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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop View Post

    If that is all too complicated , then maybe do give it up and play other styles.
    Wow man, that is some serious snark. I’m sorry I asked.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Just to let you know you're not alone, James, on the whole journey, or on your reaction to these last posts. I had a listen to the YT clips and they (the clips, or the aforementioned posts)still meant nothing to me!

    I've tried all sorts to get into playing jazz over many many years. I've read the books, transcribed the solos, taken lessons, etc etc and so far none of it has helped.

    My current plan is to go back and learn some really old tunes, learn the melodies and the harmonies and the words. I'm already finding some lovely little phrases(*) that the original writers composed that follow the changes, and I'm figuring that if I learn a few of these, then start to improvise around (but very closely to) the melody, that will be step # 1.

    I think the books and videos and lessons and all the other stuff that I've tried will probably kick in around step # 12.

    It's almost like pretending I'm starting in 1919 instead of 2019.

    (*) Already starting to see how many (most?) blocks of chords get reused over and over and thus, if there's a nice composed line from one tune you can drop it into another, and so it goes.

    Regards
    Derek

  4. #53

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    You know you can achieve a lot just by learning to play the melodies really well, then just fooling around and changing them a bit. If you keep on doing enough of this you will be improvising.

    Lee Konitz advocates this (google his ‘ten step method’) and he is one of the greatest true improvisers in jazz.

    Another way is just to create little riffs based on the chord tones of each chord, and gradually join them up to get something more like a complete solo. This is basically what jazz guitarist Chris Flory says he does.

    Last edited by grahambop; 11-19-2019 at 06:34 AM.

  5. #54

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    Also check out the forum lessons section, lots of stuff here:

    Free Jazz Guitar Lessons

  6. #55

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    Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it. Right now my practice mostly centers on three things: 1) Memorizing the heads and chords to standards 2) Memorizing Parker heads 3) Studying Jazz Blues as an on ramp to Bop

    That’s going to have to be enough for now as the theory stuff is incomprehensible to me. I can’t get my head around it. And I have a music degree! Lol

  7. #56

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    Yes, well, I also wonder what happened to the original poster, perhaps PM him and see what happened? My guess is that he gave up, and I say that regretfully because I can see how easy it is to lose faith, in one's self as well as in one's teacher. You have to be very lucky with your teacher if you're coming from rock/blues, you need a teacher that came to jazz from the same path in order for a teacher to explain how the approaches are very different, and how to undo deeply entrenched thinking and habits and replace them with a whole new discipline that will take far longer to master than whipping around a coupla blues scales against everything!

    The hardest thing for rockers to get their head around is making the changes, and the thousands of hours of practice required to learn the art, not just the manual moves, but the cerebral ones. The tendency is for rockers to just zone out and play what they feel using just one familiar scale. This is a habit that has taken years to develop from usually an impressionable young age. For this reason, I say that if you're learning Jazz guitar from scratch at the age of 30, you have a far better chance of becoming a convincing jazzer by the age of 40 than the rocker who picked up playing blues/rock as a teenager.

    As far as I'm aware, there has not been a successful course or book that caters for the rock player that wants to bop, and I'd wager that very few negotiate the crossover compared with the failures. Which is why, a few years back, I gave a series of lessons to a friend coming to jazz after years of straight blues and I planned a course of "stepping stones" as a kind of experiment to see how things unfolded. It worked! Basically CAGED positions for every inversion of drop 2 chords (all types) and basic major and dominant pentatonic scales to swap between after learning to identify which chords in a tune were of the Tonic family and which were Dominant. He listened to Swing for 6 months to also get the phrasing aspect. Then we added chromatic enclosures and passing notes (which took a few months) and all his listening to Lester started to come out in his playing. He got to the point where he sounded legit against ATTYA. It wasn't flashy and lacked the kind of complexity and sophistication of bop / hard bop language I prefer myself, but he was outlining changes in a clear and effortless style putting in 10 hrs per week in just 18 months. So yeah, it can be done.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post

    As far as I'm aware, there has not been a successful course or book that caters for the rock player that wants to bop, and I'd wager that very few negotiate the crossover compared with the failures.
    This. Yes. Believe me, I've looked. I can't find a "Rock to Jazz" method anywhere either. It's just trial and error so far. Mostly error actually as I do not have a teacher. I'm glad you were able to get a student across that threshold. Kudos.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    This. Yes. Believe me, I've looked. I can't find a "Rock to Jazz" method anywhere either. It's just trial and error so far. Mostly error actually as I do not have a teacher. I'm glad you were able to get a student across that threshold. Kudos.
    Cheers, and kudos to me for, out of ignorance, sticking with my own crossover which took 10 hard years (around 10,000 hours). So yeah, find the right teacher and you may cut that journey in half.

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Cheers, and kudos to me for, out of ignorance, sticking with my own crossover which took 10 hard years (around 10,000 hours). So yeah, find the right teacher and you may cut that journey in half.
    Looks to me like you're the logical person to write that book!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Looks to me like you're the logical person to write that book!
    Haha! Trust me, it crossed my mind! But I'd want to be sure that any "From Rock to Jazz Method" would suit a majority of students, so I'd need to try it again with a dozen students to see how many make it across. The test sample was of average intelligence and ability, but may have had above average stickability... But really, the thing that worked about it was the one on one time (2 hr session each week) and follow up phone calls and emails. Just me explaining things in person and showing things on the instrument gave him confidence and faith, and that's kinda hard to get from a book, or even a youtoob...

  12. #61

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    Man looking over this thread reminded me that one of the posters here took their own life ((

    it had nothing to do with giving up on Jazz or guitar but giving up on life.

    We should always strive to find something that gives us meaning and hope in this world.
    Navdeep Singh.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    This. Yes. Believe me, I've looked. I can't find a "Rock to Jazz" method anywhere either. It's just trial and error so far. Mostly error actually as I do not have a teacher. I'm glad you were able to get a student across that threshold. Kudos.
    There’s this book, I bought it many years ago, still got it somewhere I think.

    Don’t remember much about it, I think I had already figured quite a lot of it out for myself by the time I got it.

    From Rock to Jazz: Alternative First Steps Toward Playing Jazz Guitar: Amazon.co.uk: Ian Cruickshank: Books

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSJ View Post
    Man looking over this thread reminded me that one of the posters here took their own life ((

    it had nothing to do with giving up on Jazz or guitar but giving up on life.

    We should always strive to find something that gives us meaning and hope in this world.
    Whoa! For real?

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    I read your post and really identify with your problem as I’m in exactly the same boat. I’ve also been playing other music for decades and am trying to unravel Jazz. I study, practice, and listen to Jazz every day but I make zero progress. I still can’t even play something simple over Autumn Leaves after all these years!

    So it’s probably a long shot that you’re even still on this forum, but if so, did you ever get to the point where you could improvise Bop? Because if so, I’d love to hear how you did it.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a teacher and am trying to teach myself. It’s overwhelming most days so hearing a success story from someone in a similar position would be most welcome.

    Thanks.
    So ... no snark, for now, but watch it Bub. I'm another one of those blues/rock guys who has tried to learn jazz; a lot of people do this. I have a little bit of formal training -- some classical lessons as a kid, some jazz lessons in college (while I was spending much more time playing R&B/Rock/Blues), and a little theory and ear training (not jazz-oriented), but most of what I've picked up in jazz has come via osmosis from other players and self-study. I can improvise on bop tunes. The hardest thing about bebop, IMO is not theory, or knowing what notes to play. It's capturing the rhythmic feel, especially the way Bird et al used triplets, rests, syncopations, and "over the bar line" phrasing. You can start with a really quite basic collection of licks based on ii-V-I arpeggios and sprinklings of chromaticism and step-wise phrases. Bop heads are the best places to cop those. [A lot of people get the Bird Omnibook and study that to pick up Bird-isms, but a lot of people just listen to records.]

    Cool Blues, Ornithology, and Scrapple from the Apple are relatively simple (compared to Donna Lee, Moose the Mooch, Confirmation) and are like bebop dictionaries. Learn those melodies, and inject fragments of them into ii-V-I phrases you encounter in other tunes. Truth be told, it's harder to play bop heads than it is to blow on the tunes in a bop style; but a little bit of those goes a long way in terms of getting the sound of bop as a style ingrained in your playing.

    All that said, the thing that has consistently proven most helpful to me is playing with other people -- more than lessons, more than reading theory, more than practicing, more than going to to some Barry Harris classes ages ago. If you are already a decent player in another genre with good ears, good time, and a sense of phrasing, and especially if you can play blues reasonably well, you have the foundations you need. Learning tunes and copping bits of people's solos on records will give you some vocabulary. Go to open jams, check out meet-up.com, trawl music stores, whatever it takes, find people to play with and apply the things you study with the musicianship you already have. Here on the forum, try participating in some "study groups" and ignore the theory discussions.

    John

  16. #65

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    Re: Snark
    When my teacher told me something similar (maybe it's not for you) it made me buckle down and work harder. I was hoping to get at you in a similar manner... I didn't realize at the time that my teacher and was not simply putting me down but was instead trying motivate me to try harder. He was really pointing out tha fact that maybe I was simply not into it enough.
    Life get's in the way. It's very hard for anyone to find enough time to get into it.



    A method for success:

    Practice these items until your fingers do them automatically (mindlessly):

    Barry Harris school of soloing
    The Basics:

    Learn the major scale in it's numerous positions, perhaps focus on one stock position.

    Play major scale to the 7th. Then up and down. Same thing with 7th scale.
    Also play the scale :
    In broken 3rds
    In broken triads
    In broken 7th chords
    Approach the above with a chromatic half step.

    5432 Phrases (876 too)

    Chromatic scale (with Barry's tweek)

    Merge and link both major and minor blues scales

    Result: You'll solo in the jazz style
    Last edited by rintincop; 11-19-2019 at 01:52 PM.
    Casino Coupe with "Antiquity" P90s. Telecaster with S.D. Vintage Stack pickups. Stratocaster with 3 "Little 59s" pickups. Monoprice 5 watt with GG 12AY7 tube and Gold Lion 6V6, and Weber alnico speaker. Fender Rumble 40 with Eminence Baslite speaker.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    There’s this book, I bought it many years ago, still got it somewhere I think.

    Don’t remember much about it, I think I had already figured quite a lot of it out for myself by the time I got it.

    From Rock to Jazz: Alternative First Steps Toward Playing Jazz Guitar: Amazon.co.uk: Ian Cruickshank: Books
    Had a look at it's contents page. I bet you no one learned to improvise Jazz by buying this book!

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Had a look at it's contents page. I bet you no one learned to improvise Jazz by buying this book!
    yes it’s probably more of an ‘introduction’ rather than a whole method.

  19. #68

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    The whole Barry Harris soloing system (culled from the H. Reese books, culled from the B Harris workshops) is summed up in my short outline and it works. Forget the other complicated method books capitalizing on jazz education (including Levine's and Vincent's). There is so much wandering in "jazz education" ... Imo, jazz ed. should coalesce around the Harris method.

    Practice these items until your fingers do them automatically (mindlessly):

    Barry Harris school of soloing
    The Basics:

    Learn the major scale in it's numerous positions, perhaps focus on one stock position.

    Play major scale to the 7th. Then up and down. Same thing with 7th scale.
    Also play the scale :
    In broken 3rds
    In broken triads
    In broken 7th chords
    Approach the above with a chromatic half step.

    Be aware to the numbers (Root 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th)


    5432 Phrases (876 too)

    Chromatic scale (with Barry's tweek)

    Merge and link both major and minor blues scales

    Result: You'll solo in the jazz style
    Casino Coupe with "Antiquity" P90s. Telecaster with S.D. Vintage Stack pickups. Stratocaster with 3 "Little 59s" pickups. Monoprice 5 watt with GG 12AY7 tube and Gold Lion 6V6, and Weber alnico speaker. Fender Rumble 40 with Eminence Baslite speaker.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Cheers, and kudos to me for, out of ignorance, sticking with my own crossover which took 10 hard years (around 10,000 hours). So yeah, find the right teacher and you may cut that journey in half.
    Kudos indeed. If I've learned nothing else from this journey, it's that there are no shortcuts.

    Unfortunately, I live way back in the sticks. There are no teachers, clubs, or other musicians to jam with. The internet is not great here either so Skype is out. I'll either figure it out on my own or I wont. It's a brutal slog for sure though. That's why I'm so dependent on forums like this for ideas. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Last edited by Jamesrohr1; 11-19-2019 at 02:21 PM.

  21. #70

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    If it helps, I went from rock to jazz and taught myself. There was no internet in those days and I didn’t know any books to get, not even fakebooks. I never even heard of the Real book.

    I did eventually get one book (Joe Pass chords) as I knew I needed to learn the common jazz chord shapes.

    Otherwise I just learned tunes and bits of solos off the records.

    I even wrote my own ‘fakebook’ working out the chord changes by ear (great ear training).

    All took a long time, but shows it can be done.

    If your thirst to know how it’s done is strong enough, you never give up.

    And I’m still learning, it never stops (which is why jazz is so fascinating).

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    Kudos indeed. If I've learned nothing else from this journey, it's that there are no shortcuts.

    Unfortunately, I live way back in the sticks. There are no teachers, clubs, or other musicians to jam with. The internet is not great here either so Skype is out. I'll either figure it out on my own or I wont. It's a brutal slog for sure though. That's why I'm so dependent on forums like this for ideas. Thanks for the inspiration.
    I will say that the self teaching thing is ultimately very rewarding, but you WILL go through years where you are convinced you are wasting your time and have been doing it all wrong etc etc...

    If you make your own way up the Jazz mountain, without a guide, it will definitely take much longer, no question, but if you know it and don't mind, then consider it the "scenic" route, and enjoy the journey (but don't forget to smell the flowers on the way). After all, unless you're trying to hurry up and make a career out of jazz guitar, it really is all about the journey !

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    I read your post and really identify with your problem as I’m in exactly the same boat. I’ve also been playing other music for decades and am trying to unravel Jazz. I study, practice, and listen to Jazz every day but I make zero progress. I still can’t even play something simple over Autumn Leaves after all these years!

    So it’s probably a long shot that you’re even still on this forum, but if so, did you ever get to the point where you could improvise Bop? Because if so, I’d love to hear how you did it.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a teacher and am trying to teach myself. It’s overwhelming most days so hearing a success story from someone in a similar position would be most welcome.

    Thanks.
    You say you have been playing for decades, and that is great.

    But more importantly, what is your experience with improvising?

    If you have limited experience with that it is good to start with the absolute basics.

    Skip the theory, (for now) and focus on the instrument, your ears and hands.
    Testing a Gibson ES335 vs Harley Benton HB 35 (very inexpensive semi hollow body guitar)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fGMIs1wNEA&t=185s

    Jamming the Jazz standard All the things you are
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUzDEct613g&t=3s

    Playing a solo over my friends tune Cookies and Cream
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHqt_lpyKM

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Had a look at it's contents page. I bet you no one learned to improvise Jazz by buying this book!
    Ha! I've got that book. Just dug it out. It's no wonder I never made any progress!

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by greveost View Post
    You say you have been playing for decades, and that is great.

    But more importantly, what is your experience with improvising?

    If you have limited experience with that it is good to start with the absolute basics.

    Skip the theory, (for now) and focus on the instrument, your ears and hands.
    Good question. I had almost zero experience improvising previously. Which is, in my opinion, a good reason to study it. It’s always been my Achilles heel. I’ve composed or comped hundreds of solos over the years but they were never improvised. And I have never and probably will never improvise in a live setting. Working on the weaknesses seems like a fairly healthy pursuit.

    In your opinion, what are the absolute basics I should be studying?

    Thanks.

  26. #75

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    Can you post a recording of yourself trying to improvise over something (maybe Autumn leaves)? Very hard to get a sense of where you are as a player and how to advise from what you've written here.

    John

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Can you post a recording of yourself trying to improvise over something (maybe Autumn leaves)? Very hard to get a sense of where you are as a player and how to advise from what you've written here.

    John
    I assume you mean me and not the OP as I would like to hear from him as well. And I should apologize to him for hijacking his thread at this point.

    I don't record myself improvising much even though I understand I'm supposed to. I just take it as read that my improv is universally bad. This is the last time I tried recording improv. It's from 2018. It has been posted elsewhere in this forum previously. Apologies.


  28. #77

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    "Basically CAGED positions for every inversion of drop 2 chords"

    Hey PrincePlanet, did you ever write these out? That sounds super helpful.

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    I assume you mean me and not the OP as I would like to hear from him as well. And I should apologize to him for hijacking his thread at this point.

    I don't record myself improvising much even though I understand I'm supposed to. I just take it as read that my improv is universally bad. This is the last time I tried recording improv. It's from 2018. It has been posted elsewhere in this forum previously. Apologies.

    First off, this is not so bad. You're making the changes and playing coherent, musical thoughts that fit the chords going by.

    Room for improvement:
    • connecting ideas
    • a rounder, warmer tone.


    Your ideas tend to start and stop in sync with the chords going by; essentially, for each chord that goes by, you play a lick that fits, but you don't connect the licks as longer phrases. You're also basically playing "position" licks and moving to a new position in order to play the lick over a new chord.

    To break out of these patterns (literally!) you might try these ideas:

    • learn to play all of your licks for one kind of chord in every position; for example, learn the lick you play over D-7 G7 at the third fret, at the fifth fret, at the seventh fret, and at the tenth fret. Do that with the E-7 lick and the A- and Ab- licks too. And so on. You might try to take each idea you have, such as the idea you play over A- and Ab-, and use them elsewhere, such as over D- and E-. (BTW, I'm just assuming you are using the Real Book 1 changes; I didn't actually check the video against any sort of reference like a guitar or a tuning meter.)
    • learn to play the entire tune in ONE position. Then do that in other positions. For example, don't transpose your D-7 G7 lick by sliding up two frets. Learn to play it in without changing positions on the neck. As an initial attempt, try this at the 5th fret: D-7 and E-7 are both easily accessible there. For that matter, so is A-7. Ab-7 will fall under your second finger at the sixth fret. It's actually possible to play any key in any position, but that is an advanced skill that's outside the scope of "beginning improv." The goal here is to separate your musical ideas from fretboard mechanics.
    • Take each musical idea you have (such as the one you play over D- and E-) and play that idea over every chord in the whole tune. Of course, a repetitive approach like this is not something an audience would want to hear, but it is something that will separate the conceptualization of a musical idea from the mechanics of realizing it on the fretboard.
    • Try to connect phrases across barlines or across phrase endings. It might help to try to start and stop phrases in unusual places. For example, lay out for the first bar of the solo and then try to create a single line that navigates D- G7 E- A7. Then lay out for the next E- and try creating a phrase that fits over A7 A-7 D7 Ab-7 Db7 and resolves to a single whole note that fits C?, such as D natural (which implies Cma9).
    • UPDATE/EDIT: Another way to break out of lick-playing and to learn to connect phrases is to practice soloing as a steady stream of eighth notes that you don't interrupt for ANYTHING. This will force you to connect chords across the barline in ways that you are not doing now. Do this rigorously for practice purposes, but don't overdo it on the gig. The flowing-stream-of-notes style in players like Pat Martino is great, but even he takes a breath here and there.
    • EDIT2: Another good exercise is to try to structure the arc of your lines in the opposite direction of the root movement of the chords. For example, the first 4 bars could be thought of as D- to E-, and your solo treats this as a D- lick that you then slide up two frets to E-. To break out of that approach and add some natural counterpoint to your line, try constructing a line that goes in the opposite direction of the upward root movement. For example, you could play D- as its relative major of F major, and then just play E- as whatever E minor you want to use... thinking this way can help you to construct a line that moves downward, instead of following the roots upward.
    • Doing all of this will take a long time and a lot of effort. Don't be discouraged by that. You are not blowing a ton of effort on one song. You are building skills you can use on any and every song.


    Tone is a REALLY subjective thing, as evidenced by insanely lengthy discussions of "good jazz guitar tone" on this forum, so I will preface this by saying that if you like your tone, fine, don't change it for me or anyone else. And that my tone is different for a rock band than it is for a jazz trio. That said, I hear a thin, bright tone that's more rocky or poppy than jazzy. Try using the neck pickup only, rolling off some treble at the amp or the guitar or both (again, numerous discussions on this forum offer advice that I won't repeat) and going for a rounder, warmer tone. You might also switch to heavier strings, although it's not a must. I have 009s on my LP and they sound plenty jazzy when I want that tone. On my jazz box tho, I use 014s and the heavier strings do sound a bit fuller.

    The really hard thing, for which there is no shortcut or one book that will substitute, is that you just have to listen to a LOT of jazz for a LONG time to learn how to think like a jazz player. This was the single biggest hurdle or task that I had to address when transitioning from being a rocker to a jazz player. I could understand theory, had a great ear, could execute chords and scales and such, but the really hard thing was learning how to come up with ideas that were melodic (as opposed to shredding on scales) and stylistically appropriate. The only way you can really do that is to listen a lot, transcribe the players who resonate with your aesthetic, analyze what they are doing so you understand how to do it in ANY situation, and then work to get that vocabulary into your playing. Like a baby who learns words, then phrases, then sentences, eventually you will learn how to combine these ideas (theoretical and stylistic) into your own musical statements. It takes a long time and a lot of effort, but, as others have suggested, it is a journey that is its own reward.

    One practical exercise that may help is to seek out as many versions of one song as you can. Since you already know how to play Satin Doll, try to listen to as many versions of that as you can. See how different players approach harmonizing, soloing, and just the overall conception of their approach. Steal ideas that appeal to you and work them into your own rendition of the tune.

    Hope this helps,

    SJ
    Last edited by starjasmine; 11-20-2019 at 06:43 PM.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    I assume you mean me and not the OP as I would like to hear from him as well. And I should apologize to him for hijacking his thread at this point.

    I don't record myself improvising much even though I understand I'm supposed to. I just take it as read that my improv is universally bad. This is the last time I tried recording improv. It's from 2018. It has been posted elsewhere in this forum previously. Apologies.

    Based on that, I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. You're doing a decent job of mixing chord tones and a bit of chromaticism, and you've got some phrasing and variety going. It seems to me that you don't have a problem with knowing what notes to play (at least on Satin Doll), but you do need to be more solid, make it a bit more interesting rhythmically, and (for lack of a better word), be more confident. I would say there is a bit of a halting, uncertain vibe, and I think you can really only overcome that by playing a lot. I'd say don't worry so much about the study and theory side of things, and just spend a lot more time playing over backing tracks of tunes (in the absence of a teacher or other musicians) and trying stuff without worrying whether it's good or bad.

    One specific thing to try is embellishing the melody (as opposed to creating an entirely new melody). You say you're struggling with improvising on Autumn Leaves, so start with that; it lends itself very well to that approach because of the way the melody alternates between measures of whole notes and quarter notes. On the quarter note measures, play eighth notes, just focusing on the swing/feel (literally, play any pitches without worrying about whether they fit or not). On the whole note measures, break that whole note up into different combinations of shorter durations and rests. Keep practicing that, and over time introduce other rhythmic devices., such as starting phrase on off beats, and triplets. Overtime, you'll find yourself playing less and less of the original melody and more and more of newly invented phrases. Check out Bill Evans's version from "Portraits in Jazz" (it's on yotube) for the ultimate example of melodic embellishment. I'm not saying you should be able to get to this level (I certainly can't), but it's a direction to head in.

    John

  31. #80

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    To the OP (dallasblues); hopefully, you are still around/haven't given up:

    It's just that I'm stuck. I can learn arpeggios and scales and even play them over the chord changes until I'm blue in the face but I'm still not hearing it.
    You have the same issue that I had when I came from rock, and that James has: you have to learn to think like a jazz player. If it's any consolation, it's also difficult for jazz players to learn to think like a rock player or like an authentic Chicago blues player.

    Plus, you are used to being able to play. Think back to when you were first starting out, when your fingers would get sore or when you would forget your place in a tune. As a jazzer, you are just starting out. So you have to set your expectations back to "beginner" level.

    So, I've listened over and over to horn players soloing. I've tried transcribing them but always end up frustrated. Too damn fast!
    In another post you ask whether you are trying to walk before you can run. Yes, you are. Again, set your expectations and goals at "beginner." If you were lifting weights you wouldn't start out trying to bench 200 lb. Similarly, don't pick the hardest Bird or Trane solo as an initial project. Definitely LISTEN to everything, but in terms of teaching yourself the vocabulary, try to pick things that are closer to your current skill level, and stretch just a LITTLE, not an impossible amount.

    Fast isn't everything. Cool-era Miles, Bill Evans (the pianist), Duke Ellington, Cole Porter... there's a lot of not-too-fast-but-still-beautiful work to emulate. Another poster mentioned Charlie Christian. Just about every jazz guitarist I know (including myself) stole from CC solos.

    I also just don't see how they're coming up with what they're playing. Was I just ruined by years of blues, rock, and country. Those are so much simpler to solo over. I had nice little patterns on the fretboard to base my solos from. Then I'd just move a few notes around that pattern to give them character. That doesn't seem to be appropriate in jazz.
    Actually, it's totally appropriate. One approach to jazz harmony involves selective alteration of specific notes. Learn the location and sound of root, third, fifth, seventh and so on in all of your current licks. Then experiment with what you HEAR when you flat the fifth or flat the third.

    You might also consider taking some harmony classes at your local community college. Understanding the bigger picture goes a long way.

    I think that you said you're taking private lessons. That is great. Keep that up, and consider trying out some other teachers. Not to say anything is wrong with your current teacher, just that other perspectives and approaches might fill in some gaps for you. I read an article in GP mag once that said Randy Rhoads used to sign up for lessons with random guitar teachers in towns across the US when he was touring. Imagine having THAT new student show up at your door!

    Anyhoo, I hope you're still on the forum and haven't given up, and that this is helpful. Being a great swimmer doesn't mean you should expect to be a great boxer the first time you step in the ring. Just keep chipping away at small, appropriate goals, and you'll get there.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    I assume you mean me and not the OP as I would like to hear from him as well. And I should apologize to him for hijacking his thread at this point.

    I don't record myself improvising much even though I understand I'm supposed to. I just take it as read that my improv is universally bad. This is the last time I tried recording improv. It's from 2018. It has been posted elsewhere in this forum previously. Apologies.

    Thanks for posting. However much you might want to improve, just putting your playing out there makes it easier to have a good conversation with you.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  33. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    This. Yes. Believe me, I've looked. I can't find a "Rock to Jazz" method anywhere either. It's just trial and error so far. Mostly error actually as I do not have a teacher. I'm glad you were able to get a student across that threshold. Kudos.
    The Rock to Jazz bridge might be here:



    He makes the changes in his soloing, adds chromatics and tension/release, etc., but it's a rock tune. They play over the changes, then a vamp, etc.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam b View Post
    "Basically CAGED positions for every inversion of drop 2 chords"

    Hey PrincePlanet, did you ever write these out? That sounds super helpful.
    You kidding? You can find 4 inversions for each type of drop2 7th chord anywhere! , even here on the lessons page.

    Now, that's 4 inversions, so only 4 out of the 5 CAGED positions, right? What to do about the 5th position? Well, either don't bother, or do what I do and fill that gap with a drop 3 chord.
    I just found it helps to have no gaps, every CAGED position has it's home base chord, from there you associate the corresponding scales, arps, subs, patterns, devices, lines etc. If you do enough work on the "associations", then locating all your material is as easy as locating your chords for any tune...

  35. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    The Rock to Jazz bridge might be here:



    He makes the changes in his soloing, adds chromatics and tension/release, etc., but it's a rock tune. They play over the changes, then a vamp, etc.
    I know it offends people to express my very humble opinion about this, but every single time I've ever heard JG play it reminds me of the annoying kid at the high school jam... Jazz? It's not even good Rock!

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesrohr1 View Post
    I assume you mean me and not the OP as I would like to hear from him as well. And I should apologize to him for hijacking his thread at this point.

    I don't record myself improvising much even though I understand I'm supposed to. I just take it as read that my improv is universally bad. This is the last time I tried recording improv. It's from 2018. It has been posted elsewhere in this forum previously. Apologies.

    I see the path you're on, and perhaps the reasons for any frustration. Sure, you can get better at stringing licks together, but even getting great at that can leave you feeling as though you're not improvising. On the other hand, people who don't really rely on prefab lines always feel like they're "singing" through the instrument (and therefore really improvising) but might feel that their language is limited to what they can hear in the moment, instead of some great slinky, complicated lines that might only come through lick learning (your own or other's). You may feel you're at the crossroads at the moment - which way do you wanna go?

    Personally I feel a combo of both approaches works for me and I get inspired by players who seem to be doing the same, but are very skilful at hiding the seams...

  37. #86

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    Also remember jazz solos are often not nearly as ‘improvised’ as people think. Listen to what Steve Swallow says about it here (I just came across this clip yesterday!) - his comments on this start at about 3:30.


  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Also remember jazz solos are often not nearly as ‘improvised’ as people think. Listen to what Steve Swallow says about it here (I just came across this clip yesterday!) - his comments on this start at about 3:30.

    I like Carla Bley's 'Yard Goods' comment - Gary Burton said he pulled up student bands that would rush through the head only to play 'generic bebop' over the changes & tell them to play the tune...

  39. #88

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    based on that, i think you're being a bit hard on yourself. You're doing a decent job of mixing chord tones and a bit of chromaticism, and you've got some phrasing and variety going
    ... Second that

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I know it offends people to express my very humble opinion about this, but every single time I've ever heard JG play it reminds me of the annoying kid at the high school jam... Jazz? It's not even good Rock!

    Oh thanks - it's so good to know that I'm not alone.....
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  41. #90

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    quoted:
    You kidding? You can find 4 inversions for each type of drop2 7th chord anywhere! , even here on the lessons page.

    Yes, sorry to be dense. The idea of drop 2 chords seem to illude me. I know that there's a ton of lessons on drop 2 but what I meant was: are there specific drop 2 chords that relate to the CAGED shapes?
    I get CAGED so I was hopeful that, if there was an obvious overlay, I would finally be able to understand drop 2 better. I'm going to go back and try to figure it out again.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam b View Post
    quoted:
    You kidding? You can find 4 inversions for each type of drop2 7th chord anywhere! , even here on the lessons page.

    Yes, sorry to be dense. The idea of drop 2 chords seem to illude me. I know that there's a ton of lessons on drop 2 but what I meant was: are there specific drop 2 chords that relate to the CAGED shapes?
    I get CAGED so I was hopeful that, if there was an obvious overlay, I would finally be able to understand drop 2 better. I'm going to go back and try to figure it out again.
    Take C major 7th drop 2 inversions on the middle four strings for an example.

    The A shape has the root on the 5th string, so that is related to the root position drop 2 chord.
    The G shape has the 3rd on the 5th string, so that is related to first inversion drop 2
    The E shape has the 5th on the 5th string, so that is related to second inversion drop 2

  43. #92

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    This thread is great. At least a year of practice ideas thanks chaps
    “When you’re creating your own ...., man, even the sky ain’t the limit.”
    Miles Davis

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse View Post
    Take C major 7th drop 2 inversions on the middle four strings for an example.

    The A shape has the root on the 5th string, so that is related to the root position drop 2 chord.
    The G shape has the 3rd on the 5th string, so that is related to first inversion drop 2
    The E shape has the 5th on the 5th string, so that is related to second inversion drop 2
    Yes, just figure it out for yourself and decide how to fill your own gaps your own way. It really is best if you don't get spoon fed this stuff, because you will take a deeper understanding away from it if you've struggled at least a little to suss it out. Your supposed to get headaches working it all out - even Wes admitted as much...

  45. #94

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    Your opportunity to master something in life largely depends on how long you're willing to suck at it.
    Guitar Addicts Anonymous
    A 12 fret program

  46. #95

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    I think many players get too involved with learning the instrument and not learning the language. Work on the music, listen and transcribe, don't just practice guitar. Also, pay a lot of attention not to just what you play, but to HOW you play it. Time, sound, interpretation. Transcribe vocalists.

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    don't be too hard on yourself. two things to improve quickly:

    -learn the rhythm of the head properly.
    -learn the first 8 bars of the solo and post it here (very important)

    My apologies for not posting this sooner as I have been traveling for the holiday.

    As you requested, here are the first 8 bars of the solo posted here.

    Your feedback is appreciated.

    And my continued apologies to the OP for utterly hijacking his post.

    Last edited by Jamesrohr1; 11-30-2019 at 12:53 PM.

  48. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    the biggest trap for beginners: overestimating theory while underestimating the amount of grunt work that has to be applied.
    Amen . . .

  49. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    that was really good!

    now for the next months, whenever you play satan's doll, you can start with that passage and be confident to sound good from the get-go.

    now you need to do this with other licks or short passages. wes montgomery's solo starts with a beautiful triplet phrase that can be used over maj, min, dominant, and altered dominant chords if you understand basic functional theory. one simple phrase can be the gateway to a whole concept.

    by studying licks and phrases you'll also encounter technical challenges. solve them as they present themselves.

    recording and posting all your exercises and training chorusses gives you a goal and a sense of accomplishment. so do what you did times 500. post bebop heads (freight train could be a good starter, or blues for alice), exercises (like the joe pass major exercises or the blues or rhythm from the orange book), licks and improvisations.

    there is a very good guitarist on this forum called dutchbopper. his performance-orientated approach should be most inspirational.

    the biggest trap for beginners: overestimating theory while underestimating the amount of grunt work that has to be applied.
    Thanks. I appreciate the feedback. I understand your point about grunt work verses theory. The problem with Jazz is that there isn’t is logical, linear path to success. One can never know exactly what grunt work one is supposed to be doing. Especially when I’m trying to teach myself.

    I figure I can’t go wrong with Parker heads. Lol


  50. #99

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    I figure you be right. Good stuff. Keep going .

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Also remember jazz solos are often not nearly as ‘improvised’ as people think. Listen to what Steve Swallow says about it here (I just came across this clip yesterday!) - his comments on this start at about 3:30.

    Enjoying this thread. Great clip. Steve articulates something it’s taken me a long time to realise. I wish I’d known this long ago. (He doesn’t mention that Miles fired George Coleman for practicing his solos, but hey, Miles was a Gemini. :-))

    You get a lot of purist advice - ‘oh you must improvise truly.’ No. You should aim to make good music. And when you solo you ideally bring something of yours to the table.... but you don’t need to place that particular burden on your shoulders. Luckily most audiences are not mind readers, and players kind of get it.....

    Of course some people are true improvisers. But it helps to have a template... I think this Aebersold idea - here’s some notes on each chord, make a solo - is now what people think jazz improvisation is.... Well it’s kind of a template, raw materisls, but also there’s too many choices in there, no connection to the prior tradition and it can be really hard to prioritise things when the changes move quickly. Probably most players who use this end up working out/composing good sounding stuff they can use anyway.

    But the idea that pure improvisation is a big part of jazz is down to the confusion from European music perspectives which get hung up on the fact that the bulk of what makes jazz jazz isn’t written down and that the music is collaborative rather than hierarchical. Like classical musicians, even those interested in improv, really don’t understand it’s a spectrum from composition to improvisation.

    Furthermore there’s a bigger demarcation in today’s jazz performance practices. Big bands read from charts, small groups work from memory more often... in fact in the swing era, arrangements too were often never written down.... this changed later on.

    I am trying to always make myself a more flexible and listening player, and I’m always in dialogue with my own playing (should I play this line? Or something else?) but I think to start with a blank page and a pot of paints and saying ‘go have fun’ certainly works for some impetuous souls - but not for all, and in terms of developing a mature approach to jazz improv, is not sufficient.

    Anyway I’m planning to offer some more concrete ideas on this soon....