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  1. #1

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    Hi all, if this is the wrong forum, please take down this post;


    I've been playing for 20 sum years.. I play in church, and occasional wedding gigs.. I have no music theory under my belt.. I just learned how to play on my own, and played by ear (there was no youtube when I was young), and have been able to copy licks just by listening.. I can your usual basic song down to the note.. by copying and watching guitarists, I have learned more chord shapes across the fretboard.. more and more of these kind of styles have been used in church music (think U2)


    6 years ago I discovered blues, but due to college, work and other life activities, I only got familiar with major and minor pentatonic scales.. nothing more.. my playing improved and somehow I can do solos which has different flavors to supplement and integrate into my playing style and music.. its all just very basic.. nothing really fancy.. but I cannot read notes..


    3 years ago, I hired a guitar teacher who specializes in Jazz and theory.. he was able to teach me a bit (whole note scale) and a few simple introductions on music theory but we’re not diving too deep as I just wanted to get information and a bit knowledge on how I can improve my playing, my knowledge of how major and minor pentatonic scales work in Blues context and be able to integrate some Jazz principles in it to be able to put some spice in my music.. sadly our lessons has to stop because my wife gave birth and havent had any time to visit him or him visiting me
    to do our lessons.

    i did read a few threads here, and a few lessons, but im struggling to find a suitable plan in which i can try and do practically in a limited time i have for practicing. I can do a focused 15min practice maybe once or twice a day depending on how busy i am with house chores and helping out with the bub.

    do you have any recommendations and what to do? I can post a little bit of my playing but I’m not sure it religious music is allowed just for the context of assessing where I am in my playing.

    thank you for all your help. I just want to improve but I’m leaning towards Jazz as I have become more mature in my music selection and I feel i’ll be able to do justice in playing my new ES-330. :-)

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    What do YOU call jazz, what do you like to listen to?

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    What do YOU call jazz, what do you like to listen to?
    Since I’m not really well-versed into jazz, i guess the artist THAT got me really interested into learning jazz principles is Julian Lage.

    although I’m not sure if he’s considered a hardcore Jazz, for the past 2 years, Ive listened to him.

    and most recently, Grant Green, although, at that level, I dont know if I’ll ever get even an inch of his knowledge and playing.

    my teacher made me listen to the classics like;

    Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamingJazz
    Since I’m not really well-versed into jazz, i guess the artist THAT got me really interested into learning jazz principles is Julian Lage.

    although I’m not sure if he’s considered a hardcore Jazz, for the past 2 years, Ive listened to him.

    and most recently, Grant Green, although, at that level, I dont know if I’ll ever get even an inch of his knowledge and playing.

    my teacher made me listen to the classics like;

    Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery
    i think Grant is a great starting point. Start with working out some of his licks. I love his solo on Django, for instance, that has some killer lines.

  6. #5

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    Jazz isn't theory. Its tunes.

    Pick some tunes, learn as much as you can by ear. Learn chords...and an arpeggio for every chord.

    Pick some tunes, we can work through them together here.

  7. #6

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    When the squares expect you to zig, zag. Or zeg, zog, or zug.

    No seriously, good advice above. Just don't forget to have fun.

    And swing, if it seems appropriate.

  8. #7

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    Indeed, it is nonsensical to try and learn jazz without listening to it.
    Speaking of which, what would a nice introductory playlist consist of, for a person who happens to be fairly competent on their instrument, but looking (sincerely) to get into jazz?

    I have friends occasionally asking me for that type of advice, but I tend to maybe focus too much on their instrument. Is there something like a mandatory listening, regardless of the tool?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by GastonD
    Indeed, it is nonsensical to try and learn jazz without listening to it.
    Speaking of which, what would a nice introductory playlist consist of, for a person who happens to be fairly competent on their instrument, but looking (sincerely) to get into jazz?

    I have friends occasionally asking me for that type of advice, but I tend to maybe focus too much on their instrument. Is there something like a mandatory listening, regardless of the tool?

    The Best Of Ken Burns Jazz - YouTube

  10. #9

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    The Principal of Jazz: Listen always. Listen to the people you are playing with. Listen to yourself.

    Because it's not about learning what noise to paste in xxx spot: It's about learning what xxx spot needs you to do, today, right now, to make music. And since that spot is different than it ever has been before, you almost always need a different answer this time. And it's got to be your own answer because this, always, is the moment you are part of.

    That's not an easy or fast way to learn. Mary Halvorson's description of learning to play free improvisation really apply to all jazz improvising:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Halvorson
    It's really tricky and I think that it doesn't always sound good . . . you need to be OK with failing. Maybe you play something and it really doesn't sound good. So OK, so you learn something and you can try again. But if you don't experiment when you're trying to accomplish something, you're probably not going to get there.

  11. #10

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    I have to disagree with some of my fellow forumites. Jazz is a repertoire AND style AND theory. You can try to listen to Billy Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald sing the GASB, but you aren’t going to understand Grant Green or Julian Lage from that.

    The minimal theory I found I needed when trying to shift from blues pentatonic playing was to understand that jazz players didn’t ask, “what key are we in?” and start wailing in that one pentatonic over the whole tune.

    Jazz players use a dizzying array of strategies to break up a song and use different collection of notes over each section. To me, this is a defining feature of Jazz that crosses the radical spectrum from Louis Armstrong to Scofield. How they break it up and what notes they choose has a big impact on their unique sound and style.

    What does that mean to a typical blues pentatonic player? You can actually use the minor pentatonic you know to play “jazz”.

    Think of a typical 12 bar blues. You can break it into 3 sections: E answered by E/A answered by E/B answered by E. You can play lines from an E pentatonic over the first section, A pentatonic over the second, and B pentatonic over the third. If you are nimble, you can break it into six sections and play E pentatonic over the E’s, A over the A, etc. You’ve taken a first step toward playing “jazz”.

    You can apply a similar strategy to any song. Play a corresponding minor pentatonic over each section of a song. You won’t sound like Charlie Parker or Louis Armstrong, but it will give you practice in an essential mindset. And it will probably sound great in its own right!

    After that you can explore functional harmony, melodic/harmonic minor scales, triad pairs, tritone substitutions, etc. But at least you’ve started with the tools you already have.

  12. #11

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    A person who relies on minor pentatonic all the time can't really play blues.

    They need to become a musician. Style is irrelevant.

  13. #12

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    The OP asked for some ideas for learning more about jazz, preferably in short lessons.

    On every page of the Jazz Guitar Forum there is a box in the upper right side called "JGO Navigation". Click on "Jazz Guitar Lessons". Plenty of fun stuff there, with notation and audio samples.

  14. #13

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    It's been my experience that individual experimentation with basic concepts and application of them to the tunes while paying attention to the fundamentals is the only place where a real progress is made. Everything else that one does (theory, transcriptions etc) is just a prep work towards creative self experimentation and discovery.

    I think it's entirely possible for one to spend their entire life doing just prep work and feel that they are going somewhere. It not that it's not fun or it doesn't require drive. In many ways doing the prep work is actually less threatening and exposing than doing the real work. YMMV.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 06-04-2020 at 08:47 PM.

  15. #14

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    Do read? PM me.

  16. #15

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    Hi Guys,

    OP HERE.

    Thanks for all the responses. Like I said, I’m a noob. I’m not a pro. At the most I am a hack. I did not have the privilege to study music theory when I was young due to finances. I grew up poor and have little resources to study back then.


    anyway, fast forward to now.. i cant say I can play blues well. I dont, all I’m saying is I am familiar with the minor and major pentatonic scale and have been able to apply that to my playing and have been successful in spicing up the way I approach “contemporary church music”..

    one friendly fellow Pm’ed me and gave me a good recommendation to get a book by Joe Pass, sound of modern Harmony and Melody. And I bought it. However, being not able to read music, this is where I am sidetracked and have to at least find a crash course to read music.

    my guitar teacher gave me some basic lessons on sight reading, but reading the book feels like reading rocket science. (I’m a civil engineer, so i know how daunting it feels if I came across a problem, a formula that I do not know how to use/apply). although i really feel that this book has a lot to offer, i just need to get myself over that barrier and be able to read music.

    i can post a photo of my notes and let you evaluate what my teacher has taught me and where I am in music.

    i appeal to the more knowledgeable people to consider me as someone who dont know how to play guitar. (Ive taught a few people who dont know anything about road design, by approaching it like they dont have ANY engineering principles so i had to go slow, detailed but not overwhelming, and step by step.

    the way I thought about it is this, given a simple song progression;

    G, D, Em, C

    the way I would play or approach that is, to do different chord voicings, or pick some notes from the major and minor pentatonic scale that would sound good in that progression so as not to step on the other guitarist’s sonic footprint and to differentiate my playing from him, and to cut through using notes that spice up that song without being loud. Am I making any sense?

    so I would solo in G major/minor pentantonic, at least thats what I got from listening to a lot of rock,blues-rock songs. I did try to use the whole note scale and it did sound jazzy but thats it. I have no more ammo in my magazine.

    like all of you, i want to improve, but I dont have all the time in the world, and given the situation, i cant hire my teacher again because 1. He left for his home country, 2. Time differences, 3. Money.

    So I’m just asking the nice jazz people for some direction and hopefully a bit of structured process so i can maximize my time practicing 15minute bursts 3-4x times a day. And be able to play and add jazz principles in my style of playing.

    I hope I explained myself well and clear though. English is not my first language.

    i love listening to Julian Lage, Robben Ford, Miles Davis, (most recently) Grant Green, Pat Metheny, BB King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, and a bunch more.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamingJazz
    Hi Guys,

    OP HERE.

    Thanks for all the responses. Like I said, I’m a noob. I’m not a pro. At the most I am a hack. I did not have the privilege to study music theory when I was young due to finances. I grew up poor and have little resources to study back then.


    anyway, fast forward to now.. i cant say I can play blues well. I dont, all I’m saying is I am familiar with the minor and major pentatonic scale and have been able to apply that to my playing and have been successful in spicing up the way I approach “contemporary church music”..

    one friendly fellow Pm’ed me and gave me a good recommendation to get a book by Joe Pass, sound of modern Harmony and Melody. And I bought it. However, being not able to read music, this is where I am sidetracked and have to at least find a crash course to read music.

    my guitar teacher gave me some basic lessons on sight reading, but reading the book feels like reading rocket science. (I’m a civil engineer, so i know how daunting it feels if I came across a problem, a formula that I do not know how to use/apply). although i really feel that this book has a lot to offer, i just need to get myself over that barrier and be able to read music.

    i can post a photo of my notes and let you evaluate what my teacher has taught me and where I am in music.

    i appeal to the more knowledgeable people to consider me as someone who dont know how to play guitar. (Ive taught a few people who dont know anything about road design, by approaching it like they dont have ANY engineering principles so i had to go slow, detailed but not overwhelming, and step by step.

    the way I thought about it is this, given a simple song progression;

    G, D, Em, C

    the way I would play or approach that is, to do different chord voicings, or pick some notes from the major and minor pentatonic scale that would sound good in that progression so as not to step on the other guitarist’s sonic footprint and to differentiate my playing from him, and to cut through using notes that spice up that song without being loud. Am I making any sense?

    so I would solo in G major/minor pentantonic, at least thats what I got from listening to a lot of rock,blues-rock songs. I did try to use the whole note scale and it did sound jazzy but thats it. I have no more ammo in my magazine.

    like all of you, i want to improve, but I dont have all the time in the world, and given the situation, i cant hire my teacher again because 1. He left for his home country, 2. Time differences, 3. Money.

    So I’m just asking the nice jazz people for some direction and hopefully a bit of structured process so i can maximize my time practicing 15minute bursts 3-4x times a day. And be able to play and add jazz principles in my style of playing.

    I hope I explained myself well and clear though. English is not my first language.

    i love listening to Julian Lage, Robben Ford, Miles Davis, (most recently) Grant Green, Pat Metheny, BB King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, and a bunch more.
    So I'm reading between the lines here a little... but lets say you were interested in learning to play blues with a little jazz flavour?

    • I couldn't give better advice than just - learn a lick a day that catches your ear by ear.
    • This is going to be ... very tough at first... if you haven't done it before, but trust in the process. It will get easier. It might be easier if you start with a bluesy player.
    • There is really no difference in this to being a blues player or a jazz player. The difference is of course if jazz players tend to use less minor and major pentatonic notes in their solos.
    • Conceptually you are going to need to get used to playing the chord tones of the progression as a melody. That means learning your triads and seventh chords as melodies along the neck - arpeggios.
    • Once you do that, it's going to be easier to spot how these windy chromatic jazz lines relate to the notes of the chord and how they wind around them. That's actually the single biggest blind spot for most rock/blues players, but it will make you a better rock/blues player actually.
    • In terms of voicings... there are resources on this very website with should give you some basic grips to be able to navigate jazz progressions.


    Hope that helps a little. The amount of info can seem overwhelming. Learn to use and trust your ears...

  18. #17

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    Sounds like you don’t want to play jazz standards, you just want to juice up your playing with more sophisticated & interesting lines, voicing, rhythms, and other musical devices that you associate with jazz. And the music you mostly listen to and want to perform is the religious contemporary, blues, and maybe other pop style tunes. Do I have that right?

    It’s really got to start with the music you want to listen to on a daily basis and love the most. If you want to put some jazz flavor into your blues, then maybe check out Robben Ford and all his teaching material. If you only have 1/2 hour per day, that’s not going to get you far in learning the elements of jazz.

    If that’s all the time I had, I think I’d just put it into learning licks off recordings by ear. That’s how I spent most of my playing time when I was too busy with career to focus for hours on theory, etc. Learning from recordings is great for the ear, forces you to work on finger mechanics, and if you think about what you are playing in terms of scales and the chord changes you’ll get at least some sense of the theory behind it. That’s how people used to learn to play jazz in its early days.

  19. #18

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    Listen to the stuff you want to play like, and practice, practice, practice! Good luck!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    The minimal theory I found I needed when trying to shift from blues pentatonic playing was to understand that jazz players didn’t ask, “what key are we in?” and start wailing in that one pentatonic over the whole tune.
    This is prety much the situation i'm in. It's exactly this 'step' i want to make.

  21. #20

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    I think it's quite simple. Blues players use pentatonics because they produce exactly the right sound for a blues. It's not ignorant or lazy playing, it's the right sound.

    When jazzers play jazz-blues it's much more linear. But even they use pentatonic licks to get that real blues sound.

    When the OP says he wants to introduce 'jazz principles' into his playing, what does he mean by principles? Jazz principles are just music principles, there's no difference, it's just that jazz has become complex and needs study.

    It would be very easy just to say 'Turn all your chords into 7 chords' and go from there. But there's a bit more to it than that.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I think it's quite simple. Blues players use pentatonics because they produce exactly the right sound for a blues. It's not ignorant or lazy playing, it's the right sound.
    Blues player do not in fact only use pentatonic notes.

    But even beyond this, there's a difference between 'playing the blues scale' and play convincing, authentic blues phrases. This is a process difference more than a 'notes' difference. Obviously great blues players spent HOURS listening to records and puzzling out phrases just as jazz musicians did.

    The laziness is in thinking you can noodle on a scale and make music. That's as true for jazz as it is for blues. And it's always transparently obvious when the playing is not heard.

    FFS, some of the stuff people come out with on this forum.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Blues player do not in fact only use pentatonic notes.
    I KNOW THAT I'M JUST SAYING

    FFS, some of the stuff people come out with on this forum.

  24. #23

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    lol lockdown is really getting to some of you guys.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    it's always transparently obvious when the playing is not heard.
    I should think it's even more obvious when it is heard!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    lol lockdown is really getting to some of you guys.
    Oh, not moi, this is NORMAL !

    (Actually I get out a lot, but I'm no social groupie so it's fine by me. My neighbours, otoh, throw garden parties every five minutes, with kids)