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  1. #1

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    [This OP has changed in light of much interest from several members. The direction is now toward Frank Vignola's rhythm changes etudes / play-alongs, published by Mel Bay.
    http://www.melbay.com/Author/Default...AuthorId=37360
    We will start with Volume 1---the 3-in-1 volume above seems to me to be the best deal, but 'to each his own'.
    The first 20-or-so posts below came before this addendum to the OP.]

    I am new to these Jazz Guitar Study groups. This month I joined 3 groups and I love them.

    Just wondering if there would be any interest in a study group using "Frank Vignola's Jazz Standard chord progressions" published by Mel Bay.

    The solos are relatively easy but there are some very interesting licks.

    I believe that Frank Vignola and Mel Bay teamed up for a couple of other books in this series but we could start with this one.

    I am thinking 1 song a month ??

    I am open to suggestions

    Let me know what you think.

    Whose in ?


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    Last edited by MarkRhodes; 01-25-2017 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Clarify changes decided upon since OP initially appeared

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I like Frank a lot. I've been using his etudes on rhythm changes (3 volumes) lately. Great stuff. I'm open....

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I like Frank a lot. I've been using his etudes on rhythm changes (3 volumes) lately. Great stuff. I'm open....
    Great. Let's wait to see if we can get a few others to join before we get started.
    B.T.W. I love Frank Vignola's guitar playing and his educational work with Mel Bay and TrueFire.
    I met him and even got the chance to play with him. He is a great guy.
    P.S What études on Rhythm Changes are you referring to ?


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  5. #4

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    I'm interested. Mastering rhythm changes is a specific goal of mine right now, so I'm glad to have a community to pursue it with and help keep me motivated.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    I'm interested. Mastering rhythm changes is a specific goal of mine right now, so I'm glad to have a community to pursue it with and help keep me motivated.
    Great
    Welcome

    Maybe we should wait for a few more joiners then we can decide which Frank Vignola publication to start with.


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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A
    Maybe we should wait for a few more joiners then we can decide which Frank Vignola publication to start with.
    I'm happy to wait awhile but it was my (mis?)understanding that we would be starting with his Rhythm Changes book, first volume of two? That's what I'm interested in doing...

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    I'm happy to wait awhile but it was my (mis?)understanding that we would be starting with his Rhythm Changes book, first volume of two? That's what I'm interested in doing...
    Sure. What do you think Mark Rhodes ?


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  9. #8

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    It's fine with me. Whatever the group wants to do. All Frank's material is worth learning. The main thing is we pick something that 3 or 4 will stick with at least long enough for a few other people to join in. ;o)

  10. #9

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    A February assignment from Volume 1 of the Rhythm Changes book is fine for me, as I already have it, but for the sake of the group, we need to catch our breath and make clear which book we are starting with because Frank has two books on standard progressions and three on rhythm changes. That's five books. No one should have to buy five books to start with a study group! (The 3-in-1 volume of Rhythm Changes material with 'online audio' rather than a CD is an option I wish I had had----over the years I have had trouble with some CDs that come with instructional books. If you're interested in that, there's a link upstream.)


    If we want to do rhythm changes, I suggest we change the name of this thread to "Frank Vignola Rhythm Changes Study Group." (It's nice to have a title that appears in full even on small screens. That can be taken in at a glance.)

    If that suits everyone, I'll change the title. And then move this to the Improvisation section.

  11. #10

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    Suits me just fine. Thanks.

  12. #11

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    If we're going to start on Frank's rhythm changes etudes (Volume 1), we have to decide where to start.

    One option is, "Start with the very first thing, then go to the next one, and so on until you come to the end."
    That is simple enough but study groups only work to the extent that at least a few people (-and who those few people are may change over time) stay involved. Hence option two:

    Let the members decide which piece they want to start with, and when that's done, let them pick the next one. (The "Raney" group works like this and it's a big success.)

    Another wrinkle here is that Frank starts his "basics" exercises in C. Nothing wrong with the key of C, but rhythm changes is usually played in Bb. (Yeah, yeah, we all need to be able to play 'em in all 12 keys, or at least, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, and G) but starting in Bb would not be a bad idea.

    How many people have (or could have within a week) Frank's book / CD? (I do.)

  13. #12

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    I could have it within a week certainly; would just buy it online with online access to the content...

    As for myself, I would probably like to: start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, first i'll begin with A, B, C, then I'll move on to do, re, me...

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    If we're going to start on Frank's rhythm changes etudes (Volume 1), we have to decide where to start.

    One option is, "Start with the very first thing, then go to the next one, and so on until you come to the end."
    That is simple enough but study groups only work to the extent that at least a few people (-and who those few people are may change over time) stay involved. Hence option two:

    Let the members decide which piece they want to start with, and when that's done, let them pick the next one. (The "Raney" group works like this and it's a big success.)

    Another wrinkle here is that Frank starts his "basics" exercises in C. Nothing wrong with the key of C, but rhythm changes is usually played in Bb. (Yeah, yeah, we all need to be able to play 'em in all 12 keys, or at least, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, and G) but starting in Bb would not be a bad idea.

    How many people have (or could have within a week) Frank's book / CD? (I do.)
    I think that you make some points Mark. I think that starting at the beginning and moving sequentially makes sense because it seems that Frank builds on each idea. Even though he starts in C it is the concept that we should be absorbing. I think that he starts in C because of simplicity sake. Then, he quickly moves to Bb.

    I would like to see the group move onto his Chord Progression series where he transcribes simples to be played over standards.

    I also think that moving and renaming the group makes sense. I am new to these groups and clearly I am in need of some guidance from the veterans.

    I know that I am an "All in" kind of guy but I bought the book yesterday and started working on it today.


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  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A
    I think that starting at the beginning and moving sequentially makes sense because it seems that Frank builds on each idea. Even though he starts in C it is the concept that we should be absorbing. I think that he starts in C because of simplicity sake. Then, he quickly moves to Bb.
    That would be fine by me.

  16. #15

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    So, is it time to buy the book yet?

  17. #16
    Yes. I bought mine yesterday


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  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    So, is it time to buy the book yet?
    I think so, yes. Volume One. It's published by Mel Bay. (You can get it through Amazon.)

    I have an older edition that came with a CD. (Not that old, really.) It's now available now as a 3-in-1 volume (3 books between two covers) with online audio rather than CDs. It's cheaper that way. Seems like a good value to me. But the etudes are the same either way.

  19. #18
    I bought the digital version directly from the Mel Bay site


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  20. #19
    I will have the online/ebook version by the weekendFrank Vignola Rhythm Changes

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  21. #20

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    Ok, so I just downloaded the book tonight and listened to many of the sample audio tracks. My first impressions:

    The Good:

    There are 25 different solos over rhythm changes, in varying keys and tempos ranging from about 69 bps to 200 bps

    Several are in Bb or F, the most common keys for rhythm changes

    The solos exhibit good phrasing, thematic development, etc. They are quite melodic, and later ones use more accidentals

    The backing tracks use progressively more interesting chord substitutions, all of which are named on the charts.

    The tracks continue for several more choruses after the sample solo is played, so you can keep playing it along to the track.

    The book is in standard notation, plus guitar tab. I will find the standard notation very helpful for meeting my other objective of this coming year of becoming a better reader. Reading these solos will help a lot, I believe.


    The Less Good:


    I was immediately disappointed that:

    (a) there is no teaching of the chords, voicings, etc. This is strictly a series on "how to solo over rhythm changes" not "how to play rhythm changes chords, voicings, etc."; and

    (b) there is no explanation of anything at all. You have to perceive what the lesson is that's being offered. Frank says nothing more than to announce the title and number of the track and the tempo. It would have been nicer to have him say, e.g., "Now in this next example, we're going to start introducing the use of the b5 tone. Notice how it does blah-blah-blah..." or "notice the use of arpeggios alternating with scalar runs..." etc.

    Basically, it boils down to "play all this stuff and you'll learn a lot from it, once you figure out what you're playing and why." Fortunately, I believe I will learn a lot by playing through this, but I'll have to keep my thinking cap on to get the most out of it and not fall into my lazy routine of just learning to play the solos and then just enjoying playing them without a deeper understanding that will let me play anything I want to at the end of the day. (I'm declaring this here because I do have a lazy streak, which is why it's a good thing that we're doing this together. It will help keep me working in the right direction. Also, with a study group, we can share our own observations and learnings from the exercises, i.e., the stuff that Frank isn't saying...)

    So... let's do it!

  22. #21

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    If there will be a F.V rhythm changes study group, I'll certainly follow it. I've been obsessing over being able to improvise over R.C. for more than a year and a half now (concentrating on the key of Bb) and part of my learning materials have been Frank Vignola's books ( I have vol. 1 and 2). I once figured that if I can make it through R.C. playing other stuff would be much more easy to do - still don't know if I'm right or wrong (LOL!). Anyway: I'm still working on that stuff (Thanks to Matt Warnock by the way for his excellent tutorial) and very interested in a study group.
    Thanks

  23. #22
    Shall we make February assignment the first 2 "tunes". Basics ( 1 and 2 ) Rhythm changes in C.


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  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    Ok, so I just downloaded the book tonight and listened to many of the sample audio tracks. My first impressions:

    The Good:

    There are 25 different solos over rhythm changes, in varying keys and tempos ranging from about 69 bps to 200 bps

    Several are in Bb or F, the most common keys for rhythm changes

    The solos exhibit good phrasing, thematic development, etc. They are quite melodic, and later ones use more accidentals

    The backing tracks use progressively more interesting chord substitutions, all of which are named on the charts.

    The tracks continue for several more choruses after the sample solo is played, so you can keep playing it along to the track.

    The book is in standard notation, plus guitar tab. I will find the standard notation very helpful for meeting my other objective of this coming year of becoming a better reader. Reading these solos will help a lot, I believe.


    The Less Good:


    I was immediately disappointed that:

    (a) there is no teaching of the chords, voicings, etc. This is strictly a series on "how to solo over rhythm changes" not "how to play rhythm changes chords, voicings, etc."; and

    (b) there is no explanation of anything at all. You have to perceive what the lesson is that's being offered. Frank says nothing more than to announce the title and number of the track and the tempo. It would have been nicer to have him say, e.g., "Now in this next example, we're going to start introducing the use of the b5 tone. Notice how it does blah-blah-blah..." or "notice the use of arpeggios alternating with scalar runs..." etc.

    Basically, it boils down to "play all this stuff and you'll learn a lot from it, once you figure out what you're playing and why." Fortunately, I believe I will learn a lot by playing through this, but I'll have to keep my thinking cap on to get the most out of it and not fall into my lazy routine of just learning to play the solos and then just enjoying playing them without a deeper understanding that will let me play anything I want to at the end of the day. (I'm declaring this here because I do have a lazy streak, which is why it's a good thing that we're doing this together. It will help keep me working in the right direction. Also, with a study group, we can share our own observations and learnings from the exercises, i.e., the stuff that Frank isn't saying...)

    So... let's do it!
    I agree that the book lacks theoretical explanations but I thought that this is something that we as a study group could discuss.


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  25. #24

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    I would have preferred some explanations to the individual etudes myself, like "this is a typical swing / bebop solo" or something like that, or "this playing a diminished run over such and such a chord." so I could use that as a starting point in making up my own runs. As for the chord symbols above the notation I think it's mainly writing the chords that are being outlined in the corresponding phrases - at least that has been my impression.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doublea A
    Shall we make February assignment the first 2 "tunes". Basics ( 1 and 2 ) Rhythm changes in C.
    Yes, let's do that. I guess folks can post either video or audio, whichever they prefer...

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    Yes, let's do that. I guess folks can post either video or audio, whichever they prefer...
    Yes


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  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    I would have preferred some explanations to the individual etudes myself, like "this is a typical swing / bebop solo" or something like that, or "this playing a diminished run over such and such a chord." so I could use that as a starting point in making up my own runs. As for the chord symbols above the notation I think it's mainly writing the chords that are being outlined in the corresponding phrases - at least that has been my impression.
    I agree. But we need to work with what we have.


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  29. #28

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    I would say that that is what the group is for. We will have the discussion and teach each other and create the commentary that Frank is not providing.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco

    The Less Good:


    I was immediately disappointed that:

    (a) there is no teaching of the chords, voicings, etc. This is strictly a series on "how to solo over rhythm changes" not "how to play rhythm changes chords, voicings, etc."; and
    My best guess is that Frank sees these volumes (three on rhythm changes and two on blues) as supplements to the long "Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method" Series. (I suspect they teach reading, scales, arps, technique, in a graded fashion.) Still, I agree that it is disappointing that there isn't at least a page or two of Frank's go-to grips for all the chord types used.

    I'll send him an email and see if can give us a link to a page of grips he would recommend for comping rhythm changes.

  31. #30

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    While we're on the subject of chords, I have Neck Diagrams software. If need be, we can put together our own page or two of grips for rhythm changes. Compare and contrast. See what we like, what we find "playable" as the tempos rise, etc.

  32. #31

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    OK, I'll begin. Here is Basics 1 - key of C


  33. #32

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    Amazing how you can make a guide tone line sound like actual melodies by adding rhythm - well done!

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    OK, I'll begin. Here is Basics 1 - key of C
    Nice! I'll give it a go this weekend. May I ask what backing track you used?

  35. #34

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    I just plugged Frank's changes into BIAB with the zzjazz setting. I had to replace the piano with a guitar before saving. Happy to email the file to anyone who has BIAB and PM's me their direct email address.

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    I just plugged Frank's changes into BIAB with the zzjazz setting. I had to replace the piano with a guitar before saving. Happy to email the file to anyone who has BIAB and PM's me their direct email address.
    I did the same with IReal Book. Let me know if anyone wants a copy


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  37. #36

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    Nowadays, everything I'm working on has to be duplicated on both guitar and pedal steel so, FWIW, here's Exercise 1 on pedal steel...


  38. #37

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    I heard back from Frank Vignola. Rather than write it out, he made a short (4 minute) video of basic rhythm changes (in Bb). What a guy!

    The uploader here is hinky now, so I'll wait until that is sorted out before trying to post it.
    I could share it via dropbox too----send me a PM with your email address if you would like that.

  39. #38

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    Got it, thanks Mark!

  40. #39

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    Here's a link to a page of 20 essential rhythm guitar voicings. It's from Jonathan Stout, a member here, and a first-rate swing guitar player. (If you've never seen any of his YouTube clips, you're missing something fine!)

    Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five, featuring Hilary Alexander - Swing Guitar Blog - The 20 Essential Rhythm Guitar Voicings

  41. #40

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    Not trying to get ahead of y'all but I had some good time available today, so I did Basic-2 too...


  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    Not trying to get ahead of y'all but I had some good time available today, so I did Basic-2 too...
    Good job! I was playing that too. (Though just as written--nothin' fancy!) I'll have to set up my webcam and record some tomorrow.

    It will be interesting later to compare the etudes to the lines of the "basics".

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Good job!
    +1! Beautiful guitar by the way!

  44. #43

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    I bought that book I while ago, but I only worked on one of the etudes. So this thread motivated me to start again. Here is the first piece. I got a little carried away with the effects after the recording, but I kind of like it.


  45. #44

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    Here's my take of the first basic. I really like the 3rd etude in this book. Looking forward to getting into the etudes!



  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I used Frank's CD...
    Frank's CD? You mean the course includes a backing track for Basic-1? I didn't seem to find one on my download version...

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco
    You mean the course includes a backing track for Basic-1?
    I have the book with CD version. There isn't a "backing" Track for the basics, but a track where Frank plays the exercise along with comping. But since the lead and the comping are both in the center of the mix, I was not able to remove the lead part (which is sometimes possible otherwise).

  48. #47

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    In case anyone's interested, here's the second exercise (Basic-2) adapted to C6 pedal steel.


  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by hats
    I have the book with CD version. There isn't a "backing" Track for the basics, but a track where Frank plays the exercise along with comping. But since the lead and the comping are both in the center of the mix, I was not able to remove the lead part (which is sometimes possible otherwise).
    Right. Same thing for the "practice tempo" takes of the etudes.

  50. #49

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    Basics 3, in Bb


  51. #50

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    OK, I'm in!

    Basic No.1