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  1. #1

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    William Bay (son of Mel) has composed over 50 linear etudes, which I am recommending to all and sundry. Linear means that they consist of just a single line, no accompaniment, no vertical chords, like a visual artist might "take a line for a walk". Bach got there before him, of course, and you will hear a Bachian influence here and there, though often the language is modern.

    I think they are great for developing phrasing and articulation, also dynamic control, tonal variation, and they will really help you develop a good pick/plectrum technique. No tab.

    Here's #3 in Gm:





    Product info: Achieving Guitar Artistry - Linear Guitar Etudes Book - William Bay Music : Mel Bay


    EDITS: I'll upload new videos here, to keep them all in one place, but they will also appear in the text below when made.







    Attached Images Attached Images Excellent Linear Studies-wbm23-jpg 
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 03-21-2017 at 10:25 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Thanks for the head's up, Rob!

  4. #3

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    I enjoyed that, Rob. Thanks.

  5. #4

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    Cheers, lads.

  6. #5

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    What is the aim of these studies, Rob?

    Presently, I have been trying to learn and retain various lines. Can you explain what learning this line, which is obviously classically influenced, does to assist one with playing Jazz? Could it possibly be just to show some

    I did fail to finish the sentence. Sorry.

    I was going to ask if you could expound on how these lines can help me with Jazz. I can think of a few ways but I would like to read your thoughts.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by AlsoRan; 03-17-2017 at 11:59 AM. Reason: finished my incomplete post

  7. #6

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    Seems you got cut off mid sentence there...

    These are not lines to use for improv, but there's much more to jazz, I believe, than improv. This particular study has a heavy baroque influence, but most of them don't. They do many things:

    Reading - there are over fifty pieces, and most of them (I haven't yet read them all) seem to cover most of the fretboard. They are largely unfingered, so you will naturally make choices as you go. Overall, I imagine your reading skills would definitely improve by playing one a day.

    Phrasing - I hope you can hear how in my interpretation I am carving out phrases? None of this is notated, and there are no recordings to accompany the book. I found myself greatly enjoying the challenge of working out phrase lengths, adjusting tone and volume as I went. Good for anyone's musicianship, I'd say.

    Tone - mentioned already under phrasing, I found myself thinking a lot about tone production for different phrases, to help delineate the architecture, which helps to make the overall performance more 3D.

    Dynamics - none are indicated, but I think you can hear in my performance how important I think good control of dynamics is. Often I hear jazz players play with a limited dynamic range. Not everyone, of course. But many of us could increase the dynamic range a little.

    Technique - you will need a good pick technique to play these pieces. Since recording this one this morning, I've been studying another, and finding myself changing my RH grip slightly. The pieces are helping me analyse how I play, and how that could be more efficient. I imagine most players would improve their technique by playing one of these pieces at the required tempo (metronome markings are given).

    So, no, it's not a manual on how to play jazz. But I'm sure most of us would become better musicians, better readers, and better technicians through a daily study of these pieces. And no, I'm not on commission ;-)

  8. #7

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    Thanks, Rob.

    Great explanation.

    And by the way, I too, am a lover of dynamics in music, and I could hear it in your demonstration. It is funny how dynamics help keep a guy like me interested. Sometimes, an abrupt change can "wake me up" and reengage me in a performance. Dynamics are also a great vehicle for expressing ones's passion.

  9. #8

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    I went to the site and looked through the books examples and I see what you mean about its purpose.

    Especially interesting, as you stated, is the fingering aspect. On the piano, at least for me, what separated harder songs from easier songs was fingering. When I stayed in one position, I could easily memorize my performance pieces. But once I had to stray up and down the keyboard, I found memorization to be not quite so easily accomplished. Finger choice was critical since a lot of the playing was using memory. On a fast piece, I would get thrown off and it was a challenge to get back on track.

    I assume it is the same with these lessons, and I can see how they can help not only with fingering, but also with that critical skill of sight-reading.

    It could be a lot of fun.

  10. #9

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    I believe it was Bill Frisell, who had studied with Jim Hall, recalling Hall encouraging him to practice Bach lines but phrase them like Bop.

    Rob's video is a good example that could be used in the 3 or 4 finger argument.
    Last edited by mrcee; 03-17-2017 at 12:18 PM.

  11. #10

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    Exactly! That's one of the reasons I often prefer acoustic playing, as it allows me more of a dynamic to play with...or so it seems.

    Edit: this in response to AlsoRan's comment re dynamics.
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 03-17-2017 at 12:14 PM.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee View Post
    I believe it was Bill Frisell, who had studied with Jim Hall, recalling Hall encouraging him to practice Bach lines but phrase them like Bop.
    Wow, that sounds like fun! I know what I'm doing this weekend.

  13. #12

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    I would second Rob McKillop's observations.

    Conti's Precision Technique exercises are classically based violin etudes. They are short, but enjoyable, and teach you:

    --structure: you can hear the modulations, and how they come about...Barry Harris said something like, "The classical writers knew how to get from one place to another better than anyone..."

    ---expression and technique, and how to phrase

    ----sight reading reinforcement (Conti's are conventionally notated, but also tabbed out)

    Also, as far as the classical music/jazz supposed divide, this is overstated. Good musical e.g.'s can be models to aspire toward in improvisation.

    Personally, I hear a lot of Coltrane, and I think of some Bach, both spinning out variations.

    Listen to Monk's recording of "Tea for Two" after listening to Chopin's "Wrong Note Etude". Monk HAD to have known that Chopin piece pretty well...it seems almost plagiaristic, and Barry Harris is always referring to Chopin. Earl Hines and Art Tatum were extremely well versed in the classical piano literature, as was Oscar Peterson.

    I think I will look into this publication.

  14. #13

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    I almost got this one in first take, just a slight hesitation towards the end, but it's the best of four I did this morning.

    You might notice a different RH posture than in the first video. In the first, my middle, ring and little fingers are splayed out, gently rubbing against the pick guard, but in the second they are tucked into the palm. The reason I don't play this way much is that I have slight arthiritis in that hand, making it difficult to close the fingers against the palm. But since trying to stick with it since yesterday, it's beginning to feel possible. Work in progress there. I feel it might be better in the long run.

    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 03-18-2017 at 09:32 AM.

  15. #14

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    Just got a quotation from the composer: "You did a wonderful job and I loved the tone." William Bay.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Just got a quotation from the composer: "You did a wonderful job and I loved the tone." William Bay.


    Well done Rob!

  17. #16

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    Bambus Es.pdf - Google Drive
    Last chord is EbM7 of course.

    It's very comfy if you get the positions right. 11 more to go...
    Last edited by emanresu; 03-18-2017 at 09:22 PM.

  18. #17

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    Very, very nice. I wish I had more hours of the day. I already have several practice projects, otherwise I would be working on this immediately. I can see how rewarding it would be.

    BTW: I believe I have seen videos you have posted before playing without a pick. You say you think these exercises are good for developing your picking, but would you consider using your fingers for these exercises? Seems like would work just as well without a pick, or is there something pick specific about the material?

  19. #18

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    Fingers would work equally well, I'd say. It's just that my pick control is not at the level of my finger control, so I'm using these studies to help improve it.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Bambus Es.pdf - Google Drive
    Last chord is EbM7 of course.

    It's very comfy if you get the positions right. 11 more to go...

    Is this your own composition?

  21. #20

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    Next up, one in Em. I play this slower than the metronome mark, as I think it's a beautifully lyrical piece, and I included some harmonics at the end instead of playing them as fretted notes. Thankfully the composer has given me his blessing.


  22. #21

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    My comments reflect where I'm at, and sorry if they appear OTT, but...

    I think it's a lesson in itself - and a privilege - to watch as you read and play these studies.

    And I think these videos do a huge service to jazz guitar culture.


    Thank you!

  23. #22

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    Yes, over the top, but in a nice way, and I thank you for it. Of course, I didn't write the music, don't improvise on it, and it's largely the beautiful D'Aquisto guitar that makes the sound, so my part in the overall effect is fairly minimal. But I appreciate your comments!

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Yes, over the top, but in a nice way, and I thank you for it. Of course, I didn't write the music, don't improvise on it, and it's largely the beautiful D'Aquisto guitar that makes the sound, so my part in the overall effect is fairly minimal. But I appreciate your comments!
    My point is about the example you set of reading as a discipline. The beautiful D'Aquisto is icing on the cake.
    EDIT: It's more than reading - it's a certain reverence for aspects of musicianship which, perhaps, are less prevalent among 'jazz' guitarists. I admire that more than improvisation (which can be stifling).
    Last edited by destinytot; 03-19-2017 at 08:47 AM. Reason: addtion + spelling

  25. #24

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    I preface this one with a few words about how I approach interpreting these pieces:




    EDIT: Composer's reaction to this video: "You played it perfectly and your interpretation was right on spot. I sincerely appreciate your artistry and your performance of these etudes. I think your teaching was very good and covered lots of important points for the aspiring guitarist to ponder." William Bay.


    These studies and the Barry Galbraith arrangements I've been studying lately have really helped formulate in my mind what I want to do with the archtop guitar: explore both composed jazz and classical music on the instrument, and all stations in between. After all, it's all just music. I'm not a jazz musician per se, but like most people I've been subject to a LOT of music in over half a century, and now it is all coming together for me, no more divisions, just music. It's all there, and the archtop guitar can reflect it perfectly.
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 03-20-2017 at 10:13 AM.

  26. #25

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    Great work on the etudes you have posted, Rob --- and you persuaded me to buy the book!

    In the very first etude (Am, #1), bar 6, there seems to be a small error --- the G above the staff, fourth finger, surely must be on the second string, not the fourth as indicated.

    I agree with Rob that these work equally well pick-style and finger-style. I have been practicing this one on a nylon-string using fingers.

  27. #26

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    Just got the book in the mail, thanks for the inspiration

  28. #27

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    Let us know how you get on with the studies, guys.

  29. #28

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    My final recording, finally one in a major key - like sunshine breaking through. This one is 100% in E major, no accidentals or modulations, and has a folky feel to me. It was very enjoyable to play - I tried to play without glancing at the fretboard, but once or twice couldn't resist.



    So, five pieces from 57...I'll keep playing them, as they are good for my technique, and I'll keep reading new ones, which is good for sight-reading purposes.

  30. #29

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    I've mostly used it as sight reading just going through cover to cover. Will then go back and focus in on ones I like.

  31. #30

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    Try doing it without looking at your fretting hand - quite tricky at times. He does like to leap about. But that's part of the study.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz View Post
    In the very first etude (Am, #1), bar 6, there seems to be a small error --- the G above the staff, fourth finger, surely must be on the second string, not the fourth as indicated.
    Yes, most definitely the second string.

  33. #32

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    Rob, I've come across your videos about this book "Linear Etudes" and I'm now curious about another book in the serie called "Achieving Guitar Artistry - Triads".

    The reason I ask is that I'm currently studying triads thoroughly (mapping them on the fingerboard etc.) but I noticed I was super slow to sight-read them in notation (and of course chords in general). So this book might be of interest: learning triads and how to read them comfortably.

    So if people have gotten their hands on this book I would like to hear their opinion on it.
    Thanks a lot

  34. #33

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    Well, I have it, and yes it is great for improving your sight reading all over the fretboard, and it leaves with you with a good sense of key, but also in a way equips you for advanced improv concepts such as triad pairs which you might explore further down the line.

    Read more about it, and see a couple of page examples here: Achieving Guitar Artistry - Triads Book - William Bay Music : Mel Bay

  35. #34

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    I've been using the Linear Studies book as part of my sight reading practice for a few years. I try not to memorize them so I generally don't stop to fix any errors, although if I notice a particular rhythmic figure is giving me trouble then I'll work on that a few times. But eventually I started getting slightly bored with the book so I now also work out of Barry Galbraith's Bach 2-part Inventions book. I also work out of a violin book. Still, I recommend the book.