The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    I have been on my 12 key program for a year and it has gone really well. I stick to 1 key for several days then move up a half step. I'm now fluent in every key and can transpose songs easily when before I couldn't do crap in the non jazz keys. I'm a Hammond player. The long term practice regimen has gone so well for me that I decided to add another long term regimen - I'm only going to practice 1 tune per day. Instead of dicking around on a bunch of random stuff. This isn't that excessive because I get about 1-3 hours of practice per day. That's good for 1 tune. I can work the head, solos, and exercises or material related to the tune. I realized my instincts aren't bad, a lot of being able to play well for me is just having the material worked out sufficiently and having put in the work to get it in my hands. So gonna stop preventing myself from accomplishing that by dicking around jumping from tune to tune.

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  3. #2

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    I find that it can be sometimes difficult to figure out for myself what I should work on vs what I want to work on, and whether the two can be the same. It all seems to hinge on knowing what I want to accomplish. After all that, it becomes a matter of being consistent instead of changing my mind and direction every few days or weeks. I suppose that is where having a teacher or better yet, a mentor would really help.

    The problem I have had with teachers is being able to find one who is in it for the long haul. It would be great to find a teacher who is willing to discuss my goals and then lay out a long term plan to get there instead of every week just having some sort of activity for that lesson without an overarching view of how that day's lesson fits into the long term goal and associated plan.

    I chose not to pursue music as a career, though at one time I did have that opportunity. I also chose not to major in music in college. The career I chose paid well and allowed for a level of dignity, where with music, I would be scrabbling for tips, forever hustling for gigs, and having to teach whether I wanted to or not. My two years experience as a full time musician back in the late 1970s was enough to determine that this was a life I really didn't want. For me, being a hobby player is enough.

    Right now, I am having fun, playing around with this and that, with a general focus on solo chord melody. I have played in various bands on and off up until several years ago, but to me, it seems more of a hassle than not. Fortunately, there are plenty of interesting lessons to be had from Robert Conti, Barry Greene, Jake Reichbart, Truefire, etc., so I will never run out of interesting pursuits. For me, the best approach is to be learning the tunes I want to play and taking in new information as I see the need to add to my vocabulary for playing those tunes.

    Tony

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    The problem I have had with teachers is being able to find one who is in it for the long haul. It would be great to find a teacher who is willing to discuss my goals and then lay out a long term plan to get there instead of every week just having some sort of activity for that lesson without an overarching view of how that day's lesson fits into the long term goal and associated plan.
    Tony
    I don't know anyone who learnt via a teacher who is still playing, I mean on any instrument. I've loads of friends that had piano, violin lessons or whatever instrument as kids etc but not a single one still plays.
    ALL people I know who still play an instrument as an adult are self taught.

    A year ago I went to a gig and the trumpet player blew me away... Chatted to the sax player after as u do and told him 'your trumpet man is unbelievable...'
    'Yeh I know, and he taught himself the bastard!' was the sax blower's reply.

    There's something about teaching yourself that makes it 'yours' and personal to you and I think gives you the freedom, passion and confidence to learn more and blossom.

    As for a long term plan, do you need one? What is the ultimate goal of a musician and is constantly striving to learn more and achieve technical excellence really a way to go in the long run? At what point do you ever sit back and say 'do you know what, I'm f---ing alright at this actually, look what I've achieved over the years and listen to how cool it sounds....'

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    For me, the best approach is to be learning the tunes I want to play and taking in new information as I see the need to add to my vocabulary for playing those tunes.
    Tony
    Exactly! The best way to approach music, to 'steal' ideas, adapt them and make them your own. Precisely how music has been since the dawn of humanity, songs and tunes passed down generations of musicians by imitation of those that come before. It's only in the last 400 years or so that people decided to start writing it all down and convert a basic human instinct into a discipline.

    And doing this quite blatantly this week in fact. Found a really nice solo on this site actually in one of the standards lessons. 3 stage process.

    1. Take it in sections and learn them by rote.

    2. figure out what is actually going on.... 'ah he's using that little run to land on the 3rd of the 5chord and outline the change.... Ah look you can use the same idea slightly modified on different changes... I'll be stealing that thanks very much!

    3. Practice the idea, compose licks an runs that use it, soon becomes second nature and available to use when you fancy it.

    (Added as an afterthought
    From watching a Wes Montgomery bio on YouTube I'd hazard a guess that this was basically his approach. Vid said that he winged his first couple of years playing live by reciting Charlie Christian solos note for note. It's not a giant leap from doing that to adapting the rote learnt stuff into your own vocabulary and blossoming as a bona fide jazz guitarist in your own right.

  6. #5

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    I hope it goes well with you Jimmy... you sound positive and happy with the way it's going, cool. Best of luck, really
    Kong... LOL those day are long gone.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKong View Post
    I don't know anyone who learnt via a teacher who is still playing, I mean on any instrument. I've loads of friends that had piano, violin lessons or whatever instrument as kids etc but not a single one still plays.
    ALL people I know who still play an instrument as an adult are self taught.

    A year ago I went to a gig and the trumpet player blew me away... Chatted to the sax player after as u do and told him 'your trumpet man is unbelievable...'
    'Yeh I know, and he taught himself the bastard!' was the sax blower's reply.

    There's something about teaching yourself that makes it 'yours' and personal to you and I think gives you the freedom, passion and confidence to learn more and blossom.

    As for a long term plan, do you need one? What is the ultimate goal of a musician and is constantly striving to learn more and achieve technical excellence really a way to go in the long run? At what point do you ever sit back and say 'do you know what, I'm f---ing alright at this actually, look what I've achieved over the years and listen to how cool it sounds....'
    With regard to a long term plan, for some folks it may not matter and for others, it does. When I was playing in bands, it was the repertoire and ways that I could add to the band's overall sound that provided me with a sense of direction.

    Playing by myself as a hobby, I have come to a point at which I want to focus on one area and do it well. It isn't a matter of achieving a goal and then I am finished. Instead, it is the journey toward an endless goal of improving and learning in a particular style. For me, that style is solo chord melody, and there is no "arriving", but instead an endless journey of discovery and improvement.

    Tony

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
    I find that it can be sometimes difficult to figure out for myself what I should work on vs what I want to work on, and whether the two can be the same. It all seems to hinge on knowing what I want to accomplish. After all that, it becomes a matter of being consistent instead of changing my mind and direction every few days or weeks. I suppose that is where having a teacher or better yet, a mentor would really help.
    Yeah what I want to work on and what I should work on are the same. I'm lucky that I'm at an intermediate level where I've accumulated the knowledge, I just need to apply it and get it worked out to an objectively solid result. Hence working hard on 1 tune at a time and a small set of tunes. Also lucky to have Tony Monaco as a teacher/mentor.

    The problem I have had with teachers is being able to find one who is in it for the long haul. It would be great to find a teacher who is willing to discuss my goals and then lay out a long term plan to get there instead of every week just having some sort of activity for that lesson without an overarching view of how that day's lesson fits into the long term goal and associated plan.
    I have that problem haha. He just wants to randomly go between activities lol. That's ok though because I'm responsible for deciding my goal of getting tunes solid. The lessons are recorded so I can always refer back to them if I need to remember something about how a topic should go. There are a LOT of topics in jazz Hammond. Bass lines, different grooves, comping, chord melody, melody, changing sounds, how to arrange the tune.

    I chose not to pursue music as a career, though at one time I did have that opportunity. I also chose not to major in music in college. The career I chose paid well and allowed for a level of dignity, where with music, I would be scrabbling for tips, forever hustling for gigs, and having to teach whether I wanted to or not. My two years experience as a full time musician back in the late 1970s was enough to determine that this was a life I really didn't want. For me, being a hobby player is enough.
    Same, I studied in college then realized pro music wasn't for me for those same reasons.

    Right now, I am having fun, playing around with this and that, with a general focus on solo chord melody. I have played in various bands on and off up until several years ago, but to me, it seems more of a hassle than not. Fortunately, there are plenty of interesting lessons to be had from Robert Conti, Barry Greene, Jake Reichbart, Truefire, etc., so I will never run out of interesting pursuits. For me, the best approach is to be learning the tunes I want to play and taking in new information as I see the need to add to my vocabulary for playing those tunes.
    It's all about the tunes isn't it. Work on getting the tunes solid and if they're not you can work backwards and see what needs to be worked on.
    Last edited by Jimmy Smith; 11-12-2022 at 04:06 PM.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKong View Post
    I don't know anyone who learnt via a teacher who is still playing, I mean on any instrument. I've loads of friends that had piano, violin lessons or whatever instrument as kids etc but not a single one still plays.
    ALL people I know who still play an instrument as an adult are self taught.

    A year ago I went to a gig and the trumpet player blew me away... Chatted to the sax player after as u do and told him 'your trumpet man is unbelievable...'
    'Yeh I know, and he taught himself the bastard!' was the sax blower's reply.

    There's something about teaching yourself that makes it 'yours' and personal to you and I think gives you the freedom, passion and confidence to learn more and blossom.

    As for a long term plan, do you need one? What is the ultimate goal of a musician and is constantly striving to learn more and achieve technical excellence really a way to go in the long run? At what point do you ever sit back and say 'do you know what, I'm f---ing alright at this actually, look what I've achieved over the years and listen to how cool it sounds....'
    I took trumpet as a kid, played parades in marching bands until 9th grade. Gave up the band for Football, as that’s where the girls flocked to in HS. Switched to Flugelhorn playing along to cassette tape’s aboard ship while in the Navy.

    At 33 went to my first love, piano, which I wanted to play at 6 years old, but never had the opportunity for study or lessons. Who knows who I’d have become if that desire was fulfilled as a youngster.

    I’m self taught on piano, and still playing today at 67. I’m continually finding new tunes to play. The journey has been endless, and extremely rewarding.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Smith View Post
    I have been on my 12 key program for a year and it has gone really well. I stick to 1 key for several days then move up a half step. I'm now fluent in every key and can transpose songs easily when before I couldn't do crap in the non jazz keys. I'm a Hammond player. The long term practice regimen has gone so well for me that I decided to add another long term regimen - I'm only going to practice 1 tune per day. Instead of dicking around on a bunch of random stuff. This isn't that excessive because I get about 1-3 hours of practice per day. That's good for 1 tune. I can work the head, solos, and exercises or material related to the tune. I realized my instincts aren't bad, a lot of being able to play well for me is just having the material worked out sufficiently and having put in the work to get it in my hands. So gonna stop preventing myself from accomplishing that by dicking around jumping from tune to tune.
    I really like the idea of working on things through one key per day and am probably going to start setting up my own practice time that way.

    One thing I have found to be true, and which research into learning seems to back up, is that it is better to work on something, move on, and then com back to it periodically than to try and master one thing first.

    Most of us probably use the try to master it, move on, never come back to it until way too long method too much instead.

  11. #10

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    I start all my replies the same...I'm a hack.

    I know some incredible professional musicians. Most I know have had some level of formal lessons or training. Granted, most have a lot of self taught characteristics too. But isn't that to be expected? Anyone with enough passion to get good will have to be self taught to some degree. I'm not sure how you slice up the self taught vs trained pie, but even graduates from prestigious schools are probably 90% self taught...I could be wrong but I think having a mentor and an internal drive are essential to becoming good at anything.

    Personally, I like to learn from tunes. Theory doesn't stand alone, it's not prescriptive. It's descriptive. Theory just describes what is happening in a tune anyway. So learning tunes gets me playing which is fun, and every tune has some new theory for me to digest. I like the "tear the tune apart" theory lessons.

  12. #11
    ^ Personally, I like being able to come up with ideas from raw theory and disagree that theory is only descriptive. My teacher, Tony Monaco, also shares that view. We think you need the tune and ear work plus the theory.

    I've decided I'm going to add to my program that every tune I work, I must listen to recordings of it and transcribe at least 1 idea. Aside from every tune, I must know at least 1 musician's solo all the way through and can build to more than 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by LankyTunes View Post
    I really like the idea of working on things through one key per day and am probably going to start setting up my own practice time that way.
    It's great being fluent in every key. I'm kicking it up a notch and only working the hard keys. A, B, D, E, Gb. I'd be good to go whenever I reached an easy key in the program, while it would usually take me a day or so to get into the hard keys.


    One thing I have found to be true, and which research into learning seems to back up, is that it is better to work on something, move on, and then com back to it periodically than to try and master one thing first.
    I agree. I don't think I'm going to do only 1 tune absolutely every day because that doesn't allow for what you explained. I will probably take a few work days tho and only work 1 tune. That leaves my off days for moving between topics.
    Last edited by Jimmy Smith; 11-27-2022 at 06:34 PM.

  13. #12

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    The best keyboard player I have ever played with (and he played everything effortlessly) was able to absolutely do it all. I asked him how he learned and he said his father taught him by having him start with playing songs in the key of D major, exclusively, for months. Then go to another key.

    I think you are on to something.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKong View Post
    I don't know anyone who learnt via a teacher who is still playing, I mean on any instrument. '
    I play regularly with lots of pro musicians who studied at college and have made music their life's work. That doesn't mean there aren't any largely self taught musicians - like myself - who they don't or won't play with, but from my point of view it's a pleasure to play with such musicians.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    The best keyboard player I have ever played with (and he played everything effortlessly) was able to absolutely do it all. I asked him how he learned and he said his father taught him by having him start with playing songs in the key of D major, exclusively, for months. Then go to another key.

    I think you are on to something.
    It's a good program! It's fun and rewarding to play through the keys fluently.

  16. #15

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    Yea... everyone starts somewhere, then get better. Most want to get better.
    So Jimmy... are you starting to be able to play any tune in any key, or is it still mechanical.

    Are you beginning to learn standard Chord Patterns and how they are used in Musical Forms.

    You tend to sound like your pro theory etc.... which becomes obvious as one gets better, whether self taught or from someone else.

    Can you see your keyboard technique improving. Hope it's going well.

    Played another tune by your teacher... was burnnin, a modified AABA bop form.... "Bopsolete" the drums took "B" during head ... He's great musician...

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Yea... everyone starts somewhere, then get better.
    Ya, I started playing jazz in 04. Just felt this was the most suitable subforum to post in. My history is I studied bass in college from 04-07 and played in combos, big band, and orchestra, as well as took private lessons. Also took up piano on my own around that time and got pretty good at it but never made the move to study it seriously/formally. I took up guitar in 2015 but eventually decided not to make that my main focus because I have better facility on keys. On a whim, I decided to try to give it a go with organ in spring 2021 and really liked it. So I have almost 2 decades of jazz tune knowledge, theory knowledge, keys playing knowledge, but am working on getting everything shaped up on organ with my lessons with Tony.

    Most want to get better.
    Yep haha.

    So Jimmy... are you starting to be able to play any tune in any key, or is it still mechanical.
    I've been on the every key program for a year so I can play the easy tunes in my rep fluently in any key. The keys themselves don't feel mechanical anymore. Tunes with a bit of melody or harmony to them take a bit of time to work out in any key tho, like Scrapple or Stella.

    Are you beginning to learn standard Chord Patterns and how they are used in Musical Forms.
    Yeah, I learned that in the 00s.

    You tend to sound like your pro theory etc.... which becomes obvious as one gets better, whether self taught or from someone else.
    Yes I am pro theory. Theory and musicianship is what the greats use(d) and it's what works best for me.

    Can you see your keyboard technique improving. Hope it's going well.
    Thx, It's starting to improve on organ. There's a lot of crap to be able to play on organ. Bass line, comping, single line melody, chord melody, changing sounds and arranging a tune, different styles of playing like right hand lead left hand bass, hands together, or even left hand lead right hand chord in ballads. However, once you get facility, it gets really fun with how much you can do between foot, lh and rh.

    Played another tune by your teacher... was burnnin, a modified AABA bop form.... "Bopsolete" the drums took "B" during head ... He's great musician...
    Cool. In the lessons I always think how the f is he so good? Then think duh, he's one of the greatest jazz Hammond players lol.

  18. #17
    Some bluez in every key for ya.


  19. #18

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    Thanks Jimmy, for great post.

    Sounded great, are you also working on functional transpositions... 3rds, 4ths and 5ths etc... They tend to be more useful than chromatic. Like min 3rds transpositions are used all the times in tunes and arrangements etc...

    Anyway thanks again... keep it going. (getting your playing together is always #1)
    Reg

  20. #19
    Thanks, yes getting the playing together is always the priority. Scales, arps, intervals got melody to click for me. I will start doing functional transpositions like 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths. I remember the tunes modulating in minor 3rds in big band back in the day.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Smith View Post
    Ya, I started playing jazz in 04.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Cool. In the lessons I always think how the f is he so good? Then think duh, he's one of the greatest jazz Hammond players lol.
    This reads like ' an interview with Jimmy Smith' from some jazz magazine lol!

    Interesting to hear your background Jimmy Smith, you have experience playing instruments that have different roles in a band , bass , piano , guitar, that must be really helpful in getting a well rounded view on music, which you indeed have.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Smith View Post
    I have been on my 12 key program for a year and it has gone really well. I stick to 1 key for several days then move up a half step. I'm now fluent in every key and can transpose songs easily when before I couldn't do crap in the non jazz keys. I'm a Hammond player. The long term practice regimen has gone so well for me that I decided to add another long term regimen - I'm only going to practice 1 tune per day. Instead of dicking around on a bunch of random stuff. This isn't that excessive because I get about 1-3 hours of practice per day. That's good for 1 tune. I can work the head, solos, and exercises or material related to the tune. I realized my instincts aren't bad, a lot of being able to play well for me is just having the material worked out sufficiently and having put in the work to get it in my hands. So gonna stop preventing myself from accomplishing that by dicking around jumping from tune to tune.
    That is a truly a nice idea and it will truly horn your skill tremendously. Keep going for it, great job buddy.

  23. #22
    ^ Thx. Just gonna keep going. I try to reevaluate my plan as time goes on. What I've done recently is try to work exercises that will help with my playing like jamming on only 1 chord. Work out basslines that I want to work into my muscle memory and practice different right hand riffs and line ideas to get the hands working together with proper feel. And instead of going key by key on the 12 key practice, I realized I could group keys together that feel similar. F, Bb, Eb are super ez so I don't need to specifically focus on those. C and G feel kind of similar, all white keys. The deep flats of Ab, Db, Gb. Then the most awkward feeling sharp keys of A, B, D, and E. Putting in the most work on those.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingKong View Post
    This reads like ' an interview with Jimmy Smith' from some jazz magazine lol!

    Interesting to hear your background Jimmy Smith, you have experience playing instruments that have different roles in a band , bass , piano , guitar, that must be really helpful in getting a well rounded view on music, which you indeed have.
    Thx KK. Sorry I missed your post. You're right, it has been helpful learning music from the perspective of different instruments. I can't play guitar and bass anymore because of a finger injury. I put in a lot of work on bass and I thought it's kind of sad how that's all under the bridge. Wait, it's not. I still play bass on Hammond. It's fun playing bass again. Also, guitar seems like it has more mojo than keys so it's good to understand it with all the box patterns and riffs and understand what players are doing. Gonna try to harness some guitar mojo and apply it to keys.