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  1. #1

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    Hey fellas, Im trying some new sounds and ideas over a regular Bb blues, triad pairs, diminished and some melodic minors, basic pentatonic and chord tones too, basically Im trying to stretch the gum from blues to jazz the best way I can and without losing the swing/pocket but I feel stuck, from here to Scofield, Metheny, Carlton or Stern... I cant see the path, any tips/advice or exercises?

    Cheers.


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basshead
    ...from blues to jazz...
    This surprises me because I have heard you play blues (you know what it sounds like), but except some short parts this generally does not sound like you are coming from a blues influence. I think it is the phrasing that's making it sound about 95% jazz and 5% blues.

    Blues phrasing tends to have a swaggering overconfident kind of feel for timing and rhythm. Does that make sense?

  4. #3
    Well... yes and no, it depends what you call blues, you can hear me playing what I guess you call blues in this other video but Im talking about blues jazz, from grant green, kenny burrel, wes... to scofield, metheny.... maybe Im wrong, Im ok with that.


  5. #4

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    I should explain more of what I mean...

    A popular and common way to play blues solos over stock simple blues tunes is to treat the pitches of the pentatonic scale similarly to how a drummer treats his drum kit. All the pitches of the scale "work" over all the changes of the tune, so the solo being improvised tends to be pretty ballistic. That is, the soloist may be only vaguely concerned about harmonic coherence because "everything works", like on the drum kit, so improvisational focus is pretty much all about phrasing, rhythm, and timing.

    Another popular way to solo over the same kinds of tunes is to only use two scales, the minor and major pents. They are still interchangeable throughout the simple tune, but there is now a harmonic difference that encourages more attention to melodic relationships through the chord changes.

    By the time one is adding sources of solo phrasing from augmented, diminished, lydian dominant, etc., some of the raw ballistic features of blues may become reduced or lost in favor of more deliberately composed improvising.

    Once into tunes that can't be 'played out of one or two scales", it can become a considerable challenge to retain a blues sound, taking effort to produce the effect that came so effortlessly and naturally within the simple blues tunes. I think this is because the fingers that came to know the pentatonic blues phrasing now find themselves in "unfamiliar" positions and fingerings where their "physical blues phrasing memory" is somewhat at a loss. The way to get from blues to jazz blues is to preserve the phrasing elements of blues timing, beat width, playing behind / on / ahead, and the swaggering overconfident feel, in spite of the positions, fingerings, and other mechanics that reflect jazz.

    Maybe that makes more sense?

  6. #5

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    You may enjoy and learn from listening to players like Robben Ford and Chris Cain, two truly gifted musicians who are among the very few to be able to use jazz lines in blues and make them sound right. This approach to the blues seems very hard to teach and difficult to transcribe, in part because the bends give these fluid lines a quarter tone feel that just flows from the mind into the fingers. It took me years of hearing it, thinking about it, trying to play it, and finally discovering that I was trying too hard before I got halfway decent at it - and I'm no Robben Ford or Chris Cain.

    The vocalists who've had great guitarists doing this for them include Koko Taylor and Sista Monica Parker. KT's guitarist on many of her albums was Chriss Johnson, who happened to be her pastor - and he's one fabulous musician. Sista Monica's bass player had to cancel on her with a few days' notice on a multi-night gig in Philly years ago, and the club owner had me fill in for him. She had an Asian guitarist with her whose name I don't remember - but he was the slickest player I think I ever heard. He wove lines and changes into her blues that were truly jazz materpieces, but it all sounded so bluesy that the audience had no idea how sophisticated his playing was. Doing this is one of the hardest tasks in music.

    Check out Ford's gorgeous solo at 2:50 in this old video:

  7. #6

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    Maybe more soul, actually, but Freddy Robinson did very nice jazz/blues with John Mayall.


  8. #7

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    Listen to the classic blues players, and they play the changes… the biggest myth in guitar is that you can pick one scale and play those notes at more or less random that’s good enough. No one good plays this way. None of the the blues, rock or fusion guys, let alone the jazzers.

    I’m always puzzled that people think the minor pentatonic is the be all and end all. I suppose it’s a confidence building hack for beginners? At best it’s something that sorta works…

    But good blues players know how to target the triad notes of the progression.

    Jazz shares a common ancestor with blues guitar in players like Teddy Bunn, Charlie Christian, T Bone, Lonnie Johnson and so on, all of whom played a lot of blues vocab AND the changes. Horn players are also invaluable, Lester young and so on. (I mean to take it to the extreme, you have Wayne Shorter, a big blues guy blowing that stuff on the weirdest changes. Just listen to Night Dreamer.)

    From them on it’s a matter of how far you want to go. The important thing is that you play lines in with a feel and energy that’s congruent with the rest of your playing. If you choose to play a Lydian Dom line it has to have the same attitude as your blues licks or it will jump out as a ‘jazz moment.’

    listen hard and you can hear ‘jazz licks’ in Jimi and SRV.

    Robben Ford is amazing at doing this needless to say.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Listen to the classic blues players, and they play the changes… the biggest myth in guitar is that you can pick one scale and play those notes at more or less random that’s good enough. No one good plays this way.
    YES YES YES!

    The blues greats played changes...just not in the same way. But they absolutely knew what chord they were on, and addressed it in a way that suited it.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    YES YES YES!

    The blues greats played changes...just not in the same way. But they absolutely knew what chord they were on, and addressed it in a way that suited it.
    ….and they don’t think about at all. It just flows.

  11. #10
    Yeah I agree, all blues classics describe the changes pretty clear, some rockers too, Freddy Robinson is amazing!

  12. #11

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    In terms of basics - for dominant chords also use:

    Skips (Chord tones):
    7th and 9th chord arpeggios
    3 to 9 arpeggio

    Steps: (Scale tones):
    Mixolydian
    Dominant Bebop
    Blues

    But - play blues phrases instead of note salad most of the time. Play melodically. (Call and response, question and answer, etc).

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basshead
    Hey fellas, Im trying some new sounds and ideas over a regular Bb blues, triad pairs, diminished and some melodic minors, basic pentatonic and chord tones too, basically Im trying to stretch the gum from blues to jazz the best way I can and without losing the swing/pocket but I feel stuck, from here to Scofield, Metheny, Carlton or Stern... I cant see the path, any tips/advice or exercises?

    Cheers.


    Thanks for the post..some very tasty lines..if there is a transcript of some or all ..please share..really good stuff

    to me..this is "blues"....when its called "jazz/blues" Im not sure what the definition is...as much of "jazz" is blues flavored..and how can it not be..
    ALL BLUES by Miles..it it blues or jazz or both..

  14. #13

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    grab your self MEL BAYS Frank Vignola Jammin the Blues...

  15. #14

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    [QUOTE=nevershouldhavesoldit;1142446]You may enjoy and learn from listening to players like Robben Ford and Chris Cain, two truly gifted musicians who are among the very few to be able to use jazz lines in blues and make them sound right. This approach to the blues seems very hard to teach and difficult to transcribe, in part because the bends give these fluid lines a quarter tone feel that just flows from the mind into the fingers. It took me years of hearing it, thinking about it, trying to play it, and finally discovering that I was trying too hard before I got halfway decent at it - and I'm no Robben Ford or Chris Cain. /QUOTE]

    thanks for the vid..

    Ford has said one of his first influences was Michael Bloomfield..I can hear some to that in his solo work on this tune..

    I feel Ford is overlooked..even though he has played with Miles and Larry Carlton and other top names..

  16. #15
    Thanks wolfen, its just a random improv so no transcriptions at all and yeah I agree about All blues, what is that?

    Cheers vozsss, those Frank Vignola books look pretty interesting, I just got the Mclauglin instructional and Im going to be busy with that for probably few months LOL

  17. #16

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    just love the way Frank connects the dots...