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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Hey on that scat-singing. You know, I can hear a scat of TWNBAY in my head all day long, hum it in the shower, but somehow the notes all flatten out and i can't actually define the pitches. If you recorded it, it would just sound like "dum dee dum-dum, doo-dum..." but no altered tones, etc. Do you actually scat sing those notes at the correct pitches? Can you (in theory) transcribe your scat singing and make a guitar solo out of it? I've tried, but other than a general rhythmic shape, I don't get very far.

    If you are so inclined, could you take to us/me about that? that whole "sing what you play" thing is right up there with "start with the melody" in the lore of improvising, and I think I need to pay more attention to that.
    I think I know what you mean. That, somehow, you can scat something and then not really be clear on what you just sang.

    I think this gets better with practice. You sing a short phrase. Just a few notes. Then repeat it a few times. Then try to find the notes on the guitar. If it's too difficult, slow down, cut it to even fewer notes and try again. It may help to sing the phrase an octave higher. For me, that makes it easier to recognize the note.

    Like everything else in jazz, no matter what you do, there's a player whose playing you love who did it a different way. In fact, if you like two players, they probably did it differently from each other.

    I like singable lines. I often like players who play a lot of notes, but I don't tend to go back and listen again. My favorites are Jim Hall and Wes. Not that they didn't sometimes play fast, but I don't think of them as speed demons like, say, Benson. (Is he still considered a speed demon? I heard him live years ago and I thought his chops were amazing).

    When I play what I'm singing internally, invariably, the result is better. At the moment I lose focus on the singing and think about a bit of theory ("Ok! Melodic minor a b3 up on the next m7b5"), that's exactly when the solo heads south.

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  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Hey on that scat-singing. You know, I can hear a scat of TWNBAY in my head all day long, hum it in the shower, but somehow the notes all flatten out and i can't actually define the pitches. If you recorded it, it would just sound like "dum dee dum-dum, doo-dum..." but no altered tones, etc.
    You know, I can totally relate here. I can sing/scat to a tune, no problem. That goes right out the window as soon as I pick up the guitar. And recording it would result in the same, just some sort of tuneless gush of notes. I can hear them in my head, but those pitches exist only there.

  4. #103

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    Yey, the best thread on Jazz Guitar Forum is back!

    I'm finally settled in my new home--so I can make a crappy recording until I get a portable recorder (I think I am gonna get a mid level model, maybe the h5?)

    Sing, sing, sing!

    Even if you can't identify the notes--that's okay. When you sing the tune, you are getting the sound of the tune more crystallized in your head. Even if your scat singing doesn't always outline the changes--if you can memorize the sounds associated with the tune--it will stick a heck of a lot better than just memorizing the theory behind the tune.

    Heck, try to transcribe your scat singing.

    I train my ear everyday, not to forget about theory all together--but to make the theory "come alive" in sound. That way, I can access the theory because I can hear what it sounds like.

    rp, I can't wait to hear your rendition. I promise I'll upload soon!

    EDIT: I am listening to RP's take on There Will Never Be Another You. Nice phrasing of the melody! I really enjoyed how you stayed with an idea and developed it. The hints of the blues were very tasteful as well. Only problem, at least on my computer (with quality headphones), your recording was really low. I have that problem too!

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Yey, the best thread on Jazz Guitar Forum is back!


    EDIT: I am listening to RP's take on There Will Never Be Another You. Nice phrasing of the melody! I really enjoyed how you stayed with an idea and developed it. The hints of the blues were very tasteful as well. Only problem, at least on my computer (with quality headphones), your recording was really low. I have that problem too!
    Thanks for the kind words. I need to work on my recording technique. Yamaha Pocketrak, sensitivity set for full band, not quiet me-n'-irealpro. I should have raised it, but I didn't have the time to get it adjusted. Also, the mics were facing the Little Jazz and away from the speakers playing the backing track. It was more balanced where I was sitting in the room.

  6. #105

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    I hope with a portable recorder the process is easier--too much setup makes me less likely to record--and less likely to capture the good moments in my playing (so I can balance out all my negative feelings towards my playing)

  7. #106

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    Guys
    I have a question that makes me feel very, very stupid.

    I've always played this song mainly by ear. I "heard" it as an tune with a 12 measure statement that resolves one way in mm. 13-16, and another way in 29-32. I have always thought mm. 1-12 and 17-28 were the same, with 13-16 and 29-32 different.

    This week looking at lead sheets trying to get clear on that last line (29-32) I realized that in fact, 1-11 and 17-27 are the same, BUT while 1-11 moves to a Cm7 in m. 12, 17-27 move to Am7 D7 in 28. That has really been jarring to me.

    So what are you guys playing at m. 28?
    And maybe learning tunes by ear is not what it's cracked up to be!
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  8. #107

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    I guess it depends on who or what you use for the music, because I think I saw 3 or maybe 4 different chord sheets for this song.

    For me, I just settled on D7 for m. 28 (I guess Am|D7 not totally different, I saw it that way also) as that was they way Frank Vignola writes it and I was watching his video as part of learning the song.

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
    I guess it depends on who or what you use for the music, because I think I saw 3 or maybe 4 different chord sheets for this song.

    For me, I just settled on D7 for m. 28 (I guess Am|D7 not totally different, I saw it that way also) as that was they way Frank Vignola writes it and I was watching his video as part of learning the song.
    I have played around with this song for literally 15 years and always played Cm7 or even C7 there, parallel to m. 12. I guess that explains awkward looks from bandmates....
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  10. #109

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    Yes, Am7 (or Am7b5), D7 is correct for bar 28. If you listen to the melody it’s very different here, it jumps up to a high D and C which I think of as a reminder that the chords are different here.

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Yes, Am7 (or Am7b5), D7 is correct for bar 28. If you listen to the melody it’s very different here, it jumps up to a high D and C which I think of as a reminder that the chords are different here.
    That jump to the high D is what really makes the song interesting. Gives it a real "hip" sound as opposed to the melody the first time thru.

  12. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Guys
    I have a question that makes me feel very, very stupid.

    I've always played this song mainly by ear. I "heard" it as an tune with a 12 measure statement that resolves one way in mm. 13-16, and another way in 29-32. I have always thought mm. 1-12 and 17-28 were the same, with 13-16 and 29-32 different.

    This week looking at lead sheets trying to get clear on that last line (29-32) I realized that in fact, 1-11 and 17-27 are the same, BUT while 1-11 moves to a Cm7 in m. 12, 17-27 move to Am7 D7 in 28. That has really been jarring to me.

    So what are you guys playing at m. 28?
    And maybe learning tunes by ear is not what it's cracked up to be!
    I haven't come across the original sheet music for TWNBAY but my guess for the written change would be a b3/#2 diminished (Gbo7/F#o7) moving to the I with the 3rd in the bass (Eb/G). F#o7 is a rootless D7b9 and that can be set up by an Am7b5. By the '60s, players starting substituting regular ii minor chords for half-diminished chords in minor ii-V cadences, at least where the melody allowed it and that move was reinforced by the advent of real books from the '70s onwards. Therefore, we ended up with A-7 - D7(b9).

    The reasons the change might sound strange to you? One complicating factor is that the expected resolution chord here would be Gm7 yet the second melody note of the following bar is an Eb. Most charts write Eb6 at that point although a Gm7#5 (Ebadd9/G) is another option that allows more predictable bass movement. It may also be that you're playing a non-diatonic E natural in the Am7 chord and find that jarring in which case you might try an Am11 without the 5th, e.g. 5x553x. If that still doesn't sound right to you, experiment with either an altered IV dominant (Ab7#11) or II dominant (F13). Just be prepared that if you're jamming with others, they'll most likely play Am7-D7!

  13. #112

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    Bahnzo definitely has a point about this.

    I've seen a number of variations for bar 28. Here we go:

    1) Am7/D7
    2) Gm7/C7
    3) C7 (vanilla book AND Chet Baker)
    4) Am7b5/D7
    5) Am7b5/D7b9
    6) F9/Gbo
    7) F13 (Kenny Burrell)

    These two need to be in the context of the last 6 bars:

    1) EbM7 - Am7b5/D7 - EbM7/Ab9#11 - Gm7/C7 - Fm7/Bb13b9 - Eb6
    2) EbM7 - Am11/Ab13#11 - Gm7/Ab9#11 - Db13#11/C7+ - F7 - Eb6

    Most of the backing tracks on YouTube have Am7b5/D7. The Jimmy Raney transcription has Am7/D7. The Joe Pass one barely gives that bar any importance at all.

    I haven't tried all of them but personally I'd use whichever one sounded best... I think :-)

  14. #113

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    Right, now I've tried them all! Basically I think there's not much to choose between Gm7/C7 and Am7/D7. Overall I think I prefer Am7b5 because of the Eb.

    C7 by itself is okay.

    F7/Gbo is nice but a bit fancy.

    Am11/Ab7b5 is unnecessary unless you put in all the other tritones too.


    BUT far more important than bar 28 is whether you play EbM7 or Gm7 in bar 29. Most of those variations only sound right if they resolve to Gm7. Going back to EbM7 can sound lame.

    So I'd probably play Am7b5/D7 - Gm7/D7 - Gm7/C7 - Fm7/Bb7 - Eb. Or some other variation in the last 4.

    That's my pronouncement!

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Right, now I've tried them all! Basically I think there's not much to choose between Gm7/C7 and Am7/D7. Overall I think I prefer Am7b5 because of the Eb.

    C7 by itself is okay.

    F7/Gbo is nice but a bit fancy.

    Am11/Ab7b5 is unnecessary unless you put in all the other tritones too.


    BUT far more important than bar 28 is whether you play EbM7 or Gm7 in bar 29. Most of those variations only sound right if they resolve to Gm7. Going back to EbM7 can sound lame.

    So I'd probably play Am7b5/D7 - Gm7/D7 - Gm7/C7 - Fm7/Bb7 - Eb. Or some other variation in the last 4.

    That's my pronouncement!
    Totally agree on m.29. Playing this tune forever by ear I always played Gm7 there. Shocked to look at a lead sheet and see the EbM7.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Ok. Here's my take an Another You. I made a point of trying to keep hinting at the melody through most of it.
    That's really wonderful. I could pick up the melody throughout, but the solo really pops with ideas and variations. I enjoyed listening to it.

    I love how this thread has drawn a range of players all the way from pro level to very basic, struggling amateur players. Speaking as one of the latter, I am grateful for the accomplished players investing time and effort into pointing the way on this tune.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  17. #116

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    Unless there's a change, I think I'm having to give up on this one. This is my last clip. I play the head, and 3 choruses, but in the end, I don't think i really broke out of cliches and licks to any kind of real creativity. This should be no surprise, though. Improvisation is very hard. It's hard to compose a decent melody in the serenity of the studio with time to try ideas, much less improvise on the fly. These choruses were pretty much worked out ahead of time. I prepared several alternative lines and ideas to choose from at different points, but the ideas were all thought through ahead of time.

    I'm not trying to duck comment and constructive criticism, but honestly, I am quite discouraged that I just can't seem to get anywhere with this stuff.

    Thanks all for your incredible contributions to the thread.

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  18. #117

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    Lawson-Stone,

    When I looked up the tune in the Real Book I thought, "C'mon--you ridiculous theory geeks--why did you write those changes that way?"

    Franky V is well respected round these parts, he simplifies the tune here:



    The secondary dominant motion is nice--but if it complicates your improvised line, shoot for the simplest answer. Many of us (myself included) get so enamored by the theory--figuring out the hippest subs (not an Italian BMT, for sure) and all--that we forget about the most important part--melodic development. If you can sound more melodic on the bare bones changes, there's no shame in that. I'd rather play bare bone changes and tell a story with them than get caught up in sub'ing in Coltrane Changes and sounding like a hot mess and nothing less.

    I think Frank Vignola plays those changes as constant structure descending dominants--if we're talking about the same part of the tune (if not, I apologize). The descending dominants are easier to play when comping, and they are actually easier to solo over.

    I will try and put something up tomorrow on this tune. I've been playing it in the jam that I frequent every week--because the trumpet player loves to call it--and the more I play it, the more I like it. After Saturday, I won't be able to play it on guitar (more work to be done on my archie--it never ends) but I could post more ideas on piano if you all don't mind.

    Lawson-stone, did you start your solo by quoting "Them There Eyes"? If so, sly quote my friend!

  19. #118

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    Your idea for this was well done IMO, and even if you don't like what you've ended with, it's certainly something that more than a few of us have enjoyed and learned from, so I'd say that's a success. Besides you mentioned you have some time off coming up. That might be a good thing as time away from the instrument is often times good to help refresh the brain.

    I had a real problem with feeling like I was playing nothing but cliches and was frustrated as well. And in the end, I really don't think I achieved the goal of strictly using the melody for improvisation. I eventually moved on to trying to learn the chord tones and building off of that, which is what you hear in the last/final version I posted. It too was mostly composed with phrases I constructed and had in my head at the time.

  20. #119

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    If you even think the term "secondary dominant" while playing this tune, you are naked by the beehive, covered in honey.
    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

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Lawson-Stone,



    Lawson-stone, did you start your solo by quoting "Them There Eyes"? If so, sly quote my friend!
    Well and truly busted. I love that figure. There is also a brief allusion to the tune “More” in there.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  22. #121

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    Keep at it, Lawson-Stone!

    The fact that I could pick out a song quote means that you are not just playing random chord-tones and flapping about aimlessly.

    Now, I have to be strategic about when I can record myself--being that I got the li'un to watch when shes awaken, and I don't wanna scare her awake when she's a sleepin'. Any ideas, Mr. Jeffy B?

    I might try plugging into my recorder directly and using an amp modeler that came with the recorder. Methinks it will sound like crap, but it's worth a college try, right?

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Unless there's a change, I think I'm having to give up on this one. This is my last clip. I play the head, and 3 choruses, but in the end, I don't think i really broke out of cliches and licks to any kind of real creativity. This should be no surprise, though. Improvisation is very hard. It's hard to compose a decent melody in the serenity of the studio with time to try ideas, much less improvise on the fly. These choruses were pretty much worked out ahead of time. I prepared several alternative lines and ideas to choose from at different points, but the ideas were all thought through ahead of time.

    I'm not trying to duck comment and constructive criticism, but honestly, I am quite discouraged that I just can't seem to get anywhere with this stuff.

    Thanks all for your incredible contributions to the thread.
    Lawson,

    By way of encouragement, I'd offer the following.

    One of the most meaningful guitar lessons I ever got was this. My teacher soloed on two bars of Bbmaj7 at the beginning of a tune. He played a D note and then rested. It sounded great. Better than when I played a D note against Bbmaj7. The difference was the placement of the note in time.

    You've got the chords, you know the tune, and you're note choices are in the ballpark.

    What's missing is that full-blown, Frank Sinatra, finger-snapping, head-bobbing swing attitude.

    So, I'd suggest is scat singing lines that sound like an exaggeration of Frank Sinatra scat singing.

    Not too many notes. Nothing fancy. The point is to get the notes to really swing. Maybe scat sing in time to a ride beat. Da, duh-ta Da, duh-ta Da etc. Nail that singing and then put it on the guitar.

    What I think you want to avoid is thinking, at all, about guitar technique or theory. Just think about trying to scat sing a few notes that swing. And, when you've got that, put a few of them on the guitar with the groove.

    In fact, it would make sense to start by singing the melody with an exaggerated swing feel. "There WILL be .. oooother, nites, like thisssss, andI MIGHT be here, you know, with someone newwwww ... " etc. When you can feel that, put it on the guitar. Go from scatting to the guitar without any thought about theory or technique whatsoever. In jazz, time is almost everything.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 05-31-2019 at 12:33 AM.

  24. #123

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    time isn't almost anything--it is everything. You can play all the right notes, but if they don't sit right in the time--they don't mean salt.

    You can play all the wrong notes, but know exactly where they fit in the pulse--and all of a sudden, you're hip as shite.

    Right now, I am trying to wring out the last bit of jankiness from my 8th note lines--and it's soo hard!

    I have to get better at my colorful colloquialisms--that honey one was cake...er... I think it's time to pull out the tomes of Southern Gothic--oh wait, the libraries are dying... shame, shame.

    See, I could be posting a sample of my playing right now--but this time feel thing is getting my goat...er... oh, forget it.

    I'll try to post tomorrow, at least acoustic like Jeffy B did (though, mine won't be as good)

    In the meanwhile, check out what I posted on the Ear Training Journal--it's really funny and it's quite interesting--I got on my favorite Youtube Show "You'll Hear It"

  25. #124

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    Just so I don't get the side eye from anyone--my daughtie gives me the side eye and she ain't even 1...

    Anyway, here's one take of There Will Never Be Another You, but I only soloed (another, awesome guitarist played the melody in)



    I am working on extracting the solo that I took this week--working in Audacity is harder than it looks

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
    Your idea for this was well done IMO, and even if you don't like what you've ended with, it's certainly something that more than a few of us have enjoyed and learned from, so I'd say that's a success. Besides you mentioned you have some time off coming up. That might be a good thing as time away from the instrument is often times good to help refresh the brain.

    I had a real problem with feeling like I was playing nothing but cliches and was frustrated as well. And in the end, I really don't think I achieved the goal of strictly using the melody for improvisation. I eventually moved on to trying to learn the chord tones and building off of that, which is what you hear in the last/final version I posted. It too was mostly composed with phrases I constructed and had in my head at the time.
    Oh I'm really thrilled with the thread as a whole. This probably one of the most productive and helpful threads I've ever been part of on the forum. Every post was solid and thoughtful, we had a wide range of expertise and experience, and lots of good ideas. I'm just a little disappointed in my own lack of progress.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  27. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Lawson,

    By way of encouragement, I'd offer the following.

    One of the most meaningful guitar lessons I ever got was this. My teacher soloed on two bars of Bbmaj7 at the beginning of a tune. He played a D note and then rested. It sounded great. Better than when I played a D note against Bbmaj7. The difference was the placement of the note in time.

    You've got the chords, you know the tune, and you're note choices are in the ballpark.

    What's missing is that full-blown, Frank Sinatra, finger-snapping, head-bobbing swing attitude.

    So, I'd suggest is scat singing lines that sound like an exaggeration of Frank Sinatra scat singing.

    Not too many notes. Nothing fancy. The point is to get the notes to really swing. Maybe scat sing in time to a ride beat. Da, duh-ta Da, duh-ta Da etc. Nail that singing and then put it on the guitar.

    What I think you want to avoid is thinking, at all, about guitar technique or theory. Just think about trying to scat sing a few notes that swing. And, when you've got that, put a few of them on the guitar with the groove.

    In fact, it would make sense to start by singing the melody with an exaggerated swing feel. "There WILL be .. oooother, nites, like thisssss, andI MIGHT be here, you know, with someone newwwww ... " etc. When you can feel that, put it on the guitar. Go from scatting to the guitar without any thought about theory or technique whatsoever. In jazz, time is almost everything.
    That sounds like a useful idea. I will give it a try. Maybe try playing some of my lines fro these three choruses to that feel once I can sing it.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    time isn't almost anything--it is everything. You can play all the right notes, but if they don't sit right in the time--they don't mean salt.

    You can play all the wrong notes, but know exactly where they fit in the pulse--and all of a sudden, you're hip as shite.

    Right now, I am trying to wring out the last bit of jankiness from my 8th note lines--and it's soo hard!

    I have to get better at my colorful colloquialisms--that honey one was cake...er... I think it's time to pull out the tomes of Southern Gothic--oh wait, the libraries are dying... shame, shame.

    See, I could be posting a sample of my playing right now--but this time feel thing is getting my goat...er... oh, forget it.

    I'll try to post tomorrow, at least acoustic like Jeffy B did (though, mine won't be as good)

    In the meanwhile, check out what I posted on the Ear Training Journal--it's really funny and it's quite interesting--I got on my favorite Youtube Show "You'll Hear It"
    You had me at "southern gothic."

    Now I'll spend the day reading favorite passage from Flannery O'Connor or Walker Percy and trying to figure out how it's jazz...
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    If you even think the term "secondary dominant" while playing this tune, you are naked by the beehive, covered in honey.
    Holy Metaphor BopMan!

    I swear to God, hand on the Charlie Parker Omnibook, I will never think "secondary dominant" while playing this tune... oh damn I just did it... RUNNING FROM BEES BUT SLIPPING ON THE HONEY...
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  30. #129

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    maybe just trust your inner ear... no conceptions, no ideas, no tools... just voice wherever it leads.

  31. #130

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    I already replied, but...

    I am primarily a chord melody guy as well, and here's what I did to help my single note melody playing.

    I make a playlist of about 20-30 takes of the tune by my favorite artists on spotify and listen to it every day for a month (not the whole thing every day obviously).

    I play the melody without any reference to shapes scales etc...like you would do if you're transcribing or playing Happy Birthday....just sort of pecking around for the notes. This takes multiple tries.

    I keep playing it until little things come into my ear, usually from all the listening. I start adding little things I hear by pecking around (if I miss I try the next time around.)

    If I invent anything original it is subconscious. It's a long process with lots of boredom while you just play through the melody over and over and wait to see what comes.

    I can't solo like this yet, I still use shapes and theory etc
    White belt
    My Youtube

  32. #131

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    Keep going! There's a lot that's really good about this. I can't think of better advice for you than keep doing it.

  33. #132

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    Hey Lawson-stone

    A good jazz man is hard to find

  34. #133

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    So here's a clip on this. I realized right at the start that I had the tempo too slow. I stumbled a little right out of the gate. My goals here were (a) to play the melody single-note, as simply as I could, with some ornamentation or fills, then (b) to use melodic fragments combined with chord tones to create something.

    The result I think would be much more interesting at a faster clip. I set it slow so as not to make mistakes, but alas. Some really good clams in here, but I think you'll get the concept, especially in the second chorus.

    Just re-did the wiring harness in my L5ces and really liking the results!
    Yeah I think you are onto something with this.

  35. #134

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Keep going! There's a lot that's really good about this. I can't think of better advice for you than keep doing it.
    Hey thank you for that encouragement. Part of me just thinks this sucks so bad I might do the world a favor by just quitting. But then I also know this has given me TONS (TONNES?) more respect for even fairly good improvisers. It's way, way, harder than we imagine to play spontaneously, even with a giant jazz vocabulary. I probably could crank out 75 or 100 okay jazz phrases, but using them coherently on the fly on a tune while listening to band-mates and meshing with them... that requires some serious skill and talent. So that alone has made it a good journey.

    And I won't quit simply because I'd rather play bad jazz than good pop.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  36. #135

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    Lawson, there is only one way to get better, and that is never give up, ever! I think your solos sound quite good, the main thing that would take them to the next level is to tighten up the time and get those phrases into a good groove. I know from experience that doing that is really hard. But it is possible if you keep thinking about time and trying to feel it ‘in your guts’ when you play.

    For jazz I really think the note choices are far less important than good time and groove.

    Also I think there is nothing wrong with using ‘pre-prepared’ phrases. A lot of my playing probably consists of that really, it’s just that there is just enough fresh stuff or connecting ideas going on so that overall it comes out sounding more spontaneous.

    I dug your Jimmy Raney quote by the way, it’s from one of the Aebersold tracks isn’t it?

  37. #136

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    Yeah most people just regurgitate licks TBH... It's hard to really improvise.

  38. #137

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    And another thing - being so self-critical is a good sign. You have no idea how much I dislike my own recordings at first! After a while I think they’re maybe not too bad, but I still find loads of things I felt I could have done better.

    I suspect a lot of the great players have this attitude and it drives them to improve.

  39. #138

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    it's interesting.. all my life I struggled to apply anything I learn suring practice in real improviztion -- it is always a problem for me... once I begin to play music I forget everything.. and when I try to insert a lick or phrase it ruins all

    I always thought of it as of a lack of discipline in study...

  40. #139

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    Lawson...

    Have you ever tried the exact opposite of what you're going for? Literally writing a new melody to the tune, and improvising off of that?

    Might be worth a shot. It's yet another trick to spark creativity.
    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

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    it's interesting.. all my life I struggled to apply anything I learn suring practice in real improviztion -- it is always a problem for me... once I begin to play music I forget everything.. and when I try to insert a lick or phrase it ruins all

    I always thought of it as of a lack of discipline in study...
    No I think that's how everyone feels.

    Practice doesn't manifest itself in improvise performance for a few months.

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    Lawson, there is only one way to get better, and that is never give up, ever! I think your solos sound quite good, the main thing that would take them to the next level is to tighten up the time and get those phrases into a good groove. I know from experience that doing that is really hard. But it is possible if you keep thinking about time and trying to feel it ‘in your guts’ when you play.

    For jazz I really think the note choices are far less important than good time and groove.

    Also I think there is nothing wrong with using ‘pre-prepared’ phrases. A lot of my playing probably consists of that really, it’s just that there is just enough fresh stuff or connecting ideas going on so that overall it comes out sounding more spontaneous.

    I dug your Jimmy Raney quote by the way, it’s from one of the Aebersold tracks isn’t it?
    Thanks for the encouragement and advice.

    And yes, the first phrase of the 3rd chorus is the opening phase in the Raney/Aebersold "Bout You and Me." I had to shift the placement a bit to make it fit. I really want to start incorporating those Raney phrases more into my playing, but his whole groove and concept is so advanced it's hard to abstract licks out of it. I'm hoping that playing those solos a lot will wear the ideas into my head somehow.

    I have no problem with the idea of using phrases and licks we learned in advance--that's the only kind I have! It's still quite a job though to be able to use them fluidly, like learning a new word or phrase in another language.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  43. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Lawson...

    Have you ever tried the exact opposite of what you're going for? Literally writing a new melody to the tune, and improvising off of that?

    Might be worth a shot. It's yet another trick to spark creativity.
    Both yes and no I guess. All three of those choruses were literally "composed" but I did so by starting with phrases from the melody, then selecting phrases and transitions based on the changes. They're pretty fixed in my mind at the moment.

    But the idea of writing a real "contrafact" no, I haven't tried that. Might be a fun idea.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  44. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post

    I have no problem with the idea of using phrases and licks we learned in advance--that's the only kind I have!
    Ah! That's definitely one problem right there.

    Some people are chord people, others are solo/improviser people. You're a chord person judging by your vids; it comes much easier to you than notes. Consequently you lack a head start, and consequently want to copy so you've got something to play.

    You might think that would give you confidence but I doubt it (you don't have to accept this!). If you do that then really you're simply playing by rote. There's no real creativity involved, it's just imitation. Therefore in all likelihood your solos are going to sound rehearsed and rather mechanical. Which you probably feel, therefore no real confidence in your own abilities.

    You don't need prearranged licks, you need an overview of the notes/sounds/scales/arpeggios you need at a given point. Then, assuming you know where to find them on the neck, you can improvise on the fly and hence more creatively. It may not be brilliant etc but at least it's yours! And it'll be different every time.

    Finding them on the neck comes the more you do it. It may be harder at first but it comes. Hope this is helpful.

    It also involves the ability to analyse/scan a piece to find the right note choices you need. In advance, that is, and then remembered. That also comes the more you do it. But it does require taking a leap into the unknown somewhat. But it comes.

    Another advantage of this is that, if you do it a lot and then get lost somewhere in the tune, very often the fingers will simply find their own way, simply through having done it before. The effects are cumulative.

    It would be wonderful if we were all note and chord players but I guess everyone has their strong and weak points. With me it's the chord melody stuff, I'm not so hot at it :-)

  45. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Ah! That's definitely one problem right there.

    Some people are chord people, others are solo/improviser people. You're a chord person judging by your vids; it comes much easier to you than notes. Consequently you lack a head start, and consequently want to copy so you've got something to play.

    You might think that would give you confidence but I doubt it (you don't have to accept this!). If you do that then really you're simply playing by rote. There's no real creativity involved, it's just imitation. Therefore in all likelihood your solos are going to sound rehearsed and rather mechanical. Which you probably feel, therefore no real confidence in your own abilities.

    You don't need prearranged licks, you need an overview of the notes/sounds/scales/arpeggios you need at a given point. Then, assuming you know where to find them on the neck, you can improvise on the fly and hence more creatively. It may not be brilliant etc but at least it's yours! And it'll be different every time.

    Finding them on the neck comes the more you do it. It may be harder at first but it comes. Hope this is helpful.

    It also involves the ability to analyse/scan a piece to find the right note choices you need. In advance, that is, and then remembered. That also comes the more you do it. But it does require taking a leap into the unknown somewhat. But it comes.

    Another advantage of this is that, if you do it a lot and then get lost somewhere in the tune, very often the fingers will simply find their own way, simply through having done it before. The effects are cumulative.

    It would be wonderful if we were all note and chord players but I guess everyone has their strong and weak points. With me it's the chord melody stuff, I'm not so hot at it :-)
    You're right I'm definitely more of a chord player. These solos are a kind of attempt to learn my arpeggios and such, but to learn them in a context. So yes, they're mechanical, but as I result I have a much better sense of where the notes lay than I did before. I tried forever to learn arpeggios just as fingering patterns, out of context, and it was frustrating and generally fruitless unless I got asked to rip a bunch of arpeggios.

    So this was more of an exercise in working with the melody for some fragments of ideas, and using chord-tones/arpeggios for my phrases, linked by however I could do so, usually chromatically. Most of my "licks" were learned to get an arpeggio under my fingers.

    I do hope I learn to improvise melodically beyond just being forced and mechanical. The chords felt that way too, many years ago. The first time I played a 13th chord I grimaced and asked "WTH was that?" Then 13#11 and all those... just felt and sounded awful. Now they seem to flow. I am hoping the melodic side of things will happen that way too.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  46. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    You're right I'm definitely more of a chord player. These solos are a kind of attempt to learn my arpeggios and such, but to learn them in a context. So yes, they're mechanical, but as I result I have a much better sense of where the notes lay than I did before. I tried forever to learn arpeggios just as fingering patterns, out of context, and it was frustrating and generally fruitless unless I got asked to rip a bunch of arpeggios.

    So this was more of an exercise in working with the melody for some fragments of ideas, and using chord-tones/arpeggios for my phrases, linked by however I could do so, usually chromatically. Most of my "licks" were learned to get an arpeggio under my fingers.

    I do hope I learn to improvise melodically beyond just being forced and mechanical. The chords felt that way too, many years ago. The first time I played a 13th chord I grimaced and asked "WTH was that?" Then 13#11 and all those... just felt and sounded awful. Now they seem to flow. I am hoping the melodic side of things will happen that way too.
    I would say a great starting point for that is to learn lots of melodies, preferably by ear, but if you practice them in different keys that should help too.

  47. #146

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Hey on that scat-singing. You know, I can hear a scat of TWNBAY in my head all day long, hum it in the shower, but somehow the notes all flatten out and i can't actually define the pitches. If you recorded it, it would just sound like "dum dee dum-dum, doo-dum..." but no altered tones, etc. Do you actually scat sing those notes at the correct pitches? Can you (in theory) transcribe your scat singing and make a guitar solo out of it? I've tried, but other than a general rhythmic shape, I don't get very far.
    I wish I’d noticed this thread earlier, but I’m on board now. It’s a great topic.

    I think my introduction to improvising was similar to the singing in the shower method you’re discussing. Or I might have been taking a hike or driving with a melody stuck in my head and tried to make variations to it on each cycle, perhaps while whistling or humming (best reserved for solitary hikes!).

    I’ve often experienced what you mention: having the illusion of hearing the notes, yet when trying to hum them the notes seem to evaporate. I think that means what you really have is a good rhythm. But there are always notes that will work with that rhythm, so stick with it and try to find them. Sometimes just singing a chromatic line to that rhythm ending on a chord or melody note will do the job. Keep at it.

    Tying improvisation to the melody is what comes most naturally to me. At the most basic level it can be adding ornamentation to the melody. But you can improvise a harmony part to the original melody or mess around with phrasing.

    Try taking a short phrase from the original melody and repeat that rhythm as a motif, changing the notes as the chords change. For example, start an improvisation of Another You by playing the first measure or two of the melody, then keep that motif going for a few more bars. Then grab another motif from the melody and do it again. Using fragments of the original melody in your solo helps keep the listener connected, and I think creates a sense that you’ve got something to say and aren’t just noodling over the changes. If my description doesn’t make sense, I may try to record a short example.

  48. #147

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    I dunno if it's really an either or dichotomy with playing music: either chords or solos--they are tied together.

    That's why I'm frustrated with my comping as well, Lawson-Stone, it doesn't match the fluidity (well...it could always be better--8th NOTE, 8th NOTE, 8th NOTE Feel) of my improvised lines.

    You know what no one's tried since the dawn of this music, simultaneous improvisation. I think I'll reach out to the guys over at You'll Hear It again about the idea of people taking solos that weave in between each other like Louis Armstrong used to do with his bands.

    Or maybe it's more of a call and response type thing. It all has to come back to sound. Lawson-stone, if you can get friendly with a great player in your area and play (even informal duets) with that person--THAT will help your improvisational skills way more than digging deep into the theory books.

    I continue to grow as a player because I try to surround myself with phenomenal players--whether at jam sessions, making friends, or paying them for lessons (I spend a lot of my money on lessons with people who I admire--if I spent that money on buying a guitar, I'd probably have a nice Bennedetto by now--but I think the lessons served me, at least, better)

  49. #148

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I dunno if it's really an either or dichotomy with playing music: either chords or solos--they are tied together.

    That's why I'm frustrated with my comping as well, Lawson-Stone, it doesn't match the fluidity (well...it could always be better--8th NOTE, 8th NOTE, 8th NOTE Feel) of my improvised lines.

    You know what no one's tried since the dawn of this music, simultaneous improvisation. I think I'll reach out to the guys over at You'll Hear It again about the idea of people taking solos that weave in between each other like Louis Armstrong used to do with his bands.
    Mulligan and Baker?

    This is a texture I've used a lot and I've other players use it too....

  50. #149

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    YES!

    And don't forget the OP's favorite guitarist--Jimmy Raney.

    Raney did it with Bob Brookmyer

    He's the one that inspired me to that type of thing at jam sessions--yeah I know, it's hard to do at jams, but if you say "for my solo, let's do a duet--me and you, trombony!" No one is gonna argue. After all, it's my solo space, if I wanna use it as an opportunity to do that sorta stuff--it's my funereal. Sometimes it works gloriously, other times it's a train wreck. But I always walk away learning something new.

    If another horn show's up at tonight's session (cross my fingers), I'll do it and (if everyone is okay with it) record it. We'll see. Anyway, it's ALWAYS fun to do this type of improvisation. Nothing gets you out of your own habits like trying to solo WITH someone else.

  51. #150

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post

    I do hope I learn to improvise melodically beyond just being forced and mechanical.
    Sure. The only way is to do it and keep doing it, taking that leap into the unknown.

    It's only really scary the first few times :-)

    The main secret's in the preparation