1. #1

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    I have been playing guitar off and on for years (electronic music has been my main focus and I just noodled on the guitar for the most part). During that time I have learned bits and pieces of songs I like and 99% of that has been using tab. The other 1% is purely stumbling across a line or progression that sounds like something i recognize.

    That said, I have been listening to quite a bit of jazz guitar lately and I want to give this another shot. That is I want to start fresh and learn some theory, build some technique and learn some songs. Then I would like to be able to do a plausible improvisation. The goal is to be able to play music purely for the fun of it and to feel like I learned something.

    Now to the problem. My ear is seriously underdeveloped. I struggle to transcribe basically anything. For my first song, I am going to try Kenny Burrell's Midnight Blue. I have already been studying the the tab and have learned the rhythm part, the main riff and a few chunks of the solo. There are a few parts that I cannot play very well even though I see the note divisions and the tab is telling me the notes. My frustration led me to the conclusion that tab is preventing me from using my ears and that is part of the trouble. Therefore, I am going back to square one. I know the chords and a number of parts so it is not from scratch. My hope is that this will help me get over the hump so I can start to get the rhythm and the phrasing to come on line a little better.

    I have logic pro so i have a way to loop and to slow things down. I say all of this to solicit any advice you have on taking these steps in the best direction possible.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    My humble advice:

    Make sure you can play anything you can sing before transcribing solos. Can you just pick up and play Happy birthday, london bridge, twinkle little star etc by ear anywhere on the neck in any key without thinking?

    Then learn to sing the melody of some jazz standards and do the same.

    Then when you're transcribing solos, sing the line back and then play it. Be able to sing it first so you're not just listening to the recording over and over and plunking out a couple notes at a time.

  4. #3

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    Good song... KB has a neat style of playing "simple", and then just when the moment is right he does something amazing, a lot of times with very nice chords. This song has a few of those in a few places - not hard to play but a little hard to hear and grasp at first.

    The worse thing in the world would be to just show them to you; the best thing in the world is finding them yourself, figuring them out, and hearing how they work. Doing that, you "own" those chords with confidence and are in a better position to take on the next challenge.

    If you need some hints, maybe identify the specific problem spots.

  5. #4

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    Really the best advice on transcribing, is to simply keep at it. Like anything else, it becomes easier over time.

    IMO, transcribing is the best way to really internalize a piece of music. When you put in all that effort to figure it out, AND write it down (you are writing it down, right?) it really *sticks* in your head. I always start by making sure I know the chords first, and that will then really help you understand what that player is doing.