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Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Beiaga » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:55 am

Before I ask this, I realize:
1. There's no magic, nothing replaces time spent practicing
2. The ability to read notation and understanding theory can never be overstated

Ok, here's my deal: After playing R&R/country/blues for 40 years I'm in a Jazz/Swing band and can't keep up with the chords. I bought Alfred's book one, basic music theory and I'm starting to read. Also got Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry, Charlton Johnson's Swing and Big Band (Freddie Green) book, and others.

Single notes, soloing are no problem for me- I can hang with the best of them. What I want is to be a good Rhythm player, voicings, inversions, alterations, etc.

Do I need lessons, do I just keep practicing (I do, every day) and it will come?

All comments welcome. First gig 10/7!
Thanks, take care
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:51 am

I'm just a little further down the line than you with this.

Practicing will help, try to work out which sequences turn up regularly (e.g. II V I turnarounds) and learn them in the usual keys.

Lessons will help but only if you find a good teacher, I had a couple years ago who were great players but could not break what they were doing down well enough for me to understand it.

If this is a Big Band they will be playing arrangements so just learn the arrangements. If you are expected to improvise when comping then that's a bigger ask. I spent 8 years in a restaurant band (piano, guitar, bass and drums) back in the '80s and had to play from charts. I could get something workable by the end of the first verse, it often wasn't pretty or sophisticated but got the job done but our standards were necessarily quite low ;)

I'm better now (much due to my ongoing Gypsy Jazz obsession) but still can't do substitutions/alterations etc on the fly but have a good enough knowledge of the chords to make a reasonable job of most tunes.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:32 pm

Beiaga wrote:Before I ask this, I realize:
1. There's no magic, nothing replaces time spent practicing
2. The ability to read notation and understanding theory can never be overstated

Ok, here's my deal: After playing R&R/country/blues for 40 years I'm in a Jazz/Swing band and can't keep up with the chords. I bought Alfred's book one, basic music theory and I'm starting to read. Also got Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry, Charlton Johnson's Swing and Big Band (Freddie Green) book, and others.

Single notes, soloing are no problem for me- I can hang with the best of them. What I want is to be a good Rhythm player, voicings, inversions, alterations, etc.

Do I need lessons, do I just keep practicing (I do, every day) and it will come?

All comments welcome. First gig 10/7!
Thanks, take care

Keep practicing, but in a focused way. Chord improvisation is just like lines improvisation, you don't make thing up from scratch but have building blocks that you put together in different ways - varying progression, timing, sound, played strings etc.

So you want to practice the building blocks, the passages between one and the other and get a feel on how they sound and can be made to sound.

A key to this (for me) is very simple: remember the names of the chord shapes in the different voicings and position, so that when I read "Csomething" I can chose which C I want to play and where without much thinking, and no effort in fingering the shape.

However, unless I know the song extremely well, I find it difficult not to read the progression - I can either think ahead about the harmonic progression or about which chord would sound reasonably good, but not on both :D

It's not something that I've ever practiced a lot however, which means that I still have to think a little too much when deciding which substitution to use..
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby MOF » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:59 pm

Here’s a semi flippant answer :D It’s Jazz, so do what feels right to you.
Reading up about proscribed chords seems to be going against the spirit of jazz.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Wonks » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:01 pm

MOF wrote:Here’s a semi flippant answer :D It’s Jazz, so do what feels wrong to you.

There, FTFY. :D
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:35 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap: :bouncy:

Contrary to popular belief , Jazz has rules too. Like the rules in other genres they are routinely broken of course but they are there all the same.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Wonks » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:37 pm

Rule 1. There are no rules.

Rule 2. See rule 1.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby MOF » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:07 pm

Contrary to popular belief , Jazz has rules too. Like the rules in other genres they are routinely broken of course but they are there all the same.

My knowledge of Jazz is that you take a composition and then extemporise on it, usually in a structured way e. g. each instrumentalist takes it in turn to do their solo over x amount of bars, but other than that it’s the basic song structure and up to each musician to hint at the original but do their own thing.
Sting said (I read), paraphrased here, that until he decides what bass note to play, no one knows what inversion the chord will be.
In answer to the OP I would reiterate, don’t obsess over doing what is expected, if you do root chords everywhere that would be different in a Jazz context where lots of crushed inversions are expected.
Personally, I find a lot of Jazz is, like prog’ rock, more about showing off musical prowess and not about the composition.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:17 pm

Wonks wrote:Rule 1. There are no rules.

Rule 2. See rule 1.

:bouncy:

Rule 3. There is no rule 3

Rule 4. See Rule 2
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby GilesAnt » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:31 pm

There are a lot of different jazz styles, and while there are no rules as such there are conventions and styles which are appropriate to each. You often hear about the so-called rules of music/harmony etc, but where are these rules supposedly set out?

One thing that is apparent is that the best jazz musicians do have a superb knowledge of harmony, you don't necessarily have to get this from a book though.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:46 pm

I grew up on jazz, the more experimental the greater the appeal.
But the Jazz cats who had more "rules" under their fingers always blew me away more when they played "outside"
There were some exceptions of course by those few who had the exceptional gift, but not that many in my listening adventures.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:08 pm

Playing 'outside' is impossible if you don't know where 'inside' is * ;)

Basically though, you have to know the rules before you can break them and it remain music, without rules all you have is cacophony. Every style of music has it's subset of rules, even Avantgarde (though those rules probably all start with "don't")

* I play outside a lot, some of it is even intentional :D
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby GilesAnt » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:33 pm

Seriously...there are no rules. There are ways of describing certain styles, that's as near as it gets really.

I think I understand what you are getting at though. Master your art before you go freestyle...something like that.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:41 pm

Being in or near Boston I would think you would have access to some of the most accomplished players in the jazz world with Berklee and all that. If you can find one who inspires you and has a teaching method that works for you then nothing can beat that magical combo.

I’ve never checked out online lessons but maybe that is an option, but being an old guy I lean to the old one on one for my preferred learning, I tend to have too many questions.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:02 am

I play rythm guitar in jazz bands (amongst other things), including big bands.


For big band:

Listen to Freddy Green

Get this book: https://www.amazon.com/Swing-Big-Band-G ... 0793573815

Learn the rythm chord voicings in that book. That is root,third or fifth on the Low E string, and thirds, fifths or sevenths on the D and G string. Just use those 3 strings.

Then go back and listen to Freddy Green again and learn how to play little tenor lines with the note on the D string like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7i6S4_vi3g

Your job is (in this order)
1) Keep the band moving - Wind players ALWAYS slow down - push them. This will sound like you are ahead of the beat because you are always ahead of THEIR beat.
2) Play a chord on top of the bass players note
3) Make the harmonic motion of the note on the D string melodic as the chords change
4) Don't worry about the extended chord notes (flat 13, etc). The band will voice those. Just play root fifths thirds and sevenths.
5) If it just the rythm section, then voice the extended chord notes.
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Arpangel » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:49 am

I've only got one thing to say about Jazz...

"NNNICE!"

Sorry, couldn't resist it...

:D
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:59 am

Arpangel wrote:I've only got one thing to say about Jazz...

"NNNICE!"

Sorry, couldn't resist it...

:D

"Oh yeah" (3:11)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpmOTGungnA
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby zenguitar » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:29 pm

All the wrong notes in all the right places ;)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:21 pm

While watching the first video I turned on CC by mistake. CC doesn’t appear to use spell check. Some very funny typos. Bach corrals anyone?
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Re: Jazz guitar newbie advice

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:29 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi27zn7YNFo

Rythm section: Unlegislated division of power
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