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  1. #1

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    Hi


    I'm venturing out of playing the pentatonic scale over chords and trying to target the chord tones, ive learnt triads over the neck and know caged etc


    At the moment it seems doable to apply the chord tones over a 12 bar blues I have practiced a bit however i'm just wondering how do pro guitarists deal with a more complex song they may not know


    For example when I turn up for a jam and the rhythm is playing a song I haven't heard before with 6+ chords I find my self just going back to pentatonic as it seems impossible to visualize the chord tones when I haven't drilled the song in advanced and the chords move fast


    I guess the answer is just keep practicing a range of songs at home and eventually it becomes second nature and your fingers just go to the right tones and your ear just "knows"


    or is there some trick i'm missing?


    Thanks

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamm
    Hi


    I'm venturing out of playing the pentatonic scale over chords and trying to target the chord tones, ive learnt triads over the neck and know caged etc


    At the moment it seems doable to apply the chord tones over a 12 bar blues I have practiced a bit however i'm just wondering how do pro guitarists deal with a more complex song they may not know


    For example when I turn up for a jam and the rhythm is playing a song I haven't heard before with 6+ chords I find my self just going back to pentatonic as it seems impossible to visualize the chord tones when I haven't drilled the song in advanced and the chords move fast


    I guess the answer is just keep practicing a range of songs at home and eventually it becomes second nature and your fingers just go to the right tones and your ear just "knows"


    or is there some trick i'm missing?


    Thanks

  4. #3

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    how do pro guitarists deal with a more complex song they may not know
    I doubt if they do songs they don't know much. But they probably could because patterns repeat themselves.

    or is there some trick i'm missing?
    Definitely. It's called being able to play the guitar. It means knowing all your chords, scales, arpeggios, modes, the fingerboard backwards, most of the well-known songs, a fair modicum of theory, the substitutions... etc, etc. And it takes a ton of practice and a long time to get it.

    But don't give up. The fun is in the learning, not the arriving. There's no arriving, of course, but there does come a point where it's comfortable.

    The best advice I know is this: listen. Listen to people play the 12-bar. Blues players if you only want to do blues but jazz players if you want to do jazz. Get the feel of it. That's more important than target notes and concepts like that. Learn how to play something that sounds like what you want it to sound like. Make music, not repeat like a machine.

    Which way you go depends on you. Consider where you are now and build on it. Or get a teacher. Unfortunately that means paying them and only seeing them once a week or something. But there's a lot of information online. Don't be too ambitious. Start simple, master it, and work up.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by ragman1; 11-12-2020 at 12:58 AM.

  5. #4

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  6. #5

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    If you know the grips the chord tones are under your fingers. It’s a good place to start.

  7. #6

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    Not a trick ... that would imply that there's some kind of shortcut.

    There are a lot of ways to get chord tones under your fingers.

    Some people learn arp and scale patterns. Some focus on chord grips. There are approaches based on triads. Some go entirely by ear. There are probably other approaches, both systematic and haphazard.

    I decided to learn the notes of the chords I use -- in every key, instantly. I already knew the fingerboard. This was a lot of work and I stil drill it.
    Most people don't do it this way, apparently. It works for what I'm trying to do.

  8. #7

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    Pick 1 spot on the neck that you want to work, leave your hand there, and run the arpeggios to the tune without moving your hand up and down the neck. Best way to be able to hit the changes melodically without jumping around to root position shapes like a beginner. Say you're in 5th position with your pointer on the 5th fret but want to play an F7 arpeggio. Doesn't matter, start on the 3rd of the F7, the A on the 5th fret and continue up.

    After you have that down, you can do the exercise in time. Put your hand in 1 spot and play the arpeggio to the 1st chord in 8th notes, then when the next chord arrives, continue playing in the same direction just change the notes you play to outline the next chord, and so on.

    Once you've done the exercises, play music like that by threading together the arpeggios seamlessly instead of jumping around to whatever is safe such as root position scales or arpeggios.

  9. #8

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    This is a huge topic as you are touching on the essence of how to improvise. Good players are unlikely to want to attempt soloing on a tune they have never heard of. A good ear will help them wing it, but without knowing what's coming next, it's pretty difficult to keep on top of things. Chord tones really explain what is happening harmonically ie how chords link together with strong sounding notes, but they don't form the basis of improvisation. Rather, soloist seeks lines that weave through the changes that may, or may not incorporate chord tones. Playing the pentatonic might get you out of the occasional tight spot, but the art is really never putting yourself in a situation where you are exposed to being caught short. This means becoming familiar with tunes before you attempt to play them, or carry charts with you and have an arsenal of fall back licks to carry across the finishing line.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Definitely. It's called being able to play the guitar. It means knowing all your chords, scales, arpeggios, modes, the fingerboard backwards, most of the well-known songs, a fair modicum of theory, the substitutions... etc, etc. And it takes a ton of practice and a long time to get it.
    .
    hi Rag ....
    that just sounds like a nearly impossible mountain of knowledge to get together

    I appreciate you’ve toned down your tough love a bit and you are encouraging later
    in your post ....

    but really , that would have put me off
    when i was getting it together

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamm
    Hi


    I'm venturing out of playing the pentatonic scale over chords and trying to target the chord tones, ive learnt triads over the neck and know caged etc


    At the moment it seems doable to apply the chord tones over a 12 bar blues I have practiced a bit however i'm just wondering how do pro guitarists deal with a more complex song they may not know


    For example when I turn up for a jam and the rhythm is playing a song I haven't heard before with 6+ chords I find my self just going back to pentatonic as it seems impossible to visualize the chord tones when I haven't drilled the song in advanced and the chords move fast


    I guess the answer is just keep practicing a range of songs at home and eventually it becomes second nature and your fingers just go to the right tones and your ear just "knows"


    or is there some trick i'm missing?


    Thanks
    There are chord patterns that keep cropping up. II V I is the most famous, but there are others. The more songs you learn, the more of these patterns you’ll learn.

    That makes it easier to work out what to practice on - but really it’s about slowly building up your knowledge of the fretboard, and slowly learning more and more songs.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamm;[URL="tel:1074584"
    1074584[/URL]]

    I guess the answer is just keep practicing a range of songs at home and eventually it becomes second nature and your fingers just go to the right tones and your ear just "knows"


    or is there some trick i'm missing?


    Thanks
    no your right ....theres no trick to it ....
    it’s just incremental

    you can hear the I IV and V chords in a blues already .... that’s great

    so practice hearing and recognising ii V i’s in tunes

    then practice hearing when I goes to vi
    in a tune

    etc etc

    there are very common chord movements
    that occur in all’s tunes a lot
    practicing hearing the common movements , the “changes”

    everyone here is in the process of
    doing / learning this stuff

    the more of it you get down , the more
    freedom you get in your improvisation

  13. #12

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    OK..keep it in a "blues" format

    two suggestions:

    All Blues

    Blue Monk

    learn them in ALL keys..melody AND chords

    now experiment with the chords: Triads and their inversions--four note chords and their inversions..and arpeggions

    Use harmonic devices..circle of fifths/fourths..flat five substitutions..minor thirds..bIII7..bVI7..bII7

    explore the diminished and augmented scales

    I realize this kind of study is a long them project..but with dedication and persistence will give rewards for a life time

  14. #13

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    I was talking to a sax player whose playing I very much admire but whose music I only sometimes like. One evening we got to talking about practising and playing straight off the sheet - I've never seen him stuck for ideas. I said how hard I find navigating changes. He replied that he always targets the 3rd of the chord and the rest is juggling scales around that. He wasn't being funny, he added - you need to know those scales though!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamm
    I'm venturing out of playing the pentatonic scale over chords and trying to target the chord tones, ive learnt triads over the neck and know caged etc
    When you say "target the chord tones" do mean that in a general or specifc way? Hint: Direct and Indirect approaches. That is a big "jazz language" area to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Williamm
    At the moment it seems doable to apply the chord tones over a 12 bar blues I have practiced a bit however i'm just wondering how do pro guitarists deal with a more complex song they may not know
    By pattern recognition. It starts with form. We need to know 12-Bar Blues and AABA 32-bar song forms etc. We need to know how to improvise the jazz language on short and long, major and minor II-V-Is, Blues, Rhythm Changes, Turnarounds, Cycles, and other progressions. And then play a good number of standards.

    Here's an example of an "improvisation class barrier exam" at UNT - at the beginning of the semester you are challenged with a number of songs and if you can't play arpeggios to the 9th on all chords in them you cannot take the class. You have to spend some time "gettin' it together" and come back in a future semester.


    Quote Originally Posted by Williamm
    I guess the answer is just keep practicing a range of songs at home and eventually it becomes second nature and your fingers just go to the right tones and your ear just "knows"
    Yes, but we also need to master, or at least get a firm handle on, the items that I mentioned above...

  16. #15
    Edit: yeah. wrong thread...
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 11-15-2020 at 05:58 PM.

  17. #16

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    wrong thread, methinks.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Tom
    I was talking to a sax player whose playing I very much admire but whose music I only sometimes like. One evening we got to talking about practising and playing straight off the sheet - I've never seen him stuck for ideas. I said how hard I find navigating changes. He replied that he always targets the 3rd of the chord and the rest is juggling scales around that. He wasn't being funny, he added - you need to know those scales though!
    Urgh thirds

  19. #18

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    Hi Williamm
    I think I'm probably at a similar stage to you. I can string a reasonable solo at a jam after lots of prep and song familiarity. I was very pleased with myself until it dawned on me that I wasn't improvising. I was improvising when I created the solo but every jam I was playing the same solo again and again. So I had to consciously try and play a different solo for the same song, and a different solo phrase for each similar part of a song. I think that's what the beboppers did - "dont repeat yourself" (someone can correct me if that's wrong). So this stuff is hard. If I'm honest I can't imagine playing a solo with just chords in front of me - but would I want to anyway?

  20. #19

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    You have the sounds you want in your head. How you play them differs. Then you're not repeating. Consciously, at any rate.