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  1. #1

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    hi guys, what's your tipp to get a good phrasing. my solo sounds always boring as i dont get this cool phrasing. how to learn this step by step?

    e.g. zulu brothers - guitar solo minute 3:00

    what do you think of this style ?

    best michael


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    One starting point for phrasing is to imitate the timing of the lyrics, where they are present. I would characterize this tune as "smooth jazz" or adult contemporary. Perhaps "Slink Pop" works as well. Which is not a value judgement, merely a sorting designation. YMMV.

  4. #3

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    Wasn't sure if I was going to like this tune at first listen, but it grew on me, and yeah, I dig that solo a bunch. Who's the player? Sco fan, I'm hearing.

    Phrasing is a tricky one to teach...there's all sorts of exercises and stuff, but I think it comes down to a few things....well, maybe one big thing...balance.

    I think a lot of great guitar solos have a balance between "breath" and "guitarisms." Meaning, you balance vocal like playing and phrasing with just a bit of what the guitar can do that defies that "breath" length to phrases. Just a bit. It's easy to tip the scale too far.

    Fun things to try:

    1. Take a short, rhythmic motif, and work it through all the changes in a tune. Keep the same basic idea, but start from different beats as you go.

    2. Try taking a solo that uses the same melodic rhythm as the melody, but different notes. This one is MADDENING.

    3. Have a conversation with yourself. Treat alternating phrases as two voices, talking to each other. You can let one be more speech like, the other more guitaristic, if you like.

    4. Try intentionally to start phrases on different beats. Play your first phrase starting on beat 1, then consciously try to start your next on beat 2 of whatever might have to wait for beat two to come around...that's ok.

    But really the most important thing you can do is to listen to tons of stuff by players you really like, and make sure you know your material inside out...not knowing a song well or being uncomfortable is one of the easiest ways to kill good phrasing--if you're just thinking about getting through the changes, the other cool stuff ain't gonna happen.

  5. #4

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    Lennie Niehus has some books out which are organized by phrasing ... that is, he starts with a rhythmic idea and then develops in a jazz etude. One on every page. Something like that might be helpful. But OTOH, you could just copy stuff you like off records. It may be helpful to start with players who don't play so many notes, like Paul Desmond, Hank Mobley or Stan Getz. On guitar, Jim Hall's ballads.

  6. #5

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    When a solo is boring, maybe it's not a problem with phrasing at all.
    A good book is fluid to read usually. But thats basic. Is there even a book that has each and every sentence... brilliant and exciting?
    Maybe prhrasing is as basic as good grammar and the energy and excitingness of the solo is about something else?
    ...if yes.. or even maybe, then I don't even have a clue

  7. #6
    A lot of players forget to breathe and its like an unbalanced conversation. In other words space and silence are a musicians best friend sometimes.

  8. #7

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    I’m not a really good guitarist but I found just singing solos when I’m away from any instrument gives me the space not to get trapped by the shapes and combinations that can lock your playing into endless lines. And Eric Clapton Hyde Park “Old Love” does phrasing as well as build up like few others. And i think building up and phrasing help each other.

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  9. #8

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    It's just funky, rocky, bluesy, and it had to negotiate a few changes that were beyond what a typical pop song includes.

    Steely Dan's various guitarists had to do this same type of thing, and well beyond what we hear here.

    Maybe study and play their solos? You can also start with this book, which is simpler. Maybe take a time out after learning to solo with three (3) key centers, instead of five. Then re-assess.

    Sorry! Something went wrong!

  10. #9

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    Speaking of Steely Dan guitarists, Jon Herrington’s one of my favourites at making simple stuff sound amazing.

    He’s been posting a lot of stuff on YouTube lately. Tasty jazz player too (of course.)

  11. #10

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    Playing nothing at all can help with good phrasing. Not sure if this video is the best example of it, but Prince plays a few notes. Halts for a moment or lets notes hang in there (english?) to play another phrase. etc. the pausing is crucial. Solo starts after 2.00 or something. Around 3:00 minutes there's this 'conversation' like playing that somebody else mentioned earlier. Very simple stuff, but pretty effective.
    Maybe the assistent taking the guitar after he's done helps? I want one of those!

    Last edited by Marcel_A; 09-30-2020 at 06:57 AM.

  12. #11

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    One way to improve your phrasing is to sing along with the solos of jazz greats like Lester Young, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker and others. The ones you choose will depend on the style you like. Sing them until you have them memorized to get their exact phrasing. Eventually, you'll be able to transfer the solos to the guitar.

  13. #12

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    I recommend singing. It’s a good way of getting away from noodling on the guitar. Sometimes having the instrument in its case is the best way to practice.

  14. #13

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    It's a disturbing thought. But hear me out.

    The reason people say "playing live is the best training you can get" is adrenaline.

    Getting comfy and secure will make a boring predictable solo.

    Getting brave would make things happen. But it takes adrenaline.

    But I already know it's bs.

  15. #14
    Jimmy Bruno once said if you want to learn to play with your your fingers REAL FAST ! just leave your pick at home for a Gig!

  16. #15

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    Playing live helps on lots of levels, not the least motivation

    About phrasing another helpful ‘technique’ is call and answer where call starts off one chord eg the root chord and answer off a different chord.

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  17. #16

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    Phrasing. THE thing I think gets left out for most guitar players speak IS phrasing. It starts very simple, basic and technical. The line should sound like it has the rhythmic phrase of measures. One and TWO and three AND four. It’s about the accents, long, short notes. Slides, vibrato, choke, hard, soft, ghost. For me these are WAY MORE important even than the breath and space between the notes because it’s more fundamental. The line has to propel. You should be able to isolate the solo from the chords or rhythm section and know EXACTLY where you are by phrasing alone. That means that note is obviously the and of two. What is being accented? A LOT of this has to do with the pick direction. You CAN accent on an upstroke but it sounds different from the more common and natural downstroke.

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  18. #17

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    Really I’m talking about articulation but that goes hand in glove with phrasing. And I tell my students (and myself) to feel the beat and the note rhythmically in you fretting hand and your picking hand. Downbeat should be pressed with your left, at least as an exercise until you really get it. When you work your phrases out slowly like this your ability to play and HEAR increases dramatically I have found.

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