The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    I think you’re getting far ahead of yourself. What do you want to be able to do - casually play a few tunes with other hobbyists for pleasure or be able to get gigs accompanying professional singers? A pro will tell you his or her key. And if you play often enough and long enough, you’ll eventually have the same tune called in all 12 keys. Not singing in a comfortable key can cause laryngeal problems for a vocalist, so they won’t sing with you if you can’t play in their keys.

    If you want to be able to back multiple vocalists at a professional level, you’ll have to be able to play their selections in their keys with no hesitation. You don’t need a 7 for this - you need knowledge, skill, and experience. A 6 was fine for Joe Pass behind Ella, Mundell Lowe behind Sarah Vaughan, Jack Marshall behind Nancy Wilson, Tony Mottola behind Perry Como, Al Viola behind Sinatra, etc etc etc. But it takes practice, perseverance and versatility.

    If as you say, you have trouble following jazz changes, the last thing you need is to throw learning to play a 7 into the mix. Learn a few tunes well and keep it simple. Minimize extensions and outside harmonies until you really know a tune well and can play it in at least a few keys. You seem to be overcomplicating things you should keep simple. Learning the tunes is hard enough for a start.
    This is grounding advice and I appreciate it. I have to admit I am often filled with envy when I hear 7-string jazz, but I have not done the work to understand how those guitarists have honed their craft.

    I am definitely not looking to be a professional. My musician friends and I would feel a sense of accomplishment if we can make some of the jazz sounds we love, even if the audience is just each other. Maybe an occasional open mic night or unpaid nursing home gig, but really nothing beyond that.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit

    Here's an example of the above. Maci Miller is one of my favorite singers with whom to work. All of my standard guitars have been 7s since the '90s, ronjazz. But that 7th is a potential disaster with a bass player, so it takes great care and restraint (and the ability to stay away from it if the bass player can't get in synch with you. I couldn't find a video or well recorded track of me as her solo accompanist, but here's a tune with solo intro from a concert we played with my trio behind her (George Livanos on bass and Mike O'Rourke on drums):



    PS: I love the sound of a good flat top for this kind of work. This is my Ibanez AEL207E.
    This is so beautiful. I would be so proud if I could play anything like this. Your guitar playing is such a fluid container for the singing, but it also dialogues with the vocal without ever stepping on it. And it's a flattop - that's unbelievable.

    I love this song too - C major is Norah Jones' key. I've spent over a month learning the Hal Leonard chord melody, which is in F. I'm actually somewhat happy with it, and feel like I could even start changing the melody a little. But the key of F is just not usable with my singer, which is one of the realizations that prompted my original post.

  4. #28

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    Hal Leonard and other chord melody books are useful as etudes or solo pieces you can learn and perform for your friends. And later modify. They will teach your hands new stuff. But they are not useful for taking as is and use for comping.

    Pick a song. Find a recording you like. Learn the basic chords. Find a way to comp with just that. Use chord grips you already know and are comfortable with. Once you have that down with the singer you can add more stuff.

    If it’s hard to transpose, use software like Transcribe to transpose the recording to guide you. Use your ear and your heart.
    Last edited by frankhond; 09-08-2022 at 07:24 AM.

  5. #29

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    Dunno if this has been mentioned elsewhere but Bruce Forman mentioned this rule of thumb on a podcast - for male singers, keep at pitch, for female transpose down a fourth.

    not always foolproof but gets you in the ball park

  6. #30

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    Guitarist Andy Brown often accompanies vocalist Petra van Nuis, might give you some inspiration:


  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by frankhond
    Use your ear and your heart.
    …and your head. Complex harmonies, rhythms, chords and changes require thought and preparation from you. Imagine what they do to a singer, especially if he or she has no idea what’s hiding in the next bar.

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    …and your head. Complex harmonies, rhythms, chords and changes require thought and preparation from you. Imagine what they do to a singer, especially if he or she has no idea what’s hiding in the next bar.
    Hi, N,
    Excellent advice! It's not your gig . . . it's the vocalist's gig. I got a Bossa gig in Chicago after I sat in with the band, on flute, because the vocalist didn't like the reedman that had been playing with her for almost a year. You are a compliment to the vocalist . . . not the show. However, the only way to learn is to DO and if you can find someone interested in singing, start working on tunes. A good source is posting notices on college/university music department cork boards or speaking with the department chair. I found two great Latina vocalists and a bone player that way.
    Marinero

  9. #33

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    Of course everything you play should serve the song and support the singer, but there's a middle ground between playing 4 to the bar root position drop2 chords and playing something extremely complicated that throws the singer off.

    Especially when you play in a duo setting with a singer, it helps to create some sort of movement in your comping. Since it's your job to keep the song moving. It can be as simple as making a dominant chord into a ii-v or creating a guide tone line in your voicings using some simple extentions like 9s or 13s. I find the ability to create simple walking bass lines on the fly using inversions helpful as well when playing with a singer in duo settings.

    Also playing good intros and outros to a song is a useful skill in these settings.

    But everything depends on the song and the singer.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by PjzzaPie
    This is so beautiful. I would be so proud if I could play anything like this. Your guitar playing is such a fluid container for the singing, but it also dialogues with the vocal without ever stepping on it. And it's a flattop - that's unbelievable.
    I really appreciate your thoughts! And I try to follow my own advice, which often means checking myself just before I throw a speed bump into a singer's musical path.

    It's not what you play, it's how you play it. A good flattop is excellent for jazz - you just have to tame the feedback and boomy bottom. All of my "standard" guitars have been 7s for over 25 years - flat, arch, Tele & LP. But I rarely touch the 7th string unless I'm working solo or without a bass player. I play the bass lines when in a duo with a piano because I personally dislike almost all of the "left hand bass" playing I've ever heard. But other than for solo intros, runs, & fills, I'm effectively playing a 6 in a duo with most bass players and with most bands.

    Quote Originally Posted by PjzzaPie
    I love this song too - C major is Norah Jones' key. I've spent over a month learning the Hal Leonard chord melody, which is in F... But the key of F is just not usable with my singer, which is one of the realizations that prompted my original post.
    If you want to be able to play in any key, you need to learn tunes by hearing and visualizing the intervals between the chords. That means knowing all 12 basic major and minor key signatures and scales cold, along with multiple positions for each chord up and down the fingerboard. Think about a tune that starts on other than the tonic / root chord, like Body and Soul. The original key is Db - so you have to know instinctively that the 5 flats in the tonic major scale put the 2 on Eb, the 3 on F, the 4 on Gb the 5 on Ab etc. The first chord behind the melody is the 2m7, which you know is an Ebm7. If your vocalist does it in D, the first chord is Em7 (the 2m7 of the D major scale). Some can add the modulation interval to the original changes on the fly, but (especially for sightreading) this is a serious skill that few possess. I can do it fairly well for most chords on most charts - I just avoid difficult extensions, written accidentals etc and stick to simple pairs like 3rd/5th, 3rd/7th etc. But even after playing for over 65 years, I can't transpose more than a very simple melody line on sight.

    Once you can see and hear the changes this way in your mind, you can play anything in any key. Even the weird ones are simple once you get it this way. More exotic changes (like the bridge in the tune At Last) are a problem for many when transposing on the fly. But the change in At Last that throws people is just a simple tritone jump behind "I found a thrill". Once you understand that, you know the right chord in any key - in C, it's an F#, in F# it's a C, etc. But you absolutely have to know the basic key signatures and scales for all 12 keys to do this consistently and reliably. Eventually, after playing tunes often enough (which varies from player to player - some get it after 1 or 2 times and others need more), you'll instinctively know the changes this way and won't have to think about it at all. If you still have to think about most of the chords, you're not ready to back someone other than for fun and practice.

    Quote Originally Posted by PjzzaPie
    I've spent over a month learning the Hal Leonard chord melody, which is in F. I'm actually somewhat happy with it, and feel like I could even start changing the melody a little.
    You really don't want to be changing the melody or the chords in a tune for which you're the accompanist unless the vocalist knows what you'e going to do and likes it. There are so many variations on changes to many standards that it's hard enough to settle on one set between you. Innovate to your heat's content when you're playing solo or a solo. But you impose your musical will on a vocalist at your own peril.

    Lastly [PHEW!], I don't think that chord melody charts and tablature are a good way to truly learn a tune as we mean learning in this thread. If you simply memorize the written piece, you're not learning the tune. Every song is a melody over changes, and you need to learn them as independent elements if you're to provide accompaniment. First of all, few of us (if any) actually know the original melodies to many standards, and singers may use a melody and/or changes that are not what you learned. So you have to watch (yes, watch!) and listen to the singer, and keep everything simple. Singers will tag an ending one time with 3 repeats of the last 4, do it rubato the next, then tag it 3 times but modulate up a full tone for the second repeat in the tag etc. If you don't know the melody and you can't separate out the chords, you'll lack a critical skill and will have to decide beforehand with the vocalist how you're doing intros, endings etc. Using books to learn stuff is great - but you also have to listen to as many recordings of each tune as you can. You should be able to play the melody too.

  11. #35

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    New to jazz guitar, would like to work towards playing with a singer-dorota-k-jpg
    Only playing concerts and a large amount of it will allow the guitarist to decode the singer's intentions.

  12. #36

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    These two are "IT" in my book these days : Paul Ricci and Mafalda Minnozzi . Paul's playing is never overbearing but he is still able to pull out all the stops re single notes lines, block chords , arpeggiated sections, bass lines, with surprises happening in every song, in every returning verse.... The two are working together for many years now and they make every song their own which means real dedication, diligent work, taking chances and NOT aiming at copying something that was before. I find that when an accomplished guitarist takes on this most difficult and demanding job of playing alone behind a singer he/she often still falls into the trap of playing too much, too many notes and I get the impression sometimes that they're showing off, trying to impress - vanity gets in the way. NOT here :

  13. #37

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    here's a really good lesson on this-

    Good luck, it's a pretty hard thing to do with no bass player. But I think it's a wise choice as there's plenty of demand for this.


  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    These two are "IT" in my book these days : Paul Ricci and Mafalda Minnozzi . Paul's playing is never overbearing but he is still able to pull out all the stops re single notes lines, block chords , arpeggiated sections, bass lines, with surprises happening in every song, in every returning verse.... The two are working together for many years now and they make every song their own which means real dedication, diligent work, taking chances and NOT aiming at copying something that was before. I find that when an accomplished guitarist takes on this most difficult and demanding job of playing alone behind a singer he/she often still falls into the trap of playing too much, too many notes and I get the impression sometimes that they're showing off, trying to impress - vanity gets in the way. NOT here :
    i really liked that
    sorry to be a bit off topic but

    what’s the guitar Paul Rocco
    is playing ?

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    These two are "IT" in my book these days : Paul Ricci and Mafalda Minnozzi . Paul's playing is never overbearing but he is still able to pull out all the stops re single notes lines, block chords , arpeggiated sections, bass lines, with surprises happening in every song, in every returning verse.... The two are working together for many years now and they make every song their own which means real dedication, diligent work, taking chances and NOT aiming at copying something that was before. I find that when an accomplished guitarist takes on this most difficult and demanding job of playing alone behind a singer he/she often still falls into the trap of playing too much, too many notes and I get the impression sometimes that they're showing off, trying to impress - vanity gets in the way. NOT here :
    i really liked that
    sorry to be a bit off topic but

    what’s the guitar Paul Rocco
    is playing ?

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    i really liked that
    sorry to be a bit off topic but

    what’s the guitar Paul Rocco
    is playing ?
    I’m pretty sure it’s a Koll.

  17. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    I’m pretty sure it’s a Koll.
    yes !
    many thx