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  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Please don't take this the wrong way, and I certainly don't mean to tell you or anyone else how to approach playing, but:

    I'm a little troubled when you say 'we really can't hang with them'. That could be a self-limiting conclusion for us, since the vocab of our music originates from the horn and piano players. Yes, horns can't do what we do, and, yes, I appreciate and love the unique qualities of our instrument, like the orchestral aspects you broach when you mention chords. Of course you are right.

    But the direction of jazz guitar since Charlie Christian as a soloing instrument has been in large part transferring info from the leading sax and trumpet players to guitar, then combining that with our resources, i.e. chords or just more than one note at a time. I think the master bebop soloists you bring up did that. Early in the game Jimmy Raney was processing Charlie Parker and using that 'simulated air column' concept where a guitarist doesn't pick every note, but glisses; uses dynamics and touch and phrases in a way where it sounds like breathing. Many others since him have picked up the gauntlet.

    For me it's not like we have to 'hang with them' or that our instrument is inferior to play jazz on---or that we should ignore our own proud tradition. It's more like that's that's where the advanced improvising info is. Think about it: we came late to the party as soloists. Though there were exceptions we mainly didn't really advance from rhythm section roles to being considered jazz soloists until after the advent of pickups. The 1st recorded amplified guitar solos in jazz were by Eddie Durham, in the late '30s. Coleman Hawkins and Pops were out there setting standards for every instrument as early as the early '20s. (Then there was a learning curve even for accomplished players after that, which took some time). Since there weren't really guitar innovators recording solos that early, when it came our turn to 'speak' naturally we gravitated to the horn players.

    It's just the way I view it after years of listening and playing. Again, no slam on your views. I hear you loud and clear. It ain't easy...
    I hear ya Joel. I prefer, and frankly think that most people prefer, the sound of the guitar anyway. But every instrument has its strengths and weaknesses, or key characteristics if you like. Playing a stringed instrument with a plectrum (as opposed to a bow) has its constraints. OTOH, we had Holdsworth.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    I hear ya Joel. I prefer, and frankly think that most people prefer, the sound of the guitar anyway. But every instrument has its strengths and weaknesses, or key characteristics if you like. Playing a stringed instrument with a plectrum (as opposed to a bow) has its constraints. OTOH, we had Holdsworth.
    Here's an enlightening incident:

    Benny Golson was taking questions at an IAJE clinic. He was talking about the jazz vocabulary generally. I asked him, based on the points I made above:

    'How do you think instruments like the guitar figure into this, where the learning curve (to do what you guys do) is steeper?'

    'I bought a guitar once. I was attracted to the sound and thought I could maybe write better for it if I played it some. But the learning curve was too steep. I sold it'...

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Here's an enlightening incident:

    Benny Golson was taking questions at an IAJE clinic. He was talking about the jazz vocabulary generally. I asked him, based on the points I made above:

    'How do you think instruments like the guitar figure into this, where the learning curve (to do what you guys do) is steeper?'

    'I bought a guitar once. I was attracted to the sound and thought I could maybe write better for it if I played it some. But the learning curve was too steep. I sold it'...
    I think the guitar is one of the easiest instruments to play well at a low level, but one of the hardest instruments to play well at a high level. For about 10 years, I doubled on the Sax (alto mostly). I was amazed at how much easier progress was on that instrument compared to the guitar. In the end, I felt that I could not serve two masters and so I gave up the sax.

    Playing jazz guitar well is a bitch. That said, I am still working on it.

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I think the guitar is one of the easiest instruments to play well at a low level, but one of the hardest instruments to play well at a high level. For about 10 years, I doubled on the Sax (alto mostly). I was amazed at how much easier progress was on that instrument compared to the guitar. In the end, I felt that I could not serve two masters and so I gave up the sax.

    Playing jazz guitar well is a bitch. That said, I am still working on it.
    I have heard that often, or a variant of it. One of the easiest to play poorly, one of the toughest to master.

    The head of the guitar department at Dick Grove's school told us that the guitar was the third most difficult "melodic instrument" to master, after (2) the violin and (1) the harp.

    I know very little about the violin and virtually nothing about the harp.
    Last edited by Donplaysguitar; 11-29-2021 at 05:22 PM.

  6. #30

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    I have found that playing other instruments (mandolin, violin, tenor and five string banjo) breaks me out of ruts when trying to emulate saxophone lines: When I come back to guitar, I bring some of the stuff back from my other instruments. The interval leaps you can get on a tenor banjo are similar to some of the moves horn players do; in fact, I learned a lot when I took up the tenor by playing along to Art Pepper records.

    Rob, have you thought about trying some of Bird’s heads on tenor banjo?

  7. #31

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    I think that might be even harder…Fewer string crossings, maybe…