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  1. #1

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    Hi everyone, new to these boards. Grateful for the knowledge I've gained in my short time here.

    I've started to use Ted Greene's Single Note Soloing book for daily reading practice. Nice, melodic, short and logically laid out lines for that.

    I've already come across his "rolling" technique on adjacent notes. This is a technique whereby one note is played with the tip of a finger, and a subsequent note on an adjacent string on the same fret is played with the fat part of the finger.

    For example, imagine a downward run of the notes: A (3rd string), G, (4th str), and E (4th str). Ted suggests using the first finger's tip for the A, and then sort of rolling / sliding the finger upward — creating a barre across the 4th and 3rd strings — to reach that E. In short: Ted suggests specifically not using the tip of the finger for both notes.

    Attached are three lines in the key of D that use this technique:

    Using "rolling" (flat fingers) technique on adjacent note runs a la Ted Greene?-ted-greene-jpg

    Using "rolling" (flat fingers) technique on adjacent note runs a la Ted Greene?-ted-greene-2-jpg
    It's fun to practice, but my anatomy doesn't really permit this kind of thing of quick runs. I can imagine it getting messy pretty fast, at least for me. I can't fret two notes with my pinky reliably, that's for sure.

    That aside, I'm curious to know if there are players among you who have fully adopted this technique into your playing? And if so, if you felt you had the capability naturally, or if you developed it through practice.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Yes. I've found in some circumstances it's the most practical approach, by virtue of necessity. Muting issues need addressing with this technique also.

  4. #3
    I think it's a pretty important technique, for jazz especially. I personally would go easy with making any judgments about your ability with it, if your experience with it was ZERO before now.

    I mean just think about the number of hours you've spent working on "everything else". This technique is probably one of the major culprits in perpetuating the "linear progress fallacy" with newcomers to jazz. Some things just don't work until they DO. Then, one day it just kind of pops into place. It's not linear or gradual.

  5. #4
    My quick 2 minutes on this:


    Need to pick this book up. Today is the first time I could see those images above for whatever reason. Great material. The technical aspects alone are worth learning it.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 01-10-2020 at 12:43 PM.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by telejw
    . This is a technique whereby one note is played with the tip of a finger, and a subsequent note on an adjacent string on the same fret is played with the fat part of the finger.
    This is a common technique when playing "in position" on the guitar. I've seen this fingering notated in classical scores.

  7. #6

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    Finger rolling is an elementary technique in all styles. But it has it's flaws. You'll generally won't get as clear an articulation and full tone as fingering each note separately. But that's much more difficult to execute then just rolling (and may be sacrificing the tone production a bit) in some situations.
    I think Lage Lund has a video where he talks about the benefits of not rolling his fingers but fretting each note separately.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 01-10-2020 at 02:16 PM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    I think it's a pretty important technique, for jazz especially. I personally would go easy with making any judgments about your ability with it, if your experience with it was ZERO before now.

    I mean just think about the number of hours you've spent working on "everything else". This technique is probably one of the major culprits in perpetuating the "linear progress fallacy" with newcomers to jazz. Some things just don't work until they DO. Then, one day it just kind of pops into place. It's not linear or gradual.
    The truth he speaks.

  9. #8

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    When the technique with the pick is bothering me I take Pat Martino advise. He said when his gave him trouble he went back the to master Johnny Smith. I find that in essence almost anything works if I simply go over the phase slow and carefully. I go strict up-down and make sure each note is full and clean. Arps across the strings and then working through tunes with changes on the arps......

    I also happen to believe that to some degree it is purely a physical gift that some have. Practice makes it better but some start out at a higher level. Many sprinters could do the same workouts and more as Usain Bolt but in the end he is going to beat you to the tape. Not that speed is the goal but just the analogy.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    My quick 2 minutes on this:


    Need to pick this book up. Today is the first time I could see those images above for whatever reason. Great material. The technical aspects alone are worth learning it.
    Cool. Thanks, Matt. I see what you mean about it sort of being a movement of the left wrist, too. That's helpful.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    Finger rolling is an elementary technique in all styles. But it has it's flaws. You'll generally won't get as clear an articulation and full tone as fingering each note separately. But that's much more difficult to execute then just rolling (and may be sacrificing the tone production a bit) in some situations.
    I think Lage Lund has a video where he talks about the benefits of not rolling his fingers but fretting each note separately.
    I think if you have the option, you go with another finger. My experience is using the roll vs no viable option. This includes analyzing the technical problem in light of Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery.

  12. #11
    Issues like string spacing, electric-vs acoustic, legato phrasing (jazz swing legato) considerations etc. are all important to this conversation. I have some classical background and appreciate that perspective, but there are very good reasons you don't see this in classical as prevalently.

  13. #12

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    "Ted suggests using the first finger's tip for the A, and then sort of rolling / sliding the finger upward — creating a barre across the 4th and 3rd strings"

    If you are thinking of this technique as creating a simultaneous barré across the two strings, you will probably not succeed in your use of this technique. As you roll off from the 3rd onto the 4th, you will usually release the 3rd string unless you specifically need to mute it. Think of your finger as a rolling pin moving over some pastry - at no point is it touching all of the pastry, it simply "rolls" from one point to another.....

  14. #13

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    I'm working through A Modern Method Book 1, and finger rolling was just introduced with very little specific explanation.

    I think I can manage the technique well enough with my first three fingers, but a 3-string roll with the pinky gives me considerable trouble, and even more so when I'm rolling notes upwards toward me. Those high to low note rolls are the worst for me.

    Are there any tricks for it, or for fourth finger rolls? Should I be just forming a barre and rolling off of it, or is that not really right?

  15. #14

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    Watching Ted play up close was mesmerizing .. he showed me that ALL parts of your fingers and HANDS are capable of playing a note or notes..that included not only the tips of your fingers ..which can play two notes..but the sides of you fingers as well..

    He did not have fingernails to speak of...so the fleshy part of his finger tips were more like mini pads that expanded..and his ability to play with ease wide stretches and stll apply multi note playing with all part of his fingers..

    Ted played finger style..and knew many Bach pieces..although he said "I cant play classical.." so the counter point melodic style of Bach seemed very easy for him to play .. in all positions of the neck..
    he would slow some of this down and knew each moving voice in the piece and how it related to each other voice ..my mind would just stop at stuff like this !!
    So playing a harmonic ii7 - V7 line was very natural for him...and I had to remind my self..Ted was left handed..but he played right handed...like spelling every word in reverse..

    and he was one of the kindest persons you can ever meet..I miss him

  16. #15

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    Nice story Wolf. I envy your close contact with such a player.

    I don't think I ever worked directly on this. I think it became part of me by learning certain lines that required it. Head to Freedom Jazz is a good EG. If you want to play something bad enough you find a way. After a while you don't even notice.

    It is true that anatomy could play a role in the roll. I started on cello and remember auditioning with a teacher. The first thing he did was take my left hand and look it over. 'Ah yes. Good hands. Nice thick tips' in a solid German accent. They served me well for many decades of guitar playing. Makes rolling easier and some chord grips harder, but we all have to play with the hands we're dealt.

  17. #16

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    Practice both ways.

    I mostly use separate fingers, but the "rolling" technique is still a good thing to have in your arsenal. Certain lines lend themselves to one or the other.

  18. #17

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    Great points Matt. Every hand, finger, neck, string spacing, string, musical style, and on and on are different. To the OP I would suggest playing the lines while focusing on making them sound good, clean and clear; the technique that facilitates getting the music to sound how you intend to express it is the correct technique. If you want to work on building up your ability to roll fingers to have that in your toolbox, go for it. But I believe it a mistake to feel you NEED to play something with a particular technique because someone else, even a great player does it that way. Go ahead and study and work on different techniques but always remember that the objective is to bring out the music, not to do the best you can within the confines of a set of rules that someone has laid out to follow.
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Issues like string spacing, electric-vs acoustic, legato phrasing (jazz swing legato) considerations etc. are all important to this conversation. I have some classical background and appreciate that perspective, but there are very good reasons you don't see this in classical as prevalently.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    but we all have to play with the hands we're dealt.
    I see what you did there. Well played.

  20. #19

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    I just practiced it every day for the last year or so, and I don't even think about it now.
    I'm sure it's not going to be as clean as a player like Peter Sprague's is, who uses a different finger for consecutive fourths (on all strings but the second and third), but I don't have the patience to re-finger every line that has fourths in it.
    It started to come out on my solos after a while, and musicians that are much better players than I am,
    got all excited when they heard me playing those types of lines, and they started yelling out, "Wow! Fourths!"

  21. #20

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    I don't know of many jazz guitarists who are as extreme about this issue as Peter Sprague. He generally doesn't even roll the stronger 1st finger. From memory, Andrew Green, author of the book, Jazz Guitar Technique advocates the same approach.

    Most players use a mixture of the two depending on musical context. Here's an interesting example from Randy Vincent's The Cellular Approach. The relatively unconventional fingering at the beginning (over Am7) is suggested as a way of avoiding a 4th finger roll at the same fret over 3 consecutive strings. However, the parallel phrase down a tone in bar 2 is all played with a 1st finger roll. A similar yet more standard solution for avoiding a 3rd finger roll occurs in bar 5 where the preceding phrase over Ab7 could have been fingered 3 2 1 2 to set up a 3 3 4 3 pattern over the C#m7. Once again, the adjoining phrase in bar 6 employs a rolled 1st finger.

    Note that these are descending patterns (harder to execute cleanly with a roll) and the later example is placed on lower pitched strings where the hand has to cross more of the fretboard.

    Using "rolling" (flat fingers) technique on adjacent note runs a la Ted Greene?-rv-jpg