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  1. #1

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    I've been trying to get the feel right.

    I found this video most helpful:



    In it, he recommends an up-down, followed by a down stroke.

    When he counts it, the first "up" is a quick upstroke just before the one, and the "-down" is on one. The second down is on 2.

    This is probably better felt than analyzed, but it occurred to me that the first "up" is on the third eighth of an eighth note triplet.

    That is, on beat 4 of the previous measure, you divide that beat into three equal parts and play the "up" on the third one.

    Is that correct? If not, is there anyway to get closer to the truth?

    As an aside: I've been aware of, and largely ignored, Gypsy Jazz until recently when I got a call for a gig playing it (it's tomorrow).
    So, I watched some videos of lessons and performances. Stochelo Rosenberg's video of Caravan is a good example. These guys are monsters! Even if you don't plan on playing this style, I think it a little bit of study might impact anyone's playing of any swing style.

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  3. #2

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    I like him too, but his pompe is not universally liked by GJ aficionados. Different schools abound. Some just do straight downstrokes. But I think he is a wonderful player and teacher.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I've been trying to get the feel right.

    I found this video most helpful:



    In it, he recommends an up-down, followed by a down stroke.

    When he counts it, the first "up" is a quick upstroke just before the one, and the "-down" is on one. The second down is on 2.

    This is probably better felt than analyzed, but it occurred to me that the first "up" is on the third eighth of an eighth note triplet.

    That is, on beat 4 of the previous measure, you divide that beat into three equal parts and play the "up" on the third one.

    Is that correct? If not, is there anyway to get closer to the truth?

    As an aside: I've been aware of, and largely ignored, Gypsy Jazz until recently when I got a call for a gig playing it (it's tomorrow).
    So, I watched some videos of lessons and performances. Stochelo Rosenberg's video of Caravan is a good example. These guys are monsters! Even if you don't plan on playing this style, I think it a little bit of study might impact anyone's playing of any swing style.
    My advice (fwiw bearing in mind I kind of think of myself as a fake gypsy jazz guitarist, although people do keep paying me to do it) is as follows:

    Survival guide (get the call again)

    1) keep it simple
    2) rake slap rake slap. The accent is not in volume on the 2 and 4 it’s in a faster attack.
    3) Do not over accent 2 and 4
    4) no upstrokes please till you know what you are doing
    5) did I mention don’t overdo the 2 and 4 accent?
    6) Loose wrist, impetus from the elbow, arm weight is helpful
    7) you will cramp up on the first gig. Happens to me still when I haven’t done it for a while
    8) Don’t drag.

    And ... the tricky bit...

    9) be percussive without being loud. This is most important when playing acoustic obviously.

    Have fun!

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    I like him too, but his pompe is not universally liked by GJ aficionados. Different schools abound. Some just do straight downstrokes. But I think he is a wonderful player and teacher.
    Of the various free lessons I heard, his comping sounded best to my untrained, non-Gypsy-familiar, ear. I loved the way he broke it down. It was really easy to follow and there was no excess verbiage. The only slow part was how he showed the chord voicings, although I know that beginners would appreciate they way he did it.

    I was able to play along with him. But, he doesn't do anything really fast on that video.

    I couldn't play his up-down pattern at Stochelo's Caravan tempo. For that matter, I couldn't keep up a straight 4 in downstrokes at that tempo without dragging. The closest I could get was to fake it by doing alternating picking (on the whole chord). In quarter notes, down up down up, for one bar. Not great, but it allowed me not to drag.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Of the various free lessons I heard, his comping sounded best to my untrained, non-Gypsy-familiar, ear. I loved the way he broke it down. It was really easy to follow and there was no excess verbiage. The only slow part was how he showed the chord voicings, although I know that beginners would appreciate they way he did it.

    I was able to play along with him. But, he doesn't do anything really fast on that video.

    I couldn't play his up-down pattern at Stochelo's Caravan tempo. For that matter, I couldn't keep up a straight 4 in downstrokes at that tempo without dragging. The closest I could get was to fake it by doing alternating picking (on the whole chord). In quarter notes, down up down up, for one bar. Not great, but it allowed me not to drag.
    This is a legit technique used in Russian Gypsy music and sometimes gypsy jazz.

    If you are expected to play at Stochelo factor 9 that’s a real bastard thing to do on your first GJ gig haha.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    This is a legit technique used in Russian Gypsy music and sometimes gypsy jazz.

    If you are expected to play at Stochelo factor 9 that’s a real bastard thing to do on your first GJ gig haha.
    Feels like the first time your girlfriend from another culture takes you to meet her extended family and they're all arguing in another language.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Feels like the first time your girlfriend from another culture takes you to meet her extended family and they're all arguing in another language.
    Translation: I doubt anyone will expect you to play la pompe on the Shiek of Araby at 360bpm. You'll be fine!

    (Btw: this is not GJ jazz slang, this is just the way I talk)

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Translation: I doubt anyone will expect you to play la pompe on the Shiek of Araby at 360bpm. You'll be fine!

    (Btw: this is not GJ jazz slang, this is just the way I talk)
    "Stochelo Factor 9" could not have been clearer.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Translation: I doubt anyone will expect you to play la pompe on the Shiek of Araby at 360bpm. You'll be fine!

    (Btw: this is not GJ jazz slang, this is just the way I talk)
    As it turned out, none of the tunes were called too fast for downstrokes. In fact, they called several that were quite slow, e.g. Danse Norvegienne.

    I followed Christian's guidelines (thanks, very helpful) as best I could and the gig went well.

    One possibly underrated aspect of the style is the absence of drums.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 08-10-2019 at 09:33 PM.

  11. #10

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    Because you ARE the drums haha. I think every jazz guitarist should take a course in GJ rhythm guitar. If you can play it at any tempo and hold it down tight, you can play anything.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Because you ARE the drums haha. I think every jazz guitarist should take a course in GJ rhythm guitar. If you can play it at any tempo and hold it down tight, you can play anything.
    '

    I agree. There's something in it for any guitarist, no matter what style you usually play.

    The focus on creating a propulsive rhythm part - with no way to hide behind stick and jab comping, or any other alternative - is great.
    Nailing the feel is the same kind of problem in nailing the feel of any groove based music. And, the rake-slap forces you to focus on your tone in a different way. The loose wrist thing was new to me, but I can see its application in other types of music. And, on a piano-less swing gig, it gives another great option. And, lots of good videos for both performance and instruction.

    Definitely worthwhile.

  13. #12

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    Glad the gig went well!

    Rhythm guitar has a life in jazz beyond GJ - GJ is a particular lilt (bit one with variants) - modern Pompe can be very different from the original style of the Hot Club. A drier more backbeaty style has become prevalent among many....

    I’ll post some audio references when I’m able....

    For myself, I prefer less backbeat. Sometimes I want the guitar to sound like a ride cymbal, depending on the music. Sometimes I drop bombs like a bop drummer. I wouldn’t do that on a gypsy gig haha. GJ players like it simple and precise.

    Barry Harris was the first person who I heard say ‘the guitar has to be the drums’ (when the drums aren’t there)

  14. #13

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    The upstroke is the killer. I'd say don't do it on the gig until it's really second nature...its what leads to dragging. It's like a grace note. It's not a beat.

    The best advice I ever got was from Christiaan Van Hemmert. He said to make sure the other fingers are brushing the strings, as well as the pick.

    And don't play too loud, and don't accent two and four. 2 and 4 is a different sound, but it's not "louder."

    I don't love that video. Sounds like "jam session rhythm" to me. Too full of chords ringing and too loud, and mixing up rhythms too much.
    Last edited by mr. beaumont; 08-11-2019 at 03:40 PM.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  15. #14

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    Rp, go to about 8 minutes in. This is the best breakdown I've ever seen.

    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  16. #15
    Thanks to all for the help.

    I attached a clip from the gig.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  17. #16

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    Nice one!

    Yeah I'd say that's getting there. If anything I'd just de accent the 2 and 4 a touch and get a bit more 'boom' to balance out the 'chick', but you have the right quality of accent here.

  18. #17

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    These are definitely worth checking out:

    https://www.dc-musicschool.com/store...s-chang-vol-1/
    https://www.dc-musicschool.com/store...s-chang-vol-2/
    and this one is for free: https://www.dc-musicschool.com/store...i-winterstein/

    I did home stay lessons with Denis for 5 days this past May and I learned more in those 5 days than I have in the last almost 2 years of teaching myself and playing gypsy jazz.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Nice one!

    Yeah I'd say that's getting there. If anything I'd just de accent the 2 and 4 a touch and get a bit more 'boom' to balance out the 'chick', but you have the right quality of accent here.
    Thanks. I also thought I should try to EQ out some more of the low end for the comping.

    The other guys liked sound of the Comins GCS-1 better than the Yamaha Pacifica. One said the Comins had "more pop". This track was the Comins.

    Here's Minor Swing, done with the Yamaha.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 08-16-2019 at 04:53 PM.