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  1. #1

    How to get better at improvising?

    Right now I'm going through the Mickey Baker jazz book and I finding the chord ideas very helpful. The thing I have been trying to do is getting better at soloing. What are somethings I should do to get better. I have Charlie Parker Omnibook and learned 2 heads and some of the solo in one. But how do I transfer that to my own playing? I was told to look and analyze my favorite lick and transpose to different keys.
    Another idea I thought of was writing solos based on chord progressions for my favorite standards. For example I love how High the Moon, so with that I was thinking of just writing lines for those changes, would that be a good approach?
    All in all im looking for any tips that would help me getting better at soloing over jazz changes!

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  3. #2
    You've started two threads on the same subject.

    All in all I'm looking for any tips that would help me getting better at soloing over jazz changes!
    That's what everybody wants, my friend :-)

    Listen to what jazz players do. But what you hear there is the result of years and years of dedicated practice, study and playing + talent.

    So start at the beginning and get into it. No other way.

  4. #3
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    Here are a couple of ideas from someone who also struggles with progressing with improvisation. When I was in high school 50+ years ago (sheesh), my first guitar teacher was a jazz man. He tried to teach me to improvise. I wasn't anywhere near ready for that at that young age but the technique he used has value. Pick a song with an easy chord structure and a melody you can't get out of your head. How about "John Brown's Body"? Find or create a backing track with either a cheap looper pedal or Guitar Pro or whatever. Find a You Tube or CD example of a jazz version of the song (Oscar Peterson for JBB for example). Play the CD until it wears out. Take a section and find the notes. Write them down. Simplify it first just hitting a few tones in each chord. Find the groove. You can do that with really only a few notes either side of or in between the melody. Keep time after you can do that. Use the ideas in your instruction book (finding guide tones, chromatics, thirds etc) and just PLAY. It will sound really bad at first. Refine it using ideas from the CD. You don't have to find a guitar CD. Piano, sax, flute, violin, any instrument that plays an improvised melody line. Be patient.

    Another idea is to purchase a few Bob Conti video's. Bob's marketing pitch is to forget about scales and modes and just play. He walks through some notated improv selections and will help get you comfortable with the concept.

    There is no "best" way to do this. There is no advice that will cause a miracle to happen and you will become proficient over night. Keep plugging until you find something that works for you.

    Cincy
    2002 Gibson L5 CES

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincy2 View Post
    Another idea is to purchase a few Bob Conti video's. Bob's marketing pitch is to forget about scales and modes and just play. He walks through some notated improv selections and will help get you comfortable with the concept.Cincy
    That's an excellent suggestion!

    The name of the Robert Conti DVD series is "The Ticket To Improv" and if anything is going to get you to be able to start improvising solos over famous jazz standards that series will.

    Here's a link to his page on the Chord Melody Guitar Music website where you will be able to watch video samples from the series.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    The Ticket To Improv Series By Robert Conti

  6. #5
    The iconic figures of jazz, the canon of the artform, the language and attitude of soloing came to be from one place: the experience of playing with others in real time. The community of the big band still stands as unique in the musics of the world; the collective knowledge and experience of individuals shared with the individual through sharing. This is the important glue that holds together any other supplemental materials you can get through extrinsic sources (books, institutions, etc).
    There is an ephemeral process of self discovery that is the essence of the art of soloing. It's a real time process.
    Find others. Find a partner. Find a singer you can hold down the form for. Find a playing partner you can learn to listen to. Find a teacher and then ask him/her for the names of others who want to play.
    People can tell you all sorts of ways to solo, but you will never do it until you play with another, fail, assess your resources, play again, experience the discovery of what works and improve.

    Use the forum and see if there are others in your area who want to play.
    David

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    It is not possible to get better.
    ^ ^ ^
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  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan View Post
    It is not possible to get better.
    "It is not possible to improvise." I'm not making this up. Those aren't my words but I am quoting an unquestionable authority I read somewhere. So I stand by that. But don't quote me.
    David

  9. #8
    As important as the chord changes are, don't overlook the value of the melody of the tune as a source of improvisation ideas. After all it will automatically contain a lot of useful information e.g. chord tones, rhythmic interest etc.

    Google 'Lee Konitz 10-step method' for some examples of how Lee Konitz (a brilliant improviser) gradually transforms the melody into an improvised solo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Herron View Post
    That's an excellent suggestion!

    The name of the Robert Conti DVD series is "The Ticket To Improv" and if anything is going to get you to be able to start improvising solos over famous jazz standards that series will.

    Here's a link to his page on the Chord Melody Guitar Music website where you will be able to watch video samples from the series.

    Regards,
    Steven Herron
    The Ticket To Improv Series By Robert Conti
    Ironically a study group on this forum just finished the very last of these DVDs. It was a very productive undertaking, especially for those who did all or nearly all of it. Worst case scenario you have one fairly decent solo under your fingers for a dozen or so standards. Not stuff that will make history, but definitely will make music.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  11. #10
    Writing a solo is great. Heck, write 3 solos over the same tune.

    OP, what are you doing now when you practice tunes?
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  12. #11
    It depends on your current level.

    Basics:

    1. Play the melody/theme

    2. Improvise a variation of the melody
    • Play a melodic phrase.
    • Pay attention to rhythm, tempo and timing
    • Repeat the phrase with variation when the harmony changes
    • Pay attention to the end note of each phrase
    • Make use of long notes and pauses, double stops, octaves and bends.
    • Pay attention to your slots (when to play and when not to play)


    3. Practice

    • Train muscle memory

    Internalize a library of licks and patterns; building blocks when improvising phrases.
    Practice modes, scales and arpeggios to internalize intervals on the fretboard.
    Scat

    • Train your ears

    Internalize the sound of different modes and scales and arpeggios.
    Listen to music. Listen, listen. Break free from bonds of guitar oriented music.

    • Tips

    Copy an advanced solo, try to nail it, note by note.
    Write an advanced solo, internalize it.
    Copy a short lick, re-use it in different songs
    Play with eyes closed and ears open

    Advanced:

    1. Break free from your old licks and patterns.
    2. Play long notes to extend harmony
    3. Improvise over songs that modulate over different keys.
    4. Increase intervals between notes
    5. Alternate between chords and lines
    6. Move in and out from the scale
    7. Compose melodies

    Good luck

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    "It is not possible to improvise." I'm not making this up. Those aren't my words but I am quoting an unquestionable authority I read somewhere. So I stand by that. But don't quote me.
    David
    I think you jest, but I had a very interesting conversation last night with a piano player who is regarded as a monster improvisor. He tours the world and sits in with the very best. I have seen him live dozens of times, and every show is unique, even every solo is unique. Yet he confessed that he doesn't think he really improvises!

    Further, he's convinced that many of the great so called improvisors don't really improvise either! Heresy!!

    OK, what I think he means is that he learns dozens of jazz "words" and "sentences" that he strings together for certain chord types. It sure sounds like he's improvising because he's able to sound fresh continually, but he's just putting sentences together instead of individual letters together to form new words on the fly.

    Now, those of us who enjoy putting letters together to form new words each time are either playing slowly and targeting chord tones, or are able to apply chunks of CST derived cells for each chord type... neither of which sounds like the authentic language of the Boppers.

    Personally I enjoy trying to actually improvise, but that part of my playing is just me making up melodies that don't always land chord tones, but still sound resolved or right because I get ok at "making" it sound right by how I follow up on an idea that pops out (delayed resolution, or turning into a sequence etc etc).

    The other part of my playing comprises prefab fast lines that i learn in 5 positions, that are dropped in when I can think of them in time. I try to work a lot on starting them on different parts of the bar, or different strings. I don't think I'm yet good enough to sound like it's all improv, but it's the path i'm on. I'd like to be 50/50 when it comes to prefab lines vs 100% real improv, but I'd love to one day hide the seams well enough so that other players can't tell...

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81 View Post
    Right now I'm going through the Mickey Baker jazz book and I finding the chord ideas very helpful. The thing I have been trying to do is getting better at soloing. What are somethings I should do to get better. I have Charlie Parker Omnibook and learned 2 heads and some of the solo in one. But how do I transfer that to my own playing? I was told to look and analyze my favorite lick and transpose to different keys.
    Another idea I thought of was writing solos based on chord progressions for my favorite standards. For example I love how High the Moon, so with that I was thinking of just writing lines for those changes, would that be a good approach?
    All in all im looking for any tips that would help me getting better at soloing over jazz changes!

    Where are you in your development? Do you play regularly with other people? Do you know many tunes? Are you pretty good, but somehow looking to go in another direction or break out of a rut, or are you a beginner who doesn't know how to get started with soloing yet? Somewhere in between? It's very hard to advise people on what to do without knowing what they can do.

    All that said, my advice is nearly always to learn tunes, and play with other people. The times in my life when I've made the most progress as a musician have been when I've done that. Practicing and studying is important, but to learn jazz, you have to play jazz, which requires repertoire and ensemble playing.

    John

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Google 'Lee Konitz 10-step method' for some examples of how Lee Konitz (a brilliant improviser) gradually transforms the melody into an improvised solo.
    'Konitz is a master of the art of jazz improvisation. The alto saxophonist on Miles Davis' historic Birth Of The Cool sessions'

    Shurly shome mishtake ?

  16. #15
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    You know there is a gap between

    a) pesronal creative power on one side and
    b) tools and skills to embody this power

    There is always this gap... even the greatest, most talented musicians have this gap.

    Because you are are the source of what you are doing in music.

    I do not believe there is a really systematic way to become more creative, one either has or not (but there is chance it opens up later! There is always a chance).

    So developeing the "a" section is very individual if ever possible
    It is the mistery of human peronality and individuality.
    You know there is no progress in how tree grows or rain drops fall. It can be dofferent but there is no improvement.
    So are the artists - their maturity is mostly connected with long practical experience, with development of their techniques (''b'' section) in relation to more or less stable 'creative ideas'
    (ever trying to fill this gap)

    there is possibility to develope the ''b'' section. It can be better or wors organized. It can be described in clear terms
    It won't subsitute the lack of creativity but it can be a vehicle to support when the ''a'' thing does not work.

    So to say - it will let you sit on oars when the wind is gone.

    But where and why the vessel goes - no-can say except you...

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    'Konitz is a master of the art of jazz improvisation. The alto saxophonist on Miles Davis' historic Birth Of The Cool sessions'

    Shurly shome mishtake ?
    No, Lee plays alto on B.O.C.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  18. #17
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    Some additional great advice.



    Cincy
    2002 Gibson L5 CES

  19. #18
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    And another excellent lesson. God Bless You Tube!



    Cincy
    2002 Gibson L5 CES

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    'Konitz is a master of the art of jazz improvisation. The alto saxophonist on Miles Davis' historic Birth Of The Cool sessions'

    Shurly shome mishtake ?
    I don't understand what you mean - what mistake?

  21. #20

  22. #21

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    No, Lee plays alto on B.O.C.
    You're right of course, i read Kind of Blue which will teach me to keep my mouth shut until the coffee's kicked in, I'm listening to it now as penance, sorry Lee..

  24. Learn as many tunes as you can, listen to as much jazz as you can, and transcribe as much as you can!

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    Learn as many tunes as you can, listen to as much jazz as you can, and transcribe as much as you can!
    ^this, but you need to accept that it takes time. Pretty sure I played over a thousand bad jazz solos before I played one that didn't completely and totally suck. Also, checking out live jazz is very helpful...even more so once you "know" some tunes i.e. you know the vanilla changes by heart and can follow the changes while the pros are taking their solos.

  26. #25
    Work on your ears!

    Sing, sing, sing!

    As JCat said, internalize the SOUND of the tune you are improvising on.

    And, play with other people.

  27. #26
    Playing alone is OK. You have to put in the time to get to where you have the reserve capacity to play with others.

    Playing with others is good. A lot of things are learned doing this preparing being able to perform.

    Performing with others is better. This is the real threshold. Playing live is emergent, magic, and special.

    Having performed as the guitarist of a house band that hosted over a decade of weekly four hour shows, playing countless songs on stage live hearing them for the first time, playing them with guest musicians to whom having been introduced just moments before; because improvisation comes from public experience and private confidence encountering the unknown... I have to call that best. The closer and sooner you can get to doing something like that, the best opportunity you have of really learning how to get better at improvising.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  28. #27
    It's two things.

    1. Being able to think of a good melody over the chord changes of a tune.

    2. Being able to play that melody as you think of it.

    For the first one, you need to be able to scat sing, or at least think of, a cool melody. I think you get that by listening, training your ear and doing a lot of scat singing.

    For the second one, you practice playing everything you hear and think. So, for example, if you're watching tv, play along with the background music.

    Eventually you get bored with your own scat singing, or you can't do it fast enough. At that point, a thousand things that get discussed on here regularly may help.

  29. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    You're right of course, i read Kind of Blue which will teach me to keep my mouth shut until the coffee's kicked in, I'm listening to it now as penance, sorry Lee..
    The Private Eye reference amused me.

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Where are you in your development? Do you play regularly with other people? Do you know many tunes? Are you pretty good, but somehow looking to go in another direction or break out of a rut, or are you a beginner who doesn't know how to get started with soloing yet? Somewhere in between? It's very hard to advise people on what to do without knowing what they can do.

    All that said, my advice is nearly always to learn tunes, and play with other people. The times in my life when I've made the most progress as a musician have been when I've done that. Practicing and studying is important, but to learn jazz, you have to play jazz, which requires repertoire and ensemble playing.

    John
    I consider myself to be a late intermediate early advanced level. I play rock blues, and classical style guitar, so figuring and such don't give me any problems. I guess the thing im trying to connect is theoretical ideas and apply, for example using certain scale and lines over the different changes.
    Like you said, I will play more jazz music and apply the ideas that I know of and future ideas that I learn to the standards I love.
    Plus too im super excited, because I know what I want to go for when it comes to playing jazz and improvising, its just trying to get to the sound I want to achieve. Lol sorry if I sound all over the place.

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    The iconic figures of jazz, the canon of the artform, the language and attitude of soloing came to be from one place: the experience of playing with others in real time. The community of the big band still stands as unique in the musics of the world; the collective knowledge and experience of individuals shared with the individual through sharing. This is the important glue that holds together any other supplemental materials you can get through extrinsic sources (books, institutions, etc).
    There is an ephemeral process of self discovery that is the essence of the art of soloing. It's a real time process.
    Find others. Find a partner. Find a singer you can hold down the form for. Find a playing partner you can learn to listen to. Find a teacher and then ask him/her for the names of others who want to play.
    People can tell you all sorts of ways to solo, but you will never do it until you play with another, fail, assess your resources, play again, experience the discovery of what works and improve.

    Use the forum and see if there are others in your area who want to play.
    David
    I actually know of a weekly jazz jam thing that happens in my city, my own thing is that I don't want to go up there and just get stuck in trying to solo.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Writing a solo is great. Heck, write 3 solos over the same tune.

    OP, what are you doing now when you practice tunes?
    Right now my routine is that I will learn the chord changes and work on the melody. After or even during, I like to analyze the piece and try to figure out what scales can work with each chord. Then I try to find a backing track that's slow to medium and play along with it.

  33. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Where are you in your development? Do you play regularly with other people? Do you know many tunes? Are you pretty good, but somehow looking to go in another direction or break out of a rut, or are you a beginner who doesn't know how to get started with soloing yet? Somewhere in between? It's very hard to advise people on what to do without knowing what they can do.

    All that said, my advice is nearly always to learn tunes, and play with other people. The times in my life when I've made the most progress as a musician have been when I've done that. Practicing and studying is important, but to learn jazz, you have to play jazz, which requires repertoire and ensemble playing.

    John
    I would say im late intermediate,iediate to early advanced level. I have a band thats more in line with soul/r&b and we practice and play out often. I guess I would I am trying to take my playing to another level. I have always loved jazz, especially bebop, but kinda feared going all in because I didn't know much theory, but now I know a good amount of classical theory, which I know can apply to jazz, so im ready to go all in for it.

    Like you said, I just need to play more jazz music, and study up on a bit of the jazz theory ideas to get better. I don't know of any local jazz groups looking for a guitar player, but I do know of a weekly jazz jam session that I probably should get involved in.

  34. #33
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    What do you suppose the title of this tune is a reference to?


  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81 View Post
    Right now my routine is that I will learn the chord changes and work on the melody. After or even during, I like to analyze the piece and try to figure out what scales can work with each chord. Then I try to find a backing track that's slow to medium and play along with it.
    Have you spent time with arpeggios? In general, when you learn a tune, how many different places on the neck are you playing the chords? Are you adding extensions/alterations or playing "by the chart?"
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  36. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Have you spent time with arpeggios? In general, when you learn a tune, how many different places on the neck are you playing the chords? Are you adding extensions/alterations or playing "by the chart?"
    I've actually have been working on arpeggios but only in a isolated manner. What would be the best way to practice them in a way that is beneficial to the songs I'm learning?
    And I'm only learning one position for the chords, how many places would you recommend to learn the songs?
    And I'm playing strictly by the chart, but have been aware that on recording my favorite players will embellish melodies

  37. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81 View Post
    I would say im late intermediate,iediate to early advanced level. I have a band thats more in line with soul/r&b and we practice and play out often. I guess I would I am trying to take my playing to another level. I have always loved jazz, especially bebop, but kinda feared going all in because I didn't know much theory, but now I know a good amount of classical theory, which I know can apply to jazz, so im ready to go all in for it.

    Like you said, I just need to play more jazz music, and study up on a bit of the jazz theory ideas to get better. I don't know of any local jazz groups looking for a guitar player, but I do know of a weekly jazz jam session that I probably should get involved in.
    Going to a weekly jam is a great idea. As to theory -- there's really not that much to know, at least not to get started. If you already know a good amount of classical theory, you probably know enough (theory is theory; I vi ii V means the same thing in classical and jazz). Learn tunes, go play.

    John

  38. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81 View Post
    Right now my routine is that I will learn the chord changes and work on the melody. After or even during, I like to analyze the piece and try to figure out what scales can work with each chord. Then I try to find a backing track that's slow to medium and play along with it.
    In my view this is backwards. First, you learn the melody...and you do it by ear, by lifting it from a recording. Invest in Amazing Slow Downer and/or Transcribe software so you can slow down and loop stuff. Always learn melodies by ear. Then play them in different keys.

    Then try to figure out the chord changes the same way but, at your level (and often at mine!!), it's I think OK to refer to chord charts, but you want to get away from the sheet music ASAP.

    If you can do this - learn melodies by ear and then play them in different keys - and memorize chord changes so that you build an internal repertoire of tunes, and then pick up like one jazz lick a month by ear and really work it, then you will make real progress which is very roughly proportional to the number of tunes you learn in this manner. Disregard this advice at your own peril!

    This is all very hard at the beginning but then gets much easier over times. Once you get to around 30 tunes, things really start opening up.

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81 View Post
    I consider myself to be a late intermediate early advanced level. I play rock blues....
    I'm sorry, but not only are you a Jazz beginner, but time spent in Rock and Blues has made you entrenched in certain habits that will make earning Jazz improvisation much, much harder. Seriously, and I welcome anyone on the forum to disagree, but you are better off learning Jazz improv from scratch than from a blues/rock background.

    The bebop way is to learn lines against every chord type, in every position. Dozens of lines and devices of varying lengths (years of work). Then getting good at stitching them together so that your solos come out differently every time (many more years). Bebop is NOT working out which scale to play for each chord, that's a totally different sound that doesn't really sound like "Jazz" - try it and you'll soon see!

    These "lines" are the Jazz vocabulary, and there is no one source. Sure, there are books (Baker, Bergonzi, Coker etc) but to be a real Jazz player you'll want to learn it like all the greats did. Think again about what cosmic gumbo meant when he posted that link earlier on, "Nights at the turntable". It's not just a play on words "Knights of the round table", but an allusion to how people used to learn Jazz back in the day, by spending hours every week lifting lines off records. Sounds unnecessary and archaic right? Until you realise that all the players who learned that way are still considered the gold standard examples.

    So lift your own lines of choice, that way you will gather your own hand picked vocabulary, and that's the fun bit.

  40. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    I'm sorry, but not only are you a Jazz beginner, but time spent in Rock and Blues has made you entrenched in certain habits that will make earning Jazz improvisation much, much harder. Seriously, and I welcome anyone on the forum to disagree, but you are better off learning Jazz improv from scratch than from a blues/rock background.

    The bebop way is to learn lines against every chord type, in every position. Dozens of lines and devices of varying lengths (years of work). Then getting good at stitching them together so that your solos come out differently every time (many more years). Bebop is NOT working out which scale to play for each chord, that's a totally different sound that doesn't really sound like "Jazz" - try it and you'll soon see!

    These "lines" are the Jazz vocabulary, and there is no one source. Sure, there are books (Baker, Bergonzi, Coker etc) but to be a real Jazz player you'll want to learn it like all the greats did. Think again about what cosmic gumbo meant when he posted that link earlier on, "Nights at the turntable". It's not just a play on words "Knights of the round table", but an allusion to how people used to learn Jazz back in the day, by spending hours every week lifting lines off records. Sounds unnecessary and archaic right? Until you realise that all the players who learned that way are still considered the gold standard examples.

    So lift your own lines of choice, that way you will gather your own hand picked vocabulary, and that's the fun bit.
    I was speaking on the more technical level of playing the guitar, not necessarily jazz

  41. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot81 View Post
    Right now I'm going through the Mickey Baker jazz book and I finding the chord ideas very helpful. The thing I have been trying to do is getting better at soloing. What are somethings I should do to get better. I have Charlie Parker Omnibook and learned 2 heads and some of the solo in one. But how do I transfer that to my own playing? I was told to look and analyze my favorite lick and transpose to different keys.
    Another idea I thought of was writing solos based on chord progressions for my favorite standards. For example I love how High the Moon, so with that I was thinking of just writing lines for those changes, would that be a good approach?
    All in all im looking for any tips that would help me getting better at soloing over jazz changes!
    My bad, I had the vague impression you were talking about Jazz...

  42. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    The bebop way is to learn lines against every chord type, in every position. Dozens of lines and devices of varying lengths (years of work). Then getting good at stitching them together so that your solos come out differently every time (many more years). Bebop is NOT working out which scale to play for each chord, that's a totally different sound that doesn't really sound like "Jazz" - try it and you'll soon see!
    Surely there is a way which does not require all those years and that work? Most of those bebop cats were dead before they were forty; it seems they had hardly started. What is the post-bop way, or the fusion way?

  43. #42
    There must be a way of not putting in the work yet getting the results I desire!
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    Surely there is a way which does not require all those years and that work? Most of those bebop cats were dead before they were forty; it seems they had hardly started. What is the post-bop way, or the fusion way?
    Last time I checked there were no short cuts, sorry. Maybe start a thread on this and every other forum you can think of, and get back to us if someone else has found "the" short cut?

    As for the best post bop way and best fusion way? Well, check out the trajectory of the greats in both those styles.... yup, they started out shedding the shit out of bebop. But hey, you might get there without all the work, there's a coupla youtubes where guys show you some real cool fusion lines. Maybe just spend a coupla weeks learning to play them real fast, that might do it. I guess anything that makes your rock pals confused about what scale you're playing!

  45. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet View Post
    Last time I checked there were no short cuts, sorry. Maybe start a thread on this and every other forum you can think of, and get back to us if someone else has found "the" short cut?
    Bebop was a style of jazz developed in the late 1940s and 1950s. I don't know if all its masters learned the way you proscribe, but I suspect not. Most of these musicians did not have years in which to perfect their playing. Most were making it up as they went along.

    But, in any case, jazz has moved on since then. Most of us do not play bebop, so your rigid and demanding 'bepob way' is outdated, if nothing else. Jazz musicians I have known or read did not learn the way you proscribe: '...lines against every chord type, in every position...Then getting good at stitching them together so that your solos come out differently every time...'; all this taking many long years. I think it unhelpful, and possibly harmful, to insist that young musicians submit themselves to this long and tedious regime. There are many different ways to learn, and many resources that were not available to the long-suffering bebop musicians, especially now we have Internet.

    I read somewhere that 95% of young guitarists give up the instrument and, if true, it is no wonder: the field is packed with authoritarian teachers who demand students learn in the most boring manner possible and anal-retentive experts who are strung up on such details as the correct way to hold a plectrum. Learning to improvise could be a lot of fun, but unfortunately there are far too many senior guitarists who want students to suffer.

  46. #45
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
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    I still can't get over Sonny Rollins talking in an interview about how he, Jackie McLean, Miles, and all his peer NYC cats were bebop experts at 19, 20 years old, and these guys were 8-10 younger than Bird, Monk and Bud Powell, whom he referred to as the bebop professors....

    It's true, these guys had the vocab and chops at 20. Even Sonny refers to listening and copying Colman Hawkins records ad nauseam. But he had an environment where he could apply it with other musicians on a daily basis. Nowadays, academia is a 4th rate substitute for the original tradition.

  47. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick View Post
    Bebop was a style of jazz developed in the late 1940s and 1950s. I don't know if all its masters learned the way you proscribe, but I suspect not. Most of these musicians did not have years in which to perfect their playing. Most were making it up as they went along.

    But, in any case, jazz has moved on since then. Most of us do not play bebop, so your rigid and demanding 'bepob way' is outdated, if nothing else. Jazz musicians I have known or read did not learn the way you proscribe: '...lines against every chord type, in every position...Then getting good at stitching them together so that your solos come out differently every time...'; all this taking many long years. I think it unhelpful, and possibly harmful, to insist that young musicians submit themselves to this long and tedious regime. There are many different ways to learn, and many resources that were not available to the long-suffering bebop musicians, especially now we have Internet.

    I read somewhere that 95% of young guitarists give up the instrument and, if true, it is no wonder: the field is packed with authoritarian teachers who demand students learn in the most boring manner possible and anal-retentive experts who are strung up on such details as the correct way to hold a plectrum. Learning to improvise could be a lot of fun, but unfortunately there are far too many senior guitarists who want students to suffer.

    Oh, if it's just to have a bit of fun, then yeah, forget everything I just wrote. "Hit and miss" can be fun game, I suppose, kinda like "pin the tail on the donkey", eh?.

    The big fun starts, however, when you get "good" (i.e. - when good jazzplayers say you're good!). Your point that the early boppers got to be good while quite young is quite true, some of them indeed found a way to compress 12 years of work into 4 or 5. But I don't think many youngsters today will have the patience for 10 hours practice every single day, in an enormously competitive struggle to get outta the ghetto like they did (their words, not mine). I don't think they thought it was fun, it was work! No pain = no gain etc...

    If the modern guys you speak of haven't checked out Bop in depth, then it's arguable that they are even playing "Jazz". Bop is considered first base for every Jazz related style that has followed, it's the lingua franca. Period. Please name some modern players you admire, there is a very good chance they have some grounding in Bop. If not, they probably come from Rock or Classical backgrounds. I'd also love to hear about any great player you know of that experienced a fast learning curve that was always fun...

  48. #47
    Patriot81 -

    I was speaking on the more technical level of playing the guitar, not necessarily jazz
    That's not what your post #1 indicated at all.

    I'm looking for any tips that would help me getting better at soloing over jazz changes!
    Different styles are different styles. Technically-speaking what one can do on a guitar is the same, it's how the techniques are applied. R&B isn't jazz any more than, say, reggae or bluegrass is jazz. But the techniques are the same - scales, arpeggios, pentatonics, passing notes, etc etc. It's all in the delivery.

  49. #48
    I think we all want to 'keep getting better at soloing over jazz changes', it's a lifelong process that never stops. Even Pat Metheny said he is an eternal student of the guitar. You've already started that process by learning some Parker phrases and thinking about writing your own solos. Keep doing stuff like that. Personally I always found this process to be interesting enough, even 'fun', to keep doing it, despite any frustration along the way.

    In my case, I suppose I followed princeplanet's approach i.e. mainly copying stuff off jazz records until I could make up my own lines. I also learned enough theory and technical stuff (scales, arps etc) to support that process, however that was not my primary focus.

    But I was able to play some decent lines over a simple tune like Autumn Leaves after a year or so, I don't think it needs to take years to get to a point like that.

  50. #49
    Compare and contrast.




  51. #50
    Mimi Fox interview

    Mimi Fox Expands Jazz Guitar from the Inside Out - GuitarPlayer.com

    'As an educator, what is the most prevalent problem with jazz guitar students?
    For one thing, they don’t practice enough. They want it overnight, and they don’t work on essentials such as arpeggios. Also, I typically encounter two types of students: those that are devoted and put in the hours, but don’t have a good time feel or don’t swing or have some other serious issues musically; and those that have a lot of innate musical talent, but are lazy. The study of any art form requires tremendous discipline, and jazz is paradoxical in that all this discipline is so that when you get up on stage you can play freely.
    Another thing is that students don’t do enough transcribing. They think that somehow they’ll get their own sound by osmosis. And, although it is actually by osmosis—it’s an osmosis that has to happen from listening and working to acquire important harmonic and melodic data by really digging into the music. I can play dozens of solos note-for-note that are still in my head from the first transcriptions that I did, and that’s because I spent so much time listening and then writing those solos down and tapping out the rhythms. So, again, paradoxically you get your own sound by listening to other people. But you don’t get it by saying you are going to get it—you have to work at it.'

    I fall into a third category, talentless and lazy.

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