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  1. #1

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    Hello, I didn't want to hijack another similar thread, so I hope this is okay. Older guy in his 50s. In my teens and twenties I played a lot of jazz and loved it. I like lots of music and dabbled from jazz to rock, blues, bluegrass (including banjo and Dobro) and most recently modular synthesizers. I recently picked up a used Ibanez PM2 and I am playing it more than anything else. However, I am rusty. My physical technique is pretty okay I know theory and all my chords and scales, I can even read a bit, but my understanding of what to play over what is.... just stupid and too simple (like I can handle a II-V-I, but thats about it). I have a computer with all kinds of music stuff and can easily play along to any standards via free midi files and things like that. I don't have time for a teacher (and it would be unfair to a teacher as I'm not sure how consistently i can practice), but I really want to find the best resources to build up my improvising knowledge and skills. Can anyone recommend good resources, from books to online? Of course I also want to expand my chords and comping and chord melodies as well. Also, what songs do you guys like for intermediate-ish practicing of playing over changes? Autumn Leaves is within my grasp, sort of, Solar boggles my mind... Thanks in advance!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by deke View Post
    Also, what songs do you guys like for intermediate-ish practicing of playing over changes? Autumn Leaves is within my grasp, sort of, Solar boggles my mind... Thanks in advance!
    Solar is really just a chain of ii-V-Is. If you can learn to recognise those patterns it makes tackling tunes a lot easier.

  5. #4

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    It's the way it loops round that's tricky :-)

  6. #5

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    The finest instructional materials for learning to play jazz guitar that I've seen so far in my 66 years on the planet are the in-depth courses by Robert Conti and Steven Crowell.

    They are both veteran jazz guitarists in their 70s who have been playing jazz for a living - for decades.

    Below are the links to their pages on the Chord Melody Guitar Music website where you will find lots of video samples of their courses.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron

    The Robert Conti Jazz Guitar Course

    The Steven Crowell Jazz Guitar Course

  7. #6

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    I recommend listening to a lot of music, of the type you want to play, and listening critically and repeatedly. Hear the lines and licks, and memorize them. It takes time and effort, but IMO that's the best way to learn. Probably because that's the way I did it. Back when I started, that was the only way available.

  8. #7

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    Hey Deke,
    Not sure where you live, but getting a good teacher -- or even doing a one-hour, online lesson with one of your favorite players! -- can kick-start you in a good direction!

    Enjoy!

  9. #8

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    I too think even one or two lessons with a teacher is a great idea - they will be able to tell you very quickly what you need to focus on which might not be what you were thinking in order to progress.

    Will

  10. #9

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    Probably best to have a diagnosis before specifying a treatment plan.

    What is the barrier?

    Can you scat sing a solo over a tune you know?

    If you can, then you might reasonably focus on the skill to go from mind to guitar. Lots of different ways to do this. Lazy man's approach is to play along with every melody you hear when you're watching tv.

    If you can't scat sing (are there people who can't scat?), then the plan would be to go from hearing other people's ideas to generating your own. Listen to solos by guys who play slowly and sing along. Paul Desmond, Hank Mobley, Stan Getz. Like that. Scat sing when you can.

    If, like, I suspect, many of us, you can scat sing, but you wish you could scat sing better, then it's listening, singing along and ear training.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by deke View Post
    ... Older guy in his 50s. In my teens and twenties I played a lot of jazz and loved it. I like lots of music and dabbled from jazz to rock, blues, bluegrass... I really want to find the best resources to build up my improvising knowledge and skills. . !
    We are not too different, you and I. The best thing I've found to learn jazz improvisation so far is Jimmy Bruno's Guitar Workshop. He's quite the "personality", which you may or may not have an opinion about, but his approach to learning jazz improvisation is right on target in my opinion.

  12. #11

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    Sorry posted in the wrong thread!
    Last edited by Lark; 03-17-2019 at 10:13 AM.

  13. #12

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    Try the online lessons at Truefire.com Several Jazz comping videos, improv, etc,etc.

  14. #13
    Thanks everyone. All very good advice. I like the Ligon book a lot and ordered a Kindle version yesterday. I can scat, I do listen to a lot of music. I'm not a jazz genius, but I think many of you are right - I should try and see a teacher for a few lessons and get a "diagnosis" - great metaphor. In the meantime I will check out all the links. Thanks!

  15. #14

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    go to truefire and get your free first month, then tou can check out EVERY jazz course. easy to tell if it’s good fit for u if you can see the whole thing for free.

    personally i would direct you toward learning melodies and basic chords to songs. anyone have a link to that really good thread where CM taught the kid shell voicings?

    I will also whisper “Barry Harris” in your ear to hopefully plant that seed in your mind for later. The sooner you go down that road the better off you’ll be in my unprofessional opinion


    Edit: i thought there was some good beginner stuff here: How much theory do I need before getting into jazz?
    White belt
    My Youtube

  16. #15

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    Transcribe, analyze, plagiarize. By transcribe, I don't mean whole solos. Take a song you're learning, and find a recording you like. Pick one thing from the solo that sticks out to you and figure out what it is. It could be a specific melody, it could be a harmonic choice over a chord, it could even just be a rhythmic idea. Whatever it is, figure out what's going on and use it in your solo for that song. Now use it in your solo for a different song. Keep doing that and you'll have your own (stolen) vocabulary.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    It's the way it loops round that's tricky :-)
    I don’t think Solar is that tricky if you can visualise all the ‘chunks’ of ii-Vs, the last 2 chords are just another ii-V to take you back to the Cmin chord and start again.

    The OP said he can play over ii-Vs yet he finds Solar ‘mind-boggling’ - so one way to progress is to start seeing that tunes are often just a series of such patterns.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I don’t think Solar is that tricky if you can visualise all the ‘chunks’ of ii-Vs, the last 2 chords are just another ii-V to take you back to the Cmin chord and start again.

    The OP said he can play over ii-Vs yet he finds Solar ‘mind-boggling’ - so one way to progress is to start seeing that tunes are often just a series of such patterns.
    I should have clarified. I do see the patterns, it is just that everything I play over Solar sounds cheesy to me!

  19. #18

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  20. #19

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    And that's where Omph's advice comes in. Find a solo on Solar that doesn't sound cheesy, figure out what the soloist is doing, and use that in your own playing.... for a while. The wisdom will seep in and soon you'll be inventing your own.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by deke View Post
    Thanks everyone. All very good advice. I like the Ligon book a lot and ordered a Kindle version yesterday. I can scat, I do listen to a lot of music. I'm not a jazz genius, but I think many of you are right - I should try and see a teacher for a few lessons and get a "diagnosis" - great metaphor. In the meantime I will check out all the links. Thanks!
    couldn't agree more. find a teacher, go to a local jam session, anything that involves playing with other people.

  22. #21

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    "Not cheesy" versions:




  23. #22

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    I've always looked at it like this:

    Beginner: "Hey, I just started, so I don't really know much of anything."
    Intermediate: "OK, I can play now, but I want to continue to get better."
    Advanced: "I'm better than you."

    So yeh, being "stuck" at intermediate is where I want to be.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by dickbanks View Post
    Being "stuck" at intermediate is where I want to be.
    It has taken a lot of time to achieve Advanced Beginner Guitarist. Intermediate would be another giant step.

    I will never make Watermusic Safety Instructor.


    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by dickbanks View Post
    I've always looked at it like this:

    Beginner: "Hey, I just started, so I don't really know much of anything."
    Intermediate: "OK, I can play now, but I want to continue to get better."
    Advanced: "I'm better than you."

    So yeh, being "stuck" at intermediate is where I want to be.
    Ha! Well, Iv'e met plenty who play like they are intermediate, but act like your definition of advanced. Sigh... After all, jazz is a full contact sport!

  26. #25

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    Guitar should embrace the colored belt system used in martial arts but use colored straps:

    Beginner - white strap
    Advanced beginner - yellow strap
    Intermediate - green strap
    Advanced - brown strap
    Expert - black strap
    Master - red belt
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  27. #26

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    I prefer black or brown straps, but under that system I wouldn't be allowed to use either.

  28. #27

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    I find that being in the jazz unemployment category is a big reason so many players don't have ability to function at any advanced level. You have to be gigging to maintain the chops.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    Guitar should embrace the colored belt system used in martial arts but use colored straps:

    Beginner - white strap
    Advanced beginner - yellow strap
    Intermediate - green strap
    Advanced - brown strap
    Expert - black strap
    Master - red belt

    Looks like Taekwondo to me.

  30. #29

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    When I was in my teens, I wanted to be the next Larry Carlton. Worked pretty hard at it, didn't happen.

    In my early 20's played in various bands. Didn't work out very well financially.

    Late twenties to mid forties hardly played at all, choose to make money and save for retirement.

    Retired last year at 60. So now I ask myself, how to have the most fun/fufilment playing guitar. At some point I think one needs to have less emphasis on working towards the future. Make a pretty sound... today.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    When I was in my teens, I wanted to be the next Larry Carlton. Worked pretty hard at it, didn't happen.

    In my early 20's played in various bands. Didn't work out very well financially.

    Late twenties to mid forties hardly played at all, choose to make money and save for retirement.

    Retired last year at 60. So now I ask myself, how to have the most fun/fufilment playing guitar. At some point I think one needs to have less emphasis on working towards the future. Make a pretty sound... today.
    I had a similar trajectory. According to this article, us older somewhat unfulfilled never made it to pro older players are keeping the guitar industry alive.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graph...=.7be6fe396ddd
    " “Our customers are getting older, and they’re going to be gone soon,” he says."

  32. #31

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    So deke... I'm an older dude...

    I can get into a bunch of technical BS... but you don't have the time...

    To make your solos more interesting... hipper... or even just more fun to play....You need to start hearing and seeing a bigger picture.... simple version.... The space your filling with your noise.
    Most tunes have a basic Form that repeats.... AABA, 12 bars blues, etc...

    So you need a shape, a basic organization that fills that space. .... later when you get much better etc.. you can just play because you've already internalized different types of space organization... you hear or play a lick... and you already have a pre organized plan of how to fill that space, (tune) with improve that actually seems natural, beginning , middle and end or some other shape. And the your able to develop smaller ideas within the big shape.

    So an easy starting place is to become aware of Subs and Chord Pattern. There are many ways to describe how you come up with hip solos... but on guitar using chords works well... chords are like pre organized licks or developments with a melody on top.... your giving yourself more organized notes to use with your beautiful melodic solo...

    So Subs and Chord patterns.... and the good part is you probably already know most of them. Start with two or three yunes you already know... A Blues tune, a swing or bop tune and a latin tune. Pick them and I'll help you start adding subs and Chord patterns.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky View Post
    We are not too different, you and I. The best thing I've found to learn jazz improvisation so far is Jimmy Bruno's Guitar Workshop. He's quite the "personality", which you may or may not have an opinion about, but his approach to learning jazz improvisation is right on target in my opinion.
    His No Nonsense DVD is great.

  34. #33
    Thanks to everyone. I will follow up on all these leads. In the meantime I discovered something that is really helping me get my chops back. It is called practice! :-) Seriously as stupid as it sounds I have been woodshedding quite a. It and it is paying off. When I first posted I just bought a jazz box after many years and was rusty as heck. I do find that my older brain is helping me analyze songs and to think in ways I did not when I was younger. Of course there are plenty of young guys who know and play far better than I ever did or will.

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    So deke... I'm an older dude...

    I can get into a bunch of technical BS... but you don't have the time...

    To make your solos more interesting... hipper... or even just more fun to play....You need to start hearing and seeing a bigger picture.... simple version.... The space your filling with your noise.
    Most tunes have a basic Form that repeats.... AABA, 12 bars blues, etc...

    So you need a shape, a basic organization that fills that space. .... later when you get much better etc.. you can just play because you've already internalized different types of space organization... you hear or play a lick... and you already have a pre organized plan of how to fill that space, (tune) with improve that actually seems natural, beginning , middle and end or some other shape. And the your able to develop smaller ideas within the big shape.

    So an easy starting place is to become aware of Subs and Chord Pattern. There are many ways to describe how you come up with hip solos... but on guitar using chords works well... chords are like pre organized licks or developments with a melody on top.... your giving yourself more organized notes to use with your beautiful melodic solo...

    So Subs and Chord patterns.... and the good part is you probably already know most of them. Start with two or three yunes you already know... A Blues tune, a swing or bop tune and a latin tune. Pick them and I'll help you start adding subs and Chord patterns.
    Thanks! You are like Yoda. The songs I am currently working with are All the Things You Are, Autumn Leaves, Solar, How Insensitive and Song for My Father. Good selection or do you have any suggestions?

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos View Post
    Transcribe, analyze, plagiarize. By transcribe, I don't mean whole solos. Take a song you're learning, and find a recording you like. Pick one thing from the solo that sticks out to you and figure out what it is. It could be a specific melody, it could be a harmonic choice over a chord, it could even just be a rhythmic idea. Whatever it is, figure out what's going on and use it in your solo for that song. Now use it in your solo for a different song. Keep doing that and you'll have your own (stolen) vocabulary.
    I've done a lot of that, and it's a good idea, along with finding a teacher who can give you targeted advice. But Lick Acquisition Syndrome is even more insidious than GAS. I used to hear a Larry lick or a Pat Martino lick or some other lick and say, "wow, once I learn this, I'll be able to smoke on tunes like this one." Not true. Once you learn "that thing" you'll hear some other thing and get some other goal. At least, that's how it works for me. I'll never stop learning, and I thank everyone on this forum for continually turning me on to great players and great music!

  37. #36

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    Cool I'll notate out some possibilities etc...and some voicings with use of subs and chord patterns .... basically your sill playing a melody or lead line, just gives you more possibilities of filling the space between the melody or lead line... you generally still need a rhythmic motif to work with etc... but when you start playing.... that's what one generally does.... embellish the harmony to help create tension which creates perception of forward motion. It will look easy as compared to verbally etc...

    yea the transcribing thing... when I was a kid.... transcribing was to help get your ears together....and the notational thing, be able to actually hear whats going on and notate it out. And yea you could borrow licks etc... but that was not the main goal.

    The whole memorize and play approach.... I've always thought it was contradictory to actually playing jazz. But I'm obviously not the norm.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    The whole memorize and play approach.... I've always thought it was contradictory to actually playing jazz. But I'm obviously not the norm.

    I don't really parrot any of the stuff I've transcribed, for the most part, but it's under my fingers and in the back of my head.

    For me, transcribing is supplemental to other studies - when I was starting out, I could understand in theory what I heard but I still didn't sound like a real jazz player when I would improvise. Transcribing (or just listening and stealing, without writing it down) was "learning to think like a jazz player", and learning some practical applications of various theoretical concepts. Taking one song and dissecting the approaches that various players use can be really helpful.

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    Cool I'll notate out some possibilities etc...and some voicings with use of subs and chord patterns .... basically your sill playing a melody or lead line, just gives you more possibilities of filling the space between the melody or lead line... you generally still need a rhythmic motif to work with etc... but when you start playing.... that's what one generally does.... embellish the harmony to help create tension which creates perception of forward motion. It will look easy as compared to verbally etc...

    yea the transcribing thing... when I was a kid.... transcribing was to help get your ears together....and the notational thing, be able to actually hear whats going on and notate it out. And yea you could borrow licks etc... but that was not the main goal.

    The whole memorize and play approach.... I've always thought it was contradictory to actually playing jazz. But I'm obviously not the norm.
    I really appreciate the offer, but please don't go through the trouble, I'm doing okay.