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  1. #1
    Hi,

    I'm 19 years old and have just started playing jazz. I come from a pop/rock/blues backround. I have noticed that there is several approaches to learn jazz guitar. I really love Charlie Christian, as some of you might already know, his method was to "visualize chords shapes" and improvise from those shapes, if I got it right.
    Would that be a way to start? To learn many chord arpeggios and improvise within those shapes?

    Also, what modern cheap amp can provide a similiar tone of his?

    Thanks, and I hope you are having a great day. Sorry if my english ain't too good, hope you can understand what I'm trying to say.

    Simon

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Have at it:
    Check out the Licks to see how he applied ( a fairly small number of) chord shapes.
    http://www.music-open-source.com/sou...z%20Guitar.pdf
    Last edited by Gertrude Moser; 07-07-2013 at 11:35 AM.

  4. #3

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    IMO...learn all the chord shapes you can...

    What notes of the scale are right next to the fingers holding the chord...up or down a fret or two...

    Experiment and you will find them because they are there...

    time on the instrument...

  5. #4

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    The link that Gertrude Moser gave you is a good basic overview of CC's approach to guitar. Other good materials are A Common Sense Approach To Improvisation For Guitar by Joe Negri (38 pages, Mel Bay) and Swing to Bop The Music Of Charlie Christian by Stan Ayeroff (239 pages with two CDs, Mel Bay).

    Charlie Christian The Art Of Jazz Guitar by Dan Fox is worth seeking out for his most well-known solos with the Goodman Sextet including the seminal Solo Flight.

    The Negri book has TAB, the Ayeroff and Fox books are notation only.

    Christian's sound came, in part, from his use of Gibson ES-150 and ES-250 guitars with a bar magnet pickup plugged into Gibson EH-150 or EH-180 tube amps. The amps had very simple circuits compared to today's amps, used field-coil speakers and produced 15 and 18 watts, respectively.

    One of the best ways to approximate CC's sound is to use a small to medium size tube amp and cut the reverb all the way off. Christian's amps didn't have reverb and produced that dry sound that we associate with early electric jazz guitar.

  6. #5

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    There's a method called CAGED which does this; 5 shapes (which are altered for the different chord types), similar to what Christian would have used.

  7. #6

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    A lot of his sound can from his ... Charlie Christian pickup!

  8. #7
    Thanks for the replies guys, appreciate it!
    Would a Pro Jr do the job?

  9. #8

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    Yes, a pro junior is good enough, don't worry about the gear too much.

  10. #9

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    I'd suggest picking up the recent reissue of the Sony box set, "Charlie Christian: Genius of the Electric Guitar" (i.e., avoid the first release as the packaging was terrible). If books of transcriptions are your thing, there's also Wolf Marshall's Hal Leonard folio, "The Best of Charlie Christian". Remember too that unlike pop/rock/blues music, guitar generally doesn't lead the pack. In fact, CC was one of the last jazz guitarists that other instrumentalists regularly turned to for ideas. Christian himself loved Lester Young's approach and many of his guitar lines are lifted almost verbatim from the latter's recordings. There's a great set on Proper Records, "The Lester Young Story" that contains most of the excellent and highly influential early sides.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    Remember too that unlike pop/rock/blues music, guitar generally doesn't lead the pack. In fact, CC was one of the last jazz guitarists that other instrumentalists regularly turned to for ideas. Christian himself loved Lester Young's approach and many of his guitar lines are lifted almost verbatim from the latter's recordings. There's a great set on Proper Records, "The Lester Young Story" that contains most of the excellent and highly influential early sides.
    That's what I like, not being in the center all the time and let everyone shine if you know what I mean.

  12. #11

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    Hunt down the book by Stan Ayeroff "Charlie Christian - Swing to Bebop". It contains a detailed analysis of many of CC's solos, and also two cds, which helps. Published by Mel Bay.

  13. #12
    That CAGED method sounds easy. Where can I learn it?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by withoutasound View Post
    Thanks for the replies guys, appreciate it!
    Would a Pro Jr do the job?
    Hi

    I do have a Pro Jr. and that's a great amp. Since it's not too trebly it has good potential to deliver a proper jazz tube amp sound. Has anybody mentioned yet to use flatwound strings?

    As for the CAGED method I'd recommend getting the book "Fretboard Logic".

  15. #14

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    When I first started learning jazz, I got a few pointers from Dave Cliff (check him out)

    He got me to focus on learning chord shapes with 1 3 and 7 (shell voicings) and playing songs that way.
    He also said 'learn the melodies of songs'
    And 'learn to play the chord tones on standards and base your improvisation on these.'

    It might take you a while to learn what these things are and where they are on your instrument, but this ground work is really important.

    After you get to grips with stuff, start working with a metronome.

    Ignore chord/scale theory for now.

    Play as many downstrokes as you can.

    Charlie Christian is fantastic thing to start with. Try and learn his solos by ear if you can. He likes minor 6th shapes a lot over dominants and minors, and 'chuck berry' style licks (which he invented) over majors. There's some really good info on the internet that ought to get you started on fingerings etc.

    Oh ear work is 100x more valuable than any amount of theory or 'visualisation' of the neck. Try to play melodies in different places. You'll make fewer mistakes and get faster the more you do this. It will be HARD at first and SLOW. Keep going and take breaks when you get frustrated!

    Gear wise you can get close to CC's sound for under a grand, but focus on your playing for now, until these are likely to make a difference. I know lots of guys who are obssessed with buying CC pickups etc but they miss the point. If CC picked up my guitar and played it he would sound like CC. His sound comes from the use 3 fingers (not 4) on the Left hand, lots of sliding about and lots of HEAVY downstrokes.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by christianm77; 08-10-2013 at 10:04 PM.

  16. #15
    I am pretty sure that the sound that has captured the imagination of rock/blues generation guitarists is Charlie's distorted "Minton" sound and not the "safe" round sound of the Goodman recordings.
    Indeed, I wonder if the Minton recordings had been more widely available back in the day, if the sound of jazz guitar would have had a harder, more aggressive edge in the years following Charlie's death.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gertrude Moser View Post
    Have at it:
    Check out the Licks to see how he applied ( a fairly small number of) chord shapes.
    Page not found – Music Open Source

    Page not found.???

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    I am pretty sure that the sound that has captured the imagination of rock/blues generation guitarists is Charlie's distorted "Minton" sound and not the "safe" round sound of the Goodman recordings.
    Indeed, I wonder if the Minton recordings had been more widely available back in the day, if the sound of jazz guitar would have had a harder, more aggressive edge in the years following Charlie's death.
    As a hardcore CC fan, I disagree. While I was playing rock in the 1970s, it was the great Goodman recordings that got me interested. As did the classic Django Reinhardt music from the 1930s. The Minton stuff was icing on the cake.

  19. #18
    Well, I disagree AND Django most decidedly had a natural "harder edge". No, it's Charlie's Minton sessions with the sound, and the extended soloing, that give Charlie the great reputation that he still has. Of course, if the Minton sessions never existed he would still be reverred BUT his reputation among rock generation fans would not be anywhere near as high.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    Page not found.???

    http://www.music-open-source.com/wp-...Jaz-Guitar.pdf

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    Well, I disagree AND Django most decidedly had a natural "harder edge". No, it's Charlie's Minton sessions with the sound, and the extended soloing, that give Charlie the great reputation that he still has. Of course, if the Minton sessions never existed he would still be reverred BUT his reputation among rock generation fans would not be anywhere near as high.
    Does he have a reputation among rock generation fans?

  22. #21
    Yes!

  23. #22

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    Thanks for the link.

  24. #23

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    I posted a transcription and analysis of one of my favorite charlie solos, "Rose Room", a while back:

    Charlie Christian’s Solo on “Rose Room” – paul sanwald – Medium

  25. #24

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    Another great one is Howard Morgen's "Fingerboard Breakthrough."

    With this method, you just have to know the major and minor triad shapes across all 6 strings, and then you just drop, add, or raise notes from there to get minor, aug, dim, 7ths, etc.

    $39 on TrueFire.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    Well, I disagree AND Django most decidedly had a natural "harder edge". No, it's Charlie's Minton sessions with the sound, and the extended soloing, that give Charlie the great reputation that he still has. Of course, if the Minton sessions never existed he would still be reverred BUT his reputation among rock generation fans would not be anywhere near as high.
    It's amusing when people state their opinions as if they were facts.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Does he have a reputation among rock generation fans?
    Maybe he does now, I don't know. But he certainly did not when I discovered him the '70s.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    Well, I disagree AND Django most decidedly had a natural "harder edge". No, it's Charlie's Minton sessions with the sound, and the extended soloing, that give Charlie the great reputation that he still has. Of course, if the Minton sessions never existed he would still be reverred BUT his reputation among rock generation fans would not be anywhere near as high.
    I wonder how either one of you know what "captured the imagination of rock/blues generation guitarists".

    Unless there is some polling data (e.g. a survey), all one can know is what captured their imagination (and maybe what their circle of friends think).


  29. #28

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    I'm not sure whether I'm of the rock/blues generation, but he captured me. But no one else I knew. if it wasn't on Dick Clark's Bandstand, they weren't interested. At all.

  30. #29

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    Well, Charlie is in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame...

    He influenced T-Bone Walker and BB King, who in turn influenced many blues, jump blues, R&B, and early rock players. (There was a lot of overlap amongst these styles.)

    Here is Carl Hogan (with Louis Jordan) showing his Charlie Christian influence. Carl in turn influenced Chuck Berry...

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  31. #30

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    I know all that, but I'd bet the rent money that no one else who ever attended my high school does.

  32. #31

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    Yeah, they might go back to Chuck Berry but not Charlie....

    So imagine my surprise when I learned all these early rockers had been inspired by him.

  33. #32

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    Actually, I think those old R&R guitarists got their inspiration from multiple sources, not just guitarists. For example, Chuck Berry's solo on "Johnny B. Goode" has always striken me as something Lester Young could have played in 1943 - especially the rhythmics twists of it and the staying on one note which is played with varying accents/fingerings.

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    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldane View Post
    Actually, I think those old R&R guitarists got their inspiration from multiple sources, not just guitarists. For example, Chuck Berry's solo on "Johnny B. Goode" has always striken me as something Lester Young could have played in 1943 - especially the rhythmics twists of it and the staying on one note which is played with varying accents/fingerings.

    Sendt fra min SM-T810 med Tapatalk
    That had occurred to me.

    Didn’t know who Lester young was back then.

  35. #34
    What! Are you really saying that if you were to play a Goodman track to a rock guitar fan/player, and then, say, "Swing to Bop" from the Minton Sessions, that any rock player would not immediately jump on the Minton track has being of A LOT more interest to them?
    The SOUND! The ATTACK. The "joie de vivre" of the Minton recordings are so much more to modern rock tastes than the safe, bouncy Goodman recordings.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldane View Post
    Actually, I think those old R&R guitarists got their inspiration from multiple sources, not just guitarists. For example, Chuck Berry's solo on "Johnny B. Goode" has always striken me as something Lester Young could have played in 1943 - especially the rhythmics twists of it and the staying on one note which is played with varying accents/fingerings.
    There's a reason why quite a few of those were in flat keys: Louis Jordan....
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  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    What! Are you really saying that if you were to play a Goodman track to a rock guitar fan/player, and then, say, "Swing to Bop" from the Minton Sessions, that any rock player would not immediately jump on the Minton track has being of A LOT more interest to them?
    The SOUND! The ATTACK. The "joie de vivre" of the Minton recordings are so much more to modern rock tastes than the safe, bouncy Goodman recordings.
    Absolutely agree. I hunted CC recordings when young because I read about how amazing he was. I found a bunch of the Goodman recordings and .... "meh"... Many years later stumbled across the Minton's date and ...
    yeah!" ...

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    What! Are you really saying that if you were to play a Goodman track to a rock guitar fan/player, and then, say, "Swing to Bop" from the Minton Sessions, that any rock player would not immediately jump on the Minton track has being of A LOT more interest to them?
    The SOUND! The ATTACK. The "joie de vivre" of the Minton recordings are so much more to modern rock tastes than the safe, bouncy Goodman recordings.
    Also the Minton tracks are a live jam session where CC can really stretch out and you can sense the excitement, it makes a big difference. Swing to Bop is one of my favourite tracks of all time.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    I know all that, but I'd bet the rent money that no one else who ever attended my high school does.
    Even if true, is that relevant?

    The influence of musicians is primarily on other musicians. Sometimes it is direct---as in player B cops a lick from player A---and other times it is indirect, as in C cops a lick from B who copped it from Charlie Christian...
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    other times it is indirect, as in C cops a lick from B who copped it from Charlie Christian...
    Like Angus Young copping Chuck Berry who took it from Carl Hogan who took it from Charlie Christian....
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  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    What! Are you really saying that if you were to play a Goodman track to a rock guitar fan/player, and then, say, "Swing to Bop" from the Minton Sessions, that any rock player would not immediately jump on the Minton track has being of A LOT more interest to them?
    The SOUND! The ATTACK. The "joie de vivre" of the Minton recordings are so much more to modern rock tastes than the safe, bouncy Goodman recordings.
    All I can say is that when I first heard Charlie Christian, it was the Goodman recordings, and they knocked me out. (I grew up playing rock and blues guitar.) It was the Goodman recordings that T-Bone Walker and BB King first heard, that Duke Robillard first heard, that a few generations of guitar players first heard.

    I don't think the Minton's recordings were widely available before the mid '70s. (Though the sessions were from 1941.)

    Here's a short clip of Brian Setzer playing one of Charlie's guitars. Setzer---who was very popular in the late '70s among rock guitar players--was known to have fused rockabilly, country, and swing guitar. He knew his Charlie Christian licks.

    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    All I can say is that when I first heard Charlie Christian, it was the Goodman recordings, and they knocked me out. (I grew up playing rock and blues guitar.) It was the Goodman recordings that T-Bone Walker and BB King first heard, that Duke Robillard first heard, that a few generations of guitar players first heard.
    This is correct. Furthermore, T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian knew each other and took lessons from the same teacher.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I don't think the Minton's recordings were widely available before the mid '70s. (Though the sessions were from 1941.)
    I think this is true.

  43. #42
    The Minton Sessions were first released in the 1940s!
    BUT! BUT! BUT! As I have said, the Goodman recordings would - to say the least - have caught the ears of guitarists in the late 30s/early 40s. However, the harder edged sound, and extended soloing on the Minton Sessions is where we can hear Charlie at his majestic best.
    AND if you don't agree with that, you are beyond redemption.

  44. #43

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    Swing to bop is possibly my favourite guitar playing.

    I’m interested to know how much direct influence he had on the later rock players. I honestly don’t know. I don’t hear Jeff Back talking about him, or Page, but perhaps I am wrong. They were into the rockabilly stuff that drew direct influence though.

    Obviously for anyone picking up in the 40s he put that instrument on the map.

  45. #44
    Well, Beck talks about Cliff Gallup (Gene Vincents jazz inspired guitarist) and Cliff talks about Charlie.
    Of course, that "once" removed situation can be used with B B King. For example, Eric Clapton raves about B B King, and B B raves about Charlie.
    And, of course, we can draw a connection line back from any modern country player. For example, Brent Mason is maybe the greatest modern country player and he cites Charlie as an influence.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by diminished1944 View Post
    Well, Beck talks about Cliff Gallup (Gene Vincents jazz inspired guitarist) and Cliff talks about Charlie.
    Of course, that "once" removed situation can be used with B B King. For example, Eric Clapton raves about B B King, and B B raves about Charlie.
    And, of course, we can draw a connection line back from any modern country player. For example, Brent Mason is maybe the greatest modern country player and he cites Charlie as an influence.
    Sure, I feel that it was an influence of an influence to some extent.

    But to simply describe Charlie Christian as a jazz guitarist I think is to miss his widespread influence on all areas of music. Even Stravinsky was a fan!

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    But to simply describe Charlie Christian as a jazz guitarist I think is to miss his widespread influence on all areas of music.
    Yes! T.Bone Walker was black blues and didn't make it into the white mainstream. Charlie Christian played with a white (make that mixed to some extent) swing band that had a huge white audience and he was a sensation playing electric guitar single note style so how could he not influence guitar players of all styles?.

    I remember Dickie Betts saying in an interview that he was heavily influenced by Django Reinhard and Charlie Christian for example....
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  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59 View Post
    This is correct. Furthermore, T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian knew each other and took lessons from the same teacher.
    This book compares the two greats:
    https://www.amazon.com/Trading-Licks...ustrec_signin&



    I haven't read that book but I've read another one by the same author and it's good.

    https://www.amazon.com/Guitar-Chord-...sr=1-1-catcorr
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  49. #48
    I love this Charlie Byrd tribute to Charlie C. It's a pity Charlie Byrd didn't play more of this single line stuff. See clip below. Charlie's solo starts just after 30secs