The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    three-chord guitarists who haven't bathed in weeks
    finally I feel seen.

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  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    Remind me Skip: what was that all about, and how did folk music manage to come out of it OK? :-) :-) :-)

    I hear you on loopers and backing tracks. That doesn't really get me where I want to go. My most fulfilling moments have been with other players. That's what's got me stumped at the moment. It's so hard to find the right people, and I don't even have PTSD. Sometimes I think it's because of the lower population where I live now, but I had the same trouble during the decade I lived in NYC.

    (that little auto correct cracked me up...)
    Almost impossible to find like minded players where I am and those I find either can't play or are jerks or both. If I could find a good bass player and second guitar, I'd be happy. To me, perfection has always been the trio of Doc Watson, his son Merle, and T. Michael Coleman sitting on three straight backed chairs - and absolute joy to listen to. I'm also very eclectic - I'd want to play old time/Chet/bluegrass one day, chord melody the next day, and surf the day after that; hard to find anyone who's into all that stuff, especially on a reasonably skilled level. Another problem I'm having is that, after 50 years of gigging, it's hard to go solo and play without the drummer and bass player - I really miss that dance beat.

  4. #28

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    "Almost impossible to find like minded players where I am and those I find either can't play or are jerks or both. " SkipEllis


    Hi, S,
    It's not just your area . . . this was my biggest problem in Chicago when I needed to find a new band member for the horn section and frequently, I chose a lesser player with a good attitude rather than the "hotshot." And, many of those "lesser players" became really good once they had steady face time on the stage.
    Marinero

  5. #29

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    First and foremost, I'd like to thank all of you for posting your thoughts, as well as sharing your own stories. Sometimes, it helps a lot to see that others go through the same or similar, and make it through.

    Secondly, I'd like to address my absense - just north of 24 hours after I started this thread, I ran into an amazing and beautiful woman whom I'd gone on two dates with earlier this summer, on the night train back from the big city north of here. She and I both hate going out on the town for drinks, and staying up late - in fact, this is one of only two times in my 8 years of being of drinking age that I've ever gone out on the town in that city - so it is an almost cosmic coincidence that we should both be heading back on that train that night. We walked together from the train station as we were going the same way, and things took a turn once we got to hers. We've been going steady since then, and this has made me realize that I might have underestimated how purely emotional music is, or perhaps even should be.

    I've been thinking in terms of craft, but yesterday, I thought only in terms of emotion. I didn't play guitar, but I was a little overwhelmed with missing her, so I laid in bed and listened to the Radka Toneff album "Fairytales".



    This is an amazing duet record, and I highly recommend it for those inclined to hearing some music that's good for crying to. Dobrogosz is a pianist of the highest caliber and manages to play both with an improvisational lightness, as well as a compositorial intent. Toneff's vulnerable and fragile voice is the perfect match.



    I bring this up because I am motivated to play guitar, but not with intentions of performing, only feeling. I think the so-called career path is gone for me, but I don't mind. I've always played only for my own sake.
    I ordered a seven-string classical guitar, and I'm excited to use it on its own. Maybe the electric guitar is dead to me for the time being, but that's okay. Like many of you have said, it's not the end of the world, nor the end at all.

    I realize that I still sound a little jumbled-up about my own feelings, but I hope I'm making sense. My point is that now that I've been emotionally vulnerable and happy in a different part of my life, I've become more interested in playing music again. I ordered the 7-string on impulse after having run straight from her place to work, go figure.

    Now, I'd like to address some points specifically:


    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Do you get joy out of meaningful interactions, whether they be teaching or gigging? And without that joy, there is little motivation to "practice"?

    I think a lot of us go through that. I would love to get out and gig, but don't feel that it is worth exposing myself to COVID. So I don't have hard deadlines and goals. I am pursuing some casual recording with a friend via long distance, and I still pick up the guitar, but not like I would if I had a gig or a deadline.
    I've never enjoyed gigging to be completely honest. It's always been a major hassle that's made me go to bed too late, and the pay's been rubbish. My last gig before Covid was a revue where I played some very easy numbers in a trio, and I only needed my guitar and amp. It was still just barely worth it, even if the pay was decent...!
    Teaching, however, is something I really enjoy with the right student. My previous relationship was with a person who was initally a student of mine (I know, yikes!). I really enjoyed it because I felt like without me, she wouldn't have gotten anywhere, and with my help, she understood music on a much deeper level. She had excellent taste and practiced much more than me, so I was fairly upset when I had to tell her that I couldn't continue being her teacher because of an inappropriate interest. Even with how things went, I'd love to go back and be her teacher again, because I really felt that it mattered.

    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    I think it’s fine , it’s a process
    if you wanna play that’s fine
    if you don’t wanna play that’s also fine

    The Brazilian duo thing sounds great
    and the jamming with the rappers thing , cool !

    Give yourself some credit man , other people really dig your music , even
    though sometimes you can’t appreciate it yourself ....

    You can play ! that’s a wonderful thing

    we all go up and down with playing process thing
    ———————-
    my process for me , my motivation just comes from when i’ve got a gig coming up

    I want to make nice sounds for the audience (and me !) so i practice ....
    it’s simple
    i don’t want to sit there and play a load of BS

    dunno if that helps .....
    but I hope so
    It helps indeed. "That's fine" is usually strangely reassuring, isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackguard53
    Your story is so familiar and frustrating. I've been a professional musician for 15 years and the last couple of years have felt the same for me as you describe.

    Two things have saved music for me:

    1. Playing multiple instruments and styles. I went to school for guitar but ended up being a pro bassist. Now that I don't want to touch a bass outside of a gig, I play guitar constantly. Find another instrument to renew your passion for progress and learning, or learn a different genre or style entirely on guitar.

    2. Listen to music. I want to play good music when I hear good music. The trick for me was good NEW music. I'll alway love the music I already love, but hearing a new player or album that I really get stuck on will buy me another 3 or 4 months of motivation to play


    You can also just not play for months or years as long as it doesn't hurt you financially.

    I quit guitar for 10 years while playing bass professionally. It took me 6 months to get my guitar chops back to a passable standard, and another 6 to build new chops I never would have had if I'd carried on for the last 10 years. I'm a little over a year in and feel like I never put it down. I can play all but the most challenging stuff that I used to play, which is not my aim anyway ( not interested in the high gain sweeping shred stuff these days)

    It's like weight lifting. You'd be surprised how quickly it comes back to you. If you're not attached to your gear, sell it. When the time comes to get back into it you'll get that extra kick of motivation with a new instrument.
    Yes! I actually have a lot of experience with other instruments, mainly piano. It's paid more bills than guitar has, despite being a more recent and self-taught endeavour. Unfortunately, I had to sell all my keyboard instruments during a personal economic crisis while a music student. I only have a midi board now, and it's too much of a hassle to unpack and set it up, so I barely play. I definitely want to buy a Nord C2D again.

    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Go see live music:
    - Seeing a player who inspires you can relight that spark.
    - Seeing a player who sucks can make you so irritated that you go home and practice and get a gig :-)
    You are very right! I saw Pat Metheny for the first time this summer, and it really blew my mind. I didn't realize what a fan of his I am until he walked on stage and I caught myself with goosebumps, starstruck, thinking "Holy shit, it's actually him"! It was an amazing concert, and they blew the roof off of the place when they did Bright Size Life. I became really motivated by seeing him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Smith
    I also think that's ok. I think there can be concrete reasons why it stops being fun, not just a mental glitch. I've had several burn outs but I continued and decided to try to adapt because I knew music was important to me and it worked. I knew I just wanted to be a hobbyist and try to develop myself the best I can and not be a semi pro or pro.

    My first instrument was bass and I had fun playing in bands and being able to rock with the group and get catharsis while playing relatively simple stuff. I studied it in college, then as I tried to advance I realized it wasn't that fun as a long term partner because I couldn't really be musical on it with my abilities. Not a mental glitch - you can't really play that much music on bass by yourself unless you're a virtuoso.

    Took up piano after that and learned a lot and had fun being more musical but got burned out because it felt too lame to me.

    Decided to learn guitar since I like pop and rock. Happy I learned the instrument and understand it now but got burned out because I couldn't really do what I wanted with my abilities. Too left hand intensive.

    Now I'm at the Hammond and it's really fun. It's aesthetically pleasing just hearing the instrument to me. Since I'm a bassy guy. I can control the whole ensemble - bass, chord, and melody. It's less 'lame' than piano. It's always fun for me to work on jazz on it. It isn't the exact embodiment of all my music tastes as I like a lot of pop and guitar rock. But I'm not a singer or good songwriter so this is the best compromise for what is realistic between my abilities and tastes. I need a pleasing sound, I need to be able to execute somewhat complex stuff since I'm not trying to do simple pop but well composed with feeling, and it has to be fun to play. Getting a bass line going and the whole tune going with harmony and melody and changing sounds is so fun. I don't think I will ever view it begrudgingly. So I actually had to do some analysis on what would be the most fun for me to focus on given my aptitudes and tastes; rather than take it upon myself to solve the motivation problem by just staying the course and reach a certain level of playing or maintain a certain mindset.

    If it stops being fun and you haven't made a definite decision that you need to keep going because that's what you want long term for yourself personally or career wise then don't sweat it. Change styles, change instruments, take a break, or just stop, that's how it goes.

    I surfed from age 8-28 and learned the surfboard building trade starting at age 22. But I got burned out because the work and social aspect of it became too toxic. Now, I don't do it anymore and I don't dwell on it even though it once was very fun. That's just how it goes.
    Cheers! I love the Hammond myself. I regrettably had to sell my Nord C2D, but would love to own one again. There is something about the Hammond which just speaks to me fundamentally. Playing tritone substitutions and weird basslines just feels... Groovy, cool even. I feel like the Hammond organ makes me a better musician when I play it, perhaps because I started my gigging "career" out on it. I learned to play keys by being made the organist in a blues band before I could actually play; in fact, the C2D was a surprise gift from the band leader. The organ makes me feel something I can't find anywhere else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Well I don’t think it’s that unusual at all.

    I don’t think we can self assess very well. Some days I listen to my playing and feel proud and other days I cringe. The same playing.

    I think it works best for me if anchor my interest in the guitar on the progress I make and have made. (Of course sometimes I compare myself to other players, but this in general is a bad idea and I know it.)

    I’m not saying this will work for you but if I choose things that I can measure my improvement at in ad objective way as possible it’s very easy to despair of my making any progress at all.

    Therefore, for me the nature of the practice tasks is key. Things like pieces of music, new tunes, exercises, rhythmic independence stuff and so on are good, because then I can say ‘oh I didn’t know this or couldn’t do this a month ago.’ (Of course things get forgotten as well which is annoying haha.)

    That way it takes assessment out of the realm of my subjective feelings and into something much more concrete. Lessons are obviously good too, when you have a teacher who gives solid, detailed feedback (which is not that common ime). It’s quite fun to do something musical that isn’t guitar; I did a term of Konnakol for instance and that was good fun (and again progress is very measurable.)

    Anyway don’t know if this relates to your specific feeling. I’ve definitely gone through periods where I’ve lost interest a bit. Usually I get interested in some other music thing for a bit. But there’s no rule saying you have to play.

    there’s also no point in guilt. If you and I were to give up guitar tomorrow, the world would keep on turning (and I say that as someone who is teaching and playing full time). OTOH nothing would stop us starting again in 10 years.
    Great points. I think tunes are the way to go for me personally, as solo guitar playing seems to create the clearest progression in my abilities. Strangely, my single-note solos seem to improve after intensive chord-melody studies. This isn't that relevant though, as my ambitions lay with chord-melody for the time being.
    And indeed, there's nothing stopping me from stopping nor starting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    You are leaving a job in a music shop, to install sprinklers – in Britain, a country that is running out of water and power. Moreover, you will be moving in November, in winter, shortly after the average annual energy bill reaches £3,582. You are not taking your guitars with you, even though you obviously enjoy making music with other people.

    It seems you are punishing yourself.
    This is an interesting perspective, though I may have misspoken. I will be working in B2B sales pertaining to sprinkler fitting machines, and my accommodations will be paid for. In terms of income and freedom, it'll be a major step up!

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzPadd
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think many of us have similar feelings. I was a work-a-day musician throughout the 80s, doing whatever gigs were available (big bands, clubs, weddings, etc.) playing blues, jazz, pop, and rock. I also had a steady stream of guitar students, which I found very rewarding. But it all turned into a daily hustle and I couldn’t handle the gigging lifestyle, so I sold off all my gear and left music behind.

    During the 90s I studied and travelled, but didn’t touch the guitar at all and didn’t feel like I missed it. I moved between jobs as a high school teacher and college lecturer in history and social studies and spending time in Europe and the Middle East. By the early 2000s, I ended up in the UAE with a contract to teach international studies at a university located in Dubai.

    It was then that I fell back in love with the guitar. It happened while strolling around the city and exploring its Egyptian, Iranian and South Asian enclaves. Interested in picking up a set of tabla drums, I came across a small music shop that had a variety of instruments, including guitars. They were mostly budget models for beginners. I didn’t play much acoustic in my musician days but it felt good to have a guitar in my hands again. I asked the owner what were the nicest acoustics and he recommended Taylor, which I hadn’t heard of at the time. So, on a whim, I phoned up Taylor and ordered a custom built 712-CE. It arrived in a few months and I began playing guitar after each day’s teaching, figuring out some acoustic classics from the 70s.

    By 2010, I had moved to Japan to take up a full time teaching position and I resumed playing acoustic at home for fun. A colleague’s spouse was a pro musician and I was introduced to the jazz scene in the region where I lived. On a trip back to the US, I dug out my old copy of the Real Book (1978 edition!) and started boning up on standards. Even though I had played jazz as part of my job during the 80s, I now felt a real sense of joy playing jazz. After a couple of years, picking up a decent archtop and a Tele along the way, I joined local jam sessions, sometimes 2 or 3 a week. That continued until corona came to town and shut it all down. After woodshedding tunes, and once the scene picked up, I re-joined jam sessions.

    Being able to play music is a gift and an enduring joy, as several noted above. It’s just that we may not always see how that gift and joy relates to our daily lives. Today, I have no aspirations of working in music but I’m happy to have rediscovered guitar. From hanging out at jam sessions, I’ve even been invited to sit in on friends’ gigs and I’ve done a few solo shows at local music houses and cafes, just enough of each to feel the thrill of performing but also to remind me why I walked out of the business years ago. The river of life is full of twists and turns and I’ve learned it’s important to enjoy the journey. I hope you enjoy yours.
    Cheers. It's good to hear that there's such a thing as "life after guitar", and that it doesn't have to end with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Find colleagues and friends that have some kind of interest in music. The longer I've been playing, the less important the actual performing is and the more essential is just hanging. Often that hang includes making music but really, it's just knowing good people.
    One thing that has become clear to me, playing is being honest. Playing well is being honest with who you are and if you feel fresh, your music is fresh. If you're you're not feeling the sounds, play the silence. Put the guitar away. Enjoy the company of those people and things that make you feel alive. That's music, whether or not it's on your guitar.
    Maybe that's not the answer you're looking for but it's something that works well for me and my friends who have a love of music.
    Indeed, I'm lucky to share a deep friendship with a member on this forum whom I've known for what must be close to ten years now. Despite having yet to meet, we talk almost daily and I am lucky to call him my brother. He is also the best guitar player I know, and I love our frequent discussions about music.

    (Part 1)

  6. #30

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    (Part 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    For heaven’s sake, if you don’t feel like playing just don’t play. It isn’t a moral failing. Guilt has nothing to do with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett

    Playing guitar is an indulgence. Clipping coupons or making model airplanes is probably a more serious career/financial choice. You owe it to no one to play when you don’t want to.

    Worse, you risk turning a positive into a negative. I did that with surfing, and it has taken me years to get over that mistake.

    I grew up surfing. For anyone who hasn’t grown up in one of the surfing hotspots you may not know all the social bullshit that surrounds an otherwise lonely and difficult sport. My high school of 1500 students couldn’t field a full football team because all the best athletes wanted to be surfers (whether they actually could surf or not). You could say any heresy you wanted about anything: God, country, family —but never a negative thing about surfing. You were expected to have an orgasm, epiphany, and see the face of God every time you paddled out. To be touched by Grace was to get sponsored by Al Merrick, or Rusty’s, or FCS. I never was that good, but always close. Several kids I knew got free equipment, travel to competitions, or even real cash endorsements.

    In my mid twenties and early thirties I was something like you describe. I was living in a small apartment owned by my mother after a disastrous start to my professional life. My then girlfriend, now wife, had left for the Bay Area for work. The only “good” thing going for me was I could surf.

    Only thing was, I was getting no joy out of surfing. The weather rarely cooperated, the waves were ho hum at best, and there were easily twice the number of people in the line up. I cannot tell you how much guilt and SHAME I felt. I could walk to the surf (a huge luxury) and yet could not bring myself to go. People who knew I grew up surfing were always asking how the surf was, had I gone out? What did I think the waves would be like tomorrow?

    What was wrong with me? I could do this thing few other people did, and I did it well. People were paying millions of dollars to live in modest little homes around me just to be able to tell their hedge fund friends they surfed. Movies were made about how surfing was some kind of religious experience. I just couldn’t bring myself to paddle out.

    It became a vicious cycle. I felt guilt and resentment. When I went out, I actually had fun, but the association grew between surfing and guilt, shame, and loss. Eventually, the sight of my surfboards made me sick.

    Finally, after nearly a decade of this mental illness I told myself, “you don’t surf. You are not a ‘surfer’. It’s OK not to surf. You don’t owe it to anyone to surf”. I wish I had said that from the start. A persistent shame and related sense of failure lifted. I allowed myself to discover that I enjoy open water swimming and body surfing, but only when I feel like it. I moved away from the beach, and don’t really miss being right there. I still surf on occasion, but on my terms. I may go today. If I don’t, I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

    So if you don’t feel it, maybe it’s not the right time for you to play guitar. There is no shame in doing other things. Maybe you’ll come back to it, maybe not. Who cares? Don’t make playing or not playing guitar a measure of your self worth. You don’t owe anyone another musical note. Say to yourself, “I’m not a ‘guitarist’. I’m just a dude who plays the guitar really well when he feels like it.”


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro


    Cheers, thank you for sharing your story. Ironically, I've felt the very same with road cycling, which has been my big passion this year. I actually went out yesterday with no intentions of being fast or fit, just because I wanted to be outside and feel the road, as I'd been ill, away, and busy. My bike computer/GPS shows me that I set 14 personal bests on road segments I ride on frequently, despite only going on a "fun" ride. I take your words with me. I'm not a guitarist, I just play guitar sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasranney
    Dear Mr. Quick,
    Quote Originally Posted by chasranney

    I think you instinctively realize you need a break from something you've worked at since the age of ten - not a bad idea.

    Installing sprinkler systems in the UK is a fine idea. Try it for a good while (a year?) before considering going back to your original guitar-centered plan - is there a plan beyond becoming a good player? This is an important question. I do think you should take one guitar with you, though. It might come in handy for singing with friends & pints.

    In March of 2015 you were asking this forum for advice on songs to prepare for your university audition. I mention this only to reinforce my earlier point - you've been striving toward one thing for a long time. Take a break from that and just "look around" for a while. For most, life is a series of starts, stops, and course corrections. GOOD LUCK! This too shall pass.



    Cheers, you're right. I'll bring the aforementioned 7-string guitar, I think. I appreciate your words, it can be easy for a young man like myself to forget how life works.

  7. #31

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    Hey Mr. Quick,

    Good to hear from you again. I wish you well in this next chapter.

    Your most recent post reminded me of something I heard in a masterclass given by a very well-known jazzer; he basically said that when he had a girlfriend, he practiced a lot, and when he didn't have a girlfriend, he practiced less and socialized more :-)

    SJ
    Last edited by starjasmine; 09-26-2022 at 12:50 AM.

  8. #32

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    Wow. That's a lot to process.

    I'll just address this:
    In the last 30 years or so I've stopped playing a few times, the longest was for 14 months. Didn't even touch my guitar, lol. Sat on its stand gathering dust. Didn't even put it back in its case.
    I knew I would start again at some point. Just needed to take a break.

    Then I'll hear something that will revive my interest in learning again.

    Another thing that helped was NOT listening to guitar music. I simply cannot stand most of it.
    Last edited by ChazFromCali; 09-26-2022 at 11:12 PM.

  9. #33

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    Since I was about five years old, I have loved riding my bike. Did it every chance I could. As an adult, I decided to get into bike racing. I did that for nine seasons. Towards the end of the ninth season I realized that I hated riding a bike; I enjoyed the camaraderie with my teammates at the races, but I hated the 15 to 20 hours a week of training that was required to be competitive (and this was at a completely amateur level). I finally quit racing. I came to realize that I was only racing to have an excuse to ride my bike; riding your bike a lot makes you look like a slacker but if you're training for racing then you're a serious individual. It was really about how it looked to others. Now I just ride my bike when I feel like riding my bike (which is most days), for as long as I feel like writing and without having to do intervals, sprints, hill training, etc.

    I started playing guitar when I was in college with some intent of playing gigs, possibly professionally. If I am brutally honest I really don't have the talent to be better than a middling player, although I have pretty good dexterity on the instrument and every so often pull something out of the bag that's really good. I dabbled with various bands but, as it is usually the case, most of them never got off the ground. I had a jazz quintet I played in for seven years and playing gigs really wore thin. It was particularly distressful of the band did not sound good, whether that was my fault or somebody else's. The band broke up maybe six years ago now; I have resumed playing my guitar for myself in my living room and getting together with a bass player once a week, but I'm not sure that I particularly want to gig. I guess it was the same thing as racing: playing my guitar a couple of hours a day just for fun is being a slacker, practicing for a gig is being serious.

    I think I've fairly well given up on needing to justify doing the things I enjoy doing. Playing the guitar for the sake of playing the guitar, just like riding a bike for the sake of riding the bike, seems to be where I'm at right at the moment. It's OK.

  10. #34

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    The guitar will be waiting for you if you ever want to come back.

    If you don't want to play don't play.

    The lifestyle of a musician is a real punisher. College debt for a guitar education is a gut punch too.