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  1. #1
    Hi, I'm mainly a rock player and I want to get started on jazz. How can i get started on playing over jazz changes?

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  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukatherknopfler
    Hi, Im manily a rock player and I want to get started on jazz. How can i get started on playing over jazz changes?.
    I'd suggest finding a rock tune with some changes you like, turn down the drive and treble on the amp, add a touch of reverb, and play the same stuff you've been playing.

  5. #4

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    If you've been studying Lukather or Knopfler you are already heading down the right path. They can and often do play the changes or in other words are playing to the chords as opposed to a key center approach.

    The book that really helped me: Musician's Institute Introduction to Jazz Guitar Soloing, which you can get from Amazon.

  6. #5

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    Do you listen to jazz , I mean really listen to it ? Which are your favourite players/records ?

  7. #6

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    The following is common:

    1. The standard approach is to learn patterns over formulae (as Jerry Coker refers to them) (II-V-I, Turn Arounds, Blues, Dominant cycles, Trane changes, etc.) Then patterns applied to tunes (which hopefully contain a number of the aforementioned formulae)

    2. But that can be a bit dry, takes a lot of perseverance, and takes time. That's not to say that you shouldn't do it - because you should. However, another useful training course to give you a boost is found below. Using it, you can begin to develop your melodic skills with less rigidity by becoming comfortable playing over a gradually increasing number of key centers. (First 1, then 2, and so on up to 5).

    Playing the Changes: Guitar - Berklee Press


    There is a study group starting up in January using Garrison Fewell's first improv book (Berklee Press). I think it's fair to say that it combines aspects of each of the above approaches. You may want to join in.

  8. #7

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    Also coming from a rock beginning background, I think it is often that the same scale is applied across the entire chord progression and just blowing that scale over the progression is a common approach.

    Some things I've discovered to think about that are more prevalent in playing 'changes' in a jazz or fusion context than a rock/metal approach:
    • More common for chords within the progression to force you to change your 'scale' or note choice within that subset of the chord progression (for sake of this conversation, I am not considering C Ionian and G Mixolydian different scales).
      • A chord borrowed from another scale. This usually contrasts what was being played before, to add color as what would have been a 'wrong note' over the prior chord. A basic example: Play Autumn Leaves using relative minor, and notice what you have to do over the last chord with harmonic minor due to the V7 -> im7.
      • Change of key center within the chord progression--something like a subdominant could step there and back out

    • Thinking more in tension and release (settled on I, IV and tension on V7 or viim7b5 for instance), and stepping into non-diatonic notes during chords of tension. Some blues players do this well and do things like step into mixolydian on the V7 but something to review. Study and be comfortable stepping out--learn to hit the chord tones and any other notes are potentially fair game as long as it fits within the context of the song. Keeping rhythmic cadence as you step out into outside notes on your lead lines helps support the validity of those notes with confidence.
      • Some basic tricks like note enclosures, chromatic line cliches, and side-stepping scales up a half step (try this with pentatonics superimposed, too) may help get there.
      • Start studying and nailing chord tones instead of running scales over chords, if not already. Not saying you need to abandon chord-scale theory, but start thinking more about the weight/importance of notes based on the chord tones of the chord you are playing over at the time that specific chord is sounding.


    That may help use a Jazz approach in rock contexts/settings or fusion/jazz up things in those environments. To specifically learn to play Jazz, learn Jazz tunes, and transcribe/cop licks from your favorite players and learn to play them on ii V7 I progressions.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukatherknopfler
    Hi, Im manily a rock player and I want to get started on jazz. How can i get started on playing over jazz changes?.
    As a fellow Rocker that posted that exact question on this forum a few years ago, I can't speak to the larger theoretical perspectives you will encounter. But here are a few simple/actionable things that may help:

    A) Best advice I could give is GET A TEACHER. Take lessons from a real person in your area who can honestly assess your playing and give you feedback. I don't do this but it is clearly where the smart money is.

    B) Learn standards. Learn the melody and the chords. Listen to multiple versions of the same tunes. Bruce Forman recommends these for all Jazzers:

    1) Rhythm Changes (multiple)

    2) Blues (multiple)

    3) Summertime

    4) Honeysuckle Rose

    5) Take The A Train

    6) Autumn Leaves

    7) All The Things You Are

    8) There Will Never Be Another You

    9) Just Friends

    10) On Green Dolphin Street

    11) It Could Happen To You / Ain't Misbehaving

    12) Stella By Starlight

    C) Listen to Jazz constantly. And by Jazz they mean Bop, Hard Bop, and Post-Bop. Swing maybe. Fusion is out for now. Don't listen to any other kind of music. For the moment, everything else is poison and will hurt your playing. Classical might be ok.

    D) If you know Rock, you may know some Blues as well. Jazz Blues is a good way to creep into straight Jazz as the 12 bar form is kind of recognizable.

    E) Learn Parker heads. Get the Omnibook and learn his stuff. Just the heads for now.

    F) You're supposed to spend a good portion of your time transcribing the greats. I don't do this though so I can't speak to it's effectiveness. That's probably blasphemy.

    G) You're supposed to play with others as well, playing straight Jazz, as often as you can. I don't do this though so I can't speak to it's effectiveness. That's definitely blasphemy.

    H) Books are a double edged sword. There really is no one-size-fits-all method for learning this style. But if you find one please let me know.

    J) There is no advantage to being a Rocker. In fact Rock has put you behind. You'd have been better off starting from square one than coming from a Rock background. You have almost as much to unlearn as you do to learn.

    K) This music is very very difficult and you will fail a lot and feel very dumb. Get comfortable with that.

    Good luck. Hope this helps.

  10. #9

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    There is a lot to cover when it comes to "playing jazz" and "learning to play over changes". When it comes to the second one, I think one has to very be careful about direct vs. indirect approaches.

    For example,

    1. People will tell you "learn tunes". Well, what does that mean? Learn the head and some comping? Great, but that won't help you run changes to any significant extent. Why? Because you need to apply "change running jazz language patterns" to the tune as well. Keep in mind that the heads for many or even most tunes are intended for the human voice, so are comparatively simple. That's a far cry from what we aim to do with instrumental jazz solos, which could be said to be at least twice as busy as a vocal line. Even the heads to instrumental jazz originals are intentionally less busy than the soloing that follows.

    For an analogy, think of an Eric Clapton song and the difference between the vocal line and the hot dog guitar solo...

  11. #10

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    I came from almost the same background (rock, R&B, funk, blues and so on) and - to date - I can't consider myself a proficient Jazz musician - so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    There are lots of approaches to play over changes - one different approach for every book I have, and I have many, many books: I tried to learn them all, with no success... So I decided to adopt a different approach, starting from the simplest building blocks. This is what worked for me:

    - choose an easy standard, with basic progressions and some 'space' between changes (All o me, Autumn leaves, any simple blues and the like)
    - play just triadic arpeggios over the changes (e.g.: for C6, E7, A7, D-7 play CM, EM, AM, Dm triads)
    - try as hard as you can to blend musically (resolve) from one chord to the other ( e.g.: with G7 -> Cmaj7 use the common tone, or land on the tonic of C from the 3rd of G, and so on); this is the most importatant skill to learn, IMO
    - when confident, introduce some extra device (enclosures, anticipations, added notes like 9th or 11th)
    - when confident, use some triadic superimposition (Bdim or Dm triad over G7, for example)
    - when confident, use some harmonic substitution (tritone sub and the like)

    This will help you to hear the movement from one chord to the other from a linear perspective (and will build your technique).
    Many months (and standard) from now, do the same with four note arpeggios: more notes to choose from, but with strong ears to help you in the process.

    Just another thing (if this is an issue for you): spend as much time as you can learning your fretboard. If you have to think even for a moment where the damn Bb is located on the fourth string, you'll be out of sync with the changes. This was the first problem I had to fix to play more than three bars before stopping... My dog was extremely helpful with this: walking with him, I had - 365 times a year - an occasion to revise mentally all my frets, in every possible permutation

  12. #11

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    I started with folk, blues, country, and some rock, but listened to jazz so I could at least hum a bunch of standards.

    I’d suggest not starting with a focus on soloing over changes. Instead, start by learning the heads and chords to a dozen or more standards. Learn to play melody and chords separately, then put them together as a solo guitar arrangement (e.g., “chord melody”). Learning basic arrangements to a bunch of tunes will help you hear how melody relates to chords.

    You didn’t say how strong your theory is, but if it’s weak you’ll need to learn some of that too. When learning tunes, it’s best to start with simple changes and melodies, moving to increasingly complex tunes. You can learn just enough theory to understand the tune you are currently working on, and with each tune you learn a little more theory.

    I started with “Guitar for Grownups” in Seattle, learning a new tune each week in a group setting. In a single group lesson I only learned a very basic arrangement, but after learning a few tunes I’d revisit the earlier ones and find them much easier to play and embellish or solo on. I still revisit a bunch of those tunes, and find something new in them every time. And after a while I learned to make my own arrangements. My progress has been slow, but I’m just doing it for my own satisfaction.

  13. #12

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    Lots of good advice here but - if the OP wants to learn to solo over jazz changes then the OP wants to learn to solo over jazz changes....

    So - starting with jazz blues is very effective, IMO. Sounds great, relatable to the rocker (and really everyone), simple changes, foundational for almost all jazz playing that comes afterwards.

    It's a "no lose" approach.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Lots of good advice here but - if the OP wants to learn to solo over jazz changes then the OP wants to learn to solo over jazz changes....

    So - starting with jazz blues is very effective, IMO. Sounds great, relatable to the rocker (and really everyone), simple changes, foundational for almost all jazz playing that comes afterwards.

    It's a "no lose" approach.
    I considered that, but the OP also said they wanted to get started on jazz, so I don’t think my advice was too far off topic. I agree jazz blues might be good entry point to jazz for rock blues players, but it’s a small corner of the repertoire.
    Last edited by KirkP; 12-24-2019 at 04:35 PM.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    I considered that, but the OP also said they wanted to get started on jazz, so I don’t think my advice was too far off topic. I agree jazz blues might be good entry point to jazz for rock blues players, but it’s a small corner of the repertoire.
    No problemo.

    While it's not everything, I think jazz/blues can be leveraged for a lot. "Everything" is a bit much for starting out anyway.

    It offers:
    • major and minor versions,
    • 4/4 and 3/4 versions,
    • Dominant chords,
    • Versions with harmonic variation to include - Altered dominant chords, II-Vs, Diminished chords, etc.
    • Plus - good old fashioned blues phrasing


    One can apply - chord tone only soloing (arpeggiated stuff IOW), pentatonics, blues scale, mixolydian, altered scale, diminished scale, bebop scale, chromatic lines, other scales

    Lots of opportunity to get a handle on a lot of things. It sure worked for Wes and Kenny.
    Last edited by Jazzstdnt; 12-24-2019 at 08:33 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    No problemo.

    While it's not everything, I think jazz/blues can be leveraged for a lot. "Everything" is a bit much for starting out anyway.

    It offers:
    • major and minor versions,
    • 4/4 and 3/4 versions,
    • Dominant chords,
    • Versions with harmonic variation to include - Altered dominant chords, II-Vs, Diminished chords, etc.
    • Plus - good old fashioned blues phrasing


    One can apply - chord tone only soloing (arpeggiated stuff IOW), pentatonics, blues scale, mixolydian, altered scale, diminished scale, bebop scale, chromatic lines, other scales

    Lots of opportunity to get a handle on a lot of things. It sure worked for Wes and Kenny.
    I recommend a song like Sweet Georgia Brown; I.e. a song based mostly on Dom7 chords. In addition most folks know the song \ melody.

  17. #16

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    Hello,
    First of all, I don't believe playing rock has set you back, especially if you're into Lukather and Knopfler.
    ..but these guys are smarter than I, I'm not a "real" jazzer

    I'd start on youtube, look up Blue Bossa. You'll find backing tracks with the chart on screen. Then look up "how to play blue bossa", you'll see some great stuff from Jens Larson. If you need the scales and arpeggios this place has a blog ,... I think you can just look up the same tune .. ?

    See how you like that. If you don't like the tune, stop back and ask for another.

    Cheers,
    Mike ..(perverted blues, jazz faker guy)

  18. #17

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    Ha: reading through this thread made me think of a motto coined by Larry Wall, creator of the Perl programming language: TIMTOWTDI (There's more than one way to do it). it also perfectly applies to the way of approaching Jazz...

    I also imagine that now it is clear what kind of job I do in the real life
    Last edited by sergio.bello; 12-25-2019 at 07:53 PM. Reason: english is not my primary language...

  19. #18

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    Can you scat sing a solo? If you can, play that.

    If you can't scat sing a solo, I'm not sure what to suggest. Is it possible to play jazz without being able to imagine a solo, even if you can't sing it very well?

    So, one simple approach is to strum the chords of a tune (Forman's list is a great place to start) and scat sing. When you sing something you like, back up and play it on the guitar.

    IMO, that's a pretty good thing to be able to do. Being able to play, instantly, a line from your musical imagination, is a fundamental skill.
    As you move from one tune to another, your ear will acclimate to the flow of the harmonies and your scatsinging, hopefully, will get more interesting.

    Eventually, most people reach a point where they want to get new sounds into their ears and under their fingers. There are two, non-mutually exclusive, means commonly employed. One is to transcribe solos from recordings and figure out the notes of the melody and harmony for new sounds. The other is to find new sounds (or more strongly integrate familiar sounds) from theory. It can also be helpful to know the theory behind sounds that are already inside you, because it may help you find the same sound in a different situation.

    Suppose you're scatting along with a Cmajor chord. Perhaps all your notes are within the scale. That is, all white keys on a piano. If you listen to records, you're going to hear somebody play an F# against that chord. If you can remember the sound and employ it, great. Or, you might read something about using lydian mode and find that same F#. Or, maybe you could already scat sing a line with that F# -- even better, because that means it's already inside you.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Can you scat sing a solo? If you can, play that.
    ...
    I think that’s great advice. Heck, there are only 12 tones in an octave, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to come up with something interesting to scat just by ear. What’s difficult is to figure out how to play what you hear on an instrument. You need a road map for the instrument, and that’s theory. But what you play should be driven by what you hear in your head, not what theory tells you. I’m oversimplifying, but there’s at least some truth there.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by KirkP
    I think that’s great advice. Heck, there are only 12 tones in an octave, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to come up with something interesting to scat just by ear. What’s difficult is to figure out how to play what you hear on an instrument. You need a road map for the instrument, and that’s theory. But what you play should be driven by what you hear in your head, not what theory tells you. I’m oversimplifying, but there’s at least some truth there.
    The ability to play a line that you imagine, or, more basically, a melody you know is a basic skill. The test I have used with students is to pick a random fret/string/finger and ask them to play Happy Birthday starting there. Suppose the student can't do it. What's the best way to build that skill?

    Let me address it backwards. The final step is to have the fingerboard so internalized that it's automatic, you don't have to think about it and your fingers go to the right place.

    My guess is that the more you spend time trying to play something specific, the better you'll get at that. That is, reading things, transcribing, playing along with the TV, scatting and playing that, scales arps or other patterns. My guess is that the skill will develop in proportion to time spent on the instrument - with your attention focused on making specific lines happen. If I had it all to do over again, I'd spend more time practicing things that are musical and less time practicing patterns. That, btw, would be the traditional way to learn.

  22. #21

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  23. #22

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    Find some jazz tunes you enjoy (if you don't like jazz why bother learning it?), learn the melody till you can sing it in the shower or cleaning the car. Identify key areas, identify areas of tension and release. DON'T get bogged down in chord scale theory. Play the chords, record it and then jam over it focusing on playing melodies, always think melody not scale or mode, melody.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukatherknopfler
    Hi, Im manily a rock player and I want to get started on jazz. How can i get started on playing over jazz changes?.
    Hi,

    why don't you try the Arpeggio-Approach ? What you see here is a simple Blues in C.
    Three Dom7-Chords. Below the chords you see
    two Dom7-Arpeggios. One with the root on the E-String and one with the
    root on the A-String. Now try to find a backing track or record
    the tune yourself and try to fit the Arpeggios in. For instance: If you play
    the C7-Arpeggio on the 8th fret, you could play he F7-Arpeggio
    and the G7-Arpeggio on the 8th (F7) and the 10th(G7) fret, both with
    the root on the A-String. Is that clear enough ?

    How to get started on playing over jazz changes-cjam-jpg

    A good start would be getting the Arpeggios for:
    Major Triad
    Minor Triad
    Dom7
    Major7
    Min7
    Dim7

  25. #24

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    my suggestion is learn
    ‘All of me’

    get a looper ....
    record yourself playing the chords ...
    play the tune over it (a lot)

    its a mainly arpeggio based tune
    so it’s is great for seeing how a standard tune ‘contains’ the
    harmony/changes

    after you get comfortable playing that ....
    noodle and mess with the notes a little bit
    But Important ....Keep The Tune Going as well !!
    dont go off on some journey
    (yet)

    personally
    I don’t think the Rock thing will
    hurt you at all ... quite the contrary

    have fun

  26. #25

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    Yea... take some lessons with a jazz players....most of the jazz player I've worked with over the years... need the $.

    The other small detail.... make sure the teacher can actually play.

    Don't know how old you are... but there are basically two approaches,
    1) learn tunes, copy, memorize listen... only takes about 20 years, on average.
    2) the other approach is to get technical, if your really interested... I have all the BS. Takes 3 or 4 years of very serious organized years of practice... and then you'll be ready to actually start playing in a jazz style.

    Opt.3) Do both... that was how I approached.... but I had my technical skills together very early. And I played Gigs.

  27. #26

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    'All of me'
    Just what I did several years ago.
    I had to start with arpeggios playing bass to treble, but soon fitted little phrases in. I love these changes and practised it just the other day. Great standard for the jazz jam.

  28. #27

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    What happened to the original poster, the lukather dude, did he even respond to this thread?

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukatherknopfler
    Hi, Im manily a rock player and I want to get started on jazz. How can i get started on playing over jazz changes?.
    The process of playing over the changes doesn't happen within a week or two! It could take a couple months to years before your ears get used jazz chords and the notes that sound jazzy! First, you think of a jazz standard that you like, "Autumn Leaves", is a good one to start with! Find a backing track, there on plenty on Youtube to choose from. Learn the melody line inside out and start adding licks as you go. Your ears will quickly tell you when you hit a sour note, keep doing that for awhile and you will soon be on the road to having fun and learning how everything fits together. I gotta be honest with you, it took me a couple of years before I mildly liked what I was playing. To me, I sounded terrible! Now, not so bad at all! If you're looking for a book, Steve Crowell's Formulas Book helped me out a lot!!

    Jazz Science Guitar Institute

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by greveost
    What happened to the original poster?
    He hasn't visited the forum since he posted the question last year. That won't stop people from sharing what they think will help.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    He hasn't visited the forum since he posted the question last year. That won't stop people from sharing what they think will help.
    lol

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    He hasn't visited the forum since he posted the question last year. That won't stop people from sharing what they think will help.
    yeah, so it seems, hehe

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by greveost
    What happened to the original poster, the lukather dude, did he even respond to this thread?
    He made two posts in Dec 2013 and one post Dec 2019.

    I can surmise he is marooned on an asteroid that passes by Earth every six years.

    I expect his next post in Dec 2025.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler
    He made two posts in Dec 2013 and one post Dec 2019.

    I can surmise he is marooned on an asteroid that passes by Earth every six years.

    I expect his next post in Dec 2025.
    Sounds reasonable, I am getting all excited about what his next post will be about, lol

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler
    He made two posts in Dec 2013 and one post Dec 2019.

    I can surmise he is marooned on an asteroid that passes by Earth every six years.

    I expect his next post in Dec 2025.
    now that is what I call proper social distancing.

  36. #35

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    You did hear that one about all the young people who thought social distancing meant they couldn't text their friends or do social media...

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukatherknopfler
    Hi, Im manily a rock player and I want to get started on jazz. How can i get started on playing over jazz changes?.
    Hi, I hope you will be able to read this in 2025.
    That's a good question, I can answer because I know where the problem is.
    The biggest problem is the relation you have with your first friends when you start to learn the guitar, they are friends but become enemies when you want to play jazz.

    Those friends are called shapes, you can play a lot of things without knowing what you play, they work like tabs.
    I had had this problem for years, for decades until I forgot those shapes.
    You have to learn your neck, where the notes are.
    When you play a solo, a melody, chords... don't think with shapes, there were just there to teach you the academic fingering, nothing else.
    When you play a note, name it, don' t play the guitar like if you were playing battleship or minesweeper game, you know where you are.

    Secondly, don't travel a lot on the neck, I know it belongs to the show when you play rock but for jazz it's not very useful, jazz is like McDonald's, I mean "come as you are", you're bald, you're fat, you're ugly, you're beautiful... sorry I'm lost... people come to listen to you not to see if your guitar has the right colour or if you hair is long enough to play.

    Thirdly (is it correct ?) but it belongs to secondly, when you want to play something, try to limit the room, I mean between fifth and eighth frets. Try to play all the chords in that room and the melody too and think about the notes you are playing, then choose another room and when you are ready, connect the rooms each other without thinking about shapes but notes, it's very important.

    Fourthly ? Yes ! I wrote it right ! Try to play only on one or two strings (but not only on A B E strings) the melody you played in one of the room and name the notes, it will help you to travel on the neck.

    Fifthly... that should be firstly... when you play the chords in a small room, look at your fingers (the fretting hand) and see how they move as if you were a pianist, and name the notes.

    I hope you're fine.

  38. #37

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    There is an element of the original question that is a bit confusing...namely, it doesn't say whether the aim is to play jazz sounding lines, or just any adequate sounding line over jazz changes. I'm not trying to split hairs here, but this distinction could lead to quite a bit of difference in answers/advice.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by GastonD
    There is an element of the original question that is a bit confusing...namely, it doesn't say whether the aim is to play jazz sounding lines, or just any adequate sounding line over jazz changes. I'm not trying to split hairs here, but this distinction could lead to quite a bit of difference in answers/advice.

    The first is the only one worth thinking about.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax

    Secondly, don't travel a lot on the neck,

    Thirdly (is it correct ?) but it belongs to secondly, when you want to play something, try to limit the room, I mean between fifth and eighth frets. Try to play all the chords in that room and the melody too and think about the notes you are playing, then choose another room and when you are ready, connect the rooms each other without thinking about shapes but notes, it's very important.

    .

    Yep, getting a handle on one "area" (not position) of the fret board is a common approach for guitar improv study these days, and it really helps.

    Only thing is, don't stay in one area too long - learn them all!


    Playing through a nice Wes Montgomery solo transcription will dispel any notions about staying in one place for very long. Of course he didn't use his pinky very much for single note lines. Wes and Django both slid up and down the fretboard like crazy, and for common reasons - (1) using fewer than four left hand fingers, and (2) playing exuberant sounding lines that traversed range, rapidly and frequently.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Yep, getting a handle on one "area" (not position) of the fret board is a common approach for guitar improv study these days, and it really helps.

    Only thing is, don't stay in one area too long - learn them all!


    Playing through a nice Wes Montgomery solo transcription will dispel any notions about staying in one place for very long. Of course he didn't use his pinky very much for single note lines. Wes and Django both slid up and down the fretboard like crazy, and for common reasons - (1) using fewer than four left hand fingers, and (2) playing exuberant sounding lines that traversed range, rapidly and frequently.
    You didn't read fourthly...

  42. #41

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    Yes I did but I probably don't see as much value in that as you do.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRMan
    Yes I did but I probably don't see as much value in that as you do.
    Playing something across the strings and playing the same thing on only one or two strings all over the neck.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax
    Playing something across the strings and playing the same thing on only one or two strings all over the neck.
    yes it’s an important skill, a more valuable skill using two strings as opposed to one though.