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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    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.
    my interior fight is if to start a (I presume) pretty long period to learn and familiarize with the 3 fingers techinque or goin' on (or improve) my efforts on the "normal" 4 fingers technique: in a different video, mr. okazaki shows a very solid 4 fingers techinque (a chromatic scale video)...

    (edit) I can't figure how a chromatic scale could be shaped with 3 fingers...
    Last edited by gianluca; 02-28-2016 at 01:38 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    gianliuca,
    Swing and bebop is not about playing scales. Guitarists tend to be obsessive about scales. Pianists, horn players and string players see and use scales for what they are. A means to familiarize oneself with their chosen instrument and build technique.

    Learning songs is paramount. Songs are what you will play on the job. They are also the form upon which you will base your solos.

    Regards,
    Jerome

  4. #103
    There’s a great scene in “The Exorcist” , where the young priest starts to list the various manifestations that are possessing Linda Blair, and the old priest cuts him off with, “There is only one…”


    Likewise, the neck of the guitar is just the neck of the guitar,. Breaking it down into ‘positions’ “areas’ or ‘fingerings’ for easier study is fine, but in the end “there is only one” How you choose to get around the entirety of the neck is an artistic choice that every player needs to make for themselves. Miles Okazaki’s transcription of Charlie Christian is a perfect example. There’s a tradition of playing that starts with Charlie and was developed by George Barnes, Jimmy Rainey, Wes, Bucky et. al. No one has to adopt the fingerings, picking and articulations of that tradition, but no one is going to sound ‘in’ that tradition if they do not.


    PK


  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    gianliuca,
    Swing and bebop is not about playing scales. Guitarists tend to be obsessive about scales. Pianists, horn players and string players see and use scales for what they are. A means to familiarize oneself with their chosen instrument and build technique.

    Learning songs is paramount. Songs are what you will play on the job. They are also the form upon which you will base your solos.

    Regards,
    Jerome
    great advice.
    you mean: hear to music, think to music lines and just hope that some part of your body hits the guitar's strings in the right place without educate it...

  6. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Oscar Moore,T-Bone Walker, B.B. King and Bucky Pizzarelli all use (or used) a predominantly 3 finger left hand approach. This is because they employed a chord shape based method of looking at the fingerboard.

    Swing, blues and bebop guitarists used this approach because it's a "natural" way of organizing the fingerboard.

    The scale fingering/mode approach started to gain currency in the early to mid 1970s due in part to articles that were printed in Guitar Player magazine and later, Guitar World. Those articles were aimed at rock and blues players who sought entry into the world of jazz improvisation. Most of those articles were not written by jazz guitarists and had a classical slant. As a result, some players began to organize the fingerboard as scale fingerings rather than chord shapes. This gives rise to not only a different way of visualizing the fingerboard but also a different way of playing.

    In his 1941 Guitar Method, George Barnes uses chord shapes to outline the fingerboard touching only once on the major scale before diving into lines and phrasing.

    Likewise, in his excellent book Jazz Improvisation for Guitar, Garrison Fewell comments on Wes Montgomery's 'blues guitarist" fingerings. A careful examination of the phrases in Fewell's book reveals that most of them are played with 3 fingers and are also shape based.

    Some of you may disagree but I believe that the best way to understand the evolution of jazz guitar is to approach each era and it's players from their perspective not ours.
    do you have any links or information on where to find these articles and book? Great information!

  7. #106

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    Strange, I would not put Jimmy Raney in the 3 fingers group, he used his pinky quite often at least here:

    He also doesn't have big hands, is there relation between hand size and the 3 fingers vs 4 approach?
    Tal Farlow was using his 4 fingers covering half the neck with one arpeggio; he was quite a chord shape player.
    I suspect Billy Bean of also having been a 4 fingers player, but we unfortunately don't have much footage to support this.

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by gianluca View Post
    great advice.
    you mean: hear to music, think to music lines and just hope that some part of your body hits the guitar's strings in the right place without educate it...
    No, that is not what I mean! No one can play jazz or any other kind of music without educating themselves. You must listen to the great players, learn the songs AND the vocabulary, study and practice. Otherwise, you are not going to to be able to play anything that has any substance or depth.

    As George Van Eps said "Luck won't do it and ignorance can't!".

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    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)
    thank you, it works for me.
    the 3 finger allows me more strenght in each single note and a better phrasing: my music seems to be improved.
    what can you suggest me for chromatics line/scale?

  10. #109

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    do you have any links or information on where to find these articles and book? Great information!
    Bob,
    The George Barnes Method for Electric Guitar has been out of print for nearly 40 years. It occasionally shows up on eBay at extortionate prices. I was lucky enough to find one in a used book store for a reasonable price. Possibly the best most easily acquired look into Charlie Christian's playing style is Stan Ayeroff's Swing to Bop. It and Garrison Fewell's Jazz Improvisation: A Melodic Approach for Guitar can be found on Amazon or other commercial websites.

    The articles that I referred to in the guitar magazines were mostly hogwash that had nothing to do with how jazz guitar was really played.
    Regards,
    Jerome

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinlander View Post
    Strange, I would not put Jimmy Raney in the 3 fingers group, he used his pinky quite often at least here:

    He also doesn't have big hands, is there relation between hand size and the 3 fingers vs 4 approach?
    Tal Farlow was using his 4 fingers covering half the neck with one arpeggio; he was quite a chord shape player.
    I suspect Billy Bean of also having been a 4 fingers player, but we unfortunately don't have much footage to support this.
    Raney is using three fingers more often than he uses his pinky.

    No relation in hand size. Wes Montgomery had large hands.

    As has been stated before many times, it is not exclusively using three fingers. It is predominately three fingers with the fourth finger being used as an auxiliary.

    The style originated before Charlie Christian with the acoustic players but CC brought the style to electric guitar and set the standard for years afterward.

  12. #111

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    To be true I think 3 fingers technique cannot make a method... it developed together with the style.. it origined in a style.. and it was connected with lots fo circumstances - lots of 'here and now' - the guys were self-taughts and they often neglect pinky... and to hold guitar more up (hrizontally) with left hand thumb over the neck,
    guitar was blues instrument and this type of playing fitted well for playing blues licks and probably many other circumstances...

    It was not elaborated effecient technique as it is with classical where 'pinky is the king' (as my teacher used to say)

    So studying this technique would be more like historical reasearch.. it could be really useful and important to understand phrasing and articulation... but I do not think you can make a method out of it, because it was not method ever...


    Besides I think that references were much more about chord shapes... than scales or anything else..

    thank you, it works for me.
    the 3 finger allows me more strenght in each single note and a better phrasing: my music seems to be improved.
    It was also a push for me when I tried to get into it.. but later I smoothely slided back to 4 fingers and it sounded better...

    Now I notice that I play all 4 fingers - not strict classical postion but something in between... but when I play I do a lot of things like as if I played 3 fingers...

    what can you suggest me for chromatics line/scale
    do you really think it's efficinet?
    When I tried 3 fingers I focused on arps and typical melodic turnarounds - I mean I do not usually play all chromatic scale even with 4 fingers...

  13. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    ……….and to hold guitar more up (hrizontally) with left hand thumb over the neck,
    guitar was blues instrument and this type of playing fitted well for playing blues licks and probably many other circumstances…

    It was not elaborated effecient technique as it is with classical where 'pinky is the king' (as my teacher used to say)

    So studying this technique would be more like historical reasearch.. it could be really useful and important to understand phrasing and articulation... but I do not think you can make a method out of it, because it was not method ever...

    Besides I think that references were much more about chord shapes... than scales or anything else..
    To say that guitar was a "blues instrument" is not accurate at all. Most of the early jazz guitarists were listening to Ravel and Debussy along with pop, jazz and blues. Furthermore, Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson both played violin before they played guitar so one must consider that they knew about using the fourth finger.

    That the majority of players from the Twenties through the Fifties played this way (and some wrote books about it) there is a very strong argument that it is, indeed, a method.

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by gianluca View Post
    thank you, it works for me.
    the 3 finger allows me more strenght in each single note and a better phrasing: my music seems to be improved.
    what can you suggest me for chromatics line/scale?
    I would suggest working out some phrases from recordings and doing what comes naturally.

    No doubt some will disagree, but it works for me. It's good try a few different fingerings before finding ones that's the most comfortable.

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Bob,
    The George Barnes Method for Electric Guitar has been out of print for nearly 40 years. It occasionally shows up on eBay at extortionate prices. I was lucky enough to find one in a used book store for a reasonable price. Possibly the best most easily acquired look into Charlie Christian's playing style is Stan Ayeroff's Swing to Bop. It and Garrison Fewell's Jazz Improvisation: A Melodic Approach for Guitar can be found on Amazon or other commercial websites.

    The articles that I referred to in the guitar magazines were mostly hogwash that had nothing to do with how jazz guitar was really played.
    Regards,
    Jerome
    didnt he have a book in the 40's as well?

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    didnt he have a book in the 40's as well?
    That's the same book. It was in print from 1941 until the early 70s.

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    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.
    I never thought of it that way, but I see your point, I think. I play American Swing and Gypsy Jazz.... I just play whatever pops into my head. But that said, I do think I bounce around the neck a bit more when I am playing the Manouche stuff. It suits those bigger runs.

    IRC Okazaki plays 3 fingered even if he is doing contemporary stuff.

    Rosenwinkel is quite a three fingered player for solo lines, in fact. More so than a lot of his contemporaries. He does use his fourth finger, but it's not on even footing with his other fingers as far as I can see...

    Peter Bernstein is also heavily three fingered when playing lines. Both are thumb over the top guys when playing single note lines.



    Who else - Jim Mullen? Metheny, largely.

    Three fingers and sliding around is a pretty valid technique for any style of single note playing IMO...
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-28-2016 at 04:26 PM.

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    To say that guitar was a "blues instrument" is not accurate at all. Most of the early jazz guitarists were listening to Ravel and Debussy along with pop, jazz and blues. Furthermore, Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson both played violin before they played guitar so one must consider that they knew about using the fourth finger.

    That the majority of players from the Twenties through the Fifties played this way (and some wrote books about it) there is a very strong argument that it is, indeed, a method.
    Thanks for the info. Lots of stuff I didn't know!

    AFAIK the violin is largely played with three fingers.

    Four fingered guitar technique evolved to allow the execution of polyphony on the instrument. IMO it is not an optimised technique for purely melodic playing.

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by gianluca View Post
    my interior fight is if to start a (I presume) pretty long period to learn and familiarize with the 3 fingers techinque or goin' on (or improve) my efforts on the "normal" 4 fingers technique: in a different video, mr. okazaki shows a very solid 4 fingers techinque (a chromatic scale video)...

    (edit) I can't figure how a chromatic scale could be shaped with 3 fingers...
    You can play a chromatic scale with 1 finger.


  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    Bob,
    The George Barnes Method for Electric Guitar has been out of print for nearly 40 years. It occasionally shows up on eBay at extortionate prices. I was lucky enough to find one in a used book store for a reasonable price. Possibly the best most easily acquired look into Charlie Christian's playing style is Stan Ayeroff's Swing to Bop. It and Garrison Fewell's Jazz Improvisation: A Melodic Approach for Guitar can be found on Amazon or other commercial websites.

    The articles that I referred to in the guitar magazines were mostly hogwash that had nothing to do with how jazz guitar was really played.
    Regards,
    Jerome
    Vintage Music Folios and Out Of Print Methods in PDF Format

    Any use?

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Possibly for the membership-at-large. I prefer hard copies and have most of the guitar folios listed there. Although that Volpe-Victor book piques my interest.

  22. #121

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    To say that guitar was a "blues instrument" is not accurate at all. Most of the early jazz guitarists were listening to Ravel and Debussy along with pop, jazz and blues. Furthermore, Eddie Lang and Lonnie Johnson both played violin before they played guitar so one must consider that they knew about using the fourth finger.
    ok let me correct myself it was also blues instrument...

    And guitar really was a blues instrument... I mean the blues was associated with guitar quite strongly and it should have influenced how the guitar was treated in other styles - at least in popular music...

    I understand that early jazz guitarists dis not come from blues guitar mostly as well as music often was much closer to 'classical salon' or cabaret than afro-american genres...

    To be fair I do not even always feel this music as jazz...

    but I still think that the most difference CC had in was that he actually came from blues ... even today when I hear for example Joe Pisano or Bucky Pizzarelli (great masters - no doubt!) - they sound like they inherited more this pre- CC era...
    they are like two different branches of the tree...


    That the majority of players from the Twenties through the Fifties played this way (and some wrote books about it) there is a very strong argument that it is, indeed, a method.
    With this I am not sure I can agree... of course if you want you can make a method out of anything... my idea was that the fact that the technique came from non-academical enviroment it developed spontaneously...
    so it reflects more the music that it was used for..

    but from reading your post I see that you for sure have much more expertise in the history of jazz guitar than me I just would trust your opinion untill I find time to do more researches myself

  23. #122

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    Both are thumb over the top guys when playing single note lines.
    I think with modern electric guitars when they have necks like Ibanez you can be 'thumb over' player and use 4 fingers... and when you're on your feet you almost always become a 'thumb over'..

    Actually from point of view of physical 'guitarism' Scofield is closest to the way I am trying to do it (not that I copied him - just noticed similarity)

    What I mean is that if a student came to me I would not recomment him to copy Metheny's or Peter Bernstein's left hand technique... they are both great but they learnt it the way they did - and probably being still kids...


    But if you really want to approach it conciously you have to choose something more effecient.. and the Sco's left hand has both all different types of technique and at teh same time seems to be very efficient ber ergonomic

  24. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    ok let me correct myself it was also blues instrument...

    And guitar really was a blues instrument... I mean the blues was associated with guitar quite strongly...
    Jonah,
    The earliest blues recording I've ever heard was W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band recorded in 1917. A brass band!

    During the first two decades of the Twentieth Century, the blues was associated with female singers like Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith performing with small orchestras of brass.

    The guitar did not begin to come to the forefront until Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Blake began recording in the late Twenties.

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    I think with modern electric guitars when they have necks like Ibanez you can be 'thumb over' player and use 4 fingers... and when you're on your feet you almost always become a 'thumb over'..

    Actually from point of view of physical 'guitarism' Scofield is closest to the way I am trying to do it (not that I copied him - just noticed similarity)

    What I mean is that if a student came to me I would not recomment him to copy Metheny's or Peter Bernstein's left hand technique... they are both great but they learnt it the way they did - and probably being still kids...

    But if you really want to approach it conciously you have to choose something more effecient.. and the Sco's left hand has both all different types of technique and at teh same time seems to be very efficient ber ergonomic
    If you looked at the history of jazz guitar and eliminated all the guitarists who played with a classical left hand technique, you would still have a pretty comprehensive history of melodic jazz guitar.

    I think that tells us that there is a correct technique for melodic plectrum guitar, and it is not the classical guitar left hand.

    If this was not the case, why would Kurt and Peter Bernstein, say, move to a more conventional classical left hand when playing chords?

    The reason is because that is the appropriate technique for the chordal/polyphonic material and the 3 fingered violinistic technique is the correct technique for the melodic stuff.

    Furthermore, whenever I have played material with a three fingered technique and A/B'd them the listeners have always chosen the sound of the three fingered technique. It just sounds better.
    Attached Images Attached Images Three Finger Guitar Technique-imgres-2-jpg Three Finger Guitar Technique-imgres-3-jpg Three Finger Guitar Technique-floyd-smith-1940s1-jpg Three Finger Guitar Technique-url-jpg 

  26. #125

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    Oh dear, "correct technique" for brothel music.
    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

  27. #126

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    I've only been a member of this forum for eight years and I've lost track of the number of times we've had this discussion. Inevitably, there will be some supporters and some detractors.

    There will always be a certain number of folks who argue against this for various reasons.
    Some because they've invested years playing scales with four fingers and don't want to face the possibility of retraining their left hand, some because they arrived here with a background of classical guitar and feel that that training trumps everything else, others because their teacher or teachers (who trained them?) told them that using four fingers to fret was the "correct" way.

    The supporters will point out, as has been done everytime this discussion rears its head, that the best way to get "the sound" is to do what The Greats did. It's just that simple.

    There is way too much over thinking that goes on. Learn the songs, learn the vocabulary, learn how Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Oscar Moore and Wes Montgomery (or whomever you personally choose) did it and go do it.

    If you don't want to do that, then don't.

    It's always going to be a matter of choice.

    I've made my choice and I'm very happy with it. You should be happy with the choice you make.

    However, you must always remember that if you aren't happy with the choices you've made, you must be prepared to make changes.

    Regards,
    Jerome
    Last edited by monk; 02-28-2016 at 07:18 PM. Reason: clarity

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by monk View Post
    I've only been a member of this forum for eight years and I've lost track of the number of times we've had this discussion. Inevitably, there will be some supporters and some detractors.

    There will always be a certain number of folks who argue against this for various reasons.
    Some because they've invested years playing scales with four fingers and don't want to face the possibility of retraining their left hand, some because they arrived here with a background of classical guitarand feel that that training trumps everything else, others because their teacher or teachers (trained them?) told them that using four fingers to fret was the "correct" way.

    The supporters will point out, as has been done everytime this discussion rears its head, that the best way to get "the sound" is to do what The Greats did. It's just that simple.

    There is way too much over thinking that goes on. Learn the songs, learn the vocabulary, learn how Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Oscar Moore and Wes Montgomery (or whomever you personally choose) did it and go do it.

    If you don't want to do that, then don't.

    It's always going to be a matter of choice.

    I've made my choice and I'm very happy with it. You should be happy with the choice you make.

    However, you must always remember that if you aren't happy with the choices you've made, you must be prepared to make changes.

    Regards,
    Jerome
    Very well put.

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I'm not finding the The George Barnes Method for Electric Guitar book on this link

  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsguitars09 View Post
    I'm not finding the The George Barnes Method for Electric Guitar book on this link
    That's because it isn't there. They only have George Barnes Guitar Styles which is a good book but is a collection of arrangements rather than a method.

  31. #130

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    bobsguitars09,
    If you're looking for an inexpensive bare bones introduction to the chord shape approach to jazz guitar soloing, I'd recommend A Common Sense Approach to Improvisation for Guitar by Joe Negri. It's only 40 pages but it will give you a very basic overview.
    Regards,
    Jerome

  32. #131

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    The Herb Ellis books teach the shape system too. (Three volumes: Swing Blues; Rhythm Shapes; and All the Shapes You Are.) I don't know if Herb is classified as a three-finger player or not, but he was certainly the real jazz deal.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    The Herb Ellis books teach the shape system too. (Three volumes: Swing Blues; Rhythm Shapes; and All the Shapes You Are.) I don't know if Herb is classified as a three-finger player or not, but he was certainly the real jazz deal.
    Mark,
    You're right. Ellis' book also teach the shape system. I think of Herb as a predominately three finger player in that he, along with Kessel, Mary Osborne, Wes and damn near everyone else, belongs to the generation that was immediately influenced by Charlie Christian.
    Regards,
    Jerome

  34. #133

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    My 2 cents,

    classical guitar pedagogy has far more technical requirements which necessitates the use of 4 fingers, it has hundreds of years of pedagogical material, and the results FAR surpass what would be possible with only 3 fingers (and before anyone replies with Django, please watch Yamashita play.... Anything).

    Why limit the amount of fingers you use?


    As far as use in the real world.

    1 - many people mentioned have hands the size of freaking Bigfoot tracks. With three fingers they can cover half the neck.

    2 - many lines can't be played at tempo without 4 fingers.

    Use whatever finger is closest to the note you want, even if it's the pinky, which if you use a lot is as dexterous as your other fingers.


    Music starts in the mind, fingers are really of little consequence in many situations. That being said, it's not reason enough to dismiss use of an entire digit.

    P.S. Do piano players also not use their pinky because it's "weak"??? Sax???

  35. #134

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    My 2 cents,

    classical guitar pedagogy has far more technical requirements which necessitates the use of 4 fingers, it has hundreds of years of pedagogical material, and the results FAR surpass what would be possible with only 3 fingers (and before anyone replies with Django, please watch Yamashita play.... Anything).

    Why limit the amount of fingers you use?


    As far as use in the real world.
    1 - many people mentioned have hands the size of freaking Bigfoot tracks. With three fingers they can cover half the neck.
    Hand size has nothing to do with it.
    2 - many lines can't be played at tempo without 4 fingers.
    Tell that to Wes, Martino, Reinhardt, Raney et al.
    Use whatever finger is closest to the note you want, even if it's the pinky, which if you use a lot is as dexterous as your other fingers.

    Music starts in the mind, fingers are really of little consequence in many situations.
    Reinhardt! Yeah, I know you said not to but, if true, this statement kind of invalidates your argument to the contrary.
    That being said, it's not reason enough to dismiss use of an entire digit.

    P.S. Do piano players also not use their pinky because it's "weak"??? Sax???
    As I said in my post upstream, there are people who come here thinking that classical guitar training trumps everything. However, we are not discussing classical guitar here.

    The discussion is about jazz guitar and the people who played it that we have come to regard as the Giants and Innovators and how THEY played the instrument. The discussion isn't about Segovia, Bream, Parkening, Ghiglia, Williams, Yamashita or any other classical guitarist. That's apples and oranges.

    Again as I said upstream "Make your choice". If you want to use four fingers, go for it.

    But please remember that we are discussing swing and bebop guitar. The people who played it, played it the way they played it and no amount of discussion or supposition will change that fact.

  36. #135
    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove View Post
    My 2 cents,

    classical guitar pedagogy has far more technical requirements which necessitates the use of 4 fingers, it has hundreds of years of pedagogical material, and the results FAR surpass what would be possible with only 3 fingers (and before anyone replies with Django, please watch Yamashita play.... Anything).

    Why limit the amount of fingers you use?


    As far as use in the real world.

    1 - many people mentioned have hands the size of freaking Bigfoot tracks. With three fingers they can cover half the neck.

    2 - many lines can't be played at tempo without 4 fingers.

    Use whatever finger is closest to the note you want, even if it's the pinky, which if you use a lot is as dexterous as your other fingers.


    Music starts in the mind, fingers are really of little consequence in many situations. That being said, it's not reason enough to dismiss use of an entire digit.

    P.S. Do piano players also not use their pinky because it's "weak"??? Sax???
    Good thoughts there. I will say that a lot of "ear" piano players traditionally favor fingers 124 over 135 or even 125.

    I worked for a classically trained pianist who owned the music store where I first learned to teach lessons. Anyway, he did spend some time looking at the way people play by ear. He always told me about the fingering thing. When day, he interrupted me in the middle of a lesson I was teaching to show me something. It was a 10-year-old . Amazing by-ear player and mostly 1-2-4 . I can remember this guy saying, "just look at that". He was just fascinated with it.

  37. #136

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    If you looked at the history of jazz guitar and eliminated all the guitarists who played with a classical left hand technique, you would still have a pretty comprehensive history of melodic jazz guitar.

    I think that tells us that there is a correct technique for melodic plectrum guitar, and it is not the classical guitar left hand.

    If this was not the case, why would Kurt and Peter Bernstein, say, move to a more conventional classical left hand when playing chords?

    The reason is because that is the appropriate technique for the chordal/polyphonic material and the 3 fingered violinistic technique is the correct technique for the melodic stuff.

    Furthermore, whenever I have played material with a three fingered technique and A/B'd them the listeners have always chosen the sound of the three fingered technique. It just sounds better.
    First of all... I didn't say anything about 'correct' technique. Or did I? And maybe missed it?

    And I do not say that technique should be classical...

    But I believe that learning '3-fingers technique' methodically - especially when you already play 4-fingers is making the process close to HIPP - historical playing in classics when they try to find out lute technic to sound more authentic historically...

    I don't say its wrong! I just see an approach in it... and I just say if you do it you get more into historical context (mayby in some aspects more than in musical - just a little.. just a little risk).

    This is actually how I would interprete Mr. Beaumont's comment

    Oh dear, "correct technique" for brothel music.
    that's why I thiunk there cannot be any method... and that's why I think that any methodical approach turns it into historical research... you're either born in the brothel it and learn it naturally and then it's brothel music...

    Or you see it in a nice sweet house in a warm chair with scores and records trying to recreate historical style of playing...

    I just want to explain that I am not actually arguining with anyone here - just trying to keep the conversation

  38. #137
    A lot of great points from Monk. If you're inclined to explore the fingerings used by Wes, Jimmy Rainey, et. al., great! If you're happy with your concept, there's no need to change anything. Also great! But a few arguments that get made every time this subject comes up don't really hold water.

    "I don't want to copy anybody....." With very few exceptions (Stanley Jordan? Holdsworth?) everyone playing today has copied someone's fingerings. Wes and Django seem at least as worth copying as Bill Leavitt or the guy who wrote the Guitar Grimoire.

    "You wouldn't teach a beginner Wes/Metheney/Bernstein's fingerings...." I suppose that's true. But you don't teach calculus before addition and subtraction, or Shakespeare before Charlotte's Web. What I would teach a beginner is that the guitar has many fingering possibilities, and with more experience, you learn more options for how to play.

    And, unquestionably, a lot of great guitar music has been played with classical technique, Leavitt fingerings, or any number of other approaches. . But for people that are drawn to a certain swing to bebop type of phrasing, it's worth exploring the fingerings that make that phrasing possible.

    PK

  39. #138

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    Jonah,
    The earliest blues recording I've ever heard was W.C. Handy's Memphis Blues Band recorded in 1917. A brass band!

    During the first two decades of the Twentieth Century, the blues was associated with female singers like Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith performing with small orchestras of brass.

    The guitar did not begin to come to the forefront until Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Blake began recording in the late Twenties.
    Hey monk,

    first of all I would like to thank you for taking your time to share your knowledge on the topic.. it's really making this converation more interesting and important for me...

    I am sure you're right but again from historical poin of view...

    The earliest pointed arch in Europe is probably to be found in romanesque building but nevertheless it is not characterestic of the romanesque style...

    What I mean is that artistic and aesthetical qualities do not necessary directly refer to historical evidence... though of course I would not exclude neither.



    That's why I still have some points in question... beyond the historical data and accuracy I have some feel of style (yes very personal but still based on quite long and integral experience).

    There are lots of different blues styles - I know.. no expert in it. But - let it be a generalization - I still see a difference in blues rooted - say - in 'folk tradition' - mostly vocal and usually backed by guitar and harp.

    And blues in proffessional music - whch to W.C.Handy is

    I heard some Lomax tapes - I guess it was made in prisons in the South in 30s.. it was mostly only vocals sometimes harp... no guitar but they had no guitar probably... but I would not have been surprised if I had heard guitar there... but brass band or W.C. Handy would have been more strange...

    I am sure if we get in more details in teh period we can find the most unexpected (especially for me) forms and ways this music existed... but still there are some stylistic differences that obviously still exist in some forms now...
    Modern professional blues tradition still has that characterestic folk feature it had in early days and records...
    And modern jazz blues still has the same quality of professional music W.C. Handy records had...

    Since you really know the history better I wonder what was the origin of blues guitar. You noted

    The guitar did not begin to come to the forefront until Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Blake began recording in the late Twenties.
    But where did they come from with their guitars? How did guitar get into blues?

    Thank you

  40. #139

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    I'm not really interested in getting into a discussion of this because I am unlikely to change my mind. To my mind the matter is really very clear.

    But plenty of people play great with 4 fingers too.

    BTW as mentioned above you don't need to use only 3 fingers even, the change is more in the posture of the left hand, in terms of not making all 4 fingers equal in the way that they are in classical technique and whether or not you favour stretches or shifts.

    I will say that this is not something I came up with to argue on the web, it's something I have thought about for 20 years.

    Here is an article by Miles Okazaki that talks about the three fingered thing.
    Stompin' at Minton's(by Miles Okazaki) - Do The Math

    Also remember the OT was someone asking for advice about playing three fingered.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-29-2016 at 06:27 AM.

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    First of all... I didn't say anything about 'correct' technique. Or did I? And maybe missed it?

    And I do not say that technique should be classical...

    But I believe that learning '3-fingers technique' methodically - especially when you already play 4-fingers is making the process close to HIPP - historical playing in classics when they try to find out lute technic to sound more authentic historically...

    I don't say its wrong! I just see an approach in it... and I just say if you do it you get more into historical context (mayby in some aspects more than in musical - just a little.. just a little risk).

    This is actually how I would interprete Mr. Beaumont's comment



    that's why I thiunk there cannot be any method... and that's why I think that any methodical approach turns it into historical research... you're either born in the brothel it and learn it naturally and then it's brothel music...

    Or you see it in a nice sweet house in a warm chair with scores and records trying to recreate historical style of playing...

    I just want to explain that I am not actually arguining with anyone here - just trying to keep the conversation
    Well TBH, it's a conversation that's been had many times

    4 finger polyphonic fingerstyle guitar playing is a pretty unusual thing. I don't know how many professional classical guitarists the market supports but I'm guessing not many. It's that which is a historical style of playing.

    Most paid guitar playing work seems to be ensemble based plectrum guitar with lots of left hand muting. People might be able to do this with 4 fingered technique, but as a player of both approaches I find myself switching to thumb over for rhythm guitar. So much easier.

    For me, jazz guitar comes from the same well spring as other popular guitar styles. To import ideas from classical guitar can be useful for some things (solo guitar, difficult chords etc) but it's not the root of the tree.

    I am also profoundly uncomfortable with idea of saying someone like Wes Montgomery had bad technique. Really? i thought that for years until I realised I was looking at his playing through the filters of my 'education.'

    I know both techniques well and use both in my playing. I would be interested to know how many who advocate 4 fingered playing have tried both approaches?
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-29-2016 at 06:54 AM.

  42. #141

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    4 finger polyphonic fingerstyle guitar playing is a pretty unusual thing. I don't know how many professional classical guitarists the market supports but I'm guessing not many. It's that which is a historical style of playing.
    I am not really sure what you're talking about...

    As a kid and in my teens I spent time mostly in classical music worls - and a great part of it was guitar - I played all Bach music available for guitar, I did transcritions and all... before I finally got more interest im piano, orchestral music and composition..

    But I never heard somebody say something about 4 finger plyphonic technique and what the market supports about it...

    Can you tell me what you mean?

  43. #142

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    I am also profoundly uncomfortable with idea of saying someone like Wes Montgomery had bad technique. Really? i thought that for years until I realised I was looking at his playing through the filters of my 'education.'
    First time I heard him I was 13, first time I saw him playing I was about 30 I think)))
    So I had no idea about his technique)))
    But remember that as a kid when I saw rock guys playing I had this kind of academical snobish feel... that these guys do not know how to do it properly....

    Partly it has basis.. classical study gives very subtle feel of nuances, attack, dinamics... popular guitar styles are much more kitchy in concern of these aspects - so to classical ear they can sound ... raw



    I know both techniques well and use both in my playing. I would be interested to know how many who advocate 4 fingered playing have tried both approaches?
    If I understand you correctly - I do both....

    Even now - it happend so that the only acoustic I have now is classical solid -top (German construction - so the neck is pretty big, bigger than in Spanish)... I want to get steel strings flattop... maybe later

    And at the same time I like plectrum playing and play a lot on electric archtop...

    Sometimes I use pick on nylons but the sound is different... and I do not like it

    But I'd say that I do not use classical technique in left hand now even on classical guitar... not strictly.

    I think I will try to make picks of vids tonight - just to show how my hadn position changes
    Last edited by Jonah; 02-29-2016 at 07:05 AM.

  44. #143

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    Nice post Paul.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut View Post
    A lot of great points from Monk. If you're inclined to explore the fingerings used by Wes, Jimmy Rainey, et. al., great! If you're happy with your concept, there's no need to change anything. Also great! But a few arguments that get made every time this subject comes up don't really hold water.

    "I don't want to copy anybody....." With very few exceptions (Stanley Jordan? Holdsworth?) everyone playing today has copied someone's fingerings. Wes and Django seem at least as worth copying as Bill Leavitt or the guy who wrote the Guitar Grimoire.
    This so, so much.

    "You wouldn't teach a beginner Wes/Metheney/Bernstein's fingerings...." I suppose that's true. But you don't teach calculus before addition and subtraction, or Shakespeare before Charlotte's Web. What I would teach a beginner is that the guitar has many fingering possibilities, and with more experience, you learn more options for how to play.

    And, unquestionably, a lot of great guitar music has been played with classical technique, Leavitt fingerings, or any number of other approaches. . But for people that are drawn to a certain swing to bebop type of phrasing, it's worth exploring the fingerings that make that phrasing possible.

    PK
    I wouldn't teach a beginner to play with their thumb over, but I do sometimes wonder why not. (Convention, exams, the advantage of having a clear framework when you have 20 students in a day yadda yadda.)

    You need to have a clear right and wrong because otherwise the student gets very confused. You have to teach a simplification. (I do sometimes wonder if people take this attitude over into adult life...)

    For the kids doing rock, classical technique is a disadvantage for bending etc. I suppose it's good to start with classical technique to get the basic chords nice and clear....

    Most of my jazz students have been playing a while. The thumb over guys I get to hang onto the their technique, the classical guys carry on doing theirs.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-29-2016 at 07:05 AM.

  45. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    First time I heard him I was 13, first time I saw him playing I was about 30 I think)))
    So I had no idea about his technique)))
    But remember that as a kid when I saw rock guys playing I had this kind of academical snobish feel... that these guys do not know how to do it properly....

    Partly it has basis.. classical study gives very subtle feel of nuances, attack, dinamics... popular guitar styles are much more kitchy in concern of these aspects - so to classical ear they can sound ... raw





    If I understand you correctly - I do both....

    Even now - it happend so that the only acoustic I have now is classical solid -top (German construction - so the neck is pretty big, bigger than in Spanish)... I want to get steel strings flattop... maybe later

    And at the same time I like plectrum playing and play a lot on electric archtop...

    Sometimes I use pick on nylons but the sound is different... and I do not like it

    But I'd say that I do not use classical technique in left hand now even on classical guitar... not strictly.

    I think I will try to make picks of vids tonight - just to show how my hadn position changes
    Ah yes, the Sco thing. Would be interesting to see.

    Your sense of aesthetics are a completely great reason to aim your approach in a certain direction.

    I don't like pick on nylon's either - sounds like the notes are being pecked.

  46. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    I am not really sure what you're talking about...

    As a kid and in my teens I spent time mostly in classical music worls - and a great part of it was guitar - I played all Bach music available for guitar, I did transcritions and all... before I finally got more interest im piano, orchestral music and composition..

    But I never heard somebody say something about 4 finger plyphonic technique and what the market supports about it...

    Can you tell me what you mean?
    Classical guitar left hand (like lute left hand) is designed to allow the required flexibility to finger music in several moving parts as well as allowing chord to ring clearly at all times. It does this by:

    - Allowing healthy stretches of the hand. (Stretches that are only healthy if the wrist is straight, necessitating a steeper angle of the instrument and the footstool etc.)
    - Allowing more equality between the digits which allows flexibility in fingering melodies - important if another finger is holding down a bass note, for instance.
    - Extracting as much sustain, clarity and sound as possible from every note and chord.

    That's the main advantages it gives as far as I can see.... There may be others.

    When I need to move to a thumb behind classical style playing position, it is invariably because I am playing some chords or maybe something polyphonic (I don't do that very much.)

    If you are playing purely melodically on the other hand, you don't need to stretch and there is no requirement to finger melodies with any fingers other than the ones that are the strongest.

    In terms of music, if you accept that the principle advantage of a thumb behind four fingered right hand technique is to facilitate the playing of music in parts and rich, complex, clean chords, then what music requires this facility?

    Solo music largely, perhaps some duo/trio stuff. Whether jazz or classical or perhaps some sort of modern folk/acoustic.

    Most of the playing work in popular music from the 1920s to today, is ensemble work, normally rhythm guitar with some lead stuff from time to time. Rhythm guitar or single notes... The sound needs to be controlled rhythmically necessitating some sort of left hand muting approach. Amplification adds to this. Not much polyphony in any case. Needless to say the market for pop is much bigger than classical, jazz etc, so that is kind of the 'mainstream' way to play the guitar....

    Those who came to a more 'classical' style of jazz guitar such as George Van Eps, did so from a personal passion and motivation to push the instrument as a harmonic vehicle.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-29-2016 at 07:29 AM.

  47. #146

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    An interesting article on diagonal vs CAGED playing
    Jazz Guitar Scales: How to Play Diagonal Scales

  48. #147

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    BTW - Jonah I managed to miss your point about questioning not the validity of a three fingered approach but more whether it is necessary to teach it in a systematic way. That's a very interesting point, and I'll have a think about that. Cheers!

  49. #148

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    I don't get this any more, at all.

    Now, 3 fingers playing is equal to having your thumb over the neck? No sh*t? Like we are all blind and do not see people using pinkies while having thumbs over?

    Now, it is playing with 4, but using pinkie a bit less? Really? Show me one player who uses pinkie as much as other fingers? I mean, is it even possible? Do not think so.

    Maybe there are some who will fall for it, maybe there are some who will deliberately accept instruction to cripple them selves in a quest for the sound and feel of some great players of a yesteryear, who would not be in the 1st league of today players by a long shot?

    What in the world classical polyphonic playing has to do with Jazz, Blues, Rock and other styles of POP? Nothing! The issue is and always have been in domain of single line playing in "modern" POP styles, like Jazz, Blues, Rock ... In any style, playing with 3 fingers is limiting and not really smart thing to do. Not to mention how ugly it is for the eyes. That is real 3 finger playing, when player insist on stretching so to use ring finger where it's natural and easy to use pinkie.
    For certain figures, types of lines, some of you seem to love so much for whatever the reason, 3 fingers are the norm, that's how they are supposed to be played. In such cases you'd be fool to use your pinkie. But that is not "playing with 3 fingers" style, or method.

    I will give one example, Dom7 arp, 2nd finger root on 6th, you could paly it (in finger numbers):

    A:
    6.: 2
    5.: 1 - 4
    4.: 2 - 4
    3.: 3
    2.: 2
    1.: 1 - 2
    Which is not exactly efficient way to play it, strictly positional.

    Or you could play it:
    B:
    6.: 2
    5.: 1 - 4, or3, whichever you find easier
    4.: 1 -3
    3.: 2
    2.: 1 - 4
    1.: 1
    Which is logical, easy, natural and efficient, while being "4 fingers playing".

    If you.d change B, so to play:

    2.: 1 - 3,

    only then it would be "3 fingers playing" and it would be the wrong way, by all imaginable means of reasoning.

    Also, if I may add, this will be my last "smart and reasonable, helping post", in this and any other discussion.

    From now on it will all be exclusively marketing and jokes, one way or another.
    Last edited by Vladan; 02-29-2016 at 07:52 AM.
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  50. #149

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    Also, if I may add, this will be my last "smart and reasonable, helping post", in this and any other discussion.
    Sensible chap. Wailing and tooth gnashing will result unless you (like me) have an infinite appetite for arguing the toss about absolutely anything...

  51. #150

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    I don't really understand what all the fuss is about. I learned classical guitar first, so my thumb was behind the neck and I used all 4 fingers.

    Then I became a teenager and discovered rock and wanted to play like Hendrix. So I got an electric guitar, a plectrum and an amplifier, I started putting my thumb over the neck, using 3 fingers, playing blues licks, bending strings etc. It was obvious to me that you had to do these things in order to play that style, so I did them. Of course it took a while to adapt from my 'classical' technique, but I don't recall it being overly difficult to make the change.

    Then I grew up and discovered jazz, and realised that elements of both these approaches had their place. So playing a complex bop head like Donna Lee, or copping some Jimmy Raney licks, I would generally use all 4 fingers (and my thumb would probably creep back behind the neck a bit). But playing some Wes Montgomery or Kenny Burrell phrases, I could tell that these guys were using 3 fingers a lot and putting more energy in from the left hand, i.e. slurring notes, bluesy phrasing etc. So I would tend to revert a little to my 'rock' left hand to get this.

    Bear in mind, all this time I was still playing some classical guitar, so that 'pure' technique didn't go away either.

    Now I just tend to use whatever is required by the context, without even thinking about it. So I guess I'm switching constantly between the '3 fingers' approach and the '4 fingers' approach during a solo. To be honest I'm not even aware of it.

    Maybe I'm just a bit odd in that I don't think about any of this stuff very much!