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  1. #51

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    I don't think any one single method or teacher can teach someone EVERYTHING that needs to be known to play jazz guitar, whether it's Conti or anyone else. All I can say is that my technique and jazz vocabulary has improved immensely because of Conti's videos, and in a very short time period. Specifically, his so-called "fingering protocol" that he insists you use with his videos was groundbreaking for me. I thought it was too complicated at first, but within a few days, I found myself following his protocol automatically. It has helped my dexterity and knowledge of the fretboard immensely.

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  3. #52

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    Personally, I am learning more from transcribing Jimmy Raney solos than from anything else...so I would think that learning Conti solos would be a pretty effective way of learning how to improvise. When you learn a master's solo (I'd call Conti a master) you are not just transcribing notes but rather an entire approach to how to treat certain harmonic passages, or how to approach a solo in general. But I think anyone would get way more out of the process if they tried to learn most of it by ear and then only used the sheets to fill in the gaps or check their work. At least, I did.

  4. #53

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    I met Robert Conti briefly when he was playing an upscale restaurant gig on Mother's Day in RI back around the mid - '80's! He was playing solo guitar alla Joe Pass, mostly ballads, and he was great. In fact, I prefer his ballad playing to his prestissimo bebop solos. The man can play.

    I think there is a lot to be gained from learning to play jazz tunes, including transcribed solos occasionally, although I feel you learn more if you create your own solos. Theory itself is the explanation of why specific phrases sound good. It informs a well crafted musical piece or song. But it doesn't compose or play the notes.

    The idea of teaching jazz guitar is daunting. if I were to try teaching individuals, I would start with the requirement that they learn to read notation, classical diatonic scales, detailed chord studies and construction, and ear training. Then I would walk them through jazz standards at various levels of sophistication. But not so much in terms of memorizing a series of exact jazz phrases or "licks" (a term I hate), but rather the gist of the phrase. How the guitarist or other instrumentalist shapes his melodies and harmonies.

    My only complaint about Conti's video lessons is that he spends an inordinate amount of time telling you to "put your index finger on the 1st string, seventh fret...." . I would prefer something like, "Start in the seventh position Em7, articulating the following phrase starting on the high B note." In other words, talking in more musically functional terms identifying the notes on the fret board and the chords. If someone has to tell you in that position where the high Eb is, you're not ready.

    Jay

  5. #54

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    Yeah, the sonofabitch is 68 years old. He shoulda had the decency to kick off after his 10 year long solo guitar stint at that California hotel in '98, instead of deciding to try to make a living selling DVDs to help aspiring players rather than continue gigging. What a bastard.

    I don't get it; here's a guy who managed to do what he loved for a good part of his life and then decided to make a living teaching solo Jazz guitar to folks who would love to have had a small part of his career, and people feel the need to dump on him. No one is forcing you to buy his stuff; plenty of it exists on-line so you can decide if it would work for you or not. This guy did what many of us were never able to do; make it as a jazz player. I would have spent thousands in the 60's for anyone's DVD insights (ok, reel to reel or cassette tape) to become a better bass player, rather than do "drop the needle" transcriptions, analyse solos, try to find competent Jazz teachers... why kick someone who paid his dues and has something to offer just because it's not to your particular liking?

    You know who I don't hear talking like this? The working musicians I know, Jazz, Classical or Rock.

    In my opinion, ANY method will work if you stick with it long enough to understand what you are learning. Unless you NEVER think about what you are practicing/learning, you will become a more proficient player. There is no magic - it takes time, patience, reflection and practice to become a competent musician, no matter what genre.

    This is all my opinion and I'm sorry if I offended anyone; I apologize in advance.
    Last edited by ah.clem; 10-15-2013 at 05:28 PM. Reason: Punctuation
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  6. #55

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    I forgot to mention that the thing I like most about Conti's videos is his unpretentious attitude he exudes. He's always very upbeat and encouraging, and he has the attitude, "Hey, if you like jazz, you can play jazz. Jazz is for everybody and don't let anyone stop you from learning to play it. Just be patient, take your time, and it will come". I think that's a great attitude.

    Too many instructors you see online seem to deliberately try to make playing jazz seem confusing and complicated. It's like they DON'T want you to learn how to play jazz, like some it's some kind of competition. I hate that. Conti is the complete opposite of that.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by shamu1 View Post
    Not true! I've used his "Ticket to Improv" DVD, and yes, at first he only teaches you lines and licks. He splits his DVD into four lessons - the first three he teaches you to play one of his guitar solos that he transcribed. However, he tells you right from the beginning that he's having you copy his licks so that you can develop a jazz guitar vocabulary FIRST. After you've mastered the first three lessons, he takes you into a fourth lesson where he teaches you how to USE that vocabulary you learned in the prior 3 lessons. It's the fourth lesson where he teaches you how to improvise with the licks you've learned. I found it to be a very effective way of teaching jazz guitar.

    My one complaint is that he doesn't teach you how to play the head or main melody of the standard tunes he uses - he just charges right into the solo. This made it hard for me to get a feel for and internalize the chord changes. Him showing how to play the main melody would have been really helpful.
    I don't know if anyone responded to your last paragraph so here goes....

    The reason he doesn't "teach" you (the DVD student) the head or melody of the songs are for copyright reasons. Either he is barred from "reproducing" the head or he would have to pay royalties (per DVD sold) to the various copyright holders. 4 songs per DVD = 4 different set of copyright/owner ship rules. And then multiply the headache per how many individual entities own shares of each particular song. I don't know if he sells enough DVDs to make this a worthwhile proposition. Copyright clearance (or administration as it is called in the music industry) is (or can be) a major major major headache. You can easily pick up the head from Youtube videos.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.clem View Post
    There is no magic - it takes time, patience, reflection and practice to become a competent musician, no matter what genre.
    + 1
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  9. #58
    It's always amazed me that Conti is so controversial on the boards while Mickey Baker is pretty much a consensus as classic material. Honestly, Baker makes Conti look like a theory-spewing academic.

    I think that about 99% of people's problem with him is the "no scales..." marketing slogan.

    That slogan is admittedly pretentious and not very nuanced. It does, however, in a ham-fisted way, capture some of the spirit of the eternal conversation on the boards about players knowing scales and theory but not being able to play anything. It's kind of a cheap shot marketing line, but for how many players does that resonate, after they've learned modes and scales and still struggle?

    It's an oversimplification of a truth to fit on the front of a box. I guess it's designed to be provocative and get your attention, especially if you are frustrated with your playing.

    I only own 2 Conti products: his chord melody items. I think they're very good material and there's nothing else quite like them.

    I'm personally willing to allow that the marketing slogan sucks without saying that everything he does is garbage.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 03-29-2014 at 01:18 PM.

  10. #59
    This thread is still kickin'.

    Cool.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    This thread is still kickin'.

    Cool.

    Yes it will always kick because what Conti is selling is essential to playing. And what makes it even tougher for some people to swallow is that is can play with ANY Jazz guitarist on this planet. The no modes no scale gives us "modern" musicians cause for pause but the truth of the matter is that he wouldn't be plying his trade as an entrepreural educator if his ish didn't work! ;-)

    I found out the hard way about his alleged "controversial" nature when I first asked about him.

    I will expound more in an answer to another post.

  12. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    This thread is still kickin'.

    Cool.
    Not even 4 yet. Barely out of diapers... :-)

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    It's always amazed me that Conti is so controversial on the boards while Mickey Baker is pretty much a consensus as classic material. Honestly, it makes Conti look like a theory-spewing academic.

    I think that about 99% of people's problem with him is the "no scales..." marketing slogan.

    That slogan is admittedly pretentious and not very nuanced. It does, however, in a ham-fisted way, capture some of the spirit of the eternal conversation on the boards about players knowing scales and theory but not being able to play anything. It's kind of a cheap shot marketing line, but for how many players does that resonate, after they've learned modes and scales and still struggle?

    It's an oversimplification of a truth to fit on the front of a box. it's provocative and designed to get your attention, especially if you are frustrated with your playing.

    I only own 2 Conti products: his chord melody items. I think they're very good material and there's nothing else quite like them.

    I'm personally willing to allow that the marketing slogan sucks without saying that everything he does is garbage.



    Mikey Baker "makes Conti look like a theory-spewing academic." --- HILARIOUS!!!!

    "I'm personally willing to allow that the marketing slogan sucks without saying that everything he does is garbage." -- AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!!


    PART 1:

    CONFESSION:

    I have been dying to share my experience but I dislike the squabbling that Conti’s method seems to inspire.

    PRE JOURNEY:

    I must say that I'm writing this partially for my benefit so I can read it again when I feel like giving up playing improvised jazz melodies on this fangled instrument called the guitar at higher levels of proficiency.

    Here goes…

    I took a class from a Jazz guitar great about a year ago. I am not going to mention his name just in case he Googles his name and finds this blog with me yapping away. I will say he is from Texas so you can pretty much deduce who he is.

    Anyway, said Jazz guitar great was ever so nice and asked me what tunes I wanted to jam over (presumably so he could figure out where I was musically). Anyway, after I fumbled soloing over “Fly me to the moon” and “All things you are” he exclaimed, you’ve picked all these hard songs. That remark hit me with a huge realization. I never for once thought of those songs as “hard”. When I first heard most of the songs I love (including the two mentioned above) my heart took over. There is something about the harmonic progressions that threw out all my logic. I started pursuing those songs. It was only after a year of figuring out how to play “Fly me to the moon” on my own did I start to wonder about the scale of difficulty of my quest to play these songs. I have been playing guitar for years but I wasn’t prepared for this quest. My desire to pursue the sounds I hear in my head probably made me delusional with respect to time and degree of difficulty.

    My mind was racing about how to solve my problem of trying to be proficient soloing over “All the things you are” before my next lesson. What a freaking laugh!!

    I haven't gone back yet!

    This was when I made the decision to go Conti. I had been looking at his site in desperation for quite a while. My research also revealed the “controversy” his no modes tag line seems to engender. Like I said, I was desperate. Going to a 4 year school was a non-starter. I have to work. But even though I had the finger dexterity that ish wasn’t clicking when it came time to soloing like an angel over ATTYA.

    Somewhere earlier on this posting a poster said something to the effect that Conti doesn’t “teach you how to think”. I TOTALLY understand what the poster means but I only now feel qualified to respond to this assertion after almost a year working on ATTYA using Conti as a launch pad.

    10,000 HOURS:

    You may or may not agree with Malcolm Gladwell about “the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book)]

    After my class with the Jazz great (who I later discovered had been a guest teacher at one of Conti’s earlier guitar camps), I thought about what I needed to do. I didn’t want to go back to said jazz teacher till I had ramped up my skills. You don’t go to a surgeon to get headache medicine.

    I had already memorized FMTTM and ATTYA in arpeggio form. If I stayed playing those arpeggios I would be spending valuable time doing a great thing (playing arpeggios) and then end up “thinking” by finally working away from arpeggios or I could jump on learning a “solo” (and think of the memorized “solo” as a melodic arpeggio) and then figure out what to do next. Plus what kind of fool would I be playing an arpeggio for a solo at a jam session? No laugh track needed. I would be the laugh track!

    And so I took the plunge and memorized Conti’s ATTYA. He doesn’t have a FMTTM solo(ing) DVD and so I figured I would apply what I learned on ATTYA to FMTTM. I have been playing ATTYA (Conti solo) weekly (I am learning other stuff too) for about maybe 8 months or more.

    First, I should say that I understand “thinking” in this context to be, being able to playing different “melodic ideas” in an aurally pleasing way while improvising over a given song.

    When it comes to “thinking” while playing a difficult song like ATTYA or any song for that matter, I can say that from personal experience that you have to have play OVER and INTERNALIZE the underlying harmony (of the song in question) for a long period of time to be able to MEANDER/NOODLE/IMPROVISE ETC in a meaningful melodically way successfully. Meaning you end up learning the “wrong notes” and the “right notes” till you can pick and chose aurally pleasing note sequences to use at will. And”at will” is a trans continental fight away from the actual doing it part.

    Hello 10,000 hours.

    Now to Conti’s credit he SAYS this in his videos. YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE SOLO HE TEACHES YOU OVER AND OVER AND OVER and one day as you play your guitar on your couch, you will say to yourself “What is this I just played”? Then as you figure out what sweet sounding lick you played THAT WAS DERIVED FROM THE SOLO HE TAUGHT YOU (ME), the “thinking” part has already kicked in.

    Conti also says in his video to play the lines in different areas of the guitar after you've mastered the original form. I found out that when I did this, the different positions lent themselves to alterations that sounded just as good or BETTER that the original Conti line.

    That’s all “thinking” BUT, YOU HAVE TO SPEND OR INVEST THE TIME MAKING PLAYING AND MAKING MISTAKES (in the woodshed) IN ORDER TO FIND OUT WHAT WORKS (SOUNDS GOOD). And then you PRACTICE what SOUNDS GOOD for hours on end so that you can recall (THINK) this on the fly while soloing. This qualifies as thinking BUT once again I had (am am still) putting in the TIME.

    I love improvisational poetry. I used to go to the Nuyorican cafe in NYC to hear these amazing improvisational pieces every week. When an improvisational poet for example steps up to the mic, he or she is rearranging fragments of language that he or she has already internalized and mastered. Same with music has been my practical discovery while on this journey. You learn your do ray mee-s in order to rearrange (thinking) on the band stand. But that comes with heavy heavy practice before you actually step on the band stand.

    After I memorized Conti’s ATTYA I discovered to my UTMOST dismay that I couldn’t KEEP UP with the Hal Leonard ATTYA backing track. AT ALL. After all this time I had spent memorizing Conti's lines. It was a sickening feeling. I soon recovered from this self realization that my finger dexterity was NOT good enough. I went out and bought this machine. [Boss JS-8 eBand Audio Player w/ Guitar Effects] to help me slow down the track. Hell, I couldn’t even “hear” some of the voicings the piano player was using to help me forcast and negotiate the changes that were rushing at me like an Xbox 1st person shooter video game. I ALSO realized that I would have to apply my own internal sense of rhythm to Conti’s lines. We all have a different feel in in relation to rhythm. So I was grappling with a lot at once, let alone THINK!!! Sh*%^$!!!!!!

    Over time I made progress but I still wasn’t able to get to 100% speed.

    At this point I was “all in” on Conti so I figured, Conti should also teach me how to improve my chops to PLAY his freaking lines that were kicking my behind as I tried to scramble across the fretboard. One thing that he does is jump all over the fretboard. “It’s good for you” he says into the camera, Jazz guitarists should be able to execute ideas anywhere on the fretboard “at will”. Awesome goose bump inducing thought BUT Easy for you to say Uncle Bob I thought to myself.


    Continues in PART 2
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 03-29-2014 at 03:08 PM.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    It's always amazed me that Conti is so controversial on the boards while Mickey Baker is pretty much a consensus as classic material. Honestly, it makes Conti look like a theory-spewing academic.

    I think that about 99% of people's problem with him is the "no scales..." marketing slogan.

    That slogan is admittedly pretentious and not very nuanced. It does, however, in a ham-fisted way, capture some of the spirit of the eternal conversation on the boards about players knowing scales and theory but not being able to play anything. It's kind of a cheap shot marketing line, but for how many players does that resonate, after they've learned modes and scales and still struggle?

    It's an oversimplification of a truth to fit on the front of a box. it's provocative and designed to get your attention, especially if you are frustrated with your playing.

    I only own 2 Conti products: his chord melody items. I think they're very good material and there's nothing else quite like them.

    I'm personally willing to allow that the marketing slogan sucks without saying that everything he does is garbage.

    PART 2:

    What did I do?

    I went out and got Conti’s “Precision Technique” book. Let me tell you IT KICKED MY ASS all OVER the FREAKING place when I first started. And then came the discussion of PICK SIZE etc etc. Conti sends you a copy of the pick he uses. GASP! He’s been using a paper thin .38 for over 4 decades plus. GASP! How very unorthodoxxx and unjazz-like!!!! But hey, we’re talking about jazz IMPROVISATION here right? I slowly came to really realize that TO EACH HIS OWN. But that’s yet another conversation. (Soon we’ll be having conversations within the conversation).

    Anyway, the first exercise is taken from that famous Wolfhardt violin book. I’ve seen whole other arguments for and against that. I didn’t care what other people said. I am DESPERATE to be able to play and improvise Jazz guitar before I die. Hell, I am even thinking of the band I am forming to play danceable versions of jazz standards (in addition to my own compositions of course). But that’s also another story cum discussion. Conti uses a “four blocks” at a time fingering protocol. It helped me organize my thoughts in other areas of my playing.

    Playing the first exercise at 204 BPMs was like going to the dentist with no novocaine for a tooth extraction. That was 6 months ago. Today, 204 BPM is my jump off point for daily practice of the first exercise. It's been remarkable for me to feel the progress… really. I just hit the 240 BPM mark last week. It’s still a tad fuzzy but I can hear and feel that another couple of hours and I’ll be shooting for the 300 BPM mark in the next 6 months. My wife's jaw dropped when I she heard me playing that exercise at 240. She has been so tolerant of me coming home from work and grabbing my guitar.

    That increased finger dexterity has allowed me to play the Hal Leonard ATTYA backing track (and other songs) at full speed. I was in shock when I accomplished that (ATTYA) because I didn’t play against the track for quite a while as I focused on mastering the exercise from the Precision technique book. When I revisited the Hal Leonard ATTYA, I was just testing myself to see where I stood. I started at 75% speed and realized I needed to bump it up. That's when the shock kicked in. Re: memorized solos and lines. Now I am in the process of breaking apart what I've learned in order to apply to other songs. During this process I discover alterations and derivatives of fragment lines I seem to be memorizing by virtue of noodling on the guitar using the original lines I have memorized. Remember, I don't necessarily like all Conti's lines so I tweak and tryout different stuff using his original thought as a jump off point.

    That's the thinking part.

    This for me to hear again and again. As in life, thinking while playing ATTYA at full speed seems like an exclusive club. And in some ways it is. But there is a way to try to get there. Unfortunately, it's involves those 10,000 hours and more that's all. Conti's way is just one way. If another way works for you, fine. Just work on GETTING THERE. That's the most important end to this goal. GET THERE.

    Like I said, I have been dying to share all this but I hate starting flame throwing wars. And so I kept quiet. My solace was that I knew it worked for me and that I needed to kill the urge to tell people how and what was working for me.

    Now my 300 dollar “slow down the music” machine is gathering dust. I have since moved on to a program called TRANSCRIBE. Great little sucker for 10% of the price of that BOSS machine. But hey, it’s a tough life trying to achieve anything meaningful.

    At this point I have taken the Conti method and moved a step further. Yes I am obsessively persistent and maybe crazy. J

    A comment that Conti threw out that lit a fire in my head was to think of “lines/fragments etc.” as the single note equivalent of a chord. Boom. I got it right then.

    I am now using software to record and then memorizing my own full length solos over the songs I intend to play on the bandstand. But I don't stop there. I then reverse engineer and break apart these recorded choruses to understand when and where they can be used. SLOW FREAKING PROCESS. I know they are all single note versions of the underlying chords. MY TASK is to play them till they are so internalized that I can break the same lines apart from any starting point within the whole sequence of lines and apply them to other songs. And then I break them apart further till I get right back to “do ray me fa so” and back to the complex lines that they are and can be.

    A different kind of learning, I know.

    What Conti gave me that was priceless is his fingering protocol. The first finger aka the strongest finger is the lead finger guiding when making leaps from fret to fret. The pinkie finger is also tremendously strengthened from those violin exercises. I was shocked when I first started playing the melody to SPAIN. I stared in horror as my pinkie almost flew off my hand. It simply protested and grew a mind of it's own. I COULD NOT control the pinkie at high level speed. Today? No biggie!!

    For example, the more I practiced the precision technique exercises, the more I could walk through the head to Chick Corea’s SPAIN which is challenging to play on guitar at a reasonable speed. I then used the Conti inspired lessons and made my own solos (12 choruses worth) for SPAIN and memorized them. I am now breaking them apart and trying to understand the “chord equivalent of these single note chords if you will”. Very interesting but labor intensive.

    Hello DONNA LEE, hello CHEROKEE! J

    The journey continues unabated. I will check back in after year # 2. ;-)
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 03-29-2014 at 03:45 PM.

  15. #64

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    I once talked to Conti and asked him (among other things) about Carol Kaye. He knows her, admires her playing, and thinks she is a good teacher. ("She's a real pro. Knows her stuff...") Carol is much more anti-scale than Conti ever thought about being. He thinks 'you learn to play jazz by playing jazz, not modes and scales.' Carol actually claims that playing scales is bad for the ears of beginners. (I've never heard anyone else say that.) Carol is stronger about learning to play triads and different things to do with them (-and with seventh chords in due course.) Conti focuses much more on learning lines and understanding the theory later. Both their approaches have worked for students who became pros (and for many amateurs who just got a lot better through working with their material).

    I think some people hear "no scales, no modes" and think Conti is against knowing any scale. He assumes knowledge of the major scale. He just doesn't want people to spend hours *playing* major scales as a preamble to improvising. He thinks that's the wrong way in. (I agree with him about this.)

    For Conti, and Carol Kaye too, if you know the major scale and how chords tend to move (-the cycle), you know most of the theory you need to know to play standards. When you learn---and they both teach this---how to substitute diminished chords for dominant 7ths (-when you know why Ab dim and B dim and D dim and F dim can substitute for a G7 chord) then you know much of the rest of the theory you need to know. It's so much easier for a budding player to work with, say, "Play this line and it works over G7; move it up three frets and it works over an altered G7 chord" than it is for the student to think in terms of modes. It's so much easier to "just play the god*amn thing" (as Herb Ellis once said) than to understand why it works and THEN learn how to play it. As Hamlet said, "The play(ing)'s the thing."

    I am not saying this to argue against anything said by anyone else. I hope it may clarify for some that by "no scales, no modes" Conti does not mean an ignorance of the rudiments of music. He means that you should practice the things you want to play well---such as tunes, cool solos, great intros and endings, hip turnarounds and the like. As you learn to do it, you find it easier to understand how it works than you would if you tried to understand it all before playing any of it. (We're all familiar with, "ah, now I get it" moments in other areas of life. We tend to 'get the hang of x' by doing x, not doing something preparatory to the doing of x. Wee tykes may start out hitting a baseball off of a tee but they are learning to swing a bat...)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  16. #65

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    Most people think their approach is the best and that other approaches are second-best or even crappy. Religion and politics are excellent examples of this tendency. It happens in learning jazz, too. For a lot of the history of jazz, most players on all instruments played the chords: triads + 7ths + extensions + tensions. They didn't really think much about the scales and modes while playing. It was a relatively simple way to get through the tunes and play some interesting stuff. This started to change with developments like modal jazz, the Lydian chromatic system and Coltrane.

    After that, knowing about scales and modes became de rigeur but IMHO learning to play jazz by learning scales and modes is a little bit like dancing about architecture, to paraphrase someone. There are a lot of musicians trying to play jazz who have mastered the nouns, verbs, pronouns and adjectives but have nothing to say. They can solo fluently but do not elicit emotions or move their audience. I don't think that theory can teach you how to do that. I do think that musicians can learn both and many do. Jim Hall, for example, earned a BA in composition, etc., and he sure as heck knew how to play jazz.

    I think which system is "better" depends on your learning style.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by West LA Jazz View Post
    10,000 HOURS:

    You may or may not agree with Malcolm Gladwell about “the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book)]
    Gary Marcus mentions this in "Guitar Zero," the subject of another current thread. The research backing this was done by Anders Ericcson, a 'expert on expertise.' Although the "10,000 hour rule" is a handy rule of thumb, Ericcson stresses "deliberate practice." (If we switch from guitar to golf, we all know--or can easily imagine---a person playing for decades without getting any better. Indeed, a person may get worse. One must practice but not just any old practice will benefit a person.)

    What you describe here is deliberate---focusing on a weakness, giving yourself a goal that is beyond your current skill level but not so much so you have no hope of success, and keeping at it. That way works. You will get better, and not just a little better but a lot better.

    I recently took up Travis picking and found myself laboring over simple things with what Joe Pass called "folk chords" (-open G, C, et al). I learned to play those chords as a kid but not in this way. In learning to play a constant bass line with chord punches, I struggle a lot more with "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" than I do over, say, a walk/comp over the blues in Bb or even basic rhythm changes because there I'm actually using fewer different chord shapes and they are (mostly) all on the same string sets. As Wittgenstein put it, "this stung my vanity and I had a hard time quietening it" but as soon as I broke it down into small chunks and set the metronome at a comically low level, I started to make progress.

    We' re all good at playing what we know. (That's what it means to really know a piece---you can play it well without worry.) We all suck playing what we don't know. The challenge is to learn how to lessen the time between initial incompetence and playing with swing and flair.

    I think Conti's approach is good in this respect. You spend your time learning things you want to play, rather than things that just prepare you to play things you want to play. Sometimes such prep work is necessary; for example, Conti's "Chord Melody Assembly Line" provides a series of chord forms that you just have to learn, however long it takes, before you can use them to generate your own chord melodies with them. But even here, all the stuff you practice is stuff you want to play.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Gary Marcus mentions this in "Guitar Zero," the subject of another current thread. The research backing this was done by Anders Ericcson, a 'expert on expertise.' Although the "10,000 hour rule" is a handy rule of thumb, Ericcson stresses "deliberate practice." (If we switch from guitar to golf, we all know--or can easily imagine---a person playing for decades without getting any better. Indeed, a person may get worse. One must practice but not just any old practice will benefit a person.)

    What you describe here is deliberate---focusing on a weakness, giving yourself a goal that is beyond your current skill level but not so much so you have no hope of success, and keeping at it. That way works. You will get better, and not just a little better but a lot better.

    I recently took up Travis picking and found myself laboring over simple things with what Joe Pass called "folk chords" (-open G, C, et al). I learned to play those chords as a kid but not in this way. In learning to play a constant bass line with chord punches, I struggle a lot more with "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" than I do over, say, a walk/comp over the blues in Bb or even basic rhythm changes because there I'm actually using fewer different chord shapes and they are (mostly) all on the same string sets. As Wittgenstein put it, "this stung my vanity and I had a hard time quietening it" but as soon as I broke it down into small chunks and set the metronome at a comically low level, I started to make progress.

    We' re all good at playing what we know. (That's what it means to really know a piece---you can play it well without worry.) We all suck playing what we don't know. The challenge is to learn how to lessen the time between initial incompetence and playing with swing and flair.

    I think Conti's approach is good in this respect. You spend your time learning things you want to play, rather than things that just prepare you to play things you want to play. Sometimes such prep work is necessary; for example, Conti's "Chord Melody Assembly Line" provides a series of chord forms that you just have to learn, however long it takes, before you can use them to generate your own chord melodies with them. But even here, all the stuff you practice is stuff you want to play.

    Amen. Great stuff!!

  19. #68
    Interesting posts, fellas.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  20. #69

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    I don't think I've ever commented on this one, but it's been floating around and coming back up regularly. I guess it goes with the season finale of The Walking Dead. I was also initially put off by Conti's salesman approach. However, I am one of those guys who knows a lot of theory, but I'm not a great player. I can even sometimes explain what other people are playing when I can't even do it myself. So I gave a few Conti products a try. I bought a couple of the Ticket To Improv DVD's, A Couple of the Advanced Improv DVD's, The Source Code Jazz Lines, and The Source Code Chord Melody Assembly Line. His materials are not absent of theory, he really expects that you already understand all of your intervals, which to me means that you at least understand the major scale. Of course he doesn't say this, but it's similar to Jimmy Bruno refusing to call his pitch collections a "scale". If you did come in as a complete novice, the TTI videos are really easy but the licks are cool and easy to transfer to other applications, plus he shows you how to use them by applying the licks from 3 tunes into a completely unrelated tune. They were a little too easy for me, but I still find myself using some of the licks. The Advanced Improv DVD's are more challenging and I find myself struggling a little with those, to push the high tempos, but that is good. The Jazz Lines give good insight on how to simplify soloing over many chords using the same licks, and not just the traditional tonal center sort of playing. The Chord Melody Assembly line is starting to be a real eye opener too, I just started it a couple days ago. I had a few chord scales that I used for chord melody, but his approach really seems to be working and it sounds better than what I was doing. Here's the moral of the story. Since learning some of Conti's lines, I'm a better player. I also now find it much easier to copy other players lines. If jazz is a language, I understood grammar, and could diagram a sentence, but I couldn't speak the language very well. Just like a baby learning to speak, learning to speak jazz is really helping me move forward. You can write the greatest novel ever written without understanding what a dangling participle is. It took me 25 years of playing to realize that the same applies to music. That grammar teacher who explains the dangling participle to you may have the most uninteresting stories ever encountered. The grizzled old homeless guy down the street may spin a more interesting yarn. I know some of you guys really like modern jazz, but I can't think of a single one of my favorite players who has beyond a bachelors in music and most of them have no formal music instruction at all. They spoke the language and left the analyzing to others. Bob's approach isn't new, every truly old school guy I've ever met has told me the same thing, I just wish that I hadn't ignored them. Take a guy who has 20 good lines that he can apply over various chord changes while changing them slightly and put him in a jam session with a guy who knows only to run scales over the appropriate chord and I know who the listening public will enjoy. That will be the guy who is speaking to them, not the one who is reciting the alphabet. Sorry for the long post.

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strickland View Post
    I don't think I've ever commented on this one, but it's been floating around and coming back up regularly. I guess it goes with the season finale of The Walking Dead. I was also initially put off by Conti's salesman approach. However, I am one of those guys who knows a lot of theory, but I'm not a great player. I can even sometimes explain what other people are playing when I can't even do it myself. So I gave a few Conti products a try. I bought a couple of the Ticket To Improv DVD's, A Couple of the Advanced Improv DVD's, The Source Code Jazz Lines, and The Source Code Chord Melody Assembly Line. His materials are not absent of theory, he really expects that you already understand all of your intervals, which to me means that you at least understand the major scale. Of course he doesn't say this, but it's similar to Jimmy Bruno refusing to call his pitch collections a "scale". If you did come in as a complete novice, the TTI videos are really easy but the licks are cool and easy to transfer to other applications, plus he shows you how to use them by applying the licks from 3 tunes into a completely unrelated tune. They were a little too easy for me, but I still find myself using some of the licks. The Advanced Improv DVD's are more challenging and I find myself struggling a little with those, to push the high tempos, but that is good. The Jazz Lines give good insight on how to simplify soloing over many chords using the same licks, and not just the traditional tonal center sort of playing. The Chord Melody Assembly line is starting to be a real eye opener too, I just started it a couple days ago. I had a few chord scales that I used for chord melody, but his approach really seems to be working and it sounds better than what I was doing. Here's the moral of the story. Since learning some of Conti's lines, I'm a better player. I also now find it much easier to copy other players lines. If jazz is a language, I understood grammar, and could diagram a sentence, but I couldn't speak the language very well. Just like a baby learning to speak, learning to speak jazz is really helping me move forward. You can write the greatest novel ever written without understanding what a dangling participle is. It took me 25 years of playing to realize that the same applies to music. That grammar teacher who explains the dangling participle to you may have the most uninteresting stories ever encountered. The grizzled old homeless guy down the street may spin a more interesting yarn. I know some of you guys really like modern jazz, but I can't think of a single one of my favorite players who has beyond a bachelors in music and most of them have no formal music instruction at all. They spoke the language and left the analyzing to others. Bob's approach isn't new, every truly old school guy I've ever met has told me the same thing, I just wish that I hadn't ignored them. Take a guy who has 20 good lines that he can apply over various chord changes while changing them slightly and put him in a jam session with a guy who knows only to run scales over the appropriate chord and I know who the listening public will enjoy. That will be the guy who is speaking to them, not the one who is reciting the alphabet. Sorry for the long post.

    “Bob's approach isn't new, every truly old school guy I've ever met has told me the same thing, I just wish that I hadn't ignored them.”

    This includes Jimmy Bruno’s father who taught Jimmy to play. Anytime Jimmy would ask about how to play something his old school Italian dad would say something to the effect of “play one of these and one of those here”.

    “Take a guy who has 20 good lines that he can apply over various chord changes while changing them slightly and put him in a jam session with a guy who knows only to run scales over the appropriate chord and I know who the listening public will enjoy. That will be the guy who is speaking to them, not the one who is reciting the alphabet. ”

    Amen. I was reciting the alphabet until Bob Conti convinced me to do what you’ve just said in the above. I think I can, I think I can….

    PS: No need to apologize for the long post. Mine clocked in longer. Plus we are mining an area that I suspect we felt more inclined to mull over privately as opposed to sharing like we’re doing now.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Interesting posts, fellas.
    I concur!!!

    This subject is even more fascinating (to me) because there is no "one way" to “get there” so to speak.

    I wish I had had the wisdom, persistence and courage to forge this path I am currently forging a long long time ago.
    We play a most beautiful instrument where the barrier to entry (playing) is relative low but the barrier to excellence is high.

    I guess the operative words here are “by any means necessary” with respect to becoming proficient at improvising in the Jazz idiom.

    What keeps me going? It’s seeing musicians on stage doing their thing and literally channeling divinity through their music.

    I saw a “side project” band last week play. The band was formed by a bunch of guys who met in the 90s at summer school at Berkelee School of Music. The most famous members are probably Eric Krasno and the keyboardist who plays with Eric in his “main gig” band – Soulive (the soul jazz trio).

    Any time this band (LETTUCE) hit a groove that united the whole club in Oneness, the rhythm guitarist would exchange a look with Eric Krasno and smile. I knew exactly what he was feeling. Right then and there, God (whomever or whatever we deem that force to be) was flowing through the music.

    Heavenly.

  23. #72
    Conti's method is really just learning from a transcription. You memorize the solo.

    You can do the same thing yourself by just transcribing a solo and memorizing it and it don't cost nuttin'.

    This is what jazz guitarists have done from day one. Conti has just done it for you with his own solos.

    Nothing groundbreaking.

    By transcribing yourself you can learn the solos of the legends of jazz and not just the guitarists.

    Use a slowdowner program like Transcribe or Audacity (which is free) and lets you slow down songs without changing the tonality.

    Once you grasp this idea and do your own transcribing you open a whole world of possibilities.

    You don't need Conti to do this for you. Now you have the power!

    You can also create your own chord melodies. You need a vocabulary of chord forms. Learn Drop 2 voicings of major 7th, minor 7th and Dominant 7th chords. Then put a chord under each melody note in the song (melody note on top). Voila! Instant chord melody (with some groundwork).
    Last edited by Drumbler; 04-02-2014 at 08:55 AM.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Conti's method is really just learning from a transcription. You memorize the solo.

    You can do the same thing yourself by just transcribing a solo and memorizing it and it don't cost nuttin'.
    I think there are two problems here. First, some people are unable to transcribe the solos they want to play. Second, Conti (esp in his "Ticket to Improv" series) makes a point of starting off with jazzy lines that are fairly easy to play and then shows how to subtly change them to work in other contexts. For example, the fourth (and last) solo on the first TTI volume is over the changes to "Take the A-Train". Conti plays it using lines from the previous three solos (-'Satin Doll,' 'Green Dolphin Street,' and 'Autumn Leaves') He's not only telling you this is how it works, and not only showing you, he's teaching you to do it yourself and before you know it you realize you are doing it. It's a wide step from learning these four solos to coming up with solos on the fly over standards, but it's the most solid first step along that road that I have found.

    Not everyone plays the way Conti does, or wants to, but anyone who becomes really good is going to find a few things that really suit them and learn to get an incredible amount of mileage out of them. I think it's best to smart small with lines that already sound good but which can be added to as one's chops and taste develop. (I think Herb Ellis was doing something like this too, and I play some lines I learned from Herb every day.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Conti's method is really just learning from a transcription. You memorize the solo.

    You can do the same thing yourself by just transcribing a solo and memorizing it and it don't cost nuttin'.

    This is what jazz guitarists have done from day one. Conti has just done it for you with his own solos.

    Nothing groundbreaking.

    By transcribing yourself you can learn the solos of the legends of jazz and not just the guitarists.

    Use a slowdowner program like Transcribe or Audacity (which is free) and lets you slow down songs without changing the tonality.

    Once you grasp this idea and do your own transcribing you open a whole world of possibilities.

    You don't need Conti to do this for you. Now you have the power!

    You can also create your own chord melodies. You need a vocabulary of chord forms. Learn Drop 2 voicings of major 7th, minor 7th and Dominant 7th chords. Then put a chord under each melody note in the song (melody note on top). Voila! Instant chord melody (with some groundwork).
    I don't disagree with a single word that you have said. I actually do much more of this than Robert Conti work. HOWEVER, about 10 years ago I was at a bluegrass jam, I didn't listen to jazz at all, and it turns out that one of the guys there played Gypsy Jazz. He plays a little of it and I'm amazed. I don't understand any of the chords and I really only know the minor/major pentatonic and the major scale in first position. He sits down and slowly shows me Djangology note for note very slowly. I don't know what I'm doing but now I'm playing the head to that tune. From then on, I can't get enough of listening to jazz players and figuring out chords and all the stuff that goes along with it. That hour was a slippery slope for me. A lot can be said for just giving it to someone to begin with and then letting them figure out how it works after the fact. I see the Conti products as something like that guy gave me. I was spoon fed, but that little spoon feeding makes you want to eat on your own.

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Conti's method is really just learning from a transcription. You memorize the solo.

    You can do the same thing yourself by just transcribing a solo and memorizing it and it don't cost nuttin'.

    This is what jazz guitarists have done from day one. Conti has just done it for you with his own solos.

    Nothing groundbreaking.

    By transcribing yourself you can learn the solos of the legends of jazz and not just the guitarists.

    Use a slowdowner program like Transcribe or Audacity (which is free) and lets you slow down songs without changing the tonality.

    Once you grasp this idea and do your own transcribing you open a whole world of possibilities.

    You don't need Conti to do this for you. Now you have the power!

    You can also create your own chord melodies. You need a vocabulary of chord forms. Learn Drop 2 voicings of major 7th, minor 7th and Dominant 7th chords. Then put a chord under each melody note in the song (melody note on top). Voila! Instant chord melody (with some groundwork).
    All this is true… up to a point (at least for me).

    I have used Conti as a re launching point for ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE.

    The most important thing outside of learning the solos and then creatively splicing away from the original solo to develop what my ear says sounds even more pleasing (to me) is… how to finger the transcriptions.

    I have now moved on from Conti's initial solo and have created 12 choruses and more of solos to digest and grow away from in an attempt to instill different sound snippets that I can then reweave while performing. Some transcribed passages take a world of time to play well IF and only IF you finger them in a less than advantageous position on the guitar.

    I had been working on SPAIN by Chick Corea before Conti. I struggled with some 16th note passages I had put together and transcribed by ear for memorization and re adaptation. After Conti, I used his fingering ideas to re examine my Spain passages and they become easier.

    There is no doubt that I benefitted from his decades of trial and error (which speaks to your comments) however, in the absence of someone with experience to actually guide you (ala Jimmy Bruno and his father), it helps (at least it did for me) to have a guide to help cut through the morass of trying to get the right fingering to ultimately play the transcription like I was hearing it on the record.

    Actually, Conti actually says that he wished he had video around when he started learning. It would have done wonders for him. He mentions certain passages are a nightmare to pick of the record (not in terms of hearing) but trying to place them fingering wise on the guitar (or where the player "conceived" them as he says).

    With regards to guitar, Sometimes the most difficult sounding passages are the easiest to play if played in the most optimum position or strings where they were initially played or conceived so to speak. When transcribing without a visual aid (as most of us do) one might never actually fully get it "down".

    So personally I have benefitted from a re thought fingering system in addition to the pre transcribed solos. That probably was bigger than the actual solos.

    Minor case in point. There are some Youtube videos of Benson playing where you get close ups of his left hand. I noticed that he slides left a lot instead of doing a string jump. It made sense because it made that passage that could be played with a string jump soooo damn fluid and sweet.

    My two cents.
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 04-02-2014 at 10:28 AM.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by West LA Jazz View Post
    I have benefitted from a re thought fingering system in addition to the pre transcribed solos. That probably was bigger than the actual solos.
    West LA Jazz: Having studied with Jimmy Bruno for the past 5-6 years and having his 5 fingerings down fluently, I'm a little afraid of taking on a second fingering protocol, like Conti's. What do you think of that: am I being unnecessarily worried about getting my fingers all mixed up with 2 different systems and losing my muscle memory?

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    West LA Jazz: Having studied with Jimmy Bruno for the past 5-6 years and having his 5 fingerings down fluently, I'm a little afraid of taking on a second fingering protocol, like Conti's. What do you think of that: am I being unnecessarily worried about getting my fingers all mixed up with 2 different systems and losing my muscle memory?
    HA!! Drumroll. Up on my wall are recreated fingering systems ALL SIX OF THEM by the one and only JIMMY BRUNO! ;-)

    I spent almost a year with them. Contis was just an embellishment (in my mind) to Jimmy's. Actually I use my little finger to slide when using the mixolydian fingering. Jimmy taught me to use my 2nd finger ( I think.. I have to go back and recheck). The little finger for whatever reason felt better.

    But I hear you. Conti doesn't actually teach the do ray me fa so like Jimmy taught me via his book. Plus I had been playing scales so picking up Jimmy's method was a slight re thinking and using fingers to slide onto the next fret.

    WIth Conti, it's the first finger that leads all the fret leaping and guiding. ALl are additional ways of "seeing the fretboard". So to speak.

    So we are united in Jimmy! HA.

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    West LA Jazz: Having studied with Jimmy Bruno for the past 5-6 years and having his 5 fingerings down fluently, I'm a little afraid of taking on a second fingering protocol, like Conti's. What do you think of that: am I being unnecessarily worried about getting my fingers all mixed up with 2 different systems and losing my muscle memory?

    "What do you think of that: am I being unnecessarily worried about getting my fingers all mixed up with 2 different systems and losing my muscle memory?"

    I'm not a genius in any shape of form. But as I have progressed I realize that I actually retain what I've learned even if I haven't played the stuff in ages. Same applies to Bruno's system. I committed his system to memory and then "didn't think about it" so to speak. But the stuff didn't leave when I play. I use fragments of it.

    As I said, I spent a year with Jimmy's protocol because I had some foundation in that area before that. He basically threw out what (fingerings like the lesser used modes) I had been tardy in getting to so that was cool!

    Conti doesn't spend much time on fingering. He explains in in a pdf and then occasionally talks about the strongest finger on your hand (the first finger) and why it's so useful.

    No wonder Django Rheinhardt was able to navigate the finger board so well even though he had two disabled fingers. The first finger is a wonder once you learn to rely on it.

    Anyway, I digress.

    Conti just makes you stick to four frets at a time. So I overlapped his knowledge over Jimmy's system. When I need to break out I just use the index or little finger. If I have to slide using my second finger, it's basically what Jimmy prescribes.

    Why Conti?

    I found myself playing arpeggios of ATTYA incessantly and I wasn't able to remind myself enough to break out and explore outside of the arpeggios while using the arpeggios as a "springboard and tether at the same time". I use the word "tether to mean "something that helps me stray away from the "ugly" notes per se. (And that comes from learning from all the noodling mistakes I make and then memorizing where the ugly notes reside. I should say that there are no ugly notes, just notes that may not sound good in a given context.

    When I did break out of my arpeggios, the new fingering tripped me up BEACAUSE I had chose the lower strings to learn the arpeggios so I could slide comfortably up and down the fretboard. They didn't always fall in Jimmy's way but I'm sure I could have spent the time molding and trying to play in other positions where what I was playing would jibe with Jimmy's thinking. Truthfully, I should have absorbed the arpeggios in more than one position - a lot of work! BUT I JUST WANTED TO PLAY **MUSIC** ALREADY!!! HELP!!!!!

    Conti allowed me to practice for the stage. Using his stuff allowed me to have a bag of tricks to use in a pinch BUT.. and this is a HUGE BUT, moving forward is entirely on ME. Which is why I am still making solos, memorizing and then breaking them up reapplying, re purposing, upcycling (all of the above).

    I'm sure I'll work backwards to the fundermentals but right now, I'm picking up finger dexterity and learning stuff I can take to the stage on jam night and "get along" with the folks up on stage.

    So I say to you.....

    --- "The only thing we have to fear is... fear itself!"

    Go forth, explore and may you succeed in meeting musical bliss!!!

    Bon voyage!
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 04-02-2014 at 07:35 PM.

  30. #79

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    PS: Say hi to Jimmy Bruno for me. His recording of Giant Steps keeps me going!
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 04-02-2014 at 02:20 PM.

  31. #80

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    PS: Say hi to Jimmy Bruno for me. His recording of Giant Steps keeps me going!

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by West LA Jazz View Post
    PS: Say hi to Jimmy Bruno for me. His recording of Giant Steps keeps me going!
    And when I do, will he recognize you by your moniker of "West LA Jazz"...?

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    And when I do, will he recognize you by your moniker of "West LA Jazz"...?
    I don't know Jimmy. I am just one of many happy customers who bought his book. I assume a random fan who used and absorbed what he conceived (or thought might be useful as a book) will be more satisfying to him knowing that he touched someone out there with what he was/is trying to communicate.

  34. #83
    Jimmy Bruno is one the greats.

    His Five Fingerings are really just the standard box positions of the major scale.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Jimmy Bruno is one the greats.

    His Five Fingerings are really just the standard box positions of the major scale.
    Very true with regards to standard positions.

    Being a 98% self taught guitarist, what he did for me before I found Conti was affirm that what I was learning on my own was the way to go.

    He also introduced me to the convenience of sliding from fret to fret with specific fingers while maintaining the intergrity of my fingering to allow me to "hang on" to while operating at speed. It was an overall mind tuning with regards to navigating the guitar neck.

    Piano players ( and I was one of them ) are so lucky to have that black and white key board staring at them. two directions as opposed to at least 4 directions for us guitarists.

  36. #85

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    Being a known partybreaker, IMO, the most honest one, while the system of learning a solo, than reassembling it and assembling something of your own is the really good way to go, and judged from your posts Conti's doing the right thing in developing musical sense in his student(s)'s, his fingering protocols, as I observed from couple of available clips* (I have never studied his approach), while maybe making the student (who's level of playing is expectedly way lower than Conti's) better, faster ..., are the very reason for at moments Conti himself sound sloppy, for the lack of better word, on playing those amazingly fast, long, mind boggling lines, those initially brought you in, wanting to learn how he actually does it.

    *The claim is his clips are numerous, but I did not find them out there. There is that BW old one, couple for sales pitching purposes, and couple from a gear show.
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  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Being a known partybreaker, IMO, the most honest one, while the system of learning a solo, than reassembling it and assembling something of your own is the really good way to go, and judged from your posts Conti's doing the right thing in developing musical sense in his student(s)'s, his fingering protocols, as I observed from couple of available clips* (I have never studied his approach), while maybe making the student (who's level of playing is expectedly way lower than Conti's) better, faster ..., are the very reason for at moments Conti himself sound sloppy, for the lack of better word, on playing those amazingly fast, long, mind boggling lines, those initially brought you in, wanting to learn how he actually does it.

    *The claim is his clips are numerous, but I did not find them out there. There is that BW old one, couple for sales pitching purposes, and couple from a gear show.
    Vladan,

    You're a boxing fan. Let's use a boxing analogy.

    Eddie Futch was a very good lightweight contender who had a heart murmur so he never became a boxing champion he could have become. He went on to train Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. He trained 4 of the 5 men who defeated Mohammad Ali. These men as you know were heavyweights.

    Same with Emmanuel Steward who trained Lennox Lewis and a boxer who I'm sure you like… Wladimir Klitschko.

    You Vladan can teach me everything you know on the guitar, but I'll never be able to play it like you do. I have to take what you teach me, digest it and then regurgitate it in my own special way. What you would have done is shine a light in the dark tunnel of knowledge. A way for me to find my way forward towards the end of the tunnel - into the light of my personal musical ability at its greatest potential.

    Some Conti lines may be "Sloppy" as you put them but his speed is incidental. When I think speed I think Al Di Meola. And maybe John McLaughlin. I think Conti could be "funkier" with his lines but hey, not everyone can be George Benson or Pat Martino who is Conti's childhood friend. Yes, Martino taught Conti some lines when they were both young boys.

    I'll give you a musical example. I had been trying to understand how to play the song most of us love called ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE for the longest time. I had the chords memorized. I had the arpeggios memorized. But I wasn't making "music" when I soloed over the song. I always wanted to play this song at danceable tempos and slow tempos. But I wasn't achieving my goal. Conti's DVDs turned on a light bulb in my head. And from there I moved on using his illustration to light a fire in my imagination on how to sound the same but different every time I play the song.

    What I am sayings this, when you connect with someone (teacher) who can start a fire in your mind that helps you "see" and help you solve questions in your mind, the money you pay… is priceless.

    Maybe you found your source elsewhere that also has been priceless… for you.

    Brilliant students are not necessarily made by brilliant teachers. The student has to have the potential for brilliance built into him or her by nature. The rest is the student's own imagination and 99% HARD WORK!!! The teacher just pushed the train out of the station. ;-)

    Just a thought.
    Last edited by West LA Jazz; 04-03-2014 at 11:16 AM.

  38. #87

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    I'm much stronger in ooinions than I'm in facts, but I agree on boxing parallel idea, you rephrase in your last paragraph. I already did the same, gave credit for hands on approach and the tool it becomes in further development. Just wanted to address some flaws, IMO, maybe not so immediately obvious, being obscured by some flashy finger wiggling. When I first saw him play, I was stunned. Along the way, wow effect faded away. I still think he's a master of the trade, with some flaws.
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  39. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    I'm much stronger in ooinions than I'm in facts, but I agree on boxing parallel idea, you rephrase in your last paragraph. I already did the same, gave credit for hands on approach and the tool it becomes in further development. Just wanted to address some flaws, IMO, maybe not so immediately obvious, being obscured by some flashy finger wiggling. When I first saw him play, I was stunned. Along the way, wow effect faded away. I still think he's a master of the trade, with some flaws.

    I appreciate you understanding what I am trying to communicate.

    Yes, I did add to my last paragraph because I am trying to clearly express and polish what I am thinking so you can have the most accurate vision of my thought.

    I should say that all this isn't really about Conti the player. It really is about Conti the teacher trying to turn on the
    "I understand how to I can do it now" light switch in the student's head.

    If Conti THE TEACHER is able to do this, then his mission has been successful.

    Conti THE PLAYER is the advertisement for his business in today's very crowded market. There are a billion internet guitar teachers. A lot of these internet teachers talk a lot about doing this or that, BUT you and I can play better than more than a few of these teachers. Conti plays every night in Las Vegas in professional venues. Some of the best musicians on this planet work every day in Las Vegas but you and I will never know their names.
    That's more than most so called teachers can say for themselves.

    Have a great day and keep on strumming my friend!

  40. #89
    Interested in the "chord melody assembly line" and "the formula"

    ive vie been playing chord melody solo guitar gigs for years n make arrangements up on the fly but still want to keep taking it further.

    i want to get the formula but do I need to get assembly line first or us it pretty basic?

    for those of you who hVe used these 2 items, what would you recommend?



    I'm willing to get them both but don't know if the first book is what I've been doing already or if there's some essential stuff in it as prep for the formula!

    thanks

    paul

  41. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzguitarsussx View Post
    Interested in the "chord melody assembly line" and "the formula"

    ive vie been playing chord melody solo guitar gigs for years n make arrangements up on the fly but still want to keep taking it further.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzguitarsussx View Post

    for those of you who hVe used these 2 items, what would you recommend?
    Just get the formula if you're already comfortable with basic. I'm a big fan of both btw....

  42. #91
    Thanks Matt,
    ill go straight to the formula then!

  43. #92
    Go listen to Robert Conti's cds. lf you come away thinking that his playing is sloppy, or You can play half as fast and precise as he does and Swing, then you will have passed the test. lf Bob was a metal player you would call him a shredder! l have all his Source Code books and Ticket To Improv dvds. And am working my way through tem. l am self taught and l love old school guys. l learned drums from an old school big band piano player and he had me playing in front people in 3 weeks! Trial by playing. lt was all good and fun !

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by roosterjazzez4u View Post
    Go listen to Robert Conti's cds. lf you come away thinking that his playing is sloppy, or You can play half as fast and precise as he does and Swing, then you will have passed the test.
    I think, I can't play. One day it will end in trying the formula, something tells me.
    ^ ^ ^
    <<< My BlogSpot Page >>>
    v v v

  45. #94
    l just keep plugging away at it. Today l took a lesson on the Ticket To Improv one to start my day. Came up with my own lines to add to Mr. Conti's. Which is what he says you will do if you keep going. l haven't mastered anything yet. Hell mastering life is a life long skill. l know l haven't done that yet. Plenty room to learn more in life skills. Guitar is just fun thing that l can do to keep my mind active. l just don't pressure myself. it's not life or death that get it right away. lt's a process. l enjoy the journey.l hope you do too. Happy New Year !

  46. #95

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    I have picked up so much from Mr. Conti's advanced soloing dvds, the fingerings for these solos are so natural feeling I felt that I had already known them.I went back to the intro to improve dvds and found that they were slower versions of the advanced soloing dvds.His source code dvds contain most of the material that are in the chord melody and single note solos dvds.My personal favorites are the Georgia solo and all of the south of rio dvds.The chord melody solos are more difficult for me.All in all this material is a great source of bebop style jazz guitar playing.

  47. #96

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    I had to put in a second 2 cents worth here on the Intro to Improve dvds.What I meant by slower was they are basically 8th note single string solos with occasional quarter notes, but the phrasing is all tasteful jazz that outline the chord changes to these jazz standards.The advanced soloing dvds contain more 16th, 32nd notes over standards.The way he teaches in all of these dvds is very user friendly and all of them contain what he calls off the sheet tips,that are examples of how he uses ghost notes,slides,triplets,neighbor notes and other guitaristic tricks that can really transform the lines into something completely original and all your own.

  48. #97

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    One last thing thing, copy from all the players you can! Charlie Parker copied Lester Young, Wes Montgomery copied Charlie Christian, Joe Pass copied Django Reinhardt,the list goes on and on.What all of these great players have in common was they all copied from somebody and they still came up with something completely original that sounded nothing like anybody else!

  49. #98

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    Does he explain why he chooses the notes that he uses on the solos?
    "Ahhh - those Jazz guys are just makin' that stuff up!" - Homer Simpson

    "Anyone who understands Jazz knows that you can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it." - Yogi Berra

  50. #99

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    On the advanced soloing stuff not so much,but on the intro to improve dvds he does a little more.I came to the material a little more advanced than some, so I kinda already knew why he used the licks he used over the chord changes.But as he explains in all of the dvds,once you get these solos and patterns under your fingers it will be much easier to figure out the theory behind it.

  51. #100

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    One thing all of the jazz players use is a melodic minor scale one fret up above the dominant seventh chord, ie Ab melodic minor over G7.But don't get hung up on all the theory for now, just learn some solos over jazz standards and you will save yourself a lot of headaches.The theory will come to you after you have learned some jazz solos first and then you will say "oh that's why they play that scale over that chord!"