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  1. #1
    Hi there guys!

    I have a quick question and I hope that you can let me know how you think about it.
    My downfall has always been sightreading, but I've been working hard on it.

    Recently, my single note lines have gotten way better, but I find that when reading charts like this The Lady is a Tramp,

    I find myself stumbling because firstly I'm not used to switching from single note to rhythmically notated chord comping, and the eye movement of reading the chord symbol and the rhythm itself is still not intuitive. I just need more practice on charts like these but they are extremely hard to come by, even my experienced local jazz teacher could only find a few examples. I know my voicings around the neck quite well so that isn't so much of an issue.

    Do you know of a good resource for charts like the one I've linked to above(single notes, slash and chord rhythms notated)? Perhaps in a book somewhere?

    I've missed a work audition because of these, please help

    Would really appreciate any help I can get. Thank you so much!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Just to get some similar charts, you can google big band guitar sheet music. Under "images" a bunch of the pop up.

    I understand the problem. The horns read a line. Their eyes move along the staff, moving to the right horizontally and not moving vertically until they have to go to the next line on the page.

    The guitarist, in contrast, has to read the rhythms on the staff and the chord symbols above it. So, your eyes have to jump up and down as they move to the right. And, instead of reading one thing, you're reading two, when you're playing chords according to a written rhythm.

    It can be challenging and the main solace is that the pianist has all that, plus the left hand.

    I think it would be great to get charts and a recording you can play along with.

    One of the humbling things about playing single note lines with a big band is that, often, you are voiced as a member of the horn section -- and all of those guys have been reading daily since 4th grade. So, even if you can sort of read, "sort of" won't be close enough to melt in as a full fledged member of the horn section. You have to attack and release the notes exactly right and follow the articulation marks. And, when reading chord hits it's the same thing, except now you have to be as accurate as the drummer -- and this is all he ever thinks about.

    To practice it correctly, I think you have to have the recording for your chart and play along.

    I don't know where to get material like that, but, hopefully, someone will chime in.

    My approach is that I take pictures of the chart with my phone (google drive has an option which will put multiple pages in a single pdf) and record the rehearsal with a little handheld recorder. Then, I've got what I need to practice, at least after I screw it up the first time.

    Also, the recorder produces an mp3 which can be played back with slowdowner software. Your chart of Lady is a Tramp looks easy enough, until it gets counted at that 180 tempo.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 05-22-2018 at 04:58 AM.

  4. #3
    Yes you’re exactly right! I actually came across your forum thread while searching for answers. As for googling big band guitar jazz charts, I haven’t actually found any that are in the format I’ve listed above? They’re mostly melody lead sheets or full slash chord charts,which isn’t what I’m looking for. I’d really appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction!

  5. #4

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    There are some good rhythm section charts in Chuck Sher's predessesor to the New Real Book series:

    The World's Greatest Fake Book | Sher Music Co.

    and also in:

    The Latin Real Book | Sher Music Co.

    Given the availability of music these days, you can easily find the companion source recordings to play along with.

    The New Real Books also have some rhythm section charts to a lesser extent.

  6. #5

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    Regarding charts, a question to experienced players- when you see all those altered dom chords with b9, #11 etc. is ignoring those color notes and playing basic 7th a cheating? Or you are expected to play just the basic chord tones anyway?

    i have a limited experience with big bands, only one semester in college, but listening to Freddie Green and guys like that it's what I thought...

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Regarding charts, a question to experienced players- when you see all those altered dom chords with b9, #11 etc. is ignoring those color notes and playing basic 7th a cheating? Or you are expected to play just the basic chord tones anyway?

    i have a limited experience with big bands, only one semester in college, but listening to Freddie Green and guys like that it's what I thought...
    Yeah, ignore the color tones on Basie-type swing charts, especially if there's a pianist.
    I only use the Freddie Green comping on Basie-type charts, and reduce the charts on sight to the basic types of chords, Dominant, Major, Minor (tonic), Minor 7th, Diminished and Augmented, using three note voicings and inversions on the low E, D and G strings.
    Some guys just play quarter notes on the D string (like Freddie Green did sometimes), so it won't conflict with the pianist.

    On the more modern charts, don't use the Freddie Green style, and play all the color tones.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Regarding charts, a question to experienced players- when you see all those altered dom chords with b9, #11 etc. is ignoring those color notes and playing basic 7th a cheating? Or you are expected to play just the basic chord tones anyway?

    i have a limited experience with big bands, only one semester in college, but listening to Freddie Green and guys like that it's what I thought...
    Usually, the horns have the extensions. So, if you play, say, just two notes, a third and a seventh, it will usually sound okay. That said, you may like the sound if you play the exact extensions in the chord symbol. You have to be careful with roots. The bassist may play the root, but, often, the bassist is moving around, often into the lower range of the guitar. So, if he happens to play a second when you play a root in the same octave, it may not sound good. Similarly, you have to be careful with 9ths. If the chord symbol doesn't specify which 9 (flat, nat or #) you have to listen to what is going on in the horns and the piano - or just don't play any of them.

    The pianist isn't likely to play only two notes. And, he isn't likely to play the same rhythmic figure in every bar. So, you have to make sure you're not making mud in multiple ways. Thirds and sevenths only can help with that.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by worldmusicfan View Post
    Hi there guys!

    I have a quick question and I hope that you can let me know how you think about it.
    My downfall has always been sightreading, but I've been working hard on it.

    Recently, my single note lines have gotten way better, but I find that when reading charts like this The Lady is a Tramp,

    I find myself stumbling because firstly I'm not used to switching from single note to rhythmically notated chord comping, and the eye movement of reading the chord symbol and the rhythm itself is still not intuitive. I just need more practice on charts like these but they are extremely hard to come by, even my experienced local jazz teacher could only find a few examples. I know my voicings around the neck quite well so that isn't so much of an issue.

    Do you know of a good resource for charts like the one I've linked to above(single notes, slash and chord rhythms notated)? Perhaps in a book somewhere?

    I've missed a work audition because of these, please help

    Would really appreciate any help I can get. Thank you so much!
    All of RP's suggestions are great, but the main thing is to put all that to work by joining a rehearsal band.
    It's not like reading a classical guitar piece, because you've got to hook up with the rhythm section, not just play the notes. I play in one rehearsal band that has thousands of charts, so I'm exposed to so much of this type of writing that I can sightread charts like 'Tramp' without thinking about it. You should try to sight-sing the rhythms before you play it. Most of the hits are on the 'ands'.
    I've read people on this forum say that they'd never join a rehearsal band, because they're not getting paid to play. That might be true, but it's the only way you can get experience fitting in with a rhythm section in a big band. You also wind up getting more gigs, because you meet musicians other than guitarists.
    On top of that, you learn tons of new ideas from playing the music of great composer/arrangers, and then hearing how other musicians improvise on the same tunes you're improvising on.

    Rehearsal bands are a jazz tradition.

  10. #9

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    The comments in this thread are great and I've found that with sightreading, you have to really be specific about what you're shedding, i.e. being really good at sightreading the bach cello suites will not be helping you out on a big band gig really ever.

    One source I use a lot for "modern" chart sightreading practice is the Pat Metheny songbook. Pat and Lyle use plenty of slash chords, rhythmic hits, beautiful melodic things, arpeggiated vamps, and odd times and meter/tempo changes. If you can sight read all the stuff in that fake book and play it along with the recordings, you'll be able to play any "modern" big band guitar chart.

    for the older, Freddie Green style, keep in mind that a lot of times Freddie played single note chords. I think this is fairly common knowledge but wanted to mention in case you aren't hip to the technique, which is really great, especially on fast swing tunes where 3 note chords don't sound very good, especially through an amp.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    All of RP's suggestions are great, but the main thing is to put all that to work by joining a rehearsal band.
    It's not like reading a classical guitar piece, because you've got to hook up with the rhythm section, not just play the notes. I play in one rehearsal band that has thousands of charts, so I'm exposed to so much of this type of writing that I can sightread charts like 'Tramp' without thinking about it. You should try to sight-sing the rhythms before you play it. Most of the hits are on the 'ands'.
    I've read people on this forum say that they'd never join a rehearsal band, because they're not getting paid to play. That might be true, but it's the only way you can get experience fitting in with a rhythm section in a big band. You also wind up getting more gigs, because you meet musicians other than guitarists.
    On top of that, you learn tons of new ideas from playing the music of great composer/arrangers, and then hearing how other musicians improvise on the same tunes you're improvising on.


    Rehearsal bands are a jazz tradition.

    This is terrific advice! I wish I'd suggested it!

    I play in several bands. One started as a rehearsal band but ended up gigging regularly. Another is a mixture of rehearsals and gigs. One is just rehearsals, but there's some talk about gigging. One, which I run, is just rehearsals. The music is hard and we have mostly pros coming over to work on it.

    There are some top local pros playing in these bands. Apparently, to keep their chops up, but also maybe because it's more fun than sitting at home.

    They're fun and good for every aspect of musicianship.

    I thought I could read until I had to blend in with horns. It's one thing to do it by yourself or with a recording. Doing it live as part of a section is the real test.

  12. #11

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    Getting individual guitar parts of jazz orchestra arrangements takes some initiative, because they are not available to buy separately, and once lost, you are screwed. Best to contact a high school/college/community big band director or guitarist and beg for some copies of charts.

    I am sworn to never let mine out of my possession by the groups I'm in. I feel for you.

  13. #12

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    I play in an octet which started out as follows. A saxophonist bought the charts from Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, which were arranged for an octet.

    He found a place to play and made some calls. It wasn't difficult to get it going. It took some work to keep it going - mostly in getting subs on short notice when somebody had to cancel.

    Eventually, we had 4 chairs of regulars and 4 which platooned two players each. That's worked pretty well.

    After we did the Oliver Nelson album, the leader got charts from other sources and wrote some of his own arrangements. Several other players contributed material as well. Somebody had access to a school music program's files which included some usable charts. The saxophonist rewrote some to make them fit our instrumentation.

    One of the bands I sub in got its charts from a college music program that decided to eliminate big band music and were about to throw away boxes and boxes of charts. A former student found out and got them all.

    Another band was started by a well known arranger and plays his charts.

    I was somewhat surprised when I realized just how many big bands there are in the area. These are bands that rehearse a lot more than they gig -- and include a lot of pro players. Eventually, I started seeing the same players in different bands and realized that it was a community of people doing this stuff.

    It can be a very cool thing.

    Interestingly, although there are a great many skilled guitarists around here, there are precious few with the ability to read this stuff.

    I think that a very good way to get involved would be to contact a bandleader and offer to sub. if your reading isn't good enough, try to improve the odds by asking to get the charts (and recordings if possible) in advance and prepare. If you can at least make recordings and take pictures of the charts for practice, you'll probably get better really quickly.

  14. #13

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    Apparently you don’t need to play the hits cos that’s what the horn section is doing.

    Just mime that bit.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Apparently you don’t need to play the hits cos that’s what the horn section is doing.

    Just mime that bit.
    Right. I may have posted a while back about a friend on a big band gig. Got the charts that morning and spent the afternoon crossing stuff out.

    The charts had a lot of hits notated on the guitar chart as multiple notes on stems without chord symbols.

    This guy is an experienced player.

    Typically what happens is you look at the first chord and decipher it. You figure out where it can be played, and then you look at the next one, and decipher it, and figure out where the two chords can be played with minimal trouble ... and so on for the third one ... and then you realize that the tempo is 170 and that the band will be playing the next song by the time you've figured this stuff out.

    If you have enough time to prepare it's usually better to play all the hits than lay out. But laying out is always preferable to playing stuff wrong.

  16. #15

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    The US Army Field Band has royalty free big band charts. I think they composed mostly by band members or directors, so they are not standards but could be good practice material.
    Perspectives

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Regarding charts, a question to experienced players- when you see all those altered dom chords with b9, #11 etc. is ignoring those color notes and playing basic 7th a cheating? Or you are expected to play just the basic chord tones anyway?

    i have a limited experience with big bands, only one semester in college, but listening to Freddie Green and guys like that it's what I thought...
    I think of the chord names as just telling me what the horns are playing so I’ll complement and not clash with them. I’ll mostly focus on 3rds & 7ths, but sometimes it’s fun to grab the extensions instead and be part of the horn section for a couple of measures. I only try that after I’ve played the arrangement enough times that I know what the horns are about to play.
    Last edited by KirkP; 05-23-2018 at 11:03 PM.

  18. #17

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    Leavitt's Berklee Modern Method for Guitar covers all of this, plus lots of sight-reading studies and duets.

  19. #18

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    Allow me to suggest this ... not because I'm a pro, but it sounds like you and I are at the same level of sight reading.

    1. Slow down. When practicing, slow down your playing as much as you need to be able to play the chart without mistakes, and if that means you reduce the meter to 30 or even 20 beats/min. then do it, then gradually increase your meter to the song's tempo. Otherwise what you (and I) end up doing is practicing the same mistakes over and over and getting frustrated with (our) playing.

    2. Develop the habit of reading (or at least glancing) ahead a measure or two. I read in an interview of Tex Beneke (Saxophonist, Glenn Miller Orchestra) that he did that because of the intricate arrangements that often contained 32nd notes and even 64th notes and that at least gave him an idea where his part was going.

    Those two things work for me. Give 'em a shot.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Right. I may have posted a while back about a friend on a big band gig. Got the charts that morning and spent the afternoon crossing stuff out.

    The charts had a lot of hits notated on the guitar chart as multiple notes on stems without chord symbols.

    This guy is an experienced player.

    Typically what happens is you look at the first chord and decipher it. You figure out where it can be played, and then you look at the next one, and decipher it, and figure out where the two chords can be played with minimal trouble ... and so on for the third one ... and then you realize that the tempo is 170 and that the band will be playing the next song by the time you've figured this stuff out.

    If you have enough time to prepare it's usually better to play all the hits than lay out. But laying out is always preferable to playing stuff wrong.
    Don’t forget your pencil.

    You can cross things out and you can add little dashes where the beats are.

    Unless it’s a shared pad of course lol.

  21. #20

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    Here's another situation for just thirds and sevenths:

    Back in the day, copyists used big paper, handwrote the charts and made the chord symbols big enough to read. They also were careful about leaving some space for a page turn, adding info about what's going on in the rest of the band, and avoiding repeats -- and definitely avoiding things like a repeat or DS on page 5 going back to a tiny segno a couple of pages earlier.

    But, nowadays, we see arrangements on 8.5x11 paper, printed with Sibelius or Finale, with the extensions on the chord symbols in a microscopic font. I'm beginning to take that as the arranger wanted thirds and sevenths.

  22. #21

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    Well it’s never wrong to ignore the extensions for more traditional big band music

    Tbh it varies from pad to pad. Some arrangers try to abstract as much of the horn line into the guitar pad as possible using complicated chord extensions.

    I wonder why they do this. Nobody wants to hear the guitar play this stuff in straight up big band music - and in fact when the horns are going at it, no one can hear it anyway.

    It can be quite fun to nail some details in the pad, but I get the feeling some arrangers are more interested in being theoretically ‘correct’ than coming up with a part the guitarist might actually play.

    OTOH for some of the more modern charts, the comping style might be very different....

  23. #22

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    One of the players in my octet arranged a tune using a lot of extensions on the 7th chords and then printed it in a font so small I didn't even bother to try to read it.

    So, I usually played the tune with roots, 3rds and 7ths. And, TBH, the occasional incorrect guess at what the fine print actually said.

    Eventually, I sat down with the chart and wrote in the extensions large enough to read.

    The next time we played the tune, I was actually able to play the correct voicings. The horns were already doing it, but I thought the texture added by the correct guitar chord really sounded good.

    So now, I actually try to play the extensions as written until otherwise indicated. I think it usually sounds better than shell voicings, but, either way works.

  24. #23

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    Re: extensions on guitar

    I wonder why they do this. Nobody wants to hear the guitar play this stuff in straight up big band music - and in fact when the horns are going at it, no one can hear it anyway.
    Can't be sure what is meant by "straight up big band music" but:

    Trombone section doubling the trumpet section at the octave was/is a common sound.
    Why would they do this? It is of course true that shell voicings can cover (no notes missing)
    but different instruments playing the same notes creates a different sonority.

    Think classical orchestra for a second; there are far fewer notes sounding at any given moment
    than there are musicians playing. It's all about the unique qualities available utilizing the
    instrument combinations available.

    Guitar playing rich harmonies with the horns offers a different color.


  25. #24

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    Yeah I’m not talking about Maria Schneider here. It’s standard 1950s Basie stuff...

    So that’s a very specific role for the guitar. Extensions are superfluous to the Freddie green thing. In general the arrangers don’t know the ins and outs of the style so you can take it with a pinch of salt anything they write in the chords.

    OTOH if someone has a particular voicing written for electric guitar - well it varies...
    But if they really want a specific sound sometimes they’ll actually write it in notation.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post

    On the more modern charts, don't use the Freddie Green style, and play all the color tones.
    I'm curious, what's the modern charts, or modern big band sounds like? If you don't use FG style, how do you play? Is the guitar and gear and setups different?

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I'm curious, what's the modern charts, or modern big band sounds like? If you don't use FG style, how do you play? Is the guitar and gear and setups different?
    Well go and listen to Maria Schneider, or Vince Mendoza. Or Kenny Wheeler's big band stuff etc...

    Or this noisy old thing



    Gear wise, probably electric guitar. I think 335 is common choice. Normally I play a telecaster just case anyone (me) calls the Maynard version of the Rocky theme. ROCK!

  28. #27

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    Startting with bigband guitar is tough. First keep in mind that you are playing rythm in the first place. Hitting the strings at the right moment is more important than playing the right chord.
    When starting you have to read the music. That means knowing where the rest of the band is. Next you have to know what the chord looks like on your fretboard. That alone is tough enough. And then you have to play the chords at the right time.
    What helped me a lot is learning to okay shell chords, ie 3 note chord, mostly played on strings 3,4 and 6. At a certain point you will start getting some confidence. Playing along backing tracks (Band in a box) or You tube tracks helps a lot. Start with two songs that your band plays.
    Practice, practice, practise and keep having fun ! You will get there if you want it!

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I'm curious, what's the modern charts, or modern big band sounds like? If you don't use FG style, how do you play? Is the guitar and gear and setups different?
    My fave modern big bands are bands like Rob McConnell's Boss Brass (featuring Ed Bickert on guitar), Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (featuring Grant Geissman on guitar), the Bob Mintzer Big band, and various other ensembles that play arr. by writers like Pat Williams, Frank Mantooth, Clare Fischer, Phil Woods, Mike Tomaro, Les Hooper, and others.

    The guitar parts use the guitar as another horn, playing lines with the trombones, trumpets, piano, bass, and most difficultly, the saxophones. For the chords, there are a lot of hits with the piano, and the horns.

    On the solos, you have to be able to comp with the pianist, in a bop style, following his hits. Sometimes this requires ESP...
    You can use an electric hollow body, even for the rock/funk charts, because EVH and AH solos don't really fit in in that style.
    I just got in a great band that plays only modern big band stuff, and the rehearsals are like concerts; no one screws up (except me!).
    I play in another one that also plays mostly modern stuff, and there are train wrecks galore. The players are okay, but not super-human mutants like the other band.

    I also gig in another big band that plays no modern things- just dance things and vocal features. I do the FG thing, and then crank up for solos.

  30. #29

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    I sub occasionally in big band that plays all older charts, meaning 50s and 60s, on the original paper.

    The guitar plays almost entirely chords. It isn't all Freddie Green. It seems to me that FG works perfectly with certain swing grooves, but not perfectly for others.

    I play in a band that plays a mix of older and newer charts, with the oldest being from the 60's. The guitar is sometimes voiced with the horns, but doesn't usually have its own part.

    But, with the more recent charts, the guitar sometimes plays single note lines that nobody else is playing.

    As if it took decades for arrangers to recognize guitar as equal in potential power to the horns.

    This probably tracked the development of the electric guitar, with increasing volume, sustain and tonal richness.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I play in an octet which started out as follows. A saxophonist bought the charts from Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, which were arranged for an octet.

    He found a place to play and made some calls. It wasn't difficult to get it going. It took some work to keep it going - mostly in getting subs on short notice when somebody had to cancel.

    Eventually, we had 4 chairs of regulars and 4 which platooned two players each. That's worked pretty well.

    After we did the Oliver Nelson album, the leader got charts from other sources and wrote some of his own arrangements. Several other players contributed material as well. Somebody had access to a school music program's files which included some usable charts. The saxophonist rewrote some to make them fit our instrumentation.

    One of the bands I sub in got its charts from a college music program that decided to eliminate big band music and were about to throw away boxes and boxes of charts. A former student found out and got them all.

    Another band was started by a well known arranger and plays his charts.

    I was somewhat surprised when I realized just how many big bands there are in the area. These are bands that rehearse a lot more than they gig -- and include a lot of pro players. Eventually, I started seeing the same players in different bands and realized that it was a community of people doing this stuff.

    It can be a very cool thing.

    Interestingly, although there are a great many skilled guitarists around here, there are precious few with the ability to read this stuff.

    I think that a very good way to get involved would be to contact a bandleader and offer to sub. if your reading isn't good enough, try to improve the odds by asking to get the charts (and recordings if possible) in advance and prepare. If you can at least make recordings and take pictures of the charts for practice, you'll probably get better really quickly.
    I had a similar experience. A friend and guitar duo partner of mine held the guitar chair in an excellent local big band for 10+ years and when he moved out of state I took his place. The band plays every Tuesday night at a local pizza restaurant, and it has been a great experience for me. It has taught me a lot about sight reading and musicianship. Mostly, it taught me to listen and adapt the charts as mentioned previously in this thread - simplify chords omitting most extensions, playing hits as I became more familiar with the tunes, etc. After awhile, I was able to start doubling some of the lines with the horn section when it was indicated in the arrangement. It was a lot of work for me and required a lot of practice time with the charts, but it has been invaluable to my music education.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    I'm curious, what's the modern charts, or modern big band sounds like? If you don't use FG style, how do you play? Is the guitar and gear and setups different?
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    My fave modern big bands are bands like Rob McConnell's Boss Brass (featuring Ed Bickert on guitar), Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (featuring Grant Geissman on guitar), the Bob Mintzer Big band, and various other ensembles that play arr. by writers like Pat Williams, Frank Mantooth, Clare Fischer, Phil Woods, Mike Tomaro, Les Hooper, and others.

    The guitar parts use the guitar as another horn, playing lines with the trombones, trumpets, piano, bass, and most difficultly, the saxophones. For the chords, there are a lot of hits with the piano, and the horns.

    On the solos, you have to be able to comp with the pianist, in a bop style, following his hits. Sometimes this requires ESP...
    You can use an electric hollow body, even for the rock/funk charts, because EVH and AH solos don't really fit in in that style.
    I just got in a great band that plays only modern big band stuff, and the rehearsals are like concerts; no one screws up (except me!).
    I play in another one that also plays mostly modern stuff, and there are train wrecks galore. The players are okay, but not super-human mutants like the other band.

    I also gig in another big band that plays no modern things- just dance things and vocal features. I do the FG thing, and then crank up for solos.
    Thanks man! Now I understand.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    , Thad used guitar in the band, but when TJ passed, they cut it out.

    The music changed when Thad died; it's become more 'eye' oriented than 'ear' oriented.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    All of RP's suggestions are great, but the main thing is to put all that to work by joining a rehearsal band.
    It's not like reading a classical guitar piece, because you've got to hook up with the rhythm section, not just play the notes. I play in one rehearsal band that has thousands of charts, so I'm exposed to so much of this type of writing that I can sightread charts like 'Tramp' without thinking about it. You should try to sight-sing the rhythms before you play it. Most of the hits are on the 'ands'.
    I've read people on this forum say that they'd never join a rehearsal band, because they're not getting paid to play. That might be true, but it's the only way you can get experience fitting in with a rhythm section in a big band. You also wind up getting more gigs, because you meet musicians other than guitarists.
    On top of that, you learn tons of new ideas from playing the music of great composer/arrangers, and then hearing how other musicians improvise on the same tunes you're improvising on.

    Rehearsal bands are a jazz tradition.
    ^ This. I started playing with a rehearsal band last year. I play trumpet, also, and most of the time I play that. But I fill in for the guitar player sometimes. Most of the charts are 4-to-the-bar, but sightreading skills hepls me get through the parts that aren't. The 6's, 9's, 13's, etc. I fit in where it makes sense or is comfortable. Playing with a big band has been a real reminder that guitar is a rhythm section instrument- and a primarily solo player, has improved my time.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGinNJ View Post
    ^ This. I started playing with a rehearsal band last year. I play trumpet, also, and most of the time I play that. But I fill in for the guitar player sometimes. Most of the charts are 4-to-the-bar, but sightreading skills hepls me get through the parts that aren't. The 6's, 9's, 13's, etc. I fit in where it makes sense or is comfortable. Playing with a big band has been a real reminder that guitar is a rhythm section instrument- and a primarily solo player, has improved my time.
    That's great that you're skilled enough on two instruments to be able to cut the parts in the band.

    On charts with difficult lines like Gordon Goodwin's 'Swingin' For the Fence' (above 300bpm), do you find it easier to sight read single note lines on trumpet or guitar?
    What's the difference between the two instruments in situations like that?
    Thanks!

  37. #36

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    We don't play anything that fast!

    The short answer is, there's (mostly) only one fingering for a note on trumpet, so sight reading lines is easier unless it's upper register (above the staff). On guitar, especially for faster stuff, it helps to figure out what position to play it in. Just playing chords is easier, though.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGinNJ View Post
    We don't play anything that fast!

    The short answer is, there's (mostly) only one fingering for a note on trumpet, so sight reading lines is easier unless it's upper register (above the staff). On guitar, especially for faster stuff, it helps to figure out what position to play it in. Just playing chords is easier, though.
    Thanks for the reply! Now I know what to tell this trumpet player who dropped a chart with 32nd notes on my stand, and expected me to sight read it at a medium tempo!