-solo-solo-head- type and from there into experimental harmony and melodic lines ..

    the Coltrane graph ..I use some similar guides..in my augmented and diminished scales/chord study..

    so yeah..writing music can only be helpful..do it
    Thats something im doing with the Mickey Baker. When i first went through the chord parts i wasnt considering what he was teaching theoretically, especially since he dont teach the theory side of things. Now going through soloing part i understand the chord sub ideas he was teaching in the first half

    Ive also writtem some lines on All the Things you are and Satin Doll, so far so good? It has help me with improvising on the changes by keeping the lines in my finger and improvising with those patterns, if that makes since.

    Im thinking dabbling in composing a tune as well based on some changes so far the writing things down has helped!

  25. #24

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    Which Ted Greene did you study, i know he has the chord chemistry and single note soloing.


    The Ted Greene himself....

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    Which Ted Greene did you study, i know he has the chord chemistry and single note soloing.


    The Ted Greene himself....
    Lol oh wow!!! Thats amazing especially for two years, i know you learned alot from him

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    yes it does..little did I know..it was preparing me for a two year study with Ted Greene...
    Did Ted Greene have write anything down soloing wise?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81
    Did Ted Greene have write anything down soloing wise?
    His appoach with me was fairly "open" I would ask him stuff and he would show me what it is and how to apply it in several ways..

    he would augment the lessons with printed info sheets of chord charts/graphs or written info on the topic he was teaching me..

    Though many may think he was only good with chords..some time he would use a pick and do some amazing solo work..

    His web site has ALOT of info on solo work.(an example: he wrote out by hand over 200 melodic patterns --just in the key of D..)
    as well as theory..harmony..and many insights on the nature of guitar and music in general..he knew alot about music history and the classical
    music giants (Bach was his fave) as well as many jazz composers and players..and yes he knew the rock guys too..

    I still refer to many of his "lessons" ..as they contain vast amounts of info and must be digested slowly..

    remember..music is a life long journey/study..and you never stop learning..

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    His appoach with me was fairly "open" I would ask him stuff and he would show me what it is and how to apply it in several ways..

    he would augment the lessons with printed info sheets of chord charts/graphs or written info on the topic he was teaching me..

    Though many may think he was only good with chords..some time he would use a pick and do some amazing solo work..

    His web site has ALOT of info on solo work.(an example: he wrote out by hand over 200 melodic patterns --just in the key of D..)
    as well as theory..harmony..and many insights on the nature of guitar and music in general..he knew alot about music history and the classical
    music giants (Bach was his fave) as well as many jazz composers and players..and yes he knew the rock guys too..

    I still refer to many of his "lessons" ..as they contain vast amounts of info and must be digested slowly..

    remember..music is a life long journey/study..and you never stop learning..
    Im looking at his website now and its crazy how much he has uploaded. I don't even know where I would start with it. Im going to try digging out some of stuff dealing with ii-V-Is. Im shocked that I haven't seen this site before, it seems like it will be an excellent resource for my studies. Thanks!