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  1. #1

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    one of Grahambop’s post gave me an idea.

    240 bpm+

    At least 1 chorus

    no backing, no click (discourages leaning on the backing for a sense of time.)

    single notes only

    want to hear the time and changes

    don’t post name of tune, have to be able to hear it

    don’t play the melody smartarse :-)

    as few running eighth note lines as possible.


    Faster = better
    Fewer notes = betterer
    More choruses = why not?
    More melody = super better
    Bebop licks = plus bad

    tempo sustained throughout recording without dropping the beat or inverting it

    can any of us do it?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    lol that’s basically how I play on fast tunes anyway (240 is probably about my limit for 8th notes).

  4. #3

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    well i like this exercise because mastery of up tempo is definitly not how fast you play , but, how much control of the groove and time you have. how much understanding of holding your part and giving up some one.

    have you ever seen those guys who have gobs of technique on medium tempos, huge fast runs , blistering with technique, but cant hold an up tempo bop ? why is that? they have the technique to do fast lines. its because its a groove . you have to treat it like a groove.

    if you understand the groove and have mastered time, you can chose to play as few notes posible and lay it at the strategic pivot points of the song structure and right place in the groove for everyone on the bandstand and audience to know where you are at. and you can chose to run some fast lines at the right moment , making sure to come back right at the right hit to alert everyone you know where you are at in the groove and time

  5. #4

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  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I hear it right away. Can I name the tune?

    No I cannot. Got it.

    DB

  7. #6

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    How about playing the melody of Cherokee straight? Would that count?

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog
    I hear it right away. Can I name the tune?

    No I cannot. Got it.

    DB
    Then that’s got to be a fail because I’m sure you’d know it.

    i didn’t say I could actually do this - I just feel like, I should.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onlyserious
    How about playing the melody of Cherokee straight? Would that count?
    Nope

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    As few notes as possible HA HA HA HA HA HA

    Oh, sorry.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    As few notes as possible HA HA HA HA HA HA

    Oh, sorry. All of me, take
    Yeah, I was wondering about that too. The fewer notes, the harder to guess what tune is probably.

    DB

  12. #11

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    should have seen the first take.

    anyway, obviously easier to recognise after more than one chorus.

  13. #12

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    I'm not 100% sure it was All Of Me so I deleted that bit. But the name's not the main point, probably.

  14. #13

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    was obvious after bar 4. i play it in F.















    just friends

  15. #14

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    I'll be getting in on this, for sure. Very cool idea.

  16. #15

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    Many happy repeats, I mean returns


  17. #16

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    Keeping 120 in your head is easy, of course, and then play your tune twice as fast. Maybe not a problem. The problem is the 'few notes as possible' bit. Leaving stuff out but maintaining the tune/solo is difficult.

    But why we should want to torture ourselves like this is strange... maybe I'm missing something. Must be Spring!

  18. #17

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    Well people always moan about fast tempos requiring technique but no one actually wants to listen to an endless chain of 8ths accented on the beat. (Well apart from jazz guitarists maybe.) So that’s not the secret of making music with these tempos.

    As a notey player this intrigues me, because I want options other than to spaff bebop on everything.

    So. In order to play fast tempos musically you need to be able to play simple - or at least simpler - on them.

    However OTOH if you just play even quarter notes you might as well be playing half time. So what’s the thing that gives the sense of the tempo? You have to find it and dig into it. As bons said its about the groove and rhythmic accuracy.

    Not just in the syncopations but in the articulations and accents too.

    Jim Hall was great at doing this

    Its easy to play ‘simple’ if you are leaning on someone else’s time feel. Or just playing with no rhythmic energy, absolutely inert on the beat. And then blame the rhythm section when it slows down. That last bit is very important :-)

  19. #18

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    A little slower than my challenge, but one of my favourite examples of how to burn without playing lots of notes:


  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Well people always moan about fast tempos requiring technique but no one actually wants to listen to an endless chain of 8ths accented on the beat. (Well apart from jazz guitarists maybe.) So that’s not the secret of making music with these tempos.

    So. In order to play fast tempos musically you need to be able to play simple - or at least simpler - on them.
    I know.

    However OTOH if you just play quarter notes you might as well be playing half time.
    Boring.

    So what’s the thing that gives the sense of the tempo? You have to find it and dig into it. As bons said its about the groove and rhythmic accuracy.
    Swing, absolutely.

    Its easy to play ‘simple’ if you are leaning on someone else’s time feel or a backing track. Or just playing with no rhythmic energy, absolutely inert on the beat.
    Yes, but what's wrong with some backing? Nothing wrong with backing. 99% of tunes have backing of some kind. Why not? Some bad players may 'lean' but that's their lookout.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I know.



    Boring.



    Swing, absolutely.



    Yes, but what's wrong with some backing? Nothing wrong with backing. 99% of tunes have backing of some kind. Why not? Some bad players may 'lean' but that's their lookout.
    Because there’s no hiding and you have to nail it. You also don’t have any help re slowing down or speeding up. So it’s obvious right away if you have the tempo internalised.

    plus - ever play a duo gig?

  22. #21

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    My ideas of the key to playing fewer notes.

    1. Good melody.

    2. Interesting syncopation.

    3. Leave space for the rhythm section to sound good.

    4. Build excitement --this is the trick,since you're not going to be doing it with a note flurry. It can be done with interesting harmony, lines soaring up and down over multiple octaves. Starting really quiet and sparse so that it sounds exciting when you play more, even if it isn't that much. I think it helps enormously to have some variation in the way the notes speak. Squeeze, shake, slide, hammer, pull, palm mute, apply processing with an expression or volume pedal and anything else you can apply musically.

    I posted my take on Cherokee on the other thread, using a bunch of this stuff.

  23. #22

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    Yes, I've played duo gigs. In fact, quite a lot.

    You might think I was just piddling about with that Happy Birthday thing but I wasn't really. I wrote it out and took out the notes I thought were spurious and kept the ones I thought conveyed the tune. And it was 240.

    But how few notes is 'few'? And with what sort of tune? Bop would be pretty hard, I should think. ATTYA would be quite easy, probably. But...

    In any case, we should always internalise the tempo. It's what it's about.

    (Mind you, 5/4 drives me potty)

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    My ideas of the key to playing fewer notes.

    1. Good melody.

    2. Interesting syncopation.

    3. Leave space for the rhythm section to sound good.

    4. Build excitement --this is the trick,since you're not going to be doing it with a note flurry. It can be done with interesting harmony, lines soaring up and down over multiple octaves. Starting really quiet and sparse so that it sounds exciting when you play more, even if it isn't that much. I think it helps enormously to have some variation in the way the notes speak. Squeeze, shake, slide, hammer, pull, palm mute, apply processing with an expression or volume pedal and anything else you can apply musically.

    I posted my take on Cherokee on the other thread, using a bunch of this stuff.
    Can you do it without backing?

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    A little slower than my challenge, but one of my favourite examples of how to burn without playing lots of notes:

    Yea, it's all good, but the concept of playing fewer notes on fast tempos include playing off of each other, the rhythm section basically. People's ears get tired of endless 8th notes precisely because the sonic field becomes too dense.

    Now when you play solo, nothing to play off of, busy lines actually do sound good, if you must avoid the chords or chord solos of course (no idea why you would though). OTOH, keeping it sparse with no chords just the lines sound unnatural and boring. So the challenge is how more uninspired you can get. That's just my observation, sorry. Because you don't really practice something of value to your performance with a band, if thats the point.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Can you do it without backing?
    I continued after the track stopped in the video I posted.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I continued after the track stopped in the video I posted.
    ill check it out

    EDIT: thanks for giving it a try instead of making excuses as to why it’s a waste of time. How do you think it went?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Yea, it's all good, but the concept of playing fewer notes on fast tempos include playing off of each other, the rhythm section basically. People's ears get tired of endless 8th notes precisely because the sonic field becomes too dense.

    Now when you play solo, nothing to play off of, busy lines actually do sound good, if you must avoid the chords or chord solos of course (no idea why you would though). OTOH, keeping it sparse with no chords just the lines sound unnatural and boring. So the challenge is how more uninspired you can get. That's just my observation, sorry. Because you don't really practice something of value to your performance with a band, if thats the point.
    Excuses. give it a try.

    Besides you don’t always have a drummer or rhythm on the gig of course. Anything that tightens that up is of interest to me.

    one problem with long strings of 8th notes is that in my playing at least (but also in others) they can be a bit rhythmically uninteresting. Locked into the downbeat. Lots of players tend to start phrases on the beat more esp as the metronome gets north of around 280. Things can start sounding like mountain music. (Bud, Bird and Oscar do not have this problem.) How do you keep swinging?

    being able to place swinging upbeat accents at those faster tempos would be helpful.

    but then you have the same issue playing a half time straight feel like funk or samba, no? And if not, why not?
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-02-2020 at 09:12 AM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Actually... if we don't have to play the melody, and we can use very few notes, 240's not that difficult, is it?
    Perhaps! But you still have to evoke the changes... one or two notes per chord may be enough if you are smart about it....

    have a go!

  30. #29

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    Actually... if we don't have to play the melody, and we can use very few notes, 240's not that difficult, is it?

    The problem's not fewer notes, it's playing it properly at speed!

  31. #30

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    Not sure if I quite understand what you mean

  32. #31

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    HINT: another way of putting it. Double time is obviously not the same as playing 16th notes. Confirmation middle 8 for instance is a true superimposed double time.

    So you could feel something at 120;

    But you feel/phrase funky Mardi Gras over it.

  33. #32

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    How few is few? You're not answering it.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    How few is few? You're not answering it.
    I dunno. It's a fucking exercise smart arse ;-)

  35. #34

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    You set the rules. Anyone can play sporadic notes over a fast track. We could all probably do it easily at 480 if we used less notes. So, at 240, how few is few? Or, put it the other way, how many is too much?

    It's what you want, it's your thang, man!

  36. #35

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    Anyway, you're talking to the guy who even plays slowly over slow ones :-)

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    You set the rules. Anyone can play sporadic notes over a fast track. We could all probably do it easily at 480 if we used less notes. So, at 240, how few is few? Or, put it the other way, how many is too much?

    It's what you want, it's your thang, man!
    Blimey you are so binary. Fewer notes = better, more notes = not so good. Just doing my best - but trying to hold the time and the changes together too... Not too blinking complicated to understand is it?

    Look if you can listen to someone else doing this and snap your fingers on 2 and 4 and it feels good and you can recognise the song, the second two categories are basically done, right?

  38. #37

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    Keep calm, keep calm, it's only an exercise. Yes, I know what you mean but I don't think 240's that much of a challenge.

    Look, here's you-know-what-the-thing-is at 240. I mean, it's got to be harder than that, right?


  39. #38

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    Round two



    Some mistakes here... Also I do that ghosting thing which I think is a bit naff. Still too many notes lol.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Keep calm, keep calm, it's only an exercise. Yes, I know what you mean but I don't think 240's that much of a challenge.

    Look, here's you-know-what-the-thing-is at 240. I mean, it's got to be harder than that, right?

    Now not the melody.

  41. #40

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    Round two
    Okay, lovely playing. Are you sure you're not just practising at 240?

  42. #41

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    Thanks! That’s at 280.

    Of course practice element to this but the aim is to try and get something musical out. I’m actually trying to apply the editing process I mentioned on DBs thread.

  43. #42

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    easy peasy










    donna lee

  44. #43

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    No melody. Sounds leisurely but I'm often using one chord for two. As you do :-)


  45. #44

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    So now it's 300 and a different tune? Less notes, naturally

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    No melody. Sounds leisurely but I'm often using one chord for two. As you do :-)

    yeah so rhythmically I’d say this feels a bit more half timey and relaxed. Which is great, but what I’m trying to dig into are these little rhythmic features - especially pushes that kind of clue the brain into hearing the tempo. Like funky little rhythms.

    What might be a cool thing to try might be to feel it at 120 but really aim to play funkier more 16th based rhythms. You can put a little swing into the 16ths. Also anything that locks into the clave. Either one.

  47. #46

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    Well, you're shifting the goalposts a little. The tune sounds pretty laid back at 240 too because there are lots of long notes in it. You want fewer notes... but now they ought to be 16ths? At 240?

    I could do that, just make little flurries... but I think I've done the exercise! I might try it just for the hell of it.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, you're shifting the goalposts a little. The tune sounds pretty laid back at 240 too because there are lots of long notes in it. You want fewer notes... but now they ought to be 16ths? At 240?

    I could do that, just make little flurries... but I think I've done the exercise! I might try it just for the hell of it.
    You do understand that 16th note rhythms does not mean continuous 16th notes? So you can syncopate in 16ths, right?
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-02-2020 at 01:24 PM.

  49. #48

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    Sure, little flurries :-)

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Sure, little flurries :-)
    listen to this for 24 hours and get back to me


  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    ill check it out

    EDIT: thanks for giving it a try instead of making excuses as to why it’s a waste of time. How do you think it went?
    If it was studio recording I'd do another take.