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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by WILSON 1
    It's a lot easier for me to think of AL as a G6 tune; descending cycles of fifths A-D-G-C-F#-B-G6, like falling leaves.

    Attachment 46446
    You could go either way, thinking about it. The guy that split wasn't wrong, and I'm sorry I said he was. You have to go further into the tune, and then you could think in E Minor and treat the G Major part as the III of E Minor. And it DOES end on E Minor, so the major section could be thought of as a preparation for that.

    I'm no theorist, it's just a thought...

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop
    I should of read the original post closer I was more interested in learn tunes, because I have a tough time with it. This appear to me more Super Chops like so I probably will back to my other studies, but since I'm here
    No, NO! Stick around! This is a very good idea and a much needed "push" for us guitarists.

    You may not be able to devote time for a song each week ( just as I can not ) but simply adding aprox. 20 tunes to your repertoire is going to be great!

    I posted my functional harmonics just as I recall the song and I can easily use that chart to transpose in any key. Remember, when a song is called you just want to be able to say something quickly and then go deeper with each chorus.

    This tune is circular diatonically except for the III 7 and it's gong to give us our first bebop note too ( D# ).

    Stick around, brother.

    DH

  4. #53

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    Let's share some ideas about how we make a piece come alive.
    Yeah, it's easy to run the changes, play the proper scale, even get through a piece without getting lost. But how do you make a memorable solo and how does this help us to learn the song?
    All ideas welcome for this side discussion.

    For myself, I always start by creating a mental picture of where I am (along with an idea of for how long), and where I'm going (and how far away it is.) Doing this, I come up with blocks that I think of as "tonal terraces". For me, the piece introduces a phrase that forms an approach to the I chord. That's my first "terrace" and within that, I can create lines and ideas that take me to the centre of gravity there.
    Thinking this loosely allows me to see contours of line rather than dots on my fingerboard.

    How about anyone else?

    David

  5. #54

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    Sometimes I start out by throwing something at the wall, and my ear or sense of rhythm takes over and runs with it, and my fingers try to keep up and translate. If I’m thinking at all, it’s probably more about a general flavor that I am going for, rather than specific notes. I don’t think too much about overall structure of a solo. Back when I played rock and funk and blues, my solos tended to move towards a frenetic peak. It’s been ear-opening to hear solos in jazz (Miles Davis comes to mind here) where a solo dies graceful before the torch is passed to the next soloist. So I guess that’s just a different sense of overall dynamic that I need to keep in mind: a good solo doesn’t have to gradually increases in intensity and end in a dynamic peak of loudness, speed, etc. At this point in my jazz development I’m not thinking about those things too much, but I think I ought to start.
    Last edited by wzpgsr; 10-04-2017 at 11:36 PM.

  6. #55

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    Here's what may be a kind of contrarian view.

    Autumn Leaves is fairly easy to memorize by thinking about minor and major 251's.

    But, I doubt that the guys who know a zillion tunes have memorized a formula for each one. And, there are tunes which defy formula, e.g. Stella.

    I think they have memorized the overall sound of the tune, sort of the same way you can tell when the IV chord is coming in a 12 bar blues. They very likely can sing the melody and "feel" the changes. Learning the lyric probably helps you remember the melody.

    So, I think that memorizing tunes is much, much easier if you can "hear" the chord changes in your mind and find them on the instrument by sound.

    That is, you try to get away from any linguistic material or bandstand shorthand ("it's a 251, it goes to the 4, 4m, and 1" kind of thing).

    To develop it, I suggest the following, although I came upon this recently and I'm not sure how well it works

    For a song you can sing, try to figure out the chords this way: Sing the tune to yourself while you play single note lines. You're not soloing - you're trying to find some chord tones. For a lot of tunes you're trying to find 3rds and 7ths on the dominants and maybe R's and 3rds on the major sounding chords. Find the notes that work. See if you can find a guide tone line (meaning a smooth, slow, line that leads from one chord to another).

    Then, on the bandstand, you can do something similar. Don't try to simply chunk out rhythm. Mix in single notes and use the notes to help you find the next chords.

    I got this idea from listening to pianists. They''re often noodling around while they're comping and it occurred to me that the noodling is a way of finding the next chord.

    So, we're working on AL. I'd suggest trying to play it in a different key without too much thought. Start, say, on Cm, and noodle your way through the changes. My guess is that the more you do it, the better you'll get.

  7. #56

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    Sorry for the double, but I also have an idea on how to construct a solo.

    This works (for me, anyway) when I can feel the changes and find the chord tones without too much thought.

    At home, strum the chords and sing a solo. If you sing a line you like, figure out how to play it.

    On the bandstand, let the other instruments influence what you're singing in your mind. A good way is to start the solo sparsely. Leave some space and pay attention to the other instruments. The drummer may give you rhythmic ideas. Same for the piano. If the bass is playing a busy pattern, figure you'll need to stay simpler. And, the reverse. You may remember a lick from the soloist before you -- and you can try to incorporate it.

    When you start sparsely, it makes it easier to build the solo up. My best advice is to sing to yourself and try to play what you're singing.

    If you get bored with your own sung lines, then it's time to do some transcription or use some theory to generate some ideas.

  8. #57

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    GREAT ideas! This is what I was hoping we'd find when I started this whole thing.
    rpjazzguitar, when you mentioned transcribing, it brought back a really important day. I was in school, a jazz ensemble with vibes player Dave Samuels. We'd get assigned a piece which we'd play in class. Then our assignment was to write a solo during that week.
    I think that was when I realized just how much of what I played got played without my permission... by that I mean the opportunities missed by succumbing to habit or safe playing. Writing out a solo along with working with that song in real time felt like I was soloing; all my ideas were there but so was attention to detail. My live soloing got better.
    I'd make a little list of things to try (start on an unexpected note, develop one idea, use long notes, don't forget pickup notes...) and when I was writing out the solo, I'd discover how they'd fit. Y'know, most of the time I didn't even play what I'd written, because it became part of my inner composer.

    Keep the ideas coming in!

    David

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Sorry for the double, but I also have an idea on how to construct a solo.

    This works (for me, anyway) when I can feel the changes and find the chord tones without too much thought.

    At home, strum the chords and sing a solo. If you sing a line you like, figure out how to play it.

    On the bandstand, let the other instruments influence what you're singing in your mind. A good way is to start the solo sparsely. Leave some space and pay attention to the other instruments. The drummer may give you rhythmic ideas. Same for the piano. If the bass is playing a busy pattern, figure you'll need to stay simpler. And, the reverse. You may remember a lick from the soloist before you -- and you can try to incorporate it.

    When you start sparsely, it makes it easier to build the solo up. My best advice is to sing to yourself and try to play what you're singing.

    If you get bored with your own sung lines, then it's time to do some transcription or use some theory to generate some ideas.
    I find this lecture by Gary Burton to generally express clearly what our jobs are.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    GREAT ideas! This is what I was hoping we'd find when I started this whole thing.
    rpjazzguitar, when you mentioned transcribing, it brought back a really important day. I was in school, a jazz ensemble with vibes player Dave Samuels. We'd get assigned a piece which we'd play in class. Then our assignment was to write a solo during that week.
    I think that was when I realized just how much of what I played got played without my permission... by that I mean the opportunities missed by succumbing to habit or safe playing. Writing out a solo along with working with that song in real time felt like I was soloing; all my ideas were there but so was attention to detail. My live soloing got better.
    I'd make a little list of things to try (start on an unexpected note, develop one idea, use long notes, don't forget pickup notes...) and when I was writing out the solo, I'd discover how they'd fit. Y'know, most of the time I didn't even play what I'd written, because it became part of my inner composer.

    Keep the ideas coming in!

    David
    This is one of the things that I love about Richie Zellon‘s bebop class. The main focus of the course is on internalizing various chord tone approaches. And then we are given “rhythm templates” and we are to sit down with our guitar and apply what we’ve been working on to the prescribed rhythms. It’s very slow, purposeful composition within a rhythmic limitation. Very helpful.

  11. #60

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    Wanted to post a few thoughts about “getting inside a tune” in a week, as it’s something I’ve done a lot of. I don’t intend my remarks to be “the way,” just “a way” of going about a short, but deep, dive into a tune.

    As you all probably know, I’ve been doing the “Jam of the Week” thing on Facebook for a little over 2 years now. The concept, if you’re not familiar, is each week a new tune is assigned to the group, and people are supposed to improvise one chorus on the tune and post within the one week timeframe.

    I’ve taken to posting “first impressions,” which means I try to post within the first 24-48 hours if possible. This means I need to get into a tune pretty fast—and while I go for fast—I do spend the rest of the week at least with the tune, if it’s a tune I’m intent on “keeping.”

    So my first plan of attack is listening. I try to go to the source to learn the changes, either the “original” or “definitive” version…some tunes I’ll listen to a few different versions and pick what I want out. For learning the melody, I like to find versions with vocals (assuming the song has words, that is.)

    My goal in the first few hours is to listen to the song dozens of times, try to get to where I can sing the melody as good as possible. I’ll also try to rough out a “box chart” of what I hear as the changes (if you’ve ever seen gypsy jazz “grilles,” that’s what I go for) as soon as possible, even while I’m still learning the melody.

    Now, for the sake of playing a tune fast, my next step is to actually reduce the melody, getting rid of any approach tones or enclosures or any repeated notes, trying to get things down to one or two notes a bar. On my box grid, I’ll write in what those notes are in relation to the “chord of the moment.” This way, I’m keeping the meat and potatoes of the melody in mind as I begin improvising.

    I start improvising on the tune right away…comping and single note. It’ll get better throughout the week, but I think it’s important to start the process early and not wait til Thursday before I start seeing what the tune has inside.

    Once I can sing the melody well, I’ll learn to play it. I explore it a few different ways, both the full melody and the reduced melody. I’ll learn it on one string (or as much as possible) on the treble strings, I’ll learn it in position, and I’ll do a rough “solo guitar” (or that term I don’t like “chord melody”) even if I don’t intend to play the tune that way, because it helps me visualize the melody in relationship to the chords.

    To me, it’s not a linear process. I think of it as having several pots on the stove at once, and my job is to tend to them and not let any one burn on the bottom or boil over.

    At some point in the week, I like to sit down and physically write out a lead sheet. This is a very big thing for memorization for me…I find that if I actually write a tune out, it’s a big step in the process of going from short term to long term memory. YMMV.

    Anyway, just wanted to contribute to the conversation. There’s really no better practice than learning tunes, in my opinion.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Wanted to post a few thoughts about “getting inside a tune” in a week, as it’s something I’ve done a lot of. I don’t intend my remarks to be “the way,” just “a way” of going about a short, but deep, dive into a tune.

    As you all probably know, I’ve been doing the “Jam of the Week” thing on Facebook for a little over 2 years now. The concept, if you’re not familiar, is each week a new tune is assigned to the group, and people are supposed to improvise one chorus on the tune and post within the one week timeframe.

    I’ve taken to posting “first impressions,” which means I try to post within the first 24-48 hours if possible. This means I need to get into a tune pretty fast—and while I go for fast—I do spend the rest of the week at least with the tune, if it’s a tune I’m intent on “keeping.”

    So my first plan of attack is listening. I try to go to the source to learn the changes, either the “original” or “definitive” version…some tunes I’ll listen to a few different versions and pick what I want out. For learning the melody, I like to find versions with vocals (assuming the song has words, that is.)

    My goal in the first few hours is to listen to the song dozens of times, try to get to where I can sing the melody as good as possible. I’ll also try to rough out a “box chart” of what I hear as the changes (if you’ve ever seen gypsy jazz “grilles,” that’s what I go for) as soon as possible, even while I’m still learning the melody.

    Now, for the sake of playing a tune fast, my next step is to actually reduce the melody, getting rid of any approach tones or enclosures or any repeated notes, trying to get things down to one or two notes a bar. On my box grid, I’ll write in what those notes are in relation to the “chord of the moment.” This way, I’m keeping the meat and potatoes of the melody in mind as I begin improvising.

    I start improvising on the tune right away…comping and single note. It’ll get better throughout the week, but I think it’s important to start the process early and not wait til Thursday before I start seeing what the tune has inside.

    Once I can sing the melody well, I’ll learn to play it. I explore it a few different ways, both the full melody and the reduced melody. I’ll learn it on one string (or as much as possible) on the treble strings, I’ll learn it in position, and I’ll do a rough “solo guitar” (or that term I don’t like “chord melody”) even if I don’t intend to play the tune that way, because it helps me visualize the melody in relationship to the chords.

    To me, it’s not a linear process. I think of it as having several pots on the stove at once, and my job is to tend to them and not let any one burn on the bottom or boil over.

    At some point in the week, I like to sit down and physically write out a lead sheet. This is a very big thing for memorization for me…I find that if I actually write a tune out, it’s a big step in the process of going from short term to long term memory. YMMV.

    Anyway, just wanted to contribute to the conversation. There’s really no better practice than learning tunes, in my opinion.
    Do you start out at performance tempo?

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    Do you start out at performance tempo?

    Depends-- There's tunes I can, there's ones I definitely can't. I try to if at all possible, but I also find a lot of value in treating a fast tune like a ballad for a while.

    Often the toughest part to get up to tempo is the melody itself!

  14. #63

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    The idea of a tune a week is pretty daunting, but I might try it. I started proper lessons about a year ago and we have worked on Autumn Leaves a lot, along with just a few other tunes. I've been playing guitar for 25 years, but it's still taken me the better part of this last year just to be able to run scales or arpeggios over the changes of Autumn Leaves consistently. Playing the changes was my main goal in starting lessons. I've been a blues/rock (occasional country) box pattern and stolen lick guy up until now.

    We've started working on coming up with licks and lines over the changes, rather than just the straight scales and arpeggios. It's still very challenging for me, even at slow tempos.

    I have a lesson in couple of hours and we'll be working on AL again, along with a Joe Pass solo. I can tell that I'm making progress, especially in the last month or so. But it's slow going.

    One of the challenges for me is trying to avoid memorization. I'm bad enough that when I stumble onto something good, my brain and fingers really want to do that again the next time through, and it quickly becomes just another memorized part instead of improvisation. My teacher says not to worry too much about that at this point. But I still do.

  15. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    The idea of a tune a week is pretty daunting, but I might try it. I started proper lessons about a year ago and we have worked on Autumn Leaves a lot, along with just a few other tunes. I've been playing guitar for 25 years, but it's still taken me the better part of this last year just to be able to run scales or arpeggios over the changes of Autumn Leaves consistently. Playing the changes was my main goal in starting lessons. I've been a blues/rock (occasional country) box pattern and stolen lick guy up until now.

    We've started working on coming up with licks and lines over the changes, rather than just the straight scales and arpeggios. It's still very challenging for me, even at slow tempos.

    I have a lesson in couple of hours and we'll be working on AL again, along with a Joe Pass solo. I can tell that I'm making progress, especially in the last month or so. But it's slow going.

    One of the challenges for me is trying to avoid memorization. I'm bad enough that when I stumble onto something good, my brain and fingers really want to do that again the next time through, and it quickly becomes just another memorized part instead of improvisation. My teacher says not to worry too much about that at this point. But I still do.
    The Superchops practice regimen on which this current thread of David’s is loosely based, requires you to play slow enough that you don’t make any mistakes, starting out with a constant stream of eighth notes. This was particularly challenging for me because some of the changes that were presented from the very beginning were way more complex than what I was used to. But I slowed the metronome down to the mid 30s and was basically able to hang. over time, I was able to increase my tempo up towards 70 bpm.

    And now, in this thread, without the rhythmic restrictions of the strict superchops regimen, playing at normal and increasing tempos, I’m finding that I actually improved by leaps and bounds. Playing ridiculously slowly brings its own challenges but even if you’re just focusing on one or two notes per chord, I think there’s something for you to learn. Intimidating yes, but dive in, go as slowly as you need to, and have fun. You’ll make mistakes, certainly, but the important thing is to learn from them.
    Last edited by wzpgsr; 10-05-2017 at 12:04 PM.

  16. #65

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    Just to continue a bit from my previous post. Take the opening 251 of autumn leaves. Let’s say you’ve got your metronome set at 48 bpm, which is where I started. Can you find a note that sounds good over each chord of that 251? Just a single note repeated over all three chords? If so, what can you do with that single note rhythmically over each of the cords? Starting on different strong beats, weak beats can you make it swing? Can you make it swing by just playing quarter notes? Eighth notes? How does the swing feel change if you’re hearing triplets to keep time instead of eighth or quarter notes? How does that same single note sound over the minor 251s? What does it sound like over the two bars of descending two fives? Maybe you play an entire chorus just with that one note, just experimenting with different rhythms. Maybe throughout the 10 minute solo, you’ll play four or five courses. Maybe on the second chorus, you introduce a second note that sounds good. It could be a chromatic approach from below, it could be a chord tone. Whatever. Maybe you just alternate back-and-forth between the two notes, listening, and trying to translate the rhythms you hear in your head, into music. Maybe you sing along the rhythms that you hear in your head.

    There’s a great Peter Bernstein video where he’s working with another guitar player in what I believe is a clinic setting. They’re playing some tune at a pretty fast tempo, and the student is obviously intimidated and let’s Bernstein know this. Bernstein says something like well you’ve got to have something to say, it doesn’t necessarily need to be fast or flashy, just find something to say and say it. That could be one note!
    Last edited by wzpgsr; 10-05-2017 at 12:18 PM.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    The idea of a tune a week is pretty daunting, but I might try it. I started proper lessons about a year ago and we have worked on Autumn Leaves a lot, along with just a few other tunes. I've been playing guitar for 25 years, but it's still taken me the better part of this last year just to be able to run scales or arpeggios over the changes of Autumn Leaves consistently. Playing the changes was my main goal in starting lessons. I've been a blues/rock (occasional country) box pattern and stolen lick guy up until now.

    We've started working on coming up with licks and lines over the changes, rather than just the straight scales and arpeggios. It's still very challenging for me, even at slow tempos.

    I have a lesson in couple of hours and we'll be working on AL again, along with a Joe Pass solo. I can tell that I'm making progress, especially in the last month or so. But it's slow going.

    One of the challenges for me is trying to avoid memorization. I'm bad enough that when I stumble onto something good, my brain and fingers really want to do that again the next time through, and it quickly becomes just another memorized part instead of improvisation. My teacher says not to worry too much about that at this point. But I still do.
    Working with a good teacher is an amazing experience. I hope you can find that what you do with your lessons goes well with what we do here.
    I've never been one to learn by licks, but I am a big advocate of developing a good ear and the knowledge of what it is you're hearing. From there I think it's really exciting to create your own licks.
    There were two threads that this one grew out of. One was the Howard Roberts Super Chops, and the other was based on the Greg Fishman etudes. Both of them held with the belief that applying and developing your own ear and vocabulary is just as effective as anything else you can do.

    There's no real guideline to how you approach these tunes, but I've chosen them carefully (52 tunes for a year if we follow through) and I'll include study notes and tips for each tune and a THURSDAY SHARE AND HANG post for each piece so we can pool our helpful insights. Ask questions about anything here. Let's create an amazing pool of collective knowledge. Each question you ask is one someone didn't know how to ask. I guarantee that.

    Really though, once we do a few, you'll begin to see how they all connect to each other, and it becomes closer to a theme and variation for each new addition.

    Glad you're aboard. Develop your ear, be aware of the tonal environment and you will become a better player.

    I've known a LOT of good players. I'm lucky to know some great players. I'll honestly say that I believe the thing that makes a player great is they're the ones that love it enough that they never gave up. They're constantly learning.
    A tune a week is one way to keep that process fresh.

    David

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    The idea of a tune a week is pretty daunting, but I might try it.
    No it actually fits into the Howard Roberts approach that GIT was founded on. It might not be enough time and you make yourself stop at the end of the week. The next week, next song you find ways to get more done. Over a few weeks suddenly a week is more than enough time. You also have learn to control turn on and off focusing on getting something done. You've learned to learn faster.

    At GIT it wasn't week HR gave us it was tasks all during the day. Work on this assignment/exercise for 15 minutes, then move to the next. Next day might be work on similar exercise but only have 14 minutes the times were all different. But in long run you learned with I'm in my practice mode, I'm focused, and getting work done. HR also stressed have breaks at certain intervals and what to do on the break. HR really understood how the brain learns.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    I've never been one to learn by licks, but I am a big advocate of developing a good ear and the knowledge of what it is you're hearing. From there I think it's really exciting to create your own licks.
    Just to be clear, when I said my teacher and I have started working on licks and lines, I mean creating my own. Not stock licks. I probably should have said "phrasing". I just mean getting away from running scales and arpeggios, and getting into making music...while still sticking to the changes, resolving to chord tones etc.

    You guys weren't kidding when you say you practice slow. I've been trying to work on these lines this week at 60 bpm, and it sounds like that might be too fast? I have a hard time hearing the melody over the changes when it's much slower than that. And when I lose the melody in my head, things fall apart quickly.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by morroben
    Just to be clear, when I said my teacher and I have started working on licks and lines, I mean creating my own. Not stock licks. I probably should have said "phrasing". I just mean getting away from running scales and arpeggios, and getting into making music...while still sticking to the changes, resolving to chord tones etc.

    You guys weren't kidding when you say you practice slow. I've been trying to work on these lines this week at 60 bpm, and it sounds like that might be too fast? I have a hard time hearing the melody over the changes when it's much slower than that. And when I lose the melody in my head, things fall apart quickly.
    Well, I think my case is an extreme example. And you’re absolutely right, there are certain challenges to practicing that slow, but the thing is, it somehow all comes together. Like Dr. bop says, it’s a new way of learning, and you have to learn how to learn. My experiences with the super chops program, over 20 weeks, have left no doubt in my mind that working through, struggling through tunes is to me, the absolute most effective use of my time.

  21. #70

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    Well... Here is my take on the AL and my very first recording shared here actually. Still learning this stuff out. All feedback and advices would be very helpful. I'm here to learn. I would say that this clip captures where I am as player. Still beginner and much work to do with basics (rhythm, time, etc.). In solo I try to make the changes, but it's pretty mindless noodling.


  22. #71

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    I thought that sounded pretty darn good. It didn’t really sound like noodling either. During your improvisations, I could tell that you were playing Autumn Leaves, and not just noodling over 251s. That, to me, can be a big challenge.

  23. #72

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    Screw it, first take, press record whatever comes out, comes out no thinking.


  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Sorry for the double, but I also have an idea on how to construct a solo.

    This works (for me, anyway) when I can feel the changes and find the chord tones without too much thought.

    At home, strum the chords and sing a solo. If you sing a line you like, figure out how to play it.

    On the bandstand, let the other instruments influence what you're singing in your mind. A good way is to start the solo sparsely. Leave some space and pay attention to the other instruments. The drummer may give you rhythmic ideas. Same for the piano. If the bass is playing a busy pattern, figure you'll need to stay simpler. And, the reverse. You may remember a lick from the soloist before you -- and you can try to incorporate it.

    When you start sparsely, it makes it easier to build the solo up. My best advice is to sing to yourself and try to play what you're singing.

    If you get bored with your own sung lines, then it's time to do some transcription or use some theory to generate some ideas.
    I've often said that it's good to listen to the wrap up of the last soloist and react to that. Then you can really improvise, and better yet converse---get out of your own head.

    There was a guy back in NY who I played with sometimes, and not by choice b/c he was in such a hurry to play what I guess he thought was some happening stuff he stepped on the end of MY little safari---and EVERY time. Music killer...
    Last edited by fasstrack; 10-05-2017 at 05:43 PM.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhui
    Well... Here is my take on the AL and my very first recording shared here actually. Still learning this stuff out. All feedback and advices would be very helpful. I'm here to learn. I would say that this clip captures where I am as player. Still beginner and much work to do with basics (rhythm, time, etc.). In solo I try to make the changes, but it's pretty mindless noodling.

    Yeah, but you get a sound----a beautiful one. That's half the battle---at least. A good sound makes people want to hear more...

  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    GREAT ideas! This is what I was hoping we'd find when I started this whole thing.
    rpjazzguitar, when you mentioned transcribing, it brought back a really important day. I was in school, a jazz ensemble with vibes player Dave Samuels. We'd get assigned a piece which we'd play in class. Then our assignment was to write a solo during that week. David
    Some time back I had a teacher assign something similar. He had me write out some solo ideas. He added a rule, which is that the lines had to have chord tones on the strong beats.

    I wrote some out and, perhaps surprisingly, I still use one of them.

    To put this in context, I have spent far longer periods of practice time learning other people's licks - with very few really getting into my playing.

    Also, somehow, actually writing it down in standard notation may have helped my retention. I strum chords and sing lines all the time -- and none of that seems to stick.

    I've also noticed that I'm more likely to retain something that somebody shows me in person, compared to reading it in a book or even copying it off a record. That doesn't make sense, but it's the way it works for me.

    An aside: the strumming and singing thing -- last night I tried it with the first few bars of Out of Nowhere. The lines I sang were much more interesting than the lines I played without singing. Even on two bars of Gmaj7. I really should do more of that!

    The implication for soloing is interesting. Do I need more work on theory or transcription? Or, maybe first, I should work on letting my mind lead my fingers instead of the other way around. Apparently, I can already hear, in my mind, better ideas than the ones I tend to play. I need to catch up to my own ideas.