Jazz Guitar
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  1. #1

    Your jazz playing "AHA!" moments

    Hello,

    I recently read a few entries to a very long post about advice to a beginning jazz guitarist and one of the replies was about an AHA! moment the poster shared about learning the intervals between strings on one fret of the guitar, thus, realizing how this is applied to making chords, etc.

    That little nugget of realization was pretty great and, of course, I took something from it.

    When I wanted to learn jazz, I started with piano with limited understanding of how to create a jazz sound from a keyboard. I think I had a pretty decent ear, but what helped me was some basic book on how to put you fingers on a keyboard and make, for instance, a C7 chord. When I saw the visualization of that, I understood how to make the beginnings of a "jazzy" sounding chords from then on my love of playing jazz was getting fortified.

    For guitar it was several AHA's:

    Freddie Green chords and learning inversions of, say, a G7 and so on got me on track. I enjoyed how reasonably fast you can chunk out chords up and down the neck along with passing diminished chords. I really thought that gave me a big jump in understanding jazz guitar with fairly simple shapes. It wasn't instant, but the learning curve seemed shorter.

    Then it was learning a few chord-melodies from my teacher. That was hard, but then I started seeing the relations to how I made some shapes in the tune back to some of the Freddie Green chords. I started understanding extensions and how the higher strings were, yet, other inversions of chords, extensions, etc. I gained more knowledge of mapping the fretboard this way.

    As far as improvisation, which is still always and forever a work in progress, my next AHA was happening on a Robin Nolan video. I could really only do your basic blues pentatonic scales, but I thought getting into other musical scales/modes was a daunting task. When I saw how Robin easily laid out some improv ideas over the shape of an Am6 (I believe teaching basic improv over Minor Swing) I saw how he made the shape of the chord (a la Freddie Green-like) and landing on those same fret areas chromatically or with enclosures...AHA! Just noodle around the shapes you make for chords and it seemed to make sense and sound more musical than just learning to insert scale/mode. I'm not for sure, but I then think this Robin Nolan idea is similar to the Herb Ellis shape system.

    Anyway, I feel more comfortable with my playing, though, I'm sure I'd freeze up and sound very clunky if I were to jam with other players. Still, it took several of these nuggets to advance my intermediate knowledge of jazz guitar and it's really pleasing to have the next puzzle of jazz guitar demystified.

    Sorry for rambling, but please share your AHAs!

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  3. #2
    My single biggest Aha was when I realised most functional straight ahead Jazz can be boiled down to V(alt) and I.

  4. #3
    I've had a handful of Aha! moments. I'll just mention two.

    1. When I learned about moving a chord voicing up through a scale -- and worked out moving xx2233 up through majors and melodic minors. And, that I could comp in 4th voicings, even mixing up major and dominant.

    2. When I accepted that I was never going to sound anything like my guitar heroes and, instead, started working consciously to develop my own style.

  5. #4
    Still waiting for it to happen :-)

    or maybe not ... maybe it just isn‘t me

  6. #5
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    That fancy chords don't matter for most comping applications...that comping is more about rhythm and not getting in the way.

  7. #6
    That I can do practically anything off the b7 of a dominant chord.

  8. #7
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    My jazz guitar playing AHA moment was when I learned that you could harmonize each of the notes of any scale with a 4 note chord voicing - thereby creating chord scales.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    Learn To Play Chord Melody Solos

  9. #8
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    My aha moment was when my amp cut out during a song and nobody noticed, because nobody was listening, because it was jazz.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    My aha moment was when my amp cut out during a song and nobody noticed, because nobody was listening, because it was jazz.
    You crack me up.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  11. #10
    This is beginners stuff, but many years ago, when I was starting out as a youngster, discovering the V of ii and its many variations. Suddenly a whole new world beyond I-IV-V.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  12. #11
    Definitely coming to the realization that I don't need to chase every change when soloing...or comping...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  13. #12
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    Circa 1975. I am a new bass guitarist. I'm playing along with Grover Washington's new hit, "Mister Magic."

    I am going, "Bup. Bup, bup, bup bup."
    Gary King or Phil Upchurch is going, "Bahm. Bahm, bahm, bahm bahm."

    I realize that even if you play the same notes, holding them for a different amount of time really matters in making music.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry View Post
    Circa 1975. I am a new bass guitarist. I'm playing along with Grover Washington's new hit, "Mister Magic."

    I am going, "Bup. Bup, bup, bup bup."
    Gary King or Phil Upchurch is going, "Bahm. Bahm, bahm, bahm bahm."

    I realize that even if you play the same notes, holding them for a different amount of time really matters in making music.
    And then don't forget the "dee-doo, dee-doo, duh duh, day-day...du-dunka-duh" guitar part too.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  15. #14
    Join Date
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    Say the progression was G7 CMaj7.

    1. Playing altered scale over G7: G Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F

    2. Thinking tritone sub (Db7 CMaj7) and playing Lydian dominant over Db7: Db Eb F G Ab Bb Cb.

    Build bridges, not walls.

  16. #15
    Some more:

    1. When playing in an octet with the guitar voiced as a 5th horn -- realizing that I didn't know how to read anywhere near as well as I had been imagining. The four horns melted together into one. The guitar was a bastard child living outside the family.

    2. Playing grooved based music with good musicians and realizing that I was routinely behind the beat. And, suddenly, being able to hear it.

    3. Finding a patch with my pedalboard that worked well with the melodies in my head. I needed fat, sustained high notes and I found a way to get them.

    4. Recognizing the role of confidence in playing. It helps time, reading, and, apparently, everything else.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 03-22-2019 at 09:24 PM.

  17. #16
    Great AHA's, guys! Some of them I hope to understand better someday...i.e. altered scales and tritone subs...really, being able to define lots of other scales and chords and when I can get away with using them in the most efficient and musical ways.

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