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  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by odel
    This thread is coming back to life...I find the 'Shapes' book to be hard to get started on - not sure why but the instructions suggest just getting a quick feel for the various lines in the first part, but to then concentrate on getting the full solo off, note for note.
    You're talking about "Al the Shapes You Are," right? Yes, he does say just play each 'vamp' a few times, then learn the solo (-three choruses) and go back to learn the vamps. I think the idea is that once you learn the solo, the vamps are easier to learn.

    That solo is a bit tricky at times, especially since Herb plays it without any rhythmic backing, so you don't hear chords as he plays the solo. The good thing is that you learn to play three choruses of solo material for "ATTYA" without harmonic backing----when you can make people hear the changes when no one is actually playing them, well, you've reached a high level of jazz.

    It took me awhile to get the first chorus down.

    As for the vamps, I learned a few of those anyway. The dominant 9 vamps are good for bridges of rhythm section tunes (-among other things). That book is full of great jazz guitar 'vocabulary.' Really, just jazz vocabulary.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Yes, that's the book...based around ATTYR. Just gave the track a listen again...might take another swing at it.

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by odel
    Yes, that's the book...based around ATTYR. Just gave the track a listen again...might take another swing at it.
    There's a lot of great stuff in there. I found "Rhythm Shapes" useful too. I know a lot of those 8-bar phrases by heart and they sure come in handy when I'm singing a tune and want to take a break to solo but have nothing backing me---the lines have to carry themselves, so to speak, and Herb's tend to do that.

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by nu_mike
    Just another thought.
    When you try to imitate Herb and sing what you want to play, do you end up like me and sing what you're playing?
    Herb Ellis said " When I'm playing I sing what I play or I'm playing what I sing"

  6. #30

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    This is a great series and is really making fretboard visualisation "click" for me in a way that other approaches haven't. It's particularly enlightening when you get Herb's shapes down and then go back and look at some Charlie Christian solos.

    I'm currently making my way through 'Swing Blues'... it's a shame the study group fizzled.

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    This is a great series and is really making fretboard visualisation "click" for me in a way that other approaches haven't. It's particularly enlightening when you get Herb's shapes down and then go back and look at some Charlie Christian solos.

    I'm currently making my way through 'Swing Blues'... it's a shame the study group fizzled.
    I'm working in "Swing Blues" again too. I love lots of the lines in that book. (And there's a phrase here and there that still can trip me up.)

    As for the study group, yeah, it hasn't been all that I had hoped, but then, there's not a lot to SAY about the material: get the books, learn the lines, play 'em.

    I have talked to Frank (fep) about the great success of his group about Joe Elliott's book on learning to improvise. Frank pointed out that that book is unusual in that it gives you exercises to play but there's not just one way to play them. There are many ways. So lots of guys made videos of how they played this or that exercise. There was a lot more to talk about, more notes to compare, so to speak.

    But hey, this group could catch fire any day. Herb's licks still sound good, and his way of organizing the fretboard remains very handy.

  8. #32

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    Yeah, I think that's probably the issue. The heart of the method is internal: visualising those shapes as you play Herb's lines (and eventually your own).

    I do wish that Herb and/or the author would have been more explicit with what to do with all of this once you have those solos down. Sure, we can come up with things on our own: improv your own lines over the shapes/progressions, isolate some of Herb's and come up with variations, use the lines over different chords, etc. But the fact that this is the 'Herb Ellis Method' implies that he has, well, a method in mind for what the next step should be. (Maybe he does in the next two books, but I haven't made it that far yet.)

    Probably the biggest challenge is the fact that those transcriptions are very inaccurate. They're helpful in that they give you an idea of where the notes are, but if you want to learn what Herb is actually playing in the recordings, you need to transcribe it yourself. Which is probably good practice anyway.

  9. #33

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    Wondering what could the user of this book could be expected to learn as a result of finishing it.....be able to play in a bluesy way over the changes in jazz standards perhaps? Thanks for any input!

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelpa
    Wondering what could the user of this book could be expected to learn as a result of finishing it.....be able to play in a bluesy way over the changes in jazz standards perhaps? Thanks for any input!
    All three books contain a lot of great lines, the very sorts of lines Herb played live and on many, many recording sessions both as a leader and sideman. They're great "jazz vocabulary."

    I'm learning some solos from the new book of Herb Ellis transcriptions put out by Hal Leonard and I see a lot of stuff in those lines that is like what is in his books.

    I apologize for not being more active with this thread. I started it but took a long detour to work on Benson picking and haven't stuck with this like it deserves. (Well, I still play Herb's lines a lot but I haven't stuck with the thread.)

    Give me a week and I'll post something from the book and something not from the book that shows how Herb used the same sorts of ideas "on the record."

  11. #35

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    I am back to Swing Blues now with a bit of a vengeance as I am determined to isolate some key sounds to improve my routine blues playing e.g., making the transition to the V sound more interesting. That first solo in the book is actually quite interesting. It sounds easier than it plays but the layout makes it easy to parse the sections that really catch my ear and I've found that working slowly through the exact lines can give me phrases to throw into my own playing nicely. OK, it 's not the recommended way of memorizing the exact solo first but I'm getting there.

    If there's interest still, maybe we can share a few experiences/questions with each solo as we go?

  12. #36

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    Mark (and anyone else): being a, well, not so good improviser, my main question though is what you all might think might be accomplished by someone with my.....ahem...limited skills after completing this book. Of course I'm not expecting it to do Everything, but would it help in teaching someone to improvise over the changes in jazz standards? Thanks again!

  13. #37

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    OK, at the very least, if you learn the solos, you will have some good lines to play over typical progressions. Don't underestimate how empowering that alone can be. But the real value, as far as I can tell for me, is not the memorization of nice sounding solos but the ability to visualize shapes or patterns that take me out of pentatonic boxes or root-sourced arpeggios. Even something as simple as viewing shape 1 in Herb's scheme as a way of handling dom7 or maj chords had me sounding different in a basic 12 bar blues from the outset. While I've not worked through everything, I can start to see the neck differently and feel confident venturing out from the basic shapes I always used. Now, I don't even really think about what scale to employ over what part of a tune, I think back to chords and shapes and find a way of sounding that works within the tune from there. It's sort of taken me backward and forward at the same time, if that makes any sense. All I can say is try one of the books. I think Swing Blues might be the most appropriate but others can probably speak to that better than I.
    Last edited by odel; 02-10-2015 at 09:45 PM.

  14. #38

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    Thanks Odel. Very helpful

  15. #39

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    I like this method a lot. I've gotten the first 2 solos to sound pretty good, timed to the chords.

    Now I have to get a lot deeper into the linking of the chord shape with the line, and memorize a whole solo (I've just done 1 page at a time so far). It helped me to really slow it down (I mean, 50 on the ticker) to be able to play the line from memory and say out loud "F shape, high F shape" etc. as they pass.

    The lines are great, and I love the little chord stabs that Herb puts in.

  16. #40

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    Thanks JazzinNY!

  17. #41

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    As much as I like the book, some of the printed shape sequences are a Real Head Scratcher (TM).

    I think they're actually typesetting errors.

    Example, in Swing Blues, page 24, top line, 2nd full measure: the notes F G A G don't square with the shape and the tab/fingering below. BUT if you play it all on the second string, with fingering 1 - 3 - 3 - 3 then it fits the shape better.

    Another one: page 27, 2nd line. That Shape 2 doesn't work for me there. It seems to really fit in middle of next measure. You slide hand from 5th to 6th position in middle of the 2nd measure. And the fingering for that measure should be
    1 4 1 2 (shift hand) 2 1 3 4.

    This is the same movement he does suggest on page 24, second line, and I really like it there because it shows how you can smoothly shift position to position with chromatic help.

    Just my opinion ...

  18. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by angelpa
    Mark (and anyone else): being a, well, not so good improviser, my main question though is what you all might think might be accomplished by someone with my.....ahem...limited skills after completing this book. Of course I'm not expecting it to do Everything, but would it help in teaching someone to improvise over the changes in jazz standards? Thanks again!
    Having some good lines over blues progressions, for starters. Many such lines will work in other contexts too. More, you learn how to play out of the shapes. (There are many ways to mentally organize the fretboard; that is, to get around it in a smooth, convenient way: this is one that worked for Herb and many other great players.)

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzinNY
    As much as I like the book, some of the printed shape sequences are a Real Head Scratcher (TM).

    I think they're actually typesetting errors.

    Example, in Swing Blues, page 24, top line, 2nd full measure: the notes F G A G don't square with the shape and the tab/fingering below. BUT if you play it all on the second string, with fingering 1 - 3 - 3 - 3 then it fits the shape better.

    Another one: page 27, 2nd line. That Shape 2 doesn't work for me there. It seems to really fit in middle of next measure. You slide hand from 5th to 6th position in middle of the 2nd measure. And the fingering for that measure should be
    1 4 1 2 (shift hand) 2 1 3 4.

    This is the same movement he does suggest on page 24, second line, and I really like it there because it shows how you can smoothly shift position to position with chromatic help.

    Just my opinion ...
    As for the first one you mention, I agree that it is played out of the "F" shape. I think the diagram refers to Bb7 (what I call the "F" shape and what Herb calls Shape 2) because that's the chord for that measure of the tune. (That's the shape for the chord you play in that measure.) I think the ending phrase (beats 3 and 4) anticipates the coming F7 chord. Herb does that a lot.

  20. #44

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    Excellent information. Thank you all. I'm going to work on his Blues book.

  21. #45

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    I'm in. Anyone else still on the blues book??

  22. #46

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    The guitar, a Harmony H6600 was passed on to me
    20 years ago by his very good friend, co-author and plaing
    partner Terry Holmes while Terry lived up here in Seattle
    during the late 1980's and early 1990's. He left it with me
    when he moved back to Little Rock a few years before he
    passed away from cancer. Terry was an Awesome fellow
    and a dear friend which is why I have held on to the guitar for
    so long.

  23. #47

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    I have the Blues book and am getting back into it, working through Blues in C, so if there's interest, I'll join in....

  24. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by pizzaman011
    The guitar, a Harmony H6600 was passed on to me
    20 years ago by his very good friend, co-author and plaing
    partner Terry Holmes while Terry lived up here in Seattle
    during the late 1980's and early 1990's. He left it with me
    when he moved back to Little Rock a few years before he
    passed away from cancer. Terry was an Awesome fellow
    and a dear friend which is why I have held on to the guitar for
    so long.
    Quite a story! I didn't know Terry was from Little Rock.

  25. #49

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    Odel (and others): I'm in.

  26. #50

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    I'm between computers. As soon as I get a camera added to the new one, I'll make a short vid to get the ball rolling. Probably just my take of "Blues In C".

    Thanks for the interest, guys!