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  1. #1

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    Hi, i'm a beginner jazz guitarist and I want to know how jazz soloing works.

    Should I use a global scale following the tonality of the song?

    For example if I play autumn leaves in Gm should I improvise on the Gm scale all over the progression?

    Or should I take the scales or arpegios of each chords of the progression?

    I'm totally lost... Can someone help me with a global method to starter soloing in jazz?

    Thanks

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I recommend the basic Barry Harris scale outline approach more than any other.

    But it won't make sense unless explained in great detail. Volume I of the "Barry Harris Worksop" book covers it

    We play to the 7th; up, down, up and down, down and up ("we don't play ii scales" we play major, minor and dominant scales)
    We play 1-5, 3-7, 5-7 and descending
    melodic 3rds up and down the scale
    chromatic approach to melodic 3rds
    melodic triads up and down the scale
    chromatic approach to melodic triads
    melodic 7th chords up and down the scale
    chromatic approach to melodic 7th chords
    5432 phrases (also 87b66 phrases)
    Barry Harris chromatic scale
    diminished scale
    whole tone scale

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinjazz
    Hi, i'm a beginner jazz guitarist and I want to know how jazz soloing works.

    Should I use a global scale following the tonality of the song?

    For example if I play autumn leaves in Gm should I improvise on the Gm scale all over the progression?

    Or should I take the scales or arpegios of each chords of the progression?

    I'm totally lost... Can someone help me with a global method to starter soloing in jazz?
    Thanks
    If what you want was a valid approach, then all rock and blues players could play jazz. They can't, because it doesn't work.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 04-19-2020 at 03:26 AM.

  5. #4

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    I'm not sure to understand what you mean, i just wanted some help nothing more

  6. #5

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    Hi Robinjazz,

    a good solo is a combination of different things: horizontal playing (scales that fit part of a progression of chords), and vertical playing (meaning, chord per chord) triads, arpeggios, pentatonics, triad pairs. On top of this there is chromatic embellishment and alternate changes, including taking it “out”.

    on this site there are lessons of scales and arpeggios in the “for beginners” section. I’m sure this will help you a great deal.

    if you would solo using the Gm scale all notes would be correct, but not necessarily nice or beautiful. It’s not so that great players just play the scales really fast or masterful. Scalar passages are rare in succesfull jazz improvisation. You will encounter more triadic stuff or arpeggio’s, chromatic embellished notes. Depending on the player, of course, but scale running is rare.

    the most played chord tones with some chromatic embellishment. Starting with arpeggios is a great place to start.

    good luck

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinjazz
    Hi, i'm a beginner jazz guitarist and I want to know how jazz soloing works.

    Should I use a global scale following the tonality of the song?

    For example if I play autumn leaves in Gm should I improvise on the Gm scale all over the progression?

    Or should I take the scales or arpegios of each chords of the progression?

    I'm totally lost... Can someone help me with a global method to starter soloing in jazz?

    Thanks
    That's a really good question.

    There are pros and cons
    1) the global scale approach - you risk not outlining the changes
    2) the chord tone approach - you risk only outlining the changes

    I would argue chord scales is a poor choice for the beginner and offers too much choice. Playing out of chord tones, even out of chord voicings is better.

    So... either could work well. I suppose the question I would ask is - how comfortable are you making up melodies by ear? If that's your bag, 1) might work really well. If you are happier working with chord grips, 2) might be more accessible.

    However... I think both these approaches might still offer too much choice for the beginner.

    This might be the case if you are feeling 'lost' - being lost is often the result of having too much choice and not knowing where to start. If you are interested in the latter. One approach that reduces choice is melodic variation. Learn lots of melodies. Learn to change the rhythm and add passing tones etc. You could also compose your own melody and then use that as a basis for variation.

    Remember you are learning to do not one, but two things:

    1) improvise
    2) play jazz

    To do the latter, obviously you have to know what jazz sounds like. So listen to the music, and try to learn things by ear.

    So; useful distinction in learning to play this music, is between having a go (praxial) and sounding good (aesthetic). I think we can identify the first with 'improvising' and the second with 'playing jazz' (pace Bill Evans.) In experienced players, these two elements are in constant back and forth. Some might lean more on the first by seeking more freedom in the moment, even if this means potential for mistakes, others might prefer a more compositional and predetermined approach. Experienced players will obviously have internalised the sound of the music to the point where this is less of a distinction.

    But everyone works differently. Jazz is an idiom - an aestethic - at least at first. So it makes sense to me to for a beginner to aim to sound like jazz, by using some existing material, and introduce the improvisational elements within that. This seems to have been the most common model in the days before formal jazz education.

    (Sorry if that was a bit philosophical, I've just had a lecture on aesthetic vs praxial models of music education lol. But I think it applies. There's no right or wrong way really.)

    TL;DR
    Trying out different things is great, and don't get the feeling that there's one right way despite the fact that learning materials can give that impression. Anything that sounds good is good. You learn what sounds good by listening to the music.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-18-2020 at 08:48 AM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    I recommend the basic Barry Harris scale outline approach more than any other.

    But it won't make sense unless explained in great detail. Volume I of the "Barry Harris Worksop" book covers it

    We play to the 7th; up, down, up and down, down and up ("we don't play ii scales" we play major, minor and dominant scales)
    We play 1-5, 3-7, 5-7 and descending
    melodic 3rds up and down the scale
    chromatic approach to melodic 3rds
    melodic triads up and down the scale
    chromatic approach to melodic triads
    melodic 7th chords up and down the scale
    chromatic approach to melodic 7th chords
    5432 phrases (also 87b66 phrases)
    Barry Harris chromatic scale
    diminished scale
    whole tone scale
    I wouldn't recommend Barry to a beginner. You need to have a high level of command of the fretboard to be able to do this, and I'd rather players start with music as much as possible. Might be easier on piano.

  9. #8

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    I recommend first listening a lot to jazz... figuring out what styles and who you like and absorbing their music. Then hopefully your imagination will start to generate ideas; some of these you’ll be able to poke out on the guitar (such as blues). Others may be beyond your reach at first. Then you practice scales, arpeggios, upper chord tones, etc and you’ll start to recognize how they apply to your ideas. And it gets increasingly easier to “find” your ideas on the instrument. But you really should start by getting your imagination going...

  10. #9

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    I had a lesson yesterday with a student that kinda is still starting with soloing.
    I've seen the problems, first those are pretty basic - can't play the scale without stumbling at some point, can't keep it within proper time and rhythm.
    But the major one was always that the solo doesn't make much sense for a good while even if the basic problems are solved.

    It seems I figured it out yesterday. I asked the student to decide before playing a phrase.. decide how long it's gonna be and be sure to end it well. So that I could believe he meant to end it exactly how he "planned".

    Yeah, imagine the phrase first.. takes a moment. Then try to perform it exactly as imagined. Then even those stupid simple phrases started "talking".
    Worked nicely, never thought of asking to do this consciously.

    Well, thought this might be a good advice for starting players.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    I had a lesson yesterday with a student that kinda is still starting with soloing.
    I've seen the problems, first those are pretty basic - can't play the scale without stumbling at some point, can't keep it within proper time and rhythm.
    But the major one was always that the solo doesn't make much sense for a good while even if the basic problems are solved.

    It seems I figured it out yesterday. I asked the student to decide before playing a phrase.. decide how long it's gonna be and be sure to end it well. So that I could believe he meant to end it exactly how he "planned".

    Yeah, imagine the phrase first.. takes a moment. Then try to perform it exactly as imagined. Then even those stupid simple phrases started "talking".
    Worked nicely, never thought of asking to do this consciously.

    Well, thought this might be a good advice for starting players.
    This reminds me of a Hal Galper exercise.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rsilver
    I recommend first listening a lot to jazz... figuring out what styles and who you like and absorbing their music. Then hopefully your imagination will start to generate ideas; some of these you’ll be able to poke out on the guitar (such as blues). Others may be beyond your reach at first. Then you practice scales, arpeggios, upper chord tones, etc and you’ll start to recognize how they apply to your ideas. And it gets increasingly easier to “find” your ideas on the instrument. But you really should start by getting your imagination going...
    Which album do you recommand ? Thanks all of you to reply to me, it's very kind.

  13. #12

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    I recommend an album that you like, not someone else's choice. You might not like their choice because there's all kinds of jazz stuff about. You have the whole of You Tube... you find one that means something to you. You might be inspired to play something off it.

    After all, why are you starting jazz guitar? You must have heard or seen something that sparked your interest, right?

  14. #13

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    Listen to the guys you want to sound like. Then listen to guys you don't want to sound like.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinjazz
    Which album do you recommand ? Thanks all of you to reply to me, it's very kind.
    Three early Miles Davis records: Cookin’, Relaxin’, and Walkin’. .

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinjazz
    Which album do you recommand ? Thanks all of you to reply to me, it's very kind.
    Smokin’ at the Half Note, Wes Montgomery