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  1. #1

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    I've always admired the exercise solos in The Joe Pass Guitar Style but other than just a slow read-down, I never really set about learning them. So I decided to give the first "Rhythm Changes" sample solo a shot. Per the method, it is unrelenting 8th notes, so it takes a lot of concentration for me to play it. What is amazing to me is that the whole solo can be played pretty much in a 5-7 fret range, basically one position with maybe a couple shifts. This is a bit slow, about 120, but I was happy to get it all the way through about 90% accurately.

    I gotta say I also just love how the guitar and amp sound. Sometimes I play just because I love to hear the sound!

    Anyone else tried this solo? I know several have done the blues choruses, but the Rhythm Changes are pretty sticky (for me).


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  3. #2

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    I know you'll do this solo justice, but I always preferred Jimmy Raney for single lines.

    Joe Pass could make a rock sound beautiful with his accompaniment. That said, his lines don't pop, push, and sway like Jimmy's.

    I hate to recommend more books your way, but the Jazz Conception books by Jim Snidero and the Jazz Guitar Etudes by Greg Fishmen are GREAT resources for etude work--they SOUND like music of the masters and they are both master saxophonists in their own right. Jazz is saxophone and trumpet language, so it behooves us to study from them folk as well.

    Jim Snidero's "Passage" is the last etude in his Jazz Conception book. Here is a link to the book:
    jazzbooks.com: Product Details

    Joe Cohn plays the guitar parts in that book. Honestly, when Joe Cohn is given the recording quality that his playing deserves... bebop guitar of the here and now doesn't sound any better. Love Grasso, but Cohn plays with more depth and dynamic. All a preference.

    Greg Fishman has two "Rhythm Changes" etudes in his Jazz Guitar Etude. Working on both myself. Quality bebop vocabulary and phrasing in each.

    Here is one of them, played by Mike Allemana:



    8th note lines sound great when you know how to phrase them. Even the long lines of Pat Martino have punctuation and dynamics to drive the phrase.

    Preference, indeed. But I still say, phrasing and articulation are key. Greg Fishman's books are highly recommended. I'm studying with him right now. Jim Snidero's books are used by colleges country and world wide and for good reason. Both are worth a look

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I've always admired the exercise solos in The Joe Pass Guitar Style but other than just a slow read-down, I never really set about learning them. So I decided to give the first "Rhythm Changes" sample solo a shot. Per the method, it is unrelenting 8th notes, so it takes a lot of concentration for me to play it. What is amazing to me is that the whole solo can be played pretty much in a 5-7 fret range, basically one position with maybe a couple shifts. This is a bit slow, about 120, but I was happy to get it all the way through about 90% accurately.

    I gotta say I also just love how the guitar and amp sound. Sometimes I play just because I love to hear the sound!

    Anyone else tried this solo? I know several have done the blues choruses, but the Rhythm Changes are pretty sticky (for me).

    I am not much of a sight reader and I could never memorize the whole thing. Nice job!

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by PickingMyEars
    I know you'll do this solo justice, but I always preferred Jimmy Raney for single lines.

    Joe Pass could make a rock sound beautiful with his accompaniment. That said, his lines don't pop, push, and sway like Jimmy's.

    I hate to recommend more books your way, but the Jazz Conception books by Jim Snidero and the Jazz Guitar Etudes by Greg Fishmen are GREAT resources for etude work--they SOUND like music of the masters and they are both master saxophonists in their own right. Jazz is saxophone and trumpet language, so it behooves us to study from them folk as well.

    Jim Snidero's "Passage" is the last etude in his Jazz Conception book. Here is a link to the book:
    jazzbooks.com: Product Details

    Joe Cohn plays the guitar parts in that book. Honestly, when Joe Cohn is given the recording quality that his playing deserves... bebop guitar of the here and now doesn't sound any better. Love Grasso, but Cohn plays with more depth and dynamic. All a preference.

    Greg Fishman has two "Rhythm Changes" etudes in his Jazz Guitar Etude. Working on both myself. Quality bebop vocabulary and phrasing in each.

    Here is one of them, played by Mike Allemana:



    8th note lines sound great when you know how to phrase them. Even the long lines of Pat Martino have punctuation and dynamics to drive the phrase.

    Preference, indeed. But I still say, phrasing and articulation are key. Greg Fishman's books are highly recommended. I'm studying with him right now. Jim Snidero's books are used by colleges country and world wide and for good reason. Both are worth a look
    You lost me at "...but..." Every player on this forum I really admire reveres Joe Pass. I just don't agree with your assessment of Joe's playing. I love Raney, I've learned a bunch of his music by heart, but Joe Pass is the king.

    Thanks for the literature review, but I"ve also learned that accumulating books doesn't make me a better player. I have picked a couple of resources and I'm immersing myself in actually playing the material in those.

  6. #5

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    Lawson,

    Nice. I appreciate how the exercise does indeed fit within the 4-7 fret space with a couple of shifts.

    Joe Pass was the model of guitar economy.

    [Now, where did I put that guitar?]

  7. #6

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    Apologies for taking the wind outta your sails, Lawson. That's not fair to all the hard work involved in learning this jazz language.

    No apologies for my taste in jazz guitar, but that's okay as well

    I did say that you would do the solo justice. Playing is getting better and better

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I've always admired the exercise solos in The Joe Pass Guitar Style but other than just a slow read-down, I never really set about learning them. So I decided to give the first "Rhythm Changes" sample solo a shot. Per the method, it is unrelenting 8th notes, so it takes a lot of concentration for me to play it. What is amazing to me is that the whole solo can be played pretty much in a 5-7 fret range, basically one position with maybe a couple shifts. This is a bit slow, about 120, but I was happy to get it all the way through about 90% accurately.

    I gotta say I also just love how the guitar and amp sound. Sometimes I play just because I love to hear the sound!

    Anyone else tried this solo? I know several have done the blues choruses, but the Rhythm Changes are pretty sticky (for me).

    Good idea to go that route. Joe's solos are so logical. Nice going on this one!

    DB

  9. #8

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    BTW you all, one thing that's fun about this solo is the bridge. The same figure is played over each of the 4 harmonic centers of the bridge. It's really a quirky, fun figure to play and it works as a bridge with the transpositions to the different chords in the bridge. A little joke from Joe Pass!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by PickingMyEars
    Apologies for taking the wind outta your sails, Lawson. That's not fair to all the hard work involved in learning this jazz language.

    No apologies for my taste in jazz guitar, but that's okay as well

    I did say that you would do the solo justice. Playing is getting better and better
    Don't worry, you didn't take any wind out of my sails. You, like me, are just another guy on this forum trying to play better. We don't have enough talent or impact to deflate anyone's sails. I just haven't got time for the fashionable habit of dissing Joe Pass that seems so popular among certain circles of guitarists. Joe Pass did it. He proved himself, he's earned our respect.

  11. #10

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    Great job. Keep it up. Try the other rhythm changes studies, transpose to different keys, maybe at least one additional fingering.

    Get it up to performance level:
    • play through it successfully,
    • play it in time,
    • memorize it,
    • add expression (own it).


    These are excellent studies/etudes with steady eighth and sixteenth notes and are chock full of the jazz language. His solos are different and are in included in his books as well, although to a lesser extent. Crawl, walk, run. Etudes vs. solos, one is not the other. People shouldn't be confused by that.

    Etudes bridge the gap between exercises and solos. Once one has a handle on exercises then etudes present the next level of development (we need more etudes in jazz and are getting more. Joe made a great contribution!)

    And no offense to Jimmy Raney, but his career was very obscure when compared to Joe's. Jazz artists and fans alike already cast their votes. It is what it is.

  12. #11

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    Well done, Lawson. That's a lot of work to get it to the tempo you are at. I guess the question is where do you go from here? I imagine taking a phrase of Joe's, then adding a phrase of your own, maybe trading fours. He starts first, then you start first. That way you would be incorporating his lines into your style, maybe changing them here and there to suit the moment. What do you think?

  13. #12

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    PS Joe scares the bejeezus out of me.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Well done, Lawson. That's a lot of work to get it to the tempo you are at. I guess the question is where do you go from here? I imagine taking a phrase of Joe's, then adding a phrase of your own, maybe trading fours. He starts first, then you start first. That way you would be incorporating his lines into your style, maybe changing them here and there to suit the moment. What do you think?
    Well I'm not Lawson, but yes. This (etude playing) is "Imitation". Next comes "Assimilation", and assimilation involves analysis and variation. What you describe is an example of variation and should definitely be pursued.

    Analysis could involve things like - OK, what exactly did Joe play on these Blues and Rhythm Changes? How many of those chord symbols were the actual symbols to the tune vs. an acknowledgement of where he went "off script", so to speak. So then we ask - when, where and how did he go "off script"? "Oh look at that, the changes don't call for it but he just threw in a flat 5 substitute".

    Analysis reveals what a jazz master does vs. what a jazz amatuer does when presented with the exact same parameters.

    But first just learn to nail it. Imitation. That leads to the next question - how much time does a person need to transition from Imitation to Assimilation? The truth is, it could be a week or it could be 6-9 months. Talent, work ethic, and practice time come in there.

    My two cents. (well actually, that's all stolen )


    Oh - one more note to bring it full circle - learning to play AND understand the jazz language is what goes back into "incorporating your ideas" into it. In other words, what are your ideas made of? What are they informed by? Random doodles or something more logical, intentional and musical than that?
    Last edited by Donplaysguitar; 07-02-2021 at 07:55 PM.

  15. #14

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    I'd say combine what you like from Jimmy Raney and Joe Pass with your own voice, and create your own etudes. Really enjoying what you've been posting in our little internet Jam in Mr. B's house.

    That said, what do I know? I only like Joe Pass's comping (I did say that in my original post).

    Seriously though, write more of your own etudes. Helps you integrate all that vocabulary and helps you be even more intentional with melodic development and rhythm--at least, that's what it's helping me continually develop. Actually... we should all share our own etudes on tunes we are shedding.

    Suffice to say what others have said, I love rhythm changes because it gets at the heart of bebop. Hard to play it convincingly, but well worth the time.

    If I can figure out how to print screen to JGF without the site denying my posts, I have a couple of etudes to post that I wrote. Some came out pretty good. Some... well, it's a work in progress.

    Not horrible advice from someone who doesn't love Joe Pass's single line playing. Heck, I'll lean in even more. I'll take Joe Pass any day over Pat Metheny's electric playing. If you really want to get my goat, tell me my tone sounds like Pat Metheny's. Playing, I can respect his playing as I will never live up to that. But his tone is WAY too dark for me. Anyway...

    Now I'm in for it

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by PickingMyEars
    I'd say combine what you like from Jimmy Raney and Joe Pass with your own voice, and create your own etudes. Really enjoying what you've been posting in our little internet Jam in Mr. B's house.

    That said, what do I know? I only like Joe Pass's comping (I did say that in my original post).

    Seriously though, write more of your own etudes. Helps you integrate all that vocabulary and helps you be even more intentional with melodic development and rhythm--at least, that's what it's helping me continually develop. Actually... we should all share our own etudes on tunes we are shedding.

    Suffice to say what others have said, I love rhythm changes because it gets at the heart of bebop. Hard to play it convincingly, but well worth the time.

    If I can figure out how to print screen to JGF without the site denying my posts, I have a couple of etudes to post that I wrote. Some came out pretty good. Some... well, it's a work in progress.

    Not horrible advice from someone who doesn't love Joe Pass's single line playing. Heck, I'll lean in even more. I'll take Joe Pass any day over Pat Metheny's electric playing. If you really want to get my goat, tell me my tone sounds like Pat Metheny's. Playing, I can respect his playing as I will never live up to that. But his tone is WAY too dark for me. Anyway...

    Now I'm in for it
    Yes write our own etudes too! That challenges us to answer the question, well what are my ideas? What do I want to say, how does it sound, does it sound good, and why.

    And again, make sure they are informed by something coherent, and practice them until nailed.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Great job. Keep it up. Try the other rhythm changes studies, transpose to different keys, maybe at least one additional fingering.

    Get it up to performance level:
    • play through it successfully,
    • play it in time,
    • memorize it,
    • add expression (own it).


    These are excellent studies/etudes with steady eighth and sixteenth notes and are chock full of the jazz language. His solos are different and are in included in his books as well, although to a lesser extent. Crawl, walk, run. Etudes vs. solos, one is not the other. People shouldn't be confused by that.

    Etudes bridge the gap between exercises and solos. Once one has a handle on exercises then etudes present the next level of development (we need more etudes in jazz and are getting more. Joe made a great contribution!)

    And no offense to Jimmy Raney, but his career was very obscure when compared to Joe's. Jazz artists and fans alike already cast their votes. It is what it is.
    I'm counting on what I learned from working through a bunch of Jimmy Raney solos from the Aebersold set. I never really "drilled" on extracting licks from the solos, but memorizing them and playing them lots set the sounds and feel of bop in my mind, so that at least I realize... I"m NOT playing good bop yet! It's like an inner standard for me now. The Joe Pass Guitar Style studies aren't like the Raney studies, in that they aren't intended or shaped as solos you could just play. They are 8th note drills that incorporate Joe's ideas. So I think with these I'm going to work on finding the ideas "in position" and seeing how they work. This solo uses lots of half-whole step phrases, for example. Then there is a nice block at the end of altered arpeggios that really contrast with the more diminished sounds. I have actually annotated the notation with how the chord tones work just to explore that.

    But generally my hope is to "play it in" and not do a lot of theoretical abstraction.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Well done, Lawson. That's a lot of work to get it to the tempo you are at. I guess the question is where do you go from here? I imagine taking a phrase of Joe's, then adding a phrase of your own, maybe trading fours. He starts first, then you start first. That way you would be incorporating his lines into your style, maybe changing them here and there to suit the moment. What do you think?
    Thanks for that Rob. Your encouragement means a lot. I hope I can get this and the other studies under control well enough to play with it like that. At this point, what I start doing is playing with the phrasing. Even if I play all the notes right, somehow I still don't sound like bebop! It's in the phrasing, articulation, emphasis, things like that. So I hope I can internalize it and get some of that going. I have thought a lot about a "frankenstein" solo where I just pull lines from all these solos I've learned and assemble them... but the whole frankenstein thing didn't really work out so well, did it?

    Thanks again for your thoughts!

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Well I'm not Lawson, but yes. This (etude playing) is "Imitation". Next comes "Assimilation", and assimilation involves analysis and variation. What you describe is an example of variation and should definitely be pursued.

    Analysis could involve things like - OK, what exactly did Joe play on these Blues and Rhythm Changes? How many of those chord symbols were the actual symbols to the tune vs. an acknowledgement of where he went "off script", so to speak. So then we ask - when, where and how did he go "off script"? "Oh look at that, the changes don't call for it but he just threw in a flat 5 substitute".

    Analysis reveals what a jazz master does vs. what a jazz amatuer does when presented with the exact same parameters.

    But first just learn to nail it. Imitation. That leads to the next question - how much time does a person need to transition from Imitation to Assimilation? The truth is, it could be a week or it could be 6-9 months. Talent, work ethic, and practice time come in there.

    My two cents. (well actually, that's all stolen )


    Oh - one more note to bring it full circle - learning to play AND understand the jazz language is what goes back into "incorporating your ideas" into it. In other words, what are your ideas made of? What are they informed by? Random doodles or something more logical, intentional and musical than that?
    Good ideas here. I take a LOOONG time to assimilate ideas. But I really believe the unconscious mind processes things even when we are not focused on them or working directly with them.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I'm counting on what I learned from working through a bunch of Jimmy Raney solos from the Aebersold set. I never really "drilled" on extracting licks from the solos, but memorizing them and playing them lots set the sounds and feel of bop in my mind, so that at least I realize... I"m NOT playing good bop yet! It's like an inner standard for me now. The Joe Pass Guitar Style studies aren't like the Raney studies, in that they aren't intended or shaped as solos you could just play. They are 8th note drills that incorporate Joe's ideas. So I think with these I'm going to work on finding the ideas "in position" and seeing how they work. This solo uses lots of half-whole step phrases, for example. Then there is a nice block at the end of altered arpeggios that really contrast with the more diminished sounds. I have actually annotated the notation with how the chord tones work just to explore that.

    But generally my hope is to "play it in" and not do a lot of theoretical abstraction.
    Yep, a solid plan. “Playing it in” is the big investment. And the theory part (I’m thinking more of specificity as opposed to abstraction) should not be a time consuming heavy lift - at all. (sounds like you’re doing it already anyway ).

    People (we guitarists in particular) make a big deal out of theory, whether basic or complex. The simple truth is that the more one can play/has played, the easier and quicker it is to digest/apply theory.

    Have a happy fourth!

  21. #20

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    Definitely agree on the "play it in" part, Lawson!

    Sing it.

    I had a teacher in the past tell me to sing the solos I transcribed and the etudes I learned, and then grunt the rhythms--in a way that would really embarrass me if I did it in public. He said that the inflection is even more important, because it sells the notes and makes the rhythms more precise. Helps with dynamics, staccato, what is swallowed and articulated, and all that intention as well.

    I dunno if my teacher was a Joe Pass fan, so I dunno if he can be trusted Okay, I'll stop.

    In all seriousness, stick with a phrase and get it into your whole body and being before you move on. Sing the inflections. I do that in the car now when I drive my daughter to daycare. Communal car music listening goodness.

    She's not even three years old yet and she tells me "stop talking, daddy!" Everyone is a critic! Hey, at least she likes jazz

  22. #21

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    LS,
    Try to pracise with straight 8ts.
    Avoid triple thinking.
    My 1 cent suggestion.

  23. #22

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    One of the first jazz guitar records I bought was this one (I think it was the only Joe Pass record they had in the local record shop), it knocked me out and I spent ages transcribing this solo. I learned a ton of bebop lines from this solo, a lot of this is probably in my playing to this day. Oddly enough, I didn’t hear any of Joe’s solo guitar stuff until much later, so for me the biggest influence was his single-note playing.



    Jimmy Raney also became a big influence for me, but for some reason I didn’t get any of his records until some years later (this was in the days before the internet and youtube - you had to save up your pennies and take the plunge buying a record without hearing it first!)

  24. #23

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    Yea lawson.... always love your sounds and guitars. Your playing what really seems to be ....what you like. You sound great, and comes through. (If your planning to go pro, tour etc... maybe some comments...but)

    Most talk about what they can't play, but like to believe they can and can give advice etc.... I would keep at what you like... (you seem to already have all the BS figured out)...
    Thanks for posting. Reg

  25. #24

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    Reg is a great musician and really great guitar player.One of the best on this forum.
    I really appreciate his opinions.

  26. #25

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    Reg,

    You directly put down players that disagree with you.

    You make a point to say "they can't play" or "what they have to say is not worth listening to."

    I don't hear that from anyone else at your level here on the forum. Or who's played in the circles that you've played in. I don't hear that from anyone else that I've befriended and or studied with in person that's on your level.

    Everyone, I mean everyone, who I've met on the professional level acknowledges that studying this music is an infinite endeavor. And everyone who've I've studied with--no matter how hard they pushed me--always reminded me of their humanity.

    I'd expect the same from you--I mean, as a professional and all.

    You put your ego aside and I'll do the same. I don't care how great of a musician you are, perceived or real. This is an online community. We're both human--no more, no less. Let's both act like it.