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  1. #176

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    In case it's not obvious and because I've made this mistake continually ...

    I think it's possible to overestimate how much theory and technique you need at a given level.

    So, a person's playing can't be better than his time-feel. Simple things played with great time-feel can sound great. Nothing in jazz played with poor time-feel can sound good.

    I think it makes sense to always have time-feel commensurate with other aspects of playing. And, it can be worked on directly, although not easily.

    Practice ideas I have heard or tried include:

    1. Copying solos from records -- nailing, exactly, the accenting/articulation/style or whatever you want to call it. Not just playing the same notes, but making it sound identical.

    2. Working with metronome or drum track -- with continual focus on time feel. My experience is that it's easy for my mind to wander. I have to make a point of it.

    3. Recording what you play, especially when playing with others -- and critique time feel.

    4. Listen to players with great time feel. I suggest searching youtube for reg523 and checking out his videos where he plays tunes. Reg plays every note with great time-feel. Try to nail that, or, at least, be aware of the way it feels.

    5. At the same time, try to find you own north star. How do you think a guitar SHOULD sound?

    6. And, the hardest one. If there's something you probably aren't ever going to be able to do, maybe it's best to give up and find another way up the mountain. For many, style is defined, to a great degree, by what they can't do and therefore don't try. Not everybody can play anything.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #177

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    Yea... everyone sound great, and please take my comments as just trying to help. Playing live jazz is also difficult.
    It can be difficult to understand what one can't see or hear... or are just not aware of.

    Try playing something else... copying solo or worked out BS... is not playing Jazz. Try another tune... Anthropology maybe... because it's not just steady 8th notes. Or even better just play your own lines over rhythm changes. And don't use the changes from the Pass example...they... (personally) suck.

  4. #178
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Try playing each beat as a triplet. Play each down beat with two attacks and then the last 8th. Think 2 bar phrases with the 1st bar being strong bar and the second bar being weak... like a call and answer feel. Eventually (end goal) this will help you have micro as well as macro phrasing.... "feel".
    I feel like this is pretty important and for whatever reason, frequently dismissed in recent years.

    I've heard other old players talk about this over the years, but it's kind of been pushed aside with the DAW-analysis, (even-eighths with locked up-beat/behind down-beat) etc. Anyway, that's somewhat of a separate topic, but I'll just say that I believe this works. I happened upon it somewhat by accident several years ago, while working on unrelated material: practicing slow ballad chord melody stuff. In trying to fill out block chords rhythmically I eventually arrived at just "12/8-ifying" everything - overplaying and playing something on every would-be triplet.

    This was during a fingers-only period of mine which probably lasted a couple of years (personal obsession for no practical reason). Anyway, when I came back to the pick, I found that my picking technique and swing was a lot better, even though I had done the opposite of working on pick technique. So, I started actually working on it with a pick. (Did a pick-only thing which lasted a few years as well. I'm weird.) At one point, I practiced everything triplets, I mean like for a few months - arps, scales, lines, melodies, everything. That in itself is good phrasing work - play ahead, start late/ finish ahead etc.

    I know that the science says that when you analyze players, they're not actually playing triplets etc, but that doesn't change the fact that for whatever reason, this works. If you practice doing what Reg is talking about above, it helps with the feel that others will perceive as "swing". I know Willie Thomas assigned these kinds of thing as specific etudes for learning swing. Apparently it's a part of the tradition with certain players and teachers.

    If I had to speculate, I'd guess that it mostly helps you learn to place the 3rd triplet and "feel it", regardless of tempo. That being said, there are tempos at which actual triplets are a thing as well. DAW's and milliseconds are interesting, but people lose me when they start talking milliseconds, because we mostly don't mentally experience music in terms of time, milliseconds etc. If you do enough work with subdivision "out of time" or at slower tempos etc, you realize that milliseconds isn't really the way we process. Subdivisions are the common denominator between different tempos and even feels etc and explain why "out of time" work can help. You're abstracting time, cognitively and also/eventually subjectively/kinesthetically.

    When great players say seemingly dichotomous things, it's somewhat the responsibility of the student to figure out what's true about both, assuming you're talking about people who can play. There is definitely a thing about cheesy swing feel and "trying too hard to swing" in a lopey way, and definitely something to be said for accents of upbeats etc. I honestly think that practicing triplets may be somewhat of a bridge for many in reconciling this seeming contradiction or dichotomy.

    The truth is that most guitarists spend (actual) orders of magnitude more time playing duple vs triple anything in music. If you haven't put the time in, it's hard to appreciate what you might be missing. Practice tripletizing lines, scales, arps etc, and you might find that you hear Wes, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong in a completely new way. We mostly can't hear the would-be 12/8 versions of things without some work. Guitarists who never did this for years on another instrument in school aren't inherantly "deficient" in some way. It's just a time issue. You have to actually put the time in.

    Anyway, I apologize to all for the length, but I'm cursed with having thought too much about these things the last several years I guess, especially re apparent dichotomies with the statements among great players. I don't think it's "Which statement is true?". More like "In what ways are both true?".

    All the best.

  5. #179

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Try playing each beat as a triplet. Play each down beat with two attacks and then the last 8th.
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    I feel like this is pretty important and for whatever reason, frequently dismissed in recent years...
    Hi Reg and Matt, Great posts! I'm interested in giving this approach a go. How would you suggest I pick "each down beat with two attacks and then the last 8th"? Down-up-down, down-down-up, all down etc.?

  6. #180

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    I feel like this is pretty important and for whatever reason, frequently dismissed in recent years.

    I've heard other old players talk about this over the years, but it's kind of been pushed aside with the DAW-analysis, (even-eighths with locked up-beat/behind down-beat) etc. Anyway, that's somewhat of a separate topic, but I'll just say that I believe this works. I happened upon it somewhat by accident several years ago, while working on unrelated material: practicing slow ballad chord melody stuff. In trying to fill out block chords rhythmically I eventually arrived at just "12/8-ifying" everything - overplaying and playing something on every would-be triplet.

    This was during a fingers-only period of mine which probably lasted a couple of years (personal obsession for no practical reason). Anyway, when I came back to the pick, I found that my picking technique and swing was a lot better, even though I had done the opposite of working on pick technique. So, I started actually working on it with a pick. (Did a pick-only thing which lasted a few years as well. I'm weird.) At one point, I practiced everything triplets, I mean like for a few months - arps, scales, lines, melodies, everything. That in itself is good phrasing work - play ahead, start late/ finish ahead etc.

    I know that the science says that when you analyze players, they're not actually playing triplets etc, but that doesn't change the fact that for whatever reason, this works. If you practice doing what Reg is talking about above, it helps with the feel that others will perceive as "swing". I know Willie Thomas assigned these kinds of thing as specific etudes for learning swing. Apparently it's a part of the tradition with certain players and teachers.

    If I had to speculate, I'd guess that it mostly helps you learn to place the 3rd triplet and "feel it", regardless of tempo. That being said, there are tempos at which actual triplets are a thing as well. DAW's and milliseconds are interesting, but people lose me when they start talking milliseconds, because we mostly don't mentally experience music in terms of time, milliseconds etc. If you do enough work with subdivision "out of time" or at slower tempos etc, you realize that milliseconds isn't really the way we process. Subdivisions are the common denominator between different tempos and even feels etc and explain why "out of time" work can help. You're abstracting time, cognitively and also/eventually subjectively/kinesthetically.

    When great players say seemingly dichotomous things, it's somewhat the responsibility of the student to figure out what's true about both, assuming you're talking about people who can play. There is definitely a thing about cheesy swing feel and "trying too hard to swing" in a lopey way, and definitely something to be said for accents of upbeats etc. I honestly think that practicing triplets may be somewhat of a bridge for many in reconciling this seeming contradiction or dichotomy.

    The truth is that most guitarists spend (actual) orders of magnitude more time playing duple vs triple anything in music. If you haven't put the time in, it's hard to appreciate what you might be missing. Practice tripletizing lines, scales, arps etc, and you might find that you hear Wes, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong in a completely new way. We mostly can't hear the would-be 12/8 versions of things without some work. Guitarists who never did this for years on another instrument in school aren't inherantly "deficient" in some way. It's just a time issue. You have to actually put the time in.

    Anyway, I apologize to all for the length, but I'm cursed with having thought too much about these things the last several years I guess, especially re apparent dichotomies with the statements among great players. I don't think it's "Which statement is true?". More like "In what ways are both true?".

    All the best.
    yes to all of this IMHO. You can’t lock into the triplet upbeat if you can’t feel where it is. Besides, not all accents in jazz are upbeat accents (but in general this is a trouble spot for many.)

    I would also say, medium tempo swing is the most exposed for this stuff. You can play straightish 8ths at bop tempo, and provided you know where to feel the pocket it will work.

    However, med tempos force you to decide how you are going to approach your 8ths. A lot of today’s players simply double time everything, or avoid med tempo altogether; it’s a dance tempo as much as anything. Anyway, there’s different ways you can go about it.

    But, treat the bar as 12/8 and phrase with a Bembe feel; that’s what I think of when you mention the masters of slow medium tempo, Billie, Louis and Wes definitely among them. (But Louis could also be really straight!)

  7. #181

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    ...the best and simplest advice I've heard about mid tempo swing feel, is make it even, and accent the ups, I do not know where I read it ;-), maybe Christian will help me out... and also sorry for the not literal quoting.

    I really like this, because it automatically brings the unevenness to the 8ths, and also dead simple and *natural*. It also will automatically adopts to the player, in a unique way, so one ploblem solved: unique swing style. After the very beginning phase the player should place meaningful not upbeat accents too, depending to the melodic content, if relaxing is emphasized this may occur also automatically.

    (two Salinger quotes also came in my mind which are somehow related
    "Could you try not aiming so much?",
    “I mean not try to analyze everything to death for once, if possible, especially me.”
    )

  8. #182

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    I don't know... about not actually going through the subdividing and just using accenting upbeats as ones method of developing different swing feel.

    That tends to get loose... but I'm sure it or anything can work.

    Personally I believe it worth the practice of actually going through the details of notating out the possibilities... of using triplets with accents and then subdividing those triplets... either 16th note triplets or sextuplets... and again going through the details of notating them out with the accent possibilities and pickings etc...

    This is pretty basic stuff, learning how to lean accents, that strong or weak aspect of feels. Its cool to just think one has good time because one has a pulse... but that's really just the starting point.

    When one actually goes through details.... in this case... creating swing feels triplets and sextuplets... (faster divisions) one actually sees and can feel the differences. Sometimes one can't hear, feel or tell the difference without doing so.

    Need to add..... I'm not talking about anyone personally. These are in general comments. I never talk about anything I haven't already done personally.... even if that is decades ago.

    RBcampbell... it's not which one.... all of them. drills with each. I'll either notate out some examples or make short vid.

  9. #183

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbcampbell1
    How would you suggest I pick (duplets as triplets) "each down beat with two attacks and then the last 8th"? Down-up-down, down-down-up, all down etc.?
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    it's not which one.... all of them. drills with each. I'll either notate out some examples or make short vid.
    Great, thanks Reg!