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  1. #51

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    1. It's great being a jazz newbie (no bad habits).

    2. Little or no formal training is great (no bad habits).

    3. You're smart enough to ask for help before you get started.

    Here's what happened to a lot us back in the late seventies to mid eighties. We grew up on Zeppelin, Hendrix, SRV. Then one thing led to another and we stumbled on Jazz. My jazz mentor, Peter Bernstein, was a blues, Hendrix guy according to his recent interview.

    My first exposure to Jazz was two records I copped from Goodwill (Elvin Jones and an early Larry Coryell album). Both were psychedelic. Then I got turned on the Gateway trio from a drummer who made a pit stop in Phoenix while on his way to PIT in Hollywood. Listening to Abercrombie, Holland and Dejohnette sent me over the top. I packed up and went to school with him.

    The problem was, I never listened to Parker, Coltrane, Miles or Monk before I went to GIT. Never. But that didn't stop me from trying to learn how to play Jazz. Big mistake.

    I have one of the photographic memories, so it wasn't hard to cram in a hundred or so voicings, all CST theory rules, and because I could read, all I needed was a Fakebook (no Realbooks back then), I was set.

    But something wasn't there.

    My very serious guidance, and I mean this with all respect and care, is to listen. Back then a tape, CD or record cost $12 bucks. I would have had to have a fortune to purchase the amount of music required to get this music in your subconscious. There was no internet, no YouTube, no Spotify, no smartphones.

    Now, every version of every tune is at your fingertips--for next to nothing. Listen, listen, listen. It's more important than CST, voicings, etc. Sing melodies and solos out loud. Hours a day.

    I would pick one tune. Any tune with simple changes. Like Satin Doll.

    Next, go online and look for any free online classes on Satin Doll. Go to youtube. Figure out the melody by ear. Check out Scribd for transcriptions. Exhaust all your free resources for Satin Doll. Spotify has a playlist call "Standards" that has numerous versions of most jazz standards. You can find it here: Jazz Standards on Spotify

    There are 5 versions on this playlist from Ella Fitzgerald to Joshua Redman. On youtube you'll get 97K plus results for typing Satin Doll Jazz Guitar. A lot have tab and charts. Many of them are lessons.

    Make this one tune "your best friend". Then go on the next tune. Same thing.

    That's what I'd do if I could do it all over. Listen, transcribe, steal and make one tune at a time your best friend.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    I can remember wanting to learn jazz guitar and wanting the best book. Problem is, there's no one book that speaks to everyone. I agree with the above advice to learn tunes, but I would modify it a little because there is that desire to have "the secret" spelled out.

    So I'd say, split your time between tune-centered practice, and book/theory-based learning. Pick the book you like best -- sounds like the Hal Leonard.

    The books I've liked best are the 2 books by Joseph Alexander on Fundamental Changes -- one is for major ii V I progressions, the other for minor;

    "Linear Jazz Improvisation: The Method" by Ed Byrne -- this deals with converting a melody to a condensed, simplified form, then embellishing;

    "Swing Blues" by Herb Ellis -- jazz blues based on arpeggio shapes.
    Last edited by JazzinNY; 05-26-2017 at 11:18 PM.

  4. #53

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    I'll second that for "Linear Jazz Improvisation: The Method" by Ed Byrne. Own it. Great resource.

    For the record, I'm not against books. I own about 50. All are like 50 blind men touching different parts of an elephant and trying to explain it. Each have their own place in my study.

    There are other routes to books. For instance, subscribe to Barry Greene's online courses.

    Overall just internalize the language in your heart. Your heart is your instrument. Your fingers will follow. Listen to a ton of great jazz. Often.

  5. #54

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    Great stuff - thanks for that. I've discovered this guy on the web and his stuff looks pretty good to me: Website Lessons - Jens Larsen

    At the moment I'm matching up his exercises with learning standards (currently working on A Nightingale Sang...) and it's enjoyable.

    I'll never be Jim Hall, but it would be nice to be able to accompany a singer and/or a bit of lounge stuff with confidence.

    I too grew up on rock and blues: Zeppelin, Purple, etc

  6. #55

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    Joseph Alexander books are pretty good aren't they? I've got his Jazz Blues soloing book and it feels really manageable.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by knoflik
    The Mickey Baker one has a manageable number of chords and little or no theory (yippee) but while I like the fact that the chord sequences sound nice they don't really show me what I'm doing.
    I think you answered your own question.

    If you don't learn basic theory you have no idea why they are using the chords they are, if you don't understand the why, then you won't understand how to choose chords when on your own. Learning the basics of theory not explains how things fit together, but also is a source of ideas to experiment with.

  8. #57

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    One of the things that helped me enormously was being able to get together with other musicians every week and play through some charts - there was something called Brighton Jazz Cooperative and it hired professional musicians to tutor the group every week. Geoff Simkins and Destinytot (no really!) were among them. From there I met other musicians and we formed groups, and so on.

    So that kept my playing moving on even though I didn't have a regular jazz guitar teacher and wasn't following any book. Just learning tunes and trying to play them.

    If you can find something in your area, I would strongly advise you to get involved. You might need to go to Leicester or Birmingham even, but it's worth it...

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by knoflik
    Thanks Christianmm - sound advice which also sounds terrifying :-) Still at the stage of trying to find enough fingers for the chords!!!
    If you need more than 4 fingers, you are definitely not working on the most commonly used jazz chords. :-)

  10. #59

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    Any one watch the FreddyM223 videos on You Tube? I have enjoyed watching his videos. He seems to identify a set of chords that one can use to get up and play relatively quickly.



    Not sure who he is. In the videos he say that he used to play actively as a duo on the west coast.

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by knoflik
    Great stuff - thanks for that. I've discovered this guy on the web and his stuff looks pretty good to me: Website Lessons - Jens Larsen

    At the moment I'm matching up his exercises with learning standards (currently working on A Nightingale Sang...) and it's enjoyable.

    I'll never be Jim Hall, but it would be nice to be able to accompany a singer and/or a bit of lounge stuff with confidence.

    I too grew up on rock and blues: Zeppelin, Purple, etc
    I am very flattered that you work on stuff from my site, and I think you are really on the right track with working on songs!

    Always work on songs and real music!

    Jens

  12. #61

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    Knoflik,
    Stick with Jens Larsen You Tube channel. I have learned many things from his instructional videos. His lessons are very easy to follow- with PDF's . Just great stuff. He will show you chord structure and improvisation over the chords.

  13. #62

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  14. #63

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    If you don't know chords commonly used in jazz learn your chords. Think about intervals. Everyone will try to sell you their 'method' but think about basic musicianship.
    Chords, scales, notes on the neck.
    You should try to get a teacher at some point.

  15. #64

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    The best material for someone just started out learning jazz guitar that I've seen so far are some of the DVDs by Robert Conti. "The Ticket To Improv" series, "The Chord Melody Assembly Line" and "The Comping Expo" come to mind. I wish these had been out when I was figuring out how to play jazz guitar. They would have saved me years and I would have had a lot more fun getting to be a good jazz guitarist!

    Here's the link to his page:

    Learn Robert Conti Guitar Solos - Tab Books, Instruction DVDs + Video Lessons

    Hope this helps!
    Steven Herron

  16. #65

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    I played guitar for over 20 years before setting out to learn jazz guitar. Someone wise told me to pick a jazz tune that I like and then learn it inside and out. Get every chord down pat. He told me to learn the melody by ear and memorize it. Even learn how to play it in different places on the guitar neck. After I got that down he suggested I learn that same tune in a couple different keys. When I finally got sick of the progression and melody, he then said I was ready to start changing it up into something I found interesting.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by dallasblues
    I played guitar for over 20 years before setting out to learn jazz guitar. Someone wise told me to pick a jazz tune that I like and then learn it inside and out. Get every chord down pat. He told me to learn the melody by ear and memorize it. Even learn how to play it in different places on the guitar neck. After I got that down he suggested I learn that same tune in a couple different keys. When I finally got sick of the progression and melody, he then said I was ready to start changing it up into something I found interesting.
    Excellent advice. I'll only quibble with "get every chord down pat." We abstract the harmony at a higher level than chord by chord. E.g., breaking down to patterns like iii, VI, ii, V7. It's much easier to memorize and transpose a tune learned that way.
    I'll also add: find a handful of great recordings of the tune you are studying and attempt to play along, melody, chords, then improv. This will be challenging, due to key changes, reharmonization, etc. But using your ear to figure out how different performers interpreted the tune develops skills that come in very handy on the bandstand.
    Last edited by KirkP; 06-28-2017 at 11:50 AM.

  18. #67

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    Hello everyone,

    I really love jazz and want to learn it but it just seems so complex... What I mean is that I usually learn styles of music by transcribing songs and 'decoding' them to see what they're playing but in jazz guitar there's just so many notes and to transcribe a full 3 minute song takes hours and is almost impossible to remember them all.

    What would be the best way to learn? Is there certain websites or places to go, or is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?

  19. #68
    Yes, transcribing IS one of the main ways to learn jazz music and every book/teacher/blog that I've encountered ultimately tells you to transcribe. So if you've decoded other musical styles by transcribing, I'd suggest you take same approach but with the understanding that you are correct: jazz music is complex compared with pop/folk.
    Perhaps a few sessions with a good teacher can help you understand what you are transcribing - what the original soloist is doing and why it sounds good. There are common jazz techniques that, if you understand them, can help you play the music you are hearing.
    The Good News: If you're already transcribing music, you are light years ahead of most jazz beginners.


  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    Hello everyone,

    I really love jazz and want to learn it but it just seems so complex... What I mean is that I usually learn styles of music by transcribing songs and 'decoding' them to see what they're playing but in jazz guitar there's just so many notes and to transcribe a full 3 minute song takes hours and is almost impossible to remember them all.

    What would be the best way to learn? Is there certain websites or places to go, or is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?
    Hey there Carter, welcome to the forum. Just so we get to know you a little better, before we start throwing advice at you, would you mind answering just one question, honestly?

    OK, How long do you think it should take you to learn to play reasonably well in the style of Jazz you like?

    1 year?

    2 years?

    5 years?

    10 years or more?

  21. #70

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    Welcome!

    It has been said many times before: learn tunes - the melodies and the basic changes. That'll get you further than studying scales and stuff plus it's fun.

  22. #71

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    Autumn Leaves.
    Many great tutorials available--I like Sheryl Bailey's on Truefire.
    Chords first. II-V-I
    Arps at 5th fret next.
    Enjoy.
    If AL was the only Jazz song ever written, I could live with that.
    AL is the "Marijuana" of Jazz guitar.
    Leads to deadlier drugs.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    Welcome!

    It has been said many times before: learn tunes - the melodies and the basic changes. That'll get you further than studying scales and stuff plus it's fun.
    I get the impression that what the OP is mostly interested in is learning how to play a solo since he says ",,there's just so many notes,,,".

    Most jazz standard melodies don't have 'so many notes' and thus playing such melodies isn't very difficult if one can read music (which I assume he can), or even by-ear.

    Anyhow, I agree with what you're saying here; take a few 'good for beginners in jazz" songs, like Satin Doll, Autumn Leaves,,, learn the melody and the chord progression. Record yourself playing the chord progression. Play the melody over said chord progression. Once the melody is down-pat, solo by playing lines that stay close to the melody, creating your own very melodic lines.
    Last edited by jameslovestal; 12-14-2019 at 05:56 PM.

  24. #73

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    Carterjohn, do you know and understand the basic Jazz chord progressions like ii-V-I, I-VI-ii-V, iii-VI-ii-V? Do you know the cycle of 4ths? A basic Jazz Blues progression? Rhythm changes? Tritone and other types of chord substitions? Have you memorized the progressions and melodies of at least a dozen standard tunes? Do you know 3 or 4 different rhythms like the Charleston rhythm? Can you play any walking bass lines? If not I'd start there.

    As far as which tunes to start with I'd check out Bruce Foreman's 10 "mother" tunes. (Do a search on the forum. It's in here somewhere.)

    As a beginner myself I've come to the conclusion (after a lot of trial and even more error) that you should have a grasp of these things before venturing into soloing. And soloing seems to be what you're talking about since you mentioned "so many notes". I think you should work on building a strong foundation before trying to build a skyscraper.

    That's just my 2-cents as a know nothing beginner.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    Hello everyone,

    I really love jazz and want to learn it but it just seems so complex... What I mean is that I usually learn styles of music by transcribing songs and 'decoding' them to see what they're playing but in jazz guitar there's just so many notes and to transcribe a full 3 minute song takes hours and is almost impossible to remember them all.

    What would be the best way to learn? Is there certain websites or places to go, or is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?


    Prioritize to learn standards and as many chord shapes as possible. Everything else will evolve gradually.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    Hello everyone,

    I really love jazz and want to learn it but it just seems so complex... What I mean is that I usually learn styles of music by transcribing songs and 'decoding' them to see what they're playing but in jazz guitar there's just so many notes and to transcribe a full 3 minute song takes hours and is almost impossible to remember them all.

    What would be the best way to learn? Is there certain websites or places to go, or is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?
    I agree, transcribing jazz instrumentals if you're not used to it is extremely difficult and time-consuming even for experienced players. You obviously do music already so I'd say start with one song/tune. You'll learn much faster if you apply the chords and notes to something, not just learn them in the abstract unconnected to anything.

    There are very good lessons right here. There's also a free e-book. The posters here include the authors of the lessons and they can clarify things if necessary. Start with one song. Don't learn a million chords, start with the chords you need for that song. When you move to another song in another key, you'll start to see patterns and repetitions.

    Try out the solos. It's all there in the lessons section. Also listen to recorded versions by well-known artists. Not just guitarists but sax players, etc etc. Get inside that song. If you find something too difficult simplify it. A little success goes a long way.

    When you've really understood one song you have the basis for understanding all. That's a great thing to see even if different songs present their own challenges.

    Start simple. Don't have unrealistic aims. If possible record what you play. Go slowly and carefully and before you know it you'll be getting somewhere. Give the brain time to absorb this new thing. It won't happen overnight but it will happen.

    This is a good place to start and there's lots to choose from:

    Autumn Leaves Guitar Melody for Beginners

    Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

  27. #76

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    I would borrow a good book from a local library and learn what jazz guitar is about. I started with Jane Miller’s Introduction to Jazz Guitar (Boston, MA: Berklee Press, 2015), but there are many others. I also liked Essential jazz lines in the style of "Cannonball" Adderley by Corey Christiansen and Tamara Danielsson (Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, 2002), for giving me something to play: it contains lots of easy riffs and lines and doesn’t overdo the theory. If you prefer modern stuff to standards, you might enjoy Guitar Transcriptions by John Scofield (Milwaukee, WI: H. Leonard: Third Earth Productions, 1987). Most of the songs transcribed are in common time and are surprisingly straightforward. All the songs can be found on Sco’s YouTube channel, so you can play along.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    What would be the best way to learn? is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?
    Exactly. If you really want to learn it, there are no shortcuts. You ear is the most valuable asset in jazz.

  29. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    Hello everyone,

    I really love jazz and want to learn it but it just seems so complex... What I mean is that I usually learn styles of music by transcribing songs and 'decoding' them to see what they're playing but in jazz guitar there's just so many notes and to transcribe a full 3 minute song takes hours and is almost impossible to remember them all.

    What would be the best way to learn? Is there certain websites or places to go, or is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?
    There's a lot to it, involving multiple components. One of the simpler ways the breakdown study is to work on what you would needin order to play with other people.

    1. Be able to play the head (melody out the tune).

    2. Be able to comp convincingly through the tune.

    3. Be able to play a convincing solo chorus on the tune.

    Anyone can get this together on simpler tunes with a bit of work, and that may be a good start. Transcription is an important part, but additionally, long term, don't miss things like fundamental musicianship and basic knowledge of progressions most commonly found in jazz tunes. Some of the seeming complexity is from lack of experience with arpeggios, scales, and melodic pattern specific to the jazz idiom. If you learn some basics, you'll hear jazz better.

    Basic Roman numeral analysis of progressions isn't as "optional" as it is with other styles. From your post, it sounds like you're also talking about the complexity of the changes and larger forms in jazz.

    You would also benefit greatly from getting together basic technical work, like arpeggios and scales, which horn players and keyboardists all know coming out of JUNIOR HIGH school. These are called fundamentals for a reason. Fundamentals like these are talked down by a lot of "Internet experts" who may or may not actually play. Be careful.

    If you decide to ignore fundamentals, just understand that you are ignoring the advice of a great many professional players and teachers who recommend these things and who can actually PLAY at very high levels.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 12-14-2019 at 11:51 AM.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    Hello everyone,

    I really love jazz and want to learn it but it just seems so complex...
    Hope your still with us! It can seem like that if it is new to you, or depending on how you approach it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    What I mean is that I usually learn styles of music by transcribing songs and 'decoding' them to see what they're playing but in jazz guitar there's just so many notes and to transcribe a full 3 minute song takes hours and is almost impossible to remember them all.
    Outside of a lesson plan or method workbook, a lot of practical transcription and "decoding" is done by ear, not even written down. Jazz is a listening and hearing art, focused on the sound of things. This approach is more abstract, but it also simplifies some of the underlying complexity - for example, the almost 150 note names for the almost 50 pitches on the guitar (average of three note names per pitch, the right one determined by the key). If you memorize the note names for a transcription, those names are subject to change when you shift to another key. But you can learn to hear and grasp and internalize the musical sounds themselves as organizational, structural, and functional... in order to play the tune in any key, any style, and speed, any instrumentation, any feel, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarterJohn
    What would be the best way to learn? Is there certain websites or places to go, or is transcribing one of the main ways to learn that is just something you have to push through and do like any other type of music?
    Best thing in the world is to find tunes you enjoy and transcribe them by ear without writing anything down (and don't insist on perfection). No matter how slow that seems to be in the beginning, it will save you many years if you keep with it... you need good ears to perform Jazz with others, which will include people you have just met and with whom you have never played, and they will be wanting to play tunes you have never heard.

  31. #80

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    It really depends on what you mean by "jazz guitar" and what your goal is.

    If you're just talking about jazz improvisation, there are as many paths as players. I'd suggest that, at its core, it's the ability to think of an interesting line to play, and then play it instantly. Can you scat sing an improvised line you like? If so, play it -- and that's jazz.

    That would argue for two things to practice -- one would be singing along with solos on record to develop some vocabulary. The other would be working on your ability to play what's in your mind. There are all kinds of things to help with this process, including theory, transcription, keeping a lick diary and so forth.

    But, that's just soloing. On a jazz gig, the guitarist spends more time comping than soloing. And that gets into a bunch of other skills. Knowing tunes (not just the chart, but the way jazz players play them), reading, knowing how to comp (voicings and time feel, for example), a trained ear for fitting in with a keyboard and other instruments, recognizing typical devices for endings and intros, getting a good sound, and more. These are all skills that were traditionally learned on the bandstand.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 12-15-2019 at 02:46 PM.

  32. #81

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    Good jazz lessons on this very site.

    Check them out.

    Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

  33. #82

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    If you google "how to learn a language better.. faster" then it looks like 90% of the advice is similar to what people people suggest when learning to play jazz.

  34. #83

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    get a friend and start playing
    a couple of standards together

    play the tune really simply and
    keep good time ... make it
    swing

    when you get that together , start adding in a few
    notes here and there ...

  35. #84

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    Jazz guitar is a lot easier than players think! Like someone above said, there are some really good free lessons on this website! There's also some very good lessons on Youtube. When I'm working with beginners, which isn't very often but I start them with Birth of the Cool jazz, basic blues progressions. All Blues, Watermelon Man, Cantaloupe Island etc. You'll get it, it's a lot of fun playing these old songs and it's even more fun because you will be with playing jazz in no time!! The great thing about starting with blues/jazz is you can play through most of them with pentatonic scales, not so much on All Blues, but the others I mentioned, yes you can!!




  36. #85

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    Welcome to the forum. I’m a noob too. I am not sure I can add much to what others have said, but I will suggest that if you have the means, look for a good local teacher and take a few lessons. I am working with a teacher who is a great player. I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information I need to learn, but my teacher keeps saying it’s not as much as it seems. At last night’s lesson I was mentioning how I sometimes feel frustrated that from one lesson to the next I haven’t had time to fully internalize and integrate the new material. He said not to worry. He compared a beginning jazz student to a dry sponge. The water initially just runs off a bone dry sponge under the faucet, but after a while the sponge finally starts to expand and absorb the water. I’m a dry sponge. Jazz is water.

  37. #86

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    Get these books:

    Mickey Baker's Jazz Guitar.
    "Jazzin' the Blues" by John Ganapes
    Arpeggios for Guitar by Don Latarski

    If you're struggelin' with cash, get at least somehow the Mickey Baker - book.
    There a tons of books out there, but 90 percent are....well, you know what I mean.
    A cool cat from Texas came up with a complete course for the Baker-Book. Check it out.
    Mickey Baker

  38. #87

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    You need to hear the music in your head and you need to create melodies in your head over a particular harmony. How do you do that? Listen to as much jazz music as you can.

    Also, you NEED to play with a metronome. Once you can internalize a steady tempo in your head, make it so you only hear like one every 4, 8 or 16 clicks.

  39. #88

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    Hello friend, for years I want to learn to play jazz, I have wanted to learn in a self-taught way. I have searched and asked for many places since I like the guitar with nylon strings and I have found few who have found this guitar for jazz. Today I am 34 years old, I have played classical guitar for some years now but I felt that it was no longer the path I wanted to follow. Now I am learning something I never thought I would learn. The moment is the one that life has given you, find that way for you.

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by eh6794-2.0

    Also, you NEED to play with a metronome. Once you can internalize a steady tempo in your head, make it so you only hear like one every 4, 8 or 16 clicks.
    True.

    But when just starting out and thinking a lot about what to play against those crazy chords, metronome can drive you crazy and make you feel inferior...
    Metronome is good when you already know what to play.

  41. #90

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    How Do You Start Learning Jazz Guitar?-hint-jpg

  42. #91

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    I was looking for this. There is a great video of him playing Fly Me To the Moon with his wife.