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  1. #251

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    Nice. I'm not going to start a whole 'nother thread about going through this program again, but I'm going through a modified version of this again now, with the fretless. And like gasser, it's a really good antidote for practicing bad habits. Instead of thinking "What will this sound like in front of others?" or "Is this hip?" or even "Is this a phrase worthy of my time?" it's "Shut up and play. It's only 10 minutes." and the amount of real time concentration I get is invaluable. I get such great practice in other things- intonation, time, direction change, wide and narrow leap combinations... just by the commitment to negotiate changes that don't negotiate with me.

    The benefits can come in the most unexpected ways. Ways of seeing and hearing that prepare me for the mindset of the bandstand.

    David

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #252

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    Week 20 in the bag!

    I can say without a doubt that this course has launched my playing light years ahead of what it was a few short months ago. Not that the noises that my fingers make are anything to write home about, but my fretboard awareness and ability to negotiate complex changes have advanced significantly.

    Now to find some rhythms to hang these notes off of!

  4. #253

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    Im on Week 5 of this program, and I think its helping a lot. I am not following the changes Roberts has given precisely. First two weeks I used Blue Bossa. Then Solar. Now in week 5 I'm doing Cherokee, half with the Roberts changes, half with the more comprehensible iReal app changes.

    I have no idea what Roberts means by accuracy. He might just mean with the correct articulation, no flaws, since this is supposed to be a technique builder. But he also might mean accurate in the sense that you are hearing the lines you want to play and then you are playing them as you hear them. Or a bunch of other things in between.

    I have found playing ten minutes of straight eighth notes to require a ton of concentration, and sometime I just park and repeat the same note. But over two weeks, if nothing else, I think this approach does a great job of putting a set of changes under your fingers. And in an odd way, I think the lack of rhythmic devices helps to teach the importance of rhythm. It also has helped me to start thinking of a phrase as a shape, and one that is repeatable, so that those repetitions start to break up the endless flow of eighths.

    Im really curious to see where this is going to take me.

  5. #254

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    Keep it up. As Jehu said, you will improve tremendously over the course of 20 weeks. I am taking a bit of a breather to internalize some enclosures, then I will dive back in, perhaps with different tunes. That said, depending on your skill level and ear now, I’d recommend using HR’s prescribed harmonies. Over time they will open up your ears to tritone subs, chromatic passing chords (which I find really confounding to improvise competently over), etc. You will get bored at times, you will sit on notes, you will likely stray from the rigid rhythmic rules: all of this will in some way be helpful if you stick with it through the entire program.

  6. #255

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    Week 20 in the bag!

    I can say without a doubt that this course has launched my playing light years ahead of what it was a few short months ago. Not that the noises that my fingers make are anything to write home about, but my fretboard awareness and ability to negotiate complex changes have advanced significantly.

    Now to find some rhythms to hang these notes off of!
    GREAT! And Great timing.
    Take a breath, I've begun another thread of a standard a week. In that one, I'm not aiming to build a professional repertoire per se, but rather the next step from what we're doing here and the Etudes thread. Combining the techniques of "line inertia" we've developed here with harmonic structures I'll introduce on a weekly basis. We can drive, now we learn new terrains and learn to intuit and navigate fearlessly.
    Check it out and I hope to see you there!

    I will say guys, that I've always seen a huge difference in players who study their lessons studiously and by external prescriptions, and those who find their voice through playing a lot of music in real time and filtering out their own crap.

    Club members!
    David

  7. #256

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy Pratt
    Im on Week 5 of this program, and I think its helping a lot. I am not following the changes Roberts has given precisely. First two weeks I used Blue Bossa. Then Solar. Now in week 5 I'm doing Cherokee, half with the Roberts changes, half with the more comprehensible iReal app changes.

    I have no idea what Roberts means by accuracy. He might just mean with the correct articulation, no flaws, since this is supposed to be a technique builder. But he also might mean accurate in the sense that you are hearing the lines you want to play and then you are playing them as you hear them. Or a bunch of other things in between.

    I have found playing ten minutes of straight eighth notes to require a ton of concentration, and sometime I just park and repeat the same note. But over two weeks, if nothing else, I think this approach does a great job of putting a set of changes under your fingers. And in an odd way, I think the lack of rhythmic devices helps to teach the importance of rhythm. It also has helped me to start thinking of a phrase as a shape, and one that is repeatable, so that those repetitions start to break up the endless flow of eighths.

    Im really curious to see where this is going to take me.
    Cool! Hang in there. And I'll suggest you might keep a journal and note book of things you want to do, and the inventory of things you learn that allow you to do them. It's great to see your progress and it's also great to keep your lexicon of melodic and harmonic devices handy so you can call on "the list" when ever you feel at a loss for direction.
    Have fun and check in regularly. There are graduates here now with great tips and advice!

    David

  8. #257

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy Pratt
    I have no idea what Roberts means by accuracy. He might just mean with the correct articulation, no flaws, since this is supposed to be a technique builder. But he also might mean accurate in the sense that you are hearing the lines you want to play and then you are playing them as you hear them. Or a bunch of other things in between.
    Yeah, I have no idea what he means either. But given that this is not only a technique builder, but an improvisational technique builder, I took it to mean playing with intention/awareness. I don't think anyone taking this course would have much trouble from a technical standpoint playing 8th notes at 48bpm, so my criterion was that if I was letting my fingers do the walking or doing some chromatic bluffing rather than actually making the changes (or playing outside with purpose), I need to slow down.

  9. #258

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    Yeah, I think intention is everything. I can definitely play much, much faster in certain contexts. But I had to start this in the mid-30s to nail changes without “mistakes.” And even then there were mistakes!

  10. #259

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    Hey folks,

    As promised, I laid down a quick chorus for a before and after comparison. I fell off a couple of times and it's clearly not winning any Downbeat polls, but I think it gives a good glimpse of what you might expect from 20 (or 16 in this case) weeks.

    Week 4 (60ish bpm):


    Week 20 (110 bpm):

  11. #260

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    Hey folks,

    As promised, I laid down a quick chorus for a before and after comparison. I fell off a couple of times and it's clearly not winning any Downbeat polls, but I think it gives a good glimpse of what you might expect from 20 (or 16 in this case) weeks.

    Week 4 (60ish bpm):


    Week 20 (110 bpm):
    Sounds fantastic! Light and spry.

  12. #261

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    Bummer. I got really hyped about doing this after reading the introduction section. Then I realized I don't have a reel to reel tape recorder
    On a more serious note, for those of you who have gone through the program (at least some of it), how critical do you thing is the tune selection? There are some tunes I'm working on in preparation for a performance/gig early next year, I'd like to kill two birds with one stone. Would tunes with similar harmonic rhythm work or is there some pedagogical magic with the tune selection over the course of the program? Can I use different tunes? Also can I use a digital recorder instead?

  13. #262

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    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2020-12-06-10-40-51-am-png
    Howard Roberts Super Chops: study group for a tune based practice routine-screen-shot-2020-12-06-10-40-19-am-png
    Every few years, I go through this program. What better opportunity to take inventory of my growth than to revisit these classic forms with the knowledge we have at hand, and grow in the course of the next few months.
    The idea is each week there is a chord progression that will be really valuable in either familiarizing one's self with the form of a standard or the progressions that are really useful for a large number of the songs in the jazz idiom.
    Every week you start each day by recording the progression (let's say for this exercise, follow the changes but not necessarily the note for not voicings) and begin slowly, then over the week increase the speed.
    This is for eighth note chops and focuses on EIGHTH NOTE PHRASES.
    Let's say if you're going to participate in this group here, you commit to running the course, and contribute your observations (ex: Hey! Today I'm trying to start phrases on the third of the chord! or I've finally figured out how to cross the bar line in making an idea. This is how and why I wanted this")
    I'm going to do this. If there's anyone else, weigh in. This is a questions, observations, sharing revelations group. We'll be referencing the examples from earlier in this thread.
    Anybody up for it?

  14. #263

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  15. #264

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    I’ll be in but can’t guarantee perfect adherence due to physical limitations
    Actually did start it few months back, it is excellent.

  16. #265

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    There's a big consolidating step in improvisation that comes from mastering the demands of eighth note soloing over moving changes. That's the discipline of this course. When you've got the knowledge of appropriate note choice (diatonic scales and II V scale note choices with arpeggiated and melodic control) then being able to keep it together over changes is not an easy step but this is a great way to get there.
    Community encouragement and sharing your frustrations and successes is helpful.
    For instance, this week's exercise is kind of similar to Cherokee.
    I'd say strive to hear it, and learn to play the changes with your ears. I've observed that by doing this on a regular basis like the challenge of the Roberts method, you become aware of your own habitual pitfalls, and you can actually plan and strategize different approaches to expand your vocabulary. If you can hear a habit on the horizon, make a conscious effort to do something different. Start slowly and expand your awareness.
    It's really rewarding to feel yourself improving. That only comes from working the material.
    Hey, this is 50 minutes a day. To make you a better player.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 12-07-2020 at 04:38 AM.

  17. #266

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    Oh man. I was part of the two original groups that went through the whole program: first using HR’s tunes, then a second time through with new tunes that David picked out. I am really tempted to find the time to dive into this again now that a few years have passed.

  18. #267

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    Does anyone know what became of David? He left while I was nursing my damaged finger and not visiting the site. I do miss his generous insightful presence...

  19. #268

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    SO let's do it. This can be a space where players of all levels can contribute their questions and those of us that have worked with this material or format can add time tempered wisdom.
    Week 1.
    A few observations. Recording one's self is a huge leap and wall for just about everyone, but one that opens up huge possibilities when it's confronted. Use your phone, use your computer, use a small digital recorder, use a camera, ask for a digital recorder for Christmas. But set your metronome to slow, put down some chords that follow the changes of the week 1 exercise. Doesn't need to be like the written out version above, but just get the chords down IN TIME. Doesn't need to swing for now. But we have 20 weeks, and your comping WILL get better. I guarantee.
    That done, follow the format. 10 minutes playing, breathe, 10 minutes playing...
    Eighth notes only for now. Yeah it'll be tough. Until you can hear before you move your fingers, this can be very tough. The goal is to hear and play in time, and once you can hear the next chord (we do this every day, you'll get to know this very well) you can play into it.
    I will give hints and practice ideas (try thinking ascending lines, try hearing and using pickup notes, etc) and you'll keep a journal of your playing lexicon. The list of things you have the option of doing over a chord.
    Before you know it, you'll start to play in time. You'll feel good. You'll have fun. You'll get bored with things you do too much. You'll exercise options.
    All of this comes from DOING and getting a high five from us all as we check in with our progress and our own observations and advice.
    The Super Chops program is pretty well planned as it is. Keep is slow Monday. Keep it brisk later in the week. Each tempo has its own benefits and challenges. Savour your abilities and build on them.
    If you want to improve, give yourself 20 weeks.

    This week you might work on getting the scale right, and the arpeggio for each chord. It's not music, and it's not profound but it's basic skill acquisition. If your abilities are solid, work on dynamics, soft and loud alternatively, or pick directions and be aware of what direction you want your phrases to go in.
    If you're really solid, pick textural patterns and run them without hesitation (1 2 3 1 2 3 4 2 etc, or mixing scale and arpeggio with approach tones or direction changes)
    If you're solid with this, pick a melodic motif and develop it through the key areas.
    If you're really good with this, change the harmony and use parallel harmonies derived from Melodic or Harmonic minor scales. See where Pentatonics fit in. Change directions. Take a pattern and cross the bar line, in other words don't change everything around when the chords change, this is the key to making lines people can really dig hearing shifts in.
    If you're really good with this, listen to your lines and find the glitches in your shifts, or find out how you can play stronger from different positions.
    Start each session by listening to another player, like Michael Brecker, or Bob Berg, or Lage Lund... and get a feeling for the feel.

    Those are only some ideas of how to get started. Everyone will find their own wall, and everyone will find their way over it.
    This is between you and your guitar and the task ahead of you.
    We start now. Let's have fun
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 12-07-2020 at 04:39 AM.

  20. #269

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    Ok I'm in. What are we using for tunes/exercises?

  21. #270

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    I’m in. Let’s light this candle!

  22. #271

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Ok I'm in. What are we using for tunes/exercises?
    Week 1 from the book. It's posted up in post 262. Key of Bb. Cherokee changes. No head. No long notes. No breaks in the lines. Just eighth notes and negotiating the changes. Find your place in this heirarchy:
    First level: Know your key and the notes you need. Know your chords and the notes that are needed to arpeggiate them from the roots.
    Second level: Know those notes starting from chord tones and learn to change direction within each change.
    Third level: Incorporate narrow leaps (thirds) and wide leaps (a fourth and larger) into your lines.
    Fourth level: embellish your chord tones with the notes above and below, resolving to the chord tone, all with the smooth running of the form.
    Fifth level: Play your ideas and if you develop a logical flow of notes and ideas within a chord change, take it over the bar line and continue it to the next change. This crossing of the bar line is a huge mental breakthrough to real solo construction.
    Sixth level: Use your awareness of what you played and create motifs. In other words make melody identifiable in some unique way and use that same idea in the next phrase you create (a phrase might take several changes). Develop your motif with variation but keep it there in your mind.
    Seventh level: Once you have a proficient ear/hand/idea control and awareness, THEN really explore all of this by moving to different places on the fingerboard and moving and navigating up and down the neck, finding and familiarizing yourself with all the corners you neglect.
    Eighth level: Navigate by idea and by ear. Stop thinking and connect your moves before you get to them. Think like a chess player, by knowing what's coming up and meeting it creatively and musically.
    Ninth level: Emotional and creative investment. Compose with a sense of pacing, introduction and development, and make it a goal to create an arc with large and small figures, awareness of contour and areas of consistency and contrast. Use dynamics. Swing. Quote other songs. Mix chordal techniques with linear ones. The moment you hear yourself going some place too easy, make a decision to take another direction.

    This is kind of a loose guideline that I use where you find your place in the heirarchy and work at it until it's really rewarding and keep moving. Remember that we start off slow. Remember that each day gives you something you can use and build on the next day. Remember that at the end of the week, rest and you get a clean slate for the next week. Put aside all your frustrations and save your accomplishments and don't look back. We do it again next week!

  23. #272

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    Swinging eighth notes at 48 bpm. Nothing to say yet, but I remember getting tripped up by how oom-pah it sounded last time around at these slow tempos. But also how square it sounded playing perfectly straight. We’ll see how it goes tonight. I’m a bit optimistic that my fretboard knowledge has increased a bit in 3 years.

  24. #273

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Swinging eighth notes at 48 bpm. Nothing to say yet, but I remember getting tripped up by how oom-pah it sounded last time around at these slow tempos. But also how square it sounded playing perfectly straight. We’ll see how it goes tonight. I’m a bit optimistic that my fretboard knowledge has increased a bit in 3 years.
    One thing I've noticed was the "farther" I can imagine, or hear, the more I can play an actual idea, and that naturally has its own sense of flow. WHen you're starting out (like level 1), you're going from note to note in very safe and expected ways. Nothing wrong with that, but oom-pah is the sound of one or two notes at a time. Idea=note. As you stretch out your phrasing to a melodic idea (think the first phrase of Ornithology, or Deck the Halls) you can learn to "hear" an idea and create one that is responsive to that. Conversation, with embellishments, or connecting notes between. Thinking like that, you can play individual ideas that make sense, and you can use passing notes to keep the flow going.
    If you practice this, you will master it. It's the start of ear playing. Create a melody in slow motion, you'll have thoughts to play when you get faster.

  25. #274

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    Still messing around with the backing track recording and playback, so I jumped around the blockage and used ireal pro just so I kept up with the program. I should have things cleaner for tomorrow.

    It was my first time playing cherokee changes on guitar so I didn't have the form quite as absorbed as I'd have liked to. But it was fun to dive in. I mostly spashed around in the kiddie pool with pretty basic scale and arp patterns at 50-55bpm. Recording the lines with the backing track for the first time was an interesting light on things. Most of what it showed was expected, some was not which I guess is the point.

    All in all a fun start.

  26. #275

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    Quote Originally Posted by guido5
    Still messing around with the backing track recording and playback, so I jumped around the blockage and used ireal pro just so I kept up with the program. I should have things cleaner for tomorrow.

    It was my first time playing cherokee changes on guitar so I didn't have the form quite as absorbed as I'd have liked to. But it was fun to dive in. I mostly spashed around in the kiddie pool with pretty basic scale and arp patterns at 50-55bpm. Recording the lines with the backing track for the first time was an interesting light on things. Most of what it showed was expected, some was not which I guess is the point.

    All in all a fun start.
    Remember that it's almost essential that you have that "I suck" moment. Everyone has it. And those who find even the tiniest foothold of joy, stick with it. Tonight I spent two hours just getting a good sound out of my guitar. Until it really rang out. In that time, I found that there are lots of places where the I chord can connect with a V min chord (II V of IV) and each time I found one that I hadn't used before, my fingers got more fluid.
    Then I got the buzz. Just to get to the other side of the "I suck" wall. Yeah!