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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Nature ofguitar is such that most things are played with 3 fingers, there's no need to force use of that 4th one, but it's absolutelly ridiculous not to use it when and where it's natural and logical to use it, which is what typical and average 3 finger guys do - not use it at all.
    I think it's not really usefull mentioning genious players in technique issues like this one, because most of us could not do it with any number of fingers.

    Monk's experience is cool, but I bet he uses all available fingers as needed.
    You speak of "typical and average three finger guys" who never use the pinky at all. Who are they? Rock players? Blues players? The discussion here is jazz guitar playing and players who have demonstrated that they used three fingers predominately to play lines. Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Jimmy Raney, Pat Martino, Herb Ellis, Oscar Moore, Irving Ashby, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Jimmy Wyble, Howard Roberts. No one ever said that they used three fingers exclusively.

    If you don't think we should discuss genius players in technical issues like this, who should we discuss? Average players? Below average players? Poor players?

    I've studied Christian and Barnes-type swing jazz fingerings, Django-style fingerings and Wes-style fingerings because they did something with those fingerings that I wasn't able to do with conventional scalar fingerings. They got the sound and the feel and the phrasing.

    If the way that someone plays is working, there's no reason to change unless it stops working. If it never worked to begin with, then they should look for a solution. For me, those solutions were found in the playing of Christian, Barnes, Reinhardt and Montgomery.

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  3. #52
    destinytot Guest
    It's art vs craft, the artist strives to please himself, the craft guy likes to see his stuff to be useful to others. It ain't "lofty" to suggest Jazz guitar is an art, and an extremely disciplined one at that!
    Hear, hear!

  4. #53

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    Obviously I phrased something very poirly. I'll try to rephrase general idea, to give some context to my previous post.

    There is one's general technique and there are special techniques for certain results.

    Greats are great for what we hear them play.
    The result they achieved. While what one can accomplish is determined by technique and devices used it does not mean the same , or similar can not be achieved by using different means. It may be more benefitial to understand why average guy can not do something than to know some genious could do it in spite limited technique.
    All experiences with deliberate self crippling prove how really unimportant general technique is for achieving limited set of goals. It proves certain techniques are better suited for certain goals, though. Whole diversity of techniques used by all various greats proves certain technique won't make you the one.

    Further, students are prone to take advice literarly. Just like most of us, proof is in number of questions on this forum, came to Jazz guitar with missconception of freedom, due taking the term improvisation literarly, many of us will leave this topic with missconceptions about 3 finger technique.

    Using 3 finger technique won't make me Pat. Using all devices I have on hand to emulate will make me stand as my self and if I'm any good, people will study what I did and try to achieve similar in their own way.

    Point being, If something can be achieved with 3 fingers, it certainly can be with all 4 and I don't even have to use them all. However, there's no reason not to use them, if it will produce same result, just because someone else didn't, no matter how great that one may be. If nothing else, though probably at first place, because I'm not that great, at all.
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  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    It's art vs craft, the artist strives to please himself, the craft guy likes to see his stuff to be useful to others. It ain't "lofty" to suggest Jazz guitar is an art, and an extremely disciplined one at that!
    I don't see it this way. Take singing. I'm not so good. I wish I could sing better just for the sake of singing better. I don't want to 'advance the form' of singing, I just want to sing some of the standards I play and enjoy hearing the result. I want my singing to please me (-and anyone else listening) but that's not art---it's all craft! My craft is shaky and that's the problem!

    I'm much more concerned with craft than art. "How the heck did he do that?" "How can I do that?"

    I think more of "artisan" (-a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand) than "artist" (however you might wish to define that). If one's craft is highly developed, one might 'advance the form' in some way, as Charlie Parker did, but unless one masters the craft, well, there just are no great jazz musicians who have not mastered the craft end of the deal. Craft comes first.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I don't see it this way. Take singing. I'm not so good. I wish I could sing better just for the sake of singing better. I don't want to 'advance the form' of singing, I just want to sing some of the standards I play and enjoy hearing the result. I want my singing to please me (-and anyone else listening) but that's not art---it's all craft! My craft is shaky and that's the problem!

    I'm much more concerned with craft than art. "How the heck did he do that?" "How can I do that?"

    I think more of "artisan" (-a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand) than "artist" (however you might wish to define that). If one's craft is highly developed, one might 'advance the form' in some way, as Charlie Parker did, but unless one masters the craft, well, there just are no great jazz musicians who have not mastered the craft end of the deal. Craft comes first.
    Not saying one bypasses craft on the way to art, like Bird himself said "First master your instrument..." But I think I get your point that it's not necessarily just art that one does that pleases oneself, geez, there's a million things we all do for pleasure that we'd all surely label " a complete waste of time "!

    Was just making the point - like I often do to my "artistic" friends - that it's OK to do art for art's sake, that it's its own reward. Been my long held view that one's art is more admirable if it's not overly self conscious in trying to please others. Not all my friends agree of course, I have a friend we call Paul the Hat, he's an art dealer. His motto is " If no-one will pay for it then your art is BS". Of course there's no right answer, but in the interest of balance, I like to bat for the unpopular team in these kinds of debates. In these over commercialised times we pay less and less heed to "art pour l'art" but I'm with Oscar Wilde who once famously declared that the sole purpose of art is that it should be admired. Even if it's maker is the solitary admirer.....

  7. #56
    destinytot Guest
    Craft comes first.
    Insofar as technical mastery goes, yes.

    But this statement
    the craft guy likes to see his stuff to be useful to others.
    points to an important distinction.

    Stopping somewhat short of actually 'wanting to advance the form' (which smacks - to me - of the kind of subliminal tyrrany passing for culture in our commodified and conformist age), I'd say that it's Craft's very 'usefulness' that distinguishes it from Art.

    I think that's the distinction
    Oscar Wilde had in mind when he wrote: "All Art is quite useless." I suspect that, like me, Wilde wasn't much of a soccer player ... but I'm pretty sure that he'd have applauded Bill Shankly for saying that "Football is not a matter of life and death - it's much more important."

    I also think Hal Galper is spot-on when he talks about "the illusion of an instrument". Sure, one needs techniques - tools for a craft - but, for me, it would be just as unwise to conflate 'artisan' with 'artist' as to place the former above the latter.

    Art should be anything but useful.

    Artisans make useful things. This is a matter of being practical and prosaic. So it is with the musician who, in the manner of a touch-typist, makes music to order. Likewise with the farmer, cultivating the land in order to create conditions in which crops might flourish.

    In fact, I find the Farmer to be a very helpful metaphor for learning jazz guitar.

    And I'm reminded of the lyrics of the standard WITHOUT A SONG, especially the part that says, "Without a song / That field would never see a plough". Tilling the soil by means of a plough is completely beyond my experience and I've no wish to perform such an arduous task but, should ever the need arise, it would be Art that inspired me to do so - not Craft, ability, know-how, technique or skill.

    But I agree that technical mastery is necessary to be a great jazz musician. Both lie beyond my aspirations, though I'm determined to aim for high standards.

    On the other hand, I don't consider all great jazz musicians to have been artists - I'm
    not talking about being great artists, but about being 'artists' at all. Some of them were/are tragic examples - again, I'm not talking about lifestyle but about mediocre musical values. (Mind you, I think this comes down to lack of character.)

    The height of mediocrity is
    actually aspiring to making Useful Art. And Utilitarian Art represents the height of kitsch.

    Utilitarianism may have brightened up our homes with dainty doilies and antimacassars, made prettier our public spaces with colourful parks and (ahem!) 'shopping malls' - surely some kind of foreshadowing of some Dantean Circle of Hell - and livened our otherwise humdrum lives (not!) with beautiful logos and catchy jingles... but it also led, arguably, to Hiroshima.

    Craft comes first.
    What is being harnessed comes first. If Craft means the ability to harness it, Art means working in full awareness that the power of what is being harnessed is truly awesome.
    Last edited by destinytot; 07-06-2014 at 12:19 PM.

  8. #57
    destinytot Guest
    Oscar Wilde
    Haven't read your post yet, but my eyes fixed on this - and it brought a smile.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot View Post
    Haven't read your post yet, but my eyes fixed on this - and it brought a smile.
    Yes, ol' Oscar was right on the money, methinks, when he said all art is essentially useless. Hope we're not hijacking this interesting thread, but dammit, this is a big deal, it's at the core of why we do what we do, y'know, and I'm not just talking about playing guitar.

    Mind you, I have nothing against people with a burning ambition to have their art admired by as many people as possible, let's face it, most of the artists across all fields are known to us precisely due to their reknown. But I've usually had a soft spot for the artist that did their own thing and waited for the world to catch on, and not so much the one's that elbow their way to the front of the queue shouting "me too, me too!". Some of the best cats (including writers, painters etc) only became famous after they died- a tough way to prove that they were into their art for it's own sake, and not the money, travel, fame groupies etc.

    And yeah, I know that saying you don't care if anyone likes your schtick can be a cop out for people who started out wanting to be liked but couldn't make it, however I'd even give them a break. Playing any instrument, even poorly, beats spending time on Facebook...

  10. #59
    I'm sure there are nuances to mastering any instrument, but I don't know of another axe that has as many options for sounding a given pitch than the guitar. Given that, it's reasonable that one's concept of fingering might mature as one's musicianship and fingerboard awareness deepen.


    I recall where I was at musically 20 years ago as if it were yesterday. I was nearing 30, just moved to NYC and looking to get established on the scene. There were some cats, especially Jim Hall, who apparently saw a glimmer potential in me and were supportive, but I was definitely a small fish in that big pond. Jumping into a scene like NYC (if there even is another scene like NYC) can be a real wake up call, there are so many happening players it forces you to take stock in what you have to offer and what your shortcomings are. I was at a point where I knew the jazz language and didn't really play any 'wrong notes', but my overall delivery was inconsistent. Sometimes it felt good and swinging, sometimes it was stiff and awkward. Not in a good night/bad night sense, but from phrase to phrase and lick to lick. After more than one sleepless night, I realized I couldn't continue the way I was going and needed to figure out what was wrong.


    After listening back to some tapes of my playing, I began to see a pattern. While my intervallic/motivic Jim Hall/Goodrick language seemed to be heading in the right direction, it was my bebop that would fall apart every so often. I wasn't alone, I heard the same occasional lapse into stilted, non-swinging phrasing from a lot of guitarists, including a lot of well known ones. But I never heard Wes or Jimmy Raney lose their feel on any recording, and in the clubs it was Peter Bernstein that was the most happening of the cats my age.


    While there were no Youtubes back then, VHS tapes were traded, and careful watching and listening revealed that Wes, Jimmy and Pete played most of their bebop lines with a three finger approach, playing diagonally on the neck rather than across in a CAGED box. Further observation led to the realization that the times when I lost the swing were times when I tried to shoehorn a line into a Leavitt/CAGED fingering rather than following it along and across the neck. It was some work letting go of old habits, and my playing didn't fully come together until until I dropped the pick for the thumb, but I knew I was on the right track from the get-go.


    Like anything else on the guitar, you make choices and tradeoffs. I'm sure someone that adheres to a strict Leavitt/CAGED approach has access to some lines I don't have. And like our forum's Monk, (and most of the other 3-finger cats) it's not like I completely abandoned the 4th finger, it shows up when necessary. The key is awareness and understanding of the fingerings that Wes and Jimmy derived to play bebop with the real beboppers in the bebop era.


    Here's a recent video of a gig with George Mraz, the tune is an angular line on a slightly reharmonized It Could Happen To You. There are some nice left hand closeups, it's not like the 4th finger never comes in to play, but the overall approach is built on Wes and Jimmy's 3-finger conception.





    PK

  11. #60

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    Art and craft are one same thing. They are all about skill.

    Fine art is not the same as previous 2. Fine art involves beauty, feelings and, hopefully, cathartic moment.
    Last edited by Vladan; 07-06-2014 at 03:12 PM.
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  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Yes, ol' Oscar was right on the money, methinks, when he said all art is essentially useless. Hope we're not hijacking this interesting thread, but dammit, this is a big deal, it's at the core of why we do what we do, y'know, and I'm not just talking about playing guitar..
    This idea is older than Aristotle. The distinction between "servile" and "fine" arts is ancient. Wilde knew this because he was educated, not because he had some keen insight here. Josef Pieper's "Leisure, the Basis of Culture" is a modern classic on this (broad) subject. Vladimir Nabokov touched on this theme in several of his novels. (Nabokov thought Wilde more of a poser than a poet, a 'rank moralist,' which from Nabokov was a deep dig.)

    What is of concern to me is something Jimmy Raney talked about in a video clip posted hereabouts: a young guy tells Jimmy he wants to be "original." Jimmy said to him, "Original? You can't even play!"
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  13. #62

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    @ paulkogut

    Nice! I think you have your own thing going on for sure, and I agree that to transcribe and play your lines "shoehorned" into CAGED positions would sound and feel "wrong". But then so would trying to play those exact lines alternate picking, or pima fingerpicking or.... I mean there are guys playing with 7 or 8 strings, or with P4 tuning, or playing Stanley Jordan style etc etc, there's many ways to skin a cat besides playing bop lines like the 3 finger greats did in the 50s/60s.

    It's down to the individual and what they can do with whatever means they have, the music will come out if the signal in their head is strong enough, even with one finger, no?

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    This idea is older than Aristotle. The distinction between "servile" and "fine" arts is ancient. Wilde knew this because he was educated, not because he had some keen insight here. Josef Pieper's "Leisure, the Basis of Culture" is a modern classic on this (broad) subject. Vladimir Nabokov touched on this theme in several of his novels. (Nabokov thought Wilde more of a poser than a poet, a 'rank moralist,' which from Nabokov was a deep dig.)

    What is of concern to me is something Jimmy Raney talked about in a video clip posted hereabouts: a young guy tells Jimmy he wants to be "original." Jimmy said to him, "Original? You can't even play!"
    Actually, apart from perhaps Nietzche, I find Wilde had some of the most profound insights into human nature! I think Nabakov calling Wilde a rank moralist is way wide of the mark - particularly as Wilde was thought to be ostensibly amoral by many of his peers.

    But that discussion aside, regarding Jimmy Raney's no doubt well intentioned barb to the young hopeful, what if the kid's response had been "Well no Jimmy, I can't play like you, but who says I gotta, or that I even wanna?"

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut View Post
    While there were no Youtubes back then, VHS tapes were traded, and careful watching and listening revealed that Wes, Jimmy and Pete played most of their bebop lines with a three finger approach, playing diagonally on the neck rather than across in a CAGED box. Further observation led to the realization that the times when I lost the swing were times when I tried to shoehorn a line into a Leavitt/CAGED fingering rather than following it along and across the neck. It was some work letting go of old habits, and my playing didn't fully come together until until I dropped the pick for the thumb, but I knew I was on the right track from the get-go.

    PK
    Just to get back to this really important bit of your very on point post, I also agree that the 4 fingered CAGED guys (and I'm one) very often sound unconvincing with boppish lines, and I feel that there are several reasons, some main ones being that: the pinky is weak ; string skipping is difficult ; slurring or pulling off using the pinky impedes flow ; certain language based ideas borrowed from other instruments are indeed "shoehorned" and sound forced or stilted etc etc

    But, that doesn't mean 4 fingered CAGED playing has to be restrictive, even for bop. The pinky can be made strong, and the problem of picking across strings can be cured via meticulous detailed analysis of the technical demands, and developing practice routines to master them.

    Look, Django had an amazing sound and style, but to play with only 2 fingers, just because that's what he had to do, strikes me as unimaginative. And to then insist that all players should play that exact same way, because no other way seems to work, well that doesn't seem right either.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Look, Django had an amazing sound and style, but to play with only 2 fingers, just because that's what he had to do, strikes me as unimaginative. And to then insist that all players should play that exact same way, because no other way seems to work, well that doesn't seem right either.
    To play with only two fingers strikes me as very imaginative not because Django had to but because orthodoxy tells us we have to play with four fingers. To exhibit no curiosity as to how Django could do what he did is, to me, unimaginative.

    I don't understand why some of the respondents to this thread keep hammering on about people insisting that they play "that same way". No one is insisting that you or anyone else do anything. Do what pleases you. As I very plainly stated in an earlier post, If what you are doing is working there is no need to change anything.

    Regards,
    Jerome

  17. #66
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Art and craft are one same thing. They are all about skill.

    Fine art is not the same as previous 2. Fine art involves beauty, feelings and, hopefully, catarthic moment.
    When I am deeply moved by 'jazz', I can't attribute the joy I feel to craft alone. (I can count on one hand the guitarists whose solos move me deeply - it's usually ensemble playing that has that effect.) The subjective state I experience is something of a quality closer to transcendent than to pedestrian.

    (Nabokov thought Wilde more of a poser than a poet, a 'rank moralist,' which from Nabokov was a deep dig.)
    Obviously not the first time Wilde was said to be 'posing' as anything, nor the first time Wilde was called a 'poser' with regard to his attitude to Art. A cruel person could say the same of, say, Louis Armstrong. Walk a mile in the shoes of a married homosexual in Victorian Britain, Mr Nabokov. At least 'rank moralist' is a break from that tired old tack of dishonouring Wilde by branding him a 'sexual pervert'. Wilde's integrity and high ideals ideals are things I admire.

    This idea is older than Aristotle.
    I also admire the view that life imitates art, and not the other way round (as advocated by Aristotle). It is in this context that I view the purpose, consequences and responsibility involved in honing one's skills.

    I don't know the clip of Jimmy Raney, but his answer is pretty direct and his point not a subtle one. Personally, I'm someone who can play, who values beauty above originality, and to whom this issue matters enough to deliver myself of my opinions on the matter. And, personally, I'd rather read an anecdote about an encouraging word than the sordid proliferation of put-downs - not for my sake, but for others'.

    I find it's James Joyce's notion of 'aesthetic arrest' that best expresses the sublime experience of being deeply moved by great 'jazz' (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kallio...b_3435788.html), and what I aspire to is for my solos to be - in Joyce's terms - 'pornography-free'.
    Last edited by destinytot; 07-06-2014 at 05:26 PM. Reason: clarity

  18. #67
    destinytot Guest
    Great post. Thank you especially for this:
    While there were no Youtubes back then, VHS tapes were traded, and careful watching and listening revealed that Wes, Jimmy and Pete played most of their bebop lines with a three finger approach, playing diagonally on the neck rather than across in a CAGED box. Further observation led to the realization that the times when I lost the swing were times when I tried to shoehorn a line into a Leavitt/CAGED fingering rather than following it along and across the neck. It was some work letting go of old habits, and my playing didn't fully come together until until I dropped the pick for the thumb, but I knew I was on the right track from the get-go.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Actually, apart from perhaps Nietzche, I find Wilde had some of the most profound insights into human nature! I think Nabakov calling Wilde a rank moralist is way wide of the mark - particularly as Wilde was thought to be ostensibly amoral by many of his peers.
    This, I think, is too far afield to pursue here.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  20. #69

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    Couple of things:

    1. How can playing with 3 vs 4 left hand fingers have any influence on righ thand string skipping?
    2. Isn't CAGED actually about playing over chord shapes?
    3. I do not see direct connection between curiosity and imagination.
    4. Topic is about 3 fingers playing.
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  21. #70

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    Since we're talking about (predominantly) three-finger playing, is anyone comfortable (and fluid as they wanna be) in playing Charlie Christian licks in the "F" chord shape when he reaches back for the 6th on the D string?

    If the actual chord is F, this is no problem because that's an open string. (In first position, I mean.)

    So let's take the case of Bb. If you're playing that with your index at the 6th fret, the 6th of Bb will be the G note on the D string at the fifth fret. I've made that shift a hundred times (maybe closer to 500) and I'm better at it than I used to be, but I'm not as good at it as I would like to be. Does anyone ever get that down as smoothly as they want to?

    Here is a common fingering of a Bb6 chord. I'm not talking about fingering the chord but about playing lines in this shape where you have to shift back with your index to play that note (-the 6th of the chord) there?
    X
    6
    7
    5
    X
    6
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  22. #71

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    I don't have a problem playing out of what I think of as an 'E shape' and playing the 6 below the root on the Fourth String. It becomes a bit more of a challenge below Bb but not so much that I find it impossible.

    That you are better at executing this move than you once were should be very encouraging. These things have a way of sneaking up on you. One day you'll play that move and realize that it's no longer a problem but you probably won't remember when it ceased to be.

  23. #72

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    How about Charlie Hunter ? I bet he uses his pinky a lot.

  24. #73


    Here's an observation that might answer some of Mark's and Vladan's questions simultaneously. A lot of times, jazz musicians will refer to complex sets of concepts with deceptively simple terminology. Advice to 'transcribe' or 'learn tunes' is shorthand for some real in-depth studies, and the 'three fingers' concept is the same. In the context of Wes and Jimmy Raney, it's not enough to just not use the 4th finger, it's about taking a look at the entirety of how their left hands interface with the neck and fretboard. What's the angle of the arm, wrist and fingers? How are distances covered between notes; finger movement, wrist movement, arm movement? How does the right hand's role change in relation to the left hand playing more diagonally?


    Although I can't quite understand why, it seems necessary to again point out that neither Monk nor I have said that this was the only way to play and everyone has to do it. It's a body of concept and technique like any other (say, Benson picking). If you like the results that certain players get, it's good to know the method behind it. If someone has another fingering approach that delivers results that they dig, that's cool, too. I will add this, though. One thing that I've noticed from years of teaching is that some folks use position playing as a crutch for not being able to independently locate notes. They get the pattern and memorize where the fingers go, but don't really know the names or degrees of the notes within. You have to be really solid on note location to get a handle on the Wes fingerings, I've seen lots of people not know the neck as well as they assumed they did.


    PK

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Couple of things:

    1. How can playing with 3 vs 4 left hand fingers have any influence on righ thand string skipping?
    There are many times a line using 3 fingers forces you to shift positions (ie on the same string(s) ) whereas execution of same line in one of the CAGED or fixed positions may force you to cross strings uncomfortably, creating difficulty for the right hand. This is yet another advantage for the 3 fingered approach, and sometimes it can't be beat...

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    This, I think, is too far afield to pursue here.
    Hear ya, let's take it up again in a bar sometime, where I can tell you what I really think about Josef Pieper

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut View Post


    ......If someone has another fingering approach that delivers results that they dig, that's cool, too. I will add this, though. One thing that I've noticed from years of teaching is that some folks use position playing as a crutch for not being able to independently locate notes. They get the pattern and memorize where the fingers go, but don't really know the names or degrees of the notes within. You have to be really solid on note location to get a handle on the Wes fingerings, I've seen lots of people not know the neck as well as they assumed they did.


    PK
    Maybe I'm just insecure and/or paranoid that I keep reading subtle inferences that I'm using my position playing as a "crutch" - but yeah, I get it and agree actually that it is harder to predict the sound of intervals played with positional playing. Harder, but not insurmountable. Lots of scale training in intervals (particularly 4th 5th 6th and 7ths) go a long way in helping one to really pre hear every note in a given fixed position.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    There are many times a line using 3 fingers forces you to shift positions (ie on the same string(s) ) whereas execution of same line in one of the CAGED or fixed positions may force you to cross strings uncomfortably, creating difficulty for the right hand. This is yet another advantage for the 3 fingered approach, and sometimes it can't be beat...
    I understand that, but I do not understand why CAGED has to be "fixed"? Also, I bet at least half 3 fingered people play from CAGED position. Next thing I'll her will be CAGED is not good for tapping, or whatever, like someone will arest us if we move from it. All this not ever attempting the CAGED, I do not even know what it is exactly, except that it derives from basic open chord shapes. For that matter, are not C and D, as in CAGED, actually one same shape?

    Again, I say, the nature of guitar is such that we mostly play lines by 3 fingers anyway, much more than 3/4 (75%) of the whole, at least that is my impression.

    I just do not see any advantage in restrictions, except for practice and training, whatever general technique is in question.
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  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Hear ya, let's take it up again in a bar sometime, where I can tell you what I really think about Josef Pieper
    If you think Oscar Wilde understood human nature better than Josef Pieper, I wouldn't bother to listen.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  30. #79

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    I think how you learned has an impact on what our preferences are. When I studied with Harry Leahey, he always wanted to be able to play any line or phrase on any string starting with any finger.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    If you think Oscar Wilde understood human nature better than Josef Pieper, I wouldn't bother to listen.
    Well then you won't bother to read these fun quotes from O.W -


    I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

    Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.

    In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.

    The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

    It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.

    Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.

    In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

    Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

    The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.

    Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.

    If one plays good music, people don't listen and if one plays bad music people don't talk.

    There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel no one else has a right to blame us.

    The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

    There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.

    There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.

    The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or near relation.

    The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.

    The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you.

    Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

    The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

    A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

    There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

    America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

    By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

    He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

    All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.

    I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

    Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

    Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

    If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.

    I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

    The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

    ---------------------------------------------

    And in the other corner in the red trunks. JP:


    “What distinguishes - in both senses of that word - contemplation is rather this: it is a knowing which is inspired by love. "Without love there would be no contemplation." Contemplation is a loving attainment of awareness. It is intuition of the beloved object.”

    “Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves. We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence.”

    “Of course the world of work begins to become - threatens to become - our only world, to the exclusion of all else. The demands of the working world grow ever more total, grasping ever more completely the whole of human existence.

    “Happiness,... even the smallest happiness, is like a step out of Time, and the greatest happiness is sharing in Eternity.”

    “The happy life does not mean loving what we possess, but possessing what we love." Possession of the beloved, St. Thomas holds, takes place in an act of cognition, in seeing, in intuition, in contemplation.”

    “The ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation.”

    “... the greatest menace to our capacity for contemplation is the incessant fabrication of tawdry empty stimuli which kill the receptivity of the soul.”

    “No one can obtain felicity by pursuit. This explains why one of the elements of being happy is the feeling that a debt of gratitude is owed, a debt impossible to pay. Now, we do not owe gratitude to ourselves. To be conscious of gratitude is to acknowledge a gift.”

    ...Enduring comprises a strong activity of the soul, namely, a vigorous grasping of and clinging to the good; and only from this stout-hearted activity can the strength to support the physical and spiritual suffering of injury and death be nourished.”

    “Happiness is essentially a gift; we are not the forgers of our own felicity.”

    “The brave man uses wrath for his own act, above all in attack, 'for it is peculiar to wrath to pounce upon evil. Thus fortitude and wrath work directly upon each other.”

    “...the intemperately wrathful man is less obnoxious than the intemperately lustful one, while the immoderate pleasure-seeker, intent on dissimulation and camouflage, is unable to give or take a straight look in the eye.”

    “To know means to reach the reality of existing things.”

    -----------------------------------------------------

    ....... set aside who has the deeper insight to humanity, I certainly know who I'd rather share a beer with!

  32. #81
    destinytot Guest
    set aside who has the deeper insight to humanity, I certainly know who I'd rather share a beer with!
    Come on, play nice! So much gets lost in translation. Actually, I've got a soft spot for JP simply because he's from near my mother's home town.

    I'd buy everyone a beer if could. Back to shifting around on three fingers and picking firmly.

  33. #82

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    hehe, yeah I know, German translations are often even drier than the original! Much of what JP wrote is of course important stuff we need to remind ourselves of.

    Just havin' a bit of fun....

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Barney Kessel wrote an article in Guitar Player magazine describing his meeting with CC. In the article he stated: "Charlie played probably 95% downstrokes......
    Are we allowed to discuss this a little bit in this thread? I simply cant bring myself to believe it, but happy to be convinced.... anyone got "proof" of this? It is certainly an astonishing claim!

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Well then you won't bother to read these fun quotes from O.W -
    I read all of Oscar's books as a teenager, including "De Profundis." I don't dislike the man. I just don't think he was especially astute about art or human nature. I did once buy a coffee mug that contained my favorite line of his: "Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow." I re-read the plays sometimes for the laughs---which are many---but I read Pieper for the intellectual heft and clarity. Neither of which has to do with jazz guitar...
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Are we allowed to discuss this a little bit in this thread? I simply cant bring myself to believe it, but happy to be convinced.... anyone got "proof" of this? It is certainly an astonishing claim!
    Well, I suppose we are free to discuss it, but that BK said that about CC, whom he met and saw play, is something no one here is in a position to dispute. I've read the same interview. I think I've posted links to it here (-this Forum, not this thread) a few times. Barney was a already a good player when he met Charlie, an adult. He watched Charlie 'up close and personal.'

    If you won't take Barney Kessel's word for how Charlie played, whose would you take?
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  37. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Are we allowed to discuss this a little bit in this thread? I simply cant bring myself to believe it, but happy to be convinced.... anyone got "proof" of this? It is certainly an astonishing claim!
    First of all, swing music was dance music. There weren't a lot of insane tempos.

    The default pick stroke for eighth notes during this period seems to be down strokes if you look at the guitar methods from that time. Down strokes were considered to have a better, more consistent tone.

    While there are no film clips of Charlie Christian playing, there are clips of contemporaries like George Barnes and disciples such as Herb Ellis and Bucky Pizzarelli. It's surprising how many jazz guitarists use mostly down strokes for medium and slow tempo tunes.

    YouTube is full of videos of well-known guitarists who were influenced by CC. Check them out.

  38. #87

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    I just listened to Stompin' and then Topsy (live). I swear I can hear upstrokes. Surely you couldn't sound as smooth as he does with downstrokes only? Try it, it's damn near impossible! Besides, BK may have been mistaken, it's often hard to tell what a player's right hand is really doing.

  39. #88

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    95% of statistics are made up.

    If you take Barney's quote to mean "Charlie played a hell of a lot of downstrokes" it allows you to get on with life and realize even Charlie used some upstrokes.

    Whenever I have to rely on anecdotal evidence, I take it with more than a few grains of salt.
    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

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I just listened to Stompin' and then Topsy (live). I swear I can hear upstrokes. Surely you couldn't sound as smooth as he does with downstrokes only? Try it, it's damn near impossible! Besides, BK may have been mistaken, it's often hard to tell what a player's right hand is really doing.
    Here we go again.

    Barney Kessel didn't say he used ALL downstrokes.

    George Barnes is on record in magazine interview saying that he, also, used MOSTLY down strokes.

    I've watched Bucky play on video and in person and can say that he also uses MOSTLY down strokes.

    For the moment, I chose to believe Barney Kessel's statement, my own eyes and what I've found from researching old guitar methods over your ears.

  41. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Here we go again.

    Barney Kessel didn't say he used ALL downstrokes.

    George Barnes is on record in magazine interview saying that he, also, used MOSTLY down strokes.

    I've watched Bucky play on video and in person and can say that he also uses MOSTLY down strokes.

    For the moment, I chose to believe Barney Kessel's statement, my own eyes and what I've found from researching old guitar methods over your ears.
    Hear, hear!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Here we go again.

    Barney Kessel didn't say he used ALL downstrokes.

    George Barnes is on record in magazine interview saying that he, also, used MOSTLY down strokes.

    I've watched Bucky play on video and in person and can say that he also uses MOSTLY down strokes.

    For the moment, I chose to believe Barney Kessel's statement, my own eyes and what I've found from researching old guitar methods over your ears.
    So maybe something like " CC played downstrokes except when double timing anything over moderate to fast tempos".
    Sure, I'll buy that. Not askin' you to believe my ears, I know you have your own...

  43. #92
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut View Post


    Advice to 'transcribe' or 'learn tunes' is shorthand for some real in-depth studies, and the 'three fingers' concept is the same. In the context of Wes and Jimmy Raney, it's not enough to just not use the 4th finger, it's about taking a look at the entirety of how their left hands interface with the neck and fretboard. What's the angle of the arm, wrist and fingers? How are distances covered between notes; finger movement, wrist movement, arm movement? How does the right hand's role change in relation to the left hand playing more diagonally?

    PK
    Really helpful advice. Thank you!

  44. #93

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    My experience:

    Actually 3 - fingers concept really helped to get me into phrasing, not even chord shapes (though also this)- but more phrasing ...
    Actually I do not see how using chord shape method strongly prevents from using pinky... maybe in some cases.

    I think players of old days did not use pinky because they start as self-taughts and self-taughts often neglect pinky....
    And that caused the 'wrong' wrist angle to stretch out the 3rd fiinger...

    But these two points (3 fingers and chord shapes) - forme certain fingering with slide shifts and junb to the adjecent string with the same finger, and this effected phrasing...

    And after first players new ones just learnt from them.

    So I think it is important to try this method to catch their phrasing and to feel comfortable with chord shapes

    Especially after classical fingering, when you are used to play easily with pinky - the classical is just elaborated for other purposes. When I started to play jazz after classical I often saw that either I get lost becasue this fingering did not bring me where I wanted, or phrasing was too clear, too even...
    It took me time to go over it and I got it only when I saw how the played and tried to imitate... of course I did not stop using pinky, but pinky became my advantage, instead of obstacle...





    Last edited by Jonah; 07-10-2014 at 09:35 AM.

  45. #94

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    I wrote to guitarist Frank Vignola about this and he kindly wrote back. I wrote Frank because he is a top-flight contemporary player with deep roots in both swing and Gypsy styles.

    His short answer to fingering was, "Whatever works." As for the masters, he concluded as follows:

    "There are over 200 ways to play a C scale so I doubt any of the Masters gave too much thought to fingering only and probably on certain tricky passages."

    I do not consider this the last word on the subject but I do consider it an important word.

    (I will repeat this post on a few other threads that touch on this same subject.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  46. #95

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    this technique sounds amazing but does it exists a guide to how to play it?
    a pentatonic scale is easy to play with only three fingers; but major scales or arpegios or chromatism seem a bit difficoult to me.
    any help?

    (edit) ...and the thumb position is not clear to me: watching at some Benson's clips, his thumb is almost always over the fretboard, while the main four finger technique needs the thumb exactly opposite at the other fingers, in the middle of the neck back (sorry for my poor english).
    and again the main three fingers are placed not parallel to frets but obliques, like a violin player...
    Last edited by gianluca; 02-28-2016 at 05:56 AM.

  47. #96

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    gianluca you are officially - the reanimator!

    Three fingered style for me is thumb over the neck. You tend to avoid stretches this way and slide around a lot. Some of my students play this way (it is good for gypsy jazz and swing IMO) and I encourage them to alternate 1st and 3rd finger as much as possible, with a bit of 2nd finger.

    In any right hand fingering the thing avoid is playing the next string with the same finger and a shift. Playing either the same finger or a shift is fine, but doing both is awkward. So for a G major scale at the 2nd fret, standard shape, I would suggest

    1 3 1 / 1 3 1 3 / 3 1 3 / 3 1 3 1 / 1 going up
    1 \ 1 3 1 3 \ 3 1 3 \ 3 1 3 1 \ 1 3 1 going down

    Where / is slide up and \ is slide down

    But you might find other combinations that are more comfortable.

    With this type of fingering, you may find you need to do a different fingering when you play scales in intervals (3rd, 4ths etc)

  48. #97

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    so, just a very little use of 2...

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by gianluca View Post
    so, just a very little use of 2...
    Yeah, I feel that using combinations like 1 2 3 puts the hand out of shape and it's more natural to use a 3. The aim is to make everything feel as natural as a blues lick...

    Bear in mind that Django fretted everything with 1 and 2, so you only really 'need' two fingers for a surprisingly large amount of single note playing. But 1 and 3 more natural if you have a functional ring finger...

    Finger 2 is very useful though.... For arpeggios for example.

  50. #99

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    There are videos on Youtube of Wes Montgomery, George Barnes, Garrison Fewell, Jimmy Raney, Bucky Pizarelli, Frank Vignola and other swing/bop guitarists who use this technique. Watching them will be more instructive than any amount of discussion we have here. Miles Okazaki's demonstration of Charlie Christian's Stomping at the Savoy solo is excellent.



    The difference between Gypsy Jazz and American Swing is that common chord shapes are the left hand point of reference in Swing rather than the diagonal arpeggios of Gypsy Jazz.

  51. #100

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    I did not read the whole thread yet, so pardon me if I say something redundant.

    Just Friday night as I was recording some tunes in my living room, oddly enough I ended up slicing my left fretting hand fifth finger doing a long slide. That was enough to make me not use it as much for the next 24 hours. That happens sometimes with steel strings but not for me so often with nylon. Anyway, I was 'forced' to use three fingers largely for most of the night, though I can't stop using the fifth finger out of habit.

    But what I think is beneficial with the three finger technique as people have already noted is in the phrasing. One is forced to do more position transitions, perhaps introducing also a more 'triplet feel'.