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  1. #1

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    Would there be any interest in a group study of Martino's Linear Expressions?

    I can't imagine any player whose style is more different from my own playing (setting aside relative levels, of course). I tend to play slowly, often playing written-out compositions by other players, soloing in a sparse way. Yet I find Martino's playing to be an incredible tour de force, and I'm captivated by it. It's not just the speed (there are faster players) but his incredible swing and sense of architecture in his solos. Even if I never ever come close to playing like that, I would like to spend some time studying his playing, not just reading transcriptions.

    So, I just got his book Linear Expressions this morning. After a read of the short intro about minor conversion, which I intellectually understand, I've gone ahead and memorised Activity #1. I can see how it skirts around the Gm7/Bb6 chords. It's enough for me just now to play that over and over, moving the same pattern up to different frets/keys for variety.

    And I'm wondering if there are others who would like to join me exploring the book, maybe helping each other out along the way?

    I know Pat has videos, and there are other sources, but I'd like to keep the focus mainly on Linear Expressions.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I'd play (pun intended).

  4. #3

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    I have the book somewhere in my pile, I'll see if I can find it.
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  5. #4

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    I don't have too many books, but I have that one. Had gone through a bit of it a couple of years ago, but definitely need to review even that.

    I actually was able to find the book, which might be harder that learning the material.

  6. #5

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    We got a convoy

    I get the feeling that there will be a lot of lines to memorise...If it is just a simple of case of "memorise these lines and play them over the relevant chords in songs" then that doesn't sound like jazz to me. I guess, as with licks, we should learn them, internalise them, then play with them, making them our own?

    Thoughts?

    As I said, I'm just on the first Activity, so haven't read further.

  7. #6

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    Yes. I would like to play each one long enough in order to be able to internalize it. I'd also be interested in the different ways to do this, and how does it metamorphisize while trying to internalize.

    Like maybe start with Activity 1 and move it around as you suggested and maybe try to play it in 12 keys in 1 position to help get in the ear? These are just thoughts. It would be nice however to really learn to utilize these things rather than rush through memorizing a bunch of stuff at once. But I'm open to whatever.

  8. #7

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    I'm interested. When I started taking jazz lessons, that was one of the books I had to get. I haven't looked at it in a long time but I recall the five 'activities' and would be happy to participate.

    At the time, the convert to minor made some intellectual sense but I didn't make much practical headway with it. I didn't know many tunes then, though, and I know a lot more now, and I think in terms of tunes and common chord progressions, so I might get more out of the book from that perspective than I did when I was working through it with a teacher.

    Great idea, Rob!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  9. #8

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    I think I have that book somewhere have to look through the stacks. Talking about Pat's views back then can really bring on a lot of hummmmm moments.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by srlank View Post
    Like maybe start with Activity 1 and move it around as you suggested and maybe try to play it in 12 keys in 1 position to help get in the ear? These are just thoughts. It would be nice however to really learn to utilize these things rather than rush through memorizing a bunch of stuff at once. But I'm open to whatever.
    Pat asks us to do this on page 16, at least just moving them up the fretboard. I see nothing wrong with starting with Activity #1, moving it up and down the fretboard, keeping in mind the chord form (which we should play at the start of each run, to help get it into our ears). But this moving up the fretboard will really be useful when we have all five Activities and the four chord forms for each key we go to.

    Playing Activity #1 in all 12 keys in position 1 sounds like a nightmare! Good luck

  11. #10

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    I'm also using these lines as a way to help improve my pick technique. Is Pat a strict alternator? And playing with a metronome or Gm7 backing track seems like a good idea too. I mentioned somewhere above Pat's incredible swing - I would't mind getting me some of that while we are about it!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Pat asks us to do this on page 16, at least just moving them up the fretboard. I see nothing wrong with starting with Activity #1, moving it up and down the fretboard, keeping in mind the chord form (which we should play at the start of each run, to help get it into our ears). But this moving up the fretboard will really be useful when we have all five Activities and the four chord forms for each key we go to.

    Playing Activity #1 in all 12 keys in position 1 sounds like a nightmare! Good luck
    Well got the day off, and maybe I'll have to give it a go!

  13. #12

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    I think Dirk has been watching......The first two activities are featured on a jazzguitar.be page devoted to Pat Martino, though with a different fret placement towards the end of Activity #2:

    Pat Martino Jazz Guitar Licks

    It raises two questions:

    1. Should we practise these lines with different fingerings - probably yes, though maybe not straight away.

    2. Would recordings help? Probably yes. So feel free to upload your efforts.

  14. #13

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    Left-Hand Fingering - Activity #1

    My thoughts...

    Bar 1: 1 3 4 1, 2 3 1 4 - I use 4 for the last note to help make a smooth move to Position II in the next bar.

    Bar 2: 1 3 4 1, 4 1 2 1 - The last three notes: I'm mindful of Andrew Green's "Jazz Guitar Techniques" book, not using a small barre for the two notes at the third fret.

    Bar 3: Option 1: 4 3 2 3, 1 4 3 1 and Option 2: 3 2 1 3, 1 4 3 1 - this option requires a little jump into Position IV to get the third finger onto the f note. It might seem more awkward, but I do like the feel of it, and sometimes slide into the f from a fret below, which (sometimes) I quite like.

    Bar 4: 4 1 2 3, 1 2 1 4 - I elect the third finger on the d, necessitating a turn of the wrist, instead of flattening the second finger.

    Bar 5: 1 4 1 4 - various options for this bar. In those lower fret positions, I sometimes like to contract my hand after it has been opened out for a four-fret stretch. I might use a different fingering in higher positions.

    So, thems my thoughts. Yours might be different...

  15. #14

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    How about a funky backing track? You could play slowly over this, using little bits of each Activity - there's no need to play the whole line all the time. Of course, if you have the speed (I don't) you could zip through the whole line up tempo...


  16. #15

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    Can we embed soundcloud files here? Here's one of me jamming with the above backing track and Activity #1


  17. #16

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    One of the attractive things about Pat's playing is the relentlessness. Those notes keep flying at you. With the above backing track, to get some sense of that I feel I would have to play double time, sixteenth notes. But I don't have the technique to do that. I play the whole line at a slower pace.

    However, there are times when we maybe only have one bar or less to cram all this in, so obviously knowing little bits of the line helps a lot. That's what I'm doing in my improv. I'll be the first to admit it is very boring, but I just wanted to give an idea of what I'm doing with the line.

    Activity #1 has both a b7 over G and a b7 over C, so it should fit over a ii-V in F. I'll try that when I have time later today.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post

    Activity #1 has both a b7 over G and a b7 over C, so it should fit over a ii-V in F. I'll try that when I have time later today.
    I hear Bar 2 in Activity 1, as a G Melodic Minor Mode 6 line, seems to works great over a Gmin(Maj) chord.
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  19. #18

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    Sure. It covers a lot of harmonic activity as it meanders along.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    It raises two questions:

    1. Should we practice these lines with different fingerings - probably yes, though maybe not straight away.

    2. Would recordings help? Probably yes. So feel free to upload your efforts.

    I think a good question number 3 might be: are we picking every note or slurring some?

    Consider measure 3 of the first activity (page 11): the first note of measure 3 is on the B string (F) followed by two notes on the E string (A and Ab). I always found it problematic to pick those notes cleanly at brisk tempo. (I think it's because I'm fingering them with the 3rd and 2nd finger while the 4th one remains on the F on the B string.) Now, I just pick the first one and pull off to the Ab. It's so much easier!

    For a long time I picked every note of these activities but now I think they have a better feel if I don't pick every note---it varies the articulation more and makes the lines feel more horn like. (Perhaps I am imagining that. You can try this yourself and see how it sounds to you.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  21. #20

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    After a quick read through the book, the general idea seems to be that the five fingering forms are used to navigate the whole fretboard both horizontally and vertically using each Activity. These activities are all based on minor patterns and these minor patterns can be substituted for any chord type in a song.

    I'm very impressed, this must have been a great tool for learning lines back in the 1970's.
    “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  22. #21

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    I will also try to fallow you guys
    (I played and memorized the first activity notes. And... then ???)

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    After a quick read through the book, the general idea seems to be that the five fingering forms are used to navigate the whole fretboard both horizontally and vertically using each Activity. These activities are all based on minor patterns and these minor patterns can be substituted for any chord type in a song.

    I'm very impressed, this must have been a great tool for learning lines back in the 1970's.
    Yeah, it's a pretty amazing approach. And Pat was smart to pick minor lines---they do lay out well on the guitar. Also, the lines are not simply arpeggios or scale lines---they've got alterations in 'em, but you don't have to think about them if you don't want to. You get the sounds in your head and those are the sounds you want to hear and you're not really thinking about modes. (At least, I'm not!)

    We've all heard the acronym KISS, for "keep it simple, stupid." This is about as simple as it can be put (and still sound like good jazz.)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael_bxl View Post
    I will also try to fallow you guys
    (I played and memorized the first activity notes. And... then ???)

    Michael, I didn't write the book, so whatever I say is just a guess. I would try it in different positions. Then use backing tracks to play along with. Then learn the second activity, and do likewise. Eventually it will all build up into (I'm assuming!) something useful I'm already finding it useful.

  25. #24

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    Interesting suggestion - I ordered the book - should be here in a day or two.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I think a good question number 3 might be: are we picking every note or slurring some?
    Indeed. I think the articulation is up to the player, fingering too.

  27. #26

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    here are the LH fingerings that Garrison Fewell gave me for the "activities." i understand Garrison is retiring, so i doubt he'd mind if i posted them. a "-" refers to a slide. for the full Martino experience, pick every note using alternate picking.

    Activity #1:

    1341 2313 1341 41-11

    3212 1431 3122 1213

    1313

    Activity #2:

    1214 3-321- -1341 3214

    2321 3213 1313 2312

    1331

    Activity #3:

    4131 3414 1213 3-321-

    -1312- -2143 1323 1214

    41-13 1313

    Activity #4:

    2414 1341 2313 13-31

    2414 3142 1213 1313

    2312 1341

    Activity #5:

    whoops, didn't have it written down (blame it on my youth!). but it shouldn't be difficult to figure out from the other 4

  28. #27

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    as for application of this stuff, my advice is to learn the Activities and the corresponding chord forms, get comfortable with them in a variety of keys, and then go transcribe a bunch of Pat Martino, particularly early Pat (before his stroke).

    you'll see bits and pieces of these activities pop up in his lines over and over again, and you see how he uses them in actual playing situations

  29. #28

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    Interesting. I love Garrison's playing. I find it interesting that he was teaching this material.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasein View Post
    here are the LH fingerings that Garrison Fewell gave me for the "activities." i understand Garrison is retiring, so i doubt he'd mind if i posted them. a "-" refers to a slide. for the full Martino experience, pick every note using alternate picking.
    Thanks for that.
    I learned this with strict alternate picking. (It was all I was doing at the time.) But now I use some slurs and slides, which makes the lines feel more lively.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  31. #30

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    with regards to the slide, you're still picking each separate note, you're just moving from one fret to the next using the same finger

  32. #31

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    Hey Guys,

    Glad to see this thread. I happened to spot his book when it first came out, way back in the late 80's (1989?). I was just browsing through some titles at a local music store (SF Bay Area), and it immediately piqued my interest because I had already spent a few years transcribing several Martino solos note-for-note. Of course, nothing like my good friend Wolf Marshall, who has transcribed almost every Pat solo in existence.

    Anyway, I had logically come to the conclusion that he was using minor thinking, converting his existing jazz language (i.e. melodic II-Vs) for use against other chord families. That was becoming obvious to me while working through his Sunny solo from the Live mid-seventies recording on Muse, with that great band from Philly. Seeing his opening remarks in the preface was a light bulb moment, because it was a total confirmation of everything that I had already concluded.

    The beauty of minor conversion (also sometimes called minor superimposition) is that if you've already done your jazz language homework it multiplies the use of your existing knowledge. For me it was like opening Pandora's Box and realizing that I could use what had become a large vocabulary in so many other situations. Wolf and I talk about this all of the time even to this day. One thing that Pat has said is that if you have the core language there are no bad notes to be found, only bad connections. Martino is a great player, and I've learned and assimilated a lot from transcribing and studying his lines and concepts over the years.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzOnSix View Post
    One thing that Pat has said is that if you have the core language there are no bad notes to be found, only bad connections.
    What a great line! I'm going to be repeating that one. I might even make it my signature!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasein View Post
    with regards to the slide, you're still picking each separate note, you're just moving from one fret to the next using the same finger
    I see what you mean. Yes, that is how I learned the lines. But now I'm not doing strict alternate picking. Some slides (-that I play) are unpicked notes. That's just what I'm doing now.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  35. #34

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  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Well said, Mark Stefani!
    Thanks! Also to Mr. Rhodes, and if you liked that quote here's one I just picked up from Mark Levine's superb "Jazz Theory" book, a publication that is based 100% on language gleaned through transcription:

    "Playing jazz means learning as many licks as you possibly can." - Duke Ellington

    That statement truly resonates with me, because I've always felt that any great lick, whether it's from Pat or anyone else, is like a seed that when planted will spawn powerful variations retaining the strength of the original line. As a case in point, check out the following excerpt from my Jazz Language series:

    Linear Expressions by Pat Martino-gslick-jpg

    You might recognize two things from this example. One is that the chord progression is the first 4 bars from Trane's Giant Steps. The other is that the first bar is one of Martino's favorite minor licks that he's used in countless solos. When Wolf was working on his "Giant Steps for Guitar" book (highly recommended), we were engaged on a regular basis discussing the tune and specifically the harmonic possibilities for bars 1-2 and later bars 5-6, considered the most challenging part of the 16-bar progression.

    If the scenario were B minor, Martino would normally play the 9th (C#) after that first bar and do a number of things with it. In this case by the time you hit the minor 3rd (D) the harmony has shifted from Bmaj7 to D9, and it works perfectly using Trane's classic 1-2-3-5 pattern. Just sound the chord after each four notes to hear what I'm talking about. The 2nd bar is something that he did a lot in his original solo, using the notes of a G triad with the E connected to F minor over the Bb7 chord, again reminiscent of Pat's minor conversion principle but also something that JC did as well. All for now..

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzOnSix View Post
    Thanks! Also to Mr. Rhodes, and if you liked that quote here's one I just picked up from Mark Levine's superb "Jazz Theory" book, a publication that is based 100% on language gleaned through transcription:

    "Playing jazz means learning as many licks as you possibly can." - Duke Ellington
    I love that line of Duke's. It's all the more impressive because he composed so much brilliant music----when a composer as well as the leader of a band with a legion of legendary soloists tells you to learn as many licks as you can, you'd be wise to listen!
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  38. #37

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    I love Pat Martino's Jazz playing and share a lot of your thoughts on him.

    Relunctantly, I will keep an eye this thread and follow as time permits. I just cannot resist taking the ride with you folks.

    I picked up my book and looked at activity #1 and was immediately confused by the numbers in the circles under the notes of the line. Can someone please tell me what they mean?


    Also, in the fretboard diagram, what are the numbers in the frets? This can't be tablature, at least in the traditional sense. Why are there two, sometimes three circles with numbers inside a single fret?

    I can read standard notation, BTW, but need help on Martino's symbols.

    Thanks.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    I picked up my book and looked at activity #1 and was immediately confused by the numbers in the circles under the notes of the line. Can someone please tell me what they mean?.
    Yes, those numbers tell you the order in which the notes are played. (1, 2, 3) Frets with 2 numbers mean you will play that note (there) two times, the lower number first and the higher when its turn comes.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    I love Pat Martino's Jazz playing and share a lot of your thoughts on him.

    Relunctantly, I will keep an eye this thread and follow as time permits. I just cannot resist taking the ride with you folks.

    I picked up my book and looked at activity #1 and was immediately confused by the numbers in the circles under the notes of the line. Can someone please tell me what they mean?


    Also, in the fretboard diagram, what are the numbers in the frets? This can't be tablature, at least in the traditional sense. Why are there two, sometimes three circles with numbers inside a single fret?

    I can read standard notation, BTW, but need help on Martino's symbols.

    Thanks.
    The number in the Activity are the order the notes are to be played in. It was kind a tab-type thing. Look at the notation then the numbers and you see the relationship.

    Tony Baruso was the copiest for the book, Tony was the staff copiest and librarian at GIT back then. Tony was also a huge Pat Martino and spent a lot of time hanging out and studying with Pat.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    Also, in the fretboard diagram, what are the numbers in the frets? This can't be tablature, at least in the traditional sense. Why are there two, sometimes three circles with numbers inside a single fret?
    I think the numbers there indicate which finger frets that note.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I think the numbers there indicate which finger frets that note.
    But there is a number "6" cited in the standard notation version of the line, on the very first note. Was that a typo?

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    Yes, those numbers tell you the order in which the notes are played. (1, 2, 3) Frets with 2 numbers mean you will play that note (there) two times, the lower number first and the higher when its turn comes.
    Ok.

    Mark and Doc, I do however understand the numbers on the fretboard now. thanks!

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    But there is a number "6" cited in the standard notation version of the line, on the very first note. Was that a typo?
    The circled numbers in the standard-notation stave refer to which string the note is on. There are only six numbers, of course...

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    But there is a number "6" cited in the standard notation version of the line, on the very first note. Was that a typo?
    O, THOSE numbers. Those are the strings, six being the low E.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  46. #45

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    Got it, now...

  47. #46

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    I had this book a while ago and never really did anything with it. I love PM and hope I can take this opportunity to follow along too. I've memorized (tenuously) the 5 activities and am going to try and move them around into different keys and get comfortable playing them smoothly in time. That should give me something to work on for quite a while.

    I must say I really like the sound of the activities. And they are mostly comfortable to play.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinO View Post
    I must say I really like the sound of the activities. And they are mostly comfortable to play.
    I like the sound of them too. And they lay out nicely on the guitar. One thing that's great about what Pat is doing is that he unashamedly figured out how to play great jazz on the guitar. Part of this 'system' is to play good jazz but another part, a big part, is making in convenient to play on the guitar and easy to move around on the guitar. You would think ALL jazz guitar instruction would follow that model but it does not.

    Having said that, a few phrases in a few lines bedevil me if I'm not careful.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post

    Having said that, a few phrases in a few lines bedevil me if I'm not careful.
    Definitely me too. I am finding Activity #3 the most difficult to play without hitches.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinO View Post
    Definitely me too. I am finding Activity #3 the most difficult to play without hitches.
    That's my experience too. Also, in the 2nd activity, I used to have trouble with the line where it turns back on the high E string (a C note? I'm away from the guitar just now or I'd look!) and then does that string-crossing move (E, B, G strings). I only alternate picked back then and lines like that gave me fits. Solution: 'go with the flow' of an upstroke! Problem solved....

    I often use that second activity as a Major 6th chord in swing tunes, like "All of Me," which starts with two measures of C6. It's a melodic line as it is, and after getting used to, it's easy to vary in many ways without veering off into mere noodling...

    I've checked around my room and cannot locate my copy of this book. I have photocopies I made of the first five activities. The book itself may be part of the stash I left in New Orleans back in 2005. So I ordered a new copy from Amazon. It'll be like a fresh start. Should be here soon.

    Which reminds me: when I got Pat's book the first time, I had a teacher and he said the diagrams were wrong and made corrections in my book. His idea was that the lines were (or should be) Dorian minor. I thought then---and still think now---that Pat meant what he said: that G minor 7 in activity 1 is a natural minor, the 6th of Bb (-which gives us that Bb6 shape three frets up, a great shape for swing, where the Major 6 makes a better I chord than a Major 7 does (-in many cases, that is, not all.)

    Is that everyone else is thinking? When Pat says minor he means 'natural minor' (unless otherwise indicated)? Granted, Pat's lines incorporate alterations. It matters less from the point of view of analysis than it does from the point of view of shifting the shapes around. (If "All of Me" is called in C and you're thinking of using activity 1 as a launching pad for your solo, you would start in the fifth position, A minor being the natural minor of C. Right?)
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  51. #50

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    Mark, I think your teacher was wrong. We are clearly in the 6th mode of Bb major.

    You've also touched on applications of what we are picking up here - the C6 in All Of Me, as a for instance. I'm still getting the lines into my fingers - I've just about memorised all five - and although I use So What transposed to Gm (thanks to iReal Pro) for a backing track, I haven't looked at using lines in Standards yet. But that will come. I'm in no hurry.