The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    For me, a guitar lesson with George Benson would be like the greatest thing ever. We all know he’s one of the Giants of jazz guitar, right at the top of the giants of jazz guitar list. He's unquestionably one of the best ever to play the instrument. For me and I’m sure many others, many of the things he plays are so amazing and beautiful that it's really amazing. If I could ever sit down and have a 1 on 1 guitar lesson with him, I would be so happy, I would gush and have so many questions. There are so many things he plays that I would love to get some insight into how he thinks about it and comes up with those licks. His improv is so technically amazing and so melodically rich at the same time, it's wonderful. If I could get a glimpse into that genius, straight from the moth of the genius himself, I would feel like a kid in a candy store with a wad of cash in his pocket, for real.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Jody Fisher did a series of video lessons/conversations with George Benson several years ago, which are now on YouTube:

    On playing fast.


    On picking.


    On playing along the neck.


    On playing by ear.


    On practice.


    On playings blues over rhythm changes.


    On Wes Montgomery and Joe Diorio.


    On Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

  4. #3

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    There are also a ton of short videos on Peter Farrell's YouTube channel.

    Peter is a protege of GB's. His pricey lessons have been discussed in other threads on this forum and I don't care to resurrect that discussion. If you don't want to drop that kind of $ you can still get quite a few interesting ideas out of the free clips.

  5. #4

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    Also, Peter Farrell, a Benson protege teaches the "George Benson Method" via his online lesson series.

    (Of course he has a 'black friday" discount special)








  6. #5

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    Benson did one of those Hot Licks videos once, although I think it had slightly mixed reviews. I seem to recall the comments were along the lines that he’s one of those guys who can’t explain very clearly what he does.

    George Benson – The Art of Jazz Guitar - From the Classic Hot Licks Video Series - Hot Licks | Hal Leonard Online

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Benson did one of those Hot Licks videos once, although I think it had slightly mixed reviews. I seem to recall the comments were along the lines that he’s one of those guys who can’t explain very clearly what he does....
    ....sounds like a situation of 'those who can do, those who can't, teach.'

  8. #7

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    When I was taking in person lessons, my teacher didn't have to explain everything in words. Sure, there was that as part of it, but that's not all of it. This is one of the benefits of in person lessons, vs video. A really good teacher could just play something and I could grasp it just from seeing him play it. Or he could see me trying to get to something, and then he would play something that illuminated for me the exact thing I was looking for, without ever having to say a word. Or he could just play some cool musical ideas and just and I would get what he was saying, and be able to play it straight away, or better yet, my take on it, because I value being original. So there is that musical conversation going on there, something similar to the musical conversation that happens on the bandstand, but you're in learning mode, so you have time to learn the musical ideas. I learned quite a lot that way.

    I know what's going on musically, so I could see it just from him playing it once, or a few times for me. He didn't have to slow down and show me where to put each finger, LOL, or anything like that. In fact, that would have been very annoying to me. I find I can absorb the musical ideas pretty quickly.

  9. #8

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    I think it just takes huge amounts of natural talent + playing 10 hours a day to get to this kind of level.

    For us mere mortals the Peter Farrell stuff would be great I think. I checked out his videos on YT, and I thought they were great. I already have a teacher so I didn't buy the Peter courses, but I will say that he is a great player, and everything he talked about in his videos was enlightening and matches up with what all the best jazz players have told me.

    It's amazing that some of the teachers on YouTube are not very good players, kinda average. Peter is one of the best I've seen.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzIsGood
    I think it just takes huge amounts of natural talent + playing 10 hours a day to get to this kind of level.

    For us mere mortals the Peter Farrell stuff would be great I think. I checked out his videos on YT, and I thought they were great. I already have a teacher so I didn't buy the Peter courses, but I will say that he is a great player, and everything he talked about in his videos was enlightening and matches up with what all the best jazz players have told me.

    It's amazing that some of the teachers on YouTube are not very good players, kinda average. Peter is one of the best I've seen.
    You can take lessons from that guy if you want to, LAMBO.

    Let me just say this, George Benson is a GIANT, one of the giants of jazz. That guy, may be a perfectly nice guy, but I've listened to his playing and let me say this, that guy Peter or whatever his name is is not anywhere near the player that George Benson is, not even remotely close. Okay? If anyone around here thinks that guy is even remotely close to George as a player, then that persons' opinion of music would literally mean absolutely nothing to me from that point on, because he obviously doesn't have a clue. I've listened to his clips and I could blow that guy away if we were playing at the same jam session. And no, I could not outclass the real George Benson on the stage, George is one of the best EVER. I would have to play the very best I could play and still hope to not be embarrassed, if on stage with the real George Benson.

    To try and imply that guy is even anywhere near George Benson as a player is so laughable that it really invalidates anything you say about it after that. It absolutely is that ridiculous of an assertion.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Also, Peter Farrell, a Benson protege teaches the "George Benson Method" via his online lesson series.

    (Of course he has a 'black friday" discount special)
    - regarding the books ...for literally $1000 (s)...
    - regarding the videos ... Peter has no two consecutive sentences that makes sense. Peter's explanatory skills are not only insufficient to teach others, they are not even up to the average person's ability in this area.

    ***

    Peter is the Mickey Mouse cartoon version of George Benson (best case), without soul, and without any message to say, and without any musical intelligence what George Benson owns. Why would anyone spend his valuable time with Peter, when all George Benson treasure is available via his recordings? The preferred way listen and transcribe. If this does not work for a student, then nothing will.

    Do not waste your valuable resources 1) money, 2) time, and 3) whish to learn.
    Last edited by Gabor; 11-27-2022 at 04:55 AM.

  12. #11

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    This is why we can't have nice things.

  13. #12

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    Seems to me quite a few people have learned to imitate GB’s style over the years without the aid of enormously expensive internet lessons.

    also explanation is overrated. You can ‘understand’ what’s going on in music and not be able to play a note.

    So why not take lessons with him by listening carefully to what the man plays and go from there?

    incidentally i transcribed a bit of GBs stuff for a job a while back and despite not being a huge fan of his specifically, and one thing I noticed right away is how accurate his time and subdivision is even when slowed right down. It’s just crazy how good his time is and how clean his technique is. I think to imitate his right hand mechanics you can use benson picking or gypsy style picking but yeah, study of a lifetime.

    Basically chops wise tends to be even numbers of notes a string coming down (alternating) and lots of sweeps/economy going up.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Haze
    I could blow that guy away if we were playing at the same jam session.
    are you going to provide clips so we can judge for ourselves or will we be following the standard JGO-fantasy-poster procedure where we'll have to take your word for it?

    regarding peter: he has figured out that it's easier to get 1000$ from one person than 10$ from 100 persons. it's called whale-hunting and a standard tactic in computer and mobile games.

  15. #14

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    Why waste your life imitating another player, when you could be developing your own style?

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Haze
    I've listened to his clips and I could blow that guy away if we were playing at the same jam session.
    It’s early in the morning here and it looks like I’m already done with the Internet for the day.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Haze
    You can take lessons from that guy if you want to, LAMBO.

    Let me just say this, George Benson is a GIANT, one of the giants of jazz. That guy, may be a perfectly nice guy, but I've listened to his playing and let me say this, that guy Peter or whatever his name is is not anywhere near the player that George Benson is, not even remotely close. Okay? If anyone around here thinks that guy is even remotely close to George as a player, then that persons' opinion of music would literally mean absolutely nothing to me from that point on, because he obviously doesn't have a clue. I've listened to his clips and I could blow that guy away if we were playing at the same jam session. And no, I could not outclass the real George Benson on the stage, George is one of the best EVER. I would have to play the very best I could play and still hope to not be embarrassed, if on stage with the real George Benson.

    To try and imply that guy is even anywhere near George Benson as a player is so laughable that it really invalidates anything you say about it after that. It absolutely is that ridiculous of an assertion.
    Big GB fan here, and have read everything and listened to all the interviews etc to see if I could get a glimpse into his thinking. Nope. He just doesn't give it away, either because he won't, he can't, or we can't hope to understand....

    But to say Peter Farrell's videos are a waste of time is being unfair. Sure, his wares for sale are unreasonably priced (in my view), but his free videos actually shed more light on GB's methodology than anything George himself has said in interviews. And this is as one would expect, given that GB has chosen to give PF so much of his time in divulging some of his secrets.

    As for PF being a GB clone, he's not the worst I've heard, and let's face it, even being a clone would be considered a fairly high achievement for many aspiring players (not me). I like your balls though, to come out and say you would "blow away" PF at a jam session, although it seems peculiar to hear that kind of talk on this forum! We're not used to that kind of unbridled hubris, probably because we expect this kind of comment to only come from delusional blowhards.

    However, although I've never heard you (or even heard of you), strangely I feel like I can believe you when you suggest that GB is probably the only player that couldn't blow you away at a jam session. You don't have to stoop so low as to actually prove it by posting a video of your playing, like all the truly great players, no doubt you are far too humble for that shit.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Why waste your life imitating another player, when you could be developing your own style?
    It's hard to parse the line between "imitating a player" and "drawing on a player's influence." I'm not sure that there is a precise line.

    Beyond that, my answer isn't everybody's answer. If somebody wants to spend their time on learning to sound like somebody else, have at it.

    Beyond that, people break through their fences sometimes. Wallace Roney made some beautiful, unique music which was different from what Miles Davis made. Chris Potter can do a scary-good Brecker but has gone forward with a unique and glorious voice.

    But yeah, Litterick, I hear you. I enjoy listening to Django and Stephane but please don't ask me to play in that "Hot Club" cover band. Eeew!

    Last word goes to Branford Marsalis in the signature quote:

  19. #18

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    Some people like to do their own thing, some people get a lot of satisfaction nailing the sounds of their favourite players.

    (I’m not sure sounding like yourself is a conscious choice in any case…)

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    (I’m not sure sounding like yourself is a conscious choice in any case…)
    Eddie van Halen said that he could never get cover solos to sound quite right because they always ended up sounding like him.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Some people like to do their own thing, some people get a lot of satisfaction nailing the sounds of their favourite players.

    (I’m not sure sounding like yourself is a conscious choice in any case…)
    Hi, C,
    We've discussed this in other posts, as well, and I can speak from experience that enjoying a player's style and imitating a player are very different things. At 22, after 8 years playing mostly R@B/Soul/Funk gigs in Chicago, I became obsessed with Coltrane. . . both early and later styles. And, I played scales, chords, inversions, progressions 9,000 hours a day for two years until I realized I wasn't Coltrane but . . . me. I lost valuable time in this costly lesson in finding out who I was as a player although my chops were first-class. However, it wasn't until a few years later that I began to discover my saxophone musical personality and it was different from my early sax idol.
    For the last 30 years as a dedicated guitarist, the path was much easier since I was much older and experienced and I let my nature follow its path organically without any preconceived notions. However, it still should be remembered that your style will continue to morph as you grow technically and are more able to translate your thoughts into musical expression. I believe that all players continue to evolve up until the end if their ears are open and their mind is receptive.
    Marinero


    P.S. I would rather be a poor musical stylist than a lifeless imitator.
    M

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    (I’m not sure sounding like yourself is a conscious choice in any case…)
    It takes a long time sounding bad before most people even WANT to sound like themselves. By that time, you've got years of being someone else to undo.

  23. #22

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    If people want to imitate other players I don’t mind. It’s not something I’ve ever particularly wanted to do. Make of that what you will.

    The nearest I’ve come to it was studying pre war jazz guitar to play in bands of that style. But that was more like an overview of the era more than ‘I will play like Django’. I ended up playing my own way I think anyway, after I chilled out a bit (and realised that 90% of it is feel and vibe.)

    OTOH it’s interesting that many players seem to have started by sounding like someone else which established their basic level of competence to play music, got told off for sounding like someone else, and developed their own style from there.

    There’s a danger in thinking the first step is a mistake, when actually the dedication to get to that point is kind of a ‘buy in’ that gets you to the next stage. It’s a path well trod, to go through those three steps. Not what everyone does, but what lots of people have done.

    OTOH there are people who don’t really want to go outside of the idea of imitating other players either. While I am told this sort of thing is strictly frowned upon in the NY jazz scene, is it de facto a bad thing if someone is the ‘Wes guy’ or the ‘George benson guy’ if that’s what they want to do?
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 11-27-2022 at 12:30 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liarspoker
    Eddie van Halen said that he could never get cover solos to sound quite right because they always ended up sounding like him.
    yeah there’s some vids of him playing Cream solos and he gets the notes, but the way he plays them is pure EVH

    Meanwhile an army of YouTubers obsesses over the specifics of the late 60s Woman Tone… Not that I’m dissing that. I rather enjoy it when some beardy gets it spot on.

  25. #24

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    A lot of Benson stuff has a common ground with the Barry Harris viewpoint of things. You can learn a lot from watching Benson play on all these videos, and i 've also enjoyed Peter Farrells channel. I thought his ebooks were way overpriced, but if his private lessons are logical (top New York players charge about 100$ per lesson) i'd try it. Also Ritchie Hart is great at the Benson style, he can do everything and really has the concept down, but i believe he's in New York and i don't know if he teaches online.

    P.S. And of course Rodney Jones, a master in the style!!
    Last edited by Alter; 11-27-2022 at 01:07 PM.

  26. #25

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    It's strange to me that the OP is so dismissive of Peter Farrell when he wishes he could do exactly what Peter actually did. Peter spent a lot of time (and money) studying one on one with Benson.

    During lockdown I spent a good part of my downtime going through Peter Farrell's YouTube videos to see if I could make sense of his sometimes rambling and disconnected videos. I came away with a lot of very useful ideas that explained for me many of Benson's concepts. From there I made my own patterns and lines and have found it has been a great use of my time.

    Through my lessons with Rodney Jones in the 90's and learning the Benson right hand style from him, what I picked up from Farrell complemented what I already had figured out myself over the years. As was mentioned earlier in this thread, sweeping going up and cross picking going down is something Rodney showed me, but the Farrell scale patterns really helped. I took them and developed my own versions and also applied them to minor scales. Being a big Barry Harris follower, I use the major and minor scales in many common BH ways when soloing.

    It never helps to come onto a public site like this and speak badly of players. I don't know Peter Farrell, but he seems like a nice enough guy and as far as I can tell, he has put a lot of work into his craft. Jazz guitarists are a relatively small group in the world today. We should lift each other up, not tear down.