Miscellaneous Rumbles

Hey Uncle Grumpy - Did you PRACTICE today?


I always enjoy playing with musicians that can play rings around me (that's most of them) because it makes me work harder and inspires me to do my best. Plus, you always learn a couple of new licks to add to your arsenal.


Back to serious work on the jazz catalog. Busy applying Wes' 3 tiered concept to solos over tunes like "Shadow of Your Smile", "Night & Day" and "Impressions". Also listening to a lot of Kenny Burrell (Midnight Blue) and some classic Benson (White Rabbit) for flavor and inspiration. When in doubt - check out the greats!8-)


Improvising chord solos ain't easy. But it's definitely worth the effort. 8-o 8-)


yeah, thats a tough order, indeed. bowing to you that youre taking that on!

did you ever plow through the VanEps books? those are supposed to be the definitive tome for some of that, along with Ted Greenes "Chord Chemistry"...


Hey Mustafa! I am indeed familiar with those books though I have never used, i.e. adopted either one for in-depth study. Greene's book in particular is just too overwhelming in scope to even consider unless you are a serious sucker for punishment. Both men tended to approach chord soloing from a somewhat pianistic standpoint. I've always felt this was a limiting kind of approach vis-a-vis general accessibility/playability to the fretboard. Though both were great players in their own right.

Just to set the record straight, chord soloing is something I've been developing for years. My personal approach is, I believe, far more practical and direct in nature than the approach I've found in any particular manual. Not to say I have not gained valuable insight and some good techniques from various sources along the way. But I have been very specific in the ones I've gleaned from whomever. Like Wes' approach, I like to take a more 'guitaristic', slightly more free wheeling attitude that allows me to improvise chord solos at all (reasonable) tempos. Perhaps not quite as refined harmonically as Eps or Greene, but definitely effective. Actually, been thinking of putting some of my own ideas on the subject down. But so far I've been too busy just trying to apply myself...8-)


Wow, I can't even imagine how to do that. It seems like you have to think in four dimensions, and quickly too. I can barely manage two...

Anyway, I'm trying to work myself back on the guitar now. I just spent a few moments noodling over Sweet Georgia Brown. Funny tune, it practically plays itself after a while. I can understand why the early jazz musicians loved to play it so much; it's a very rewarding chord sequence to go hunting for swinging phrases and licks in. Perhaps not so funny for the audience, though, to hear it all the time. But they had the decency to amuse themselves back then, by dancing with each other. :)


One of the key tricks to chord soloing, I feel, is to first think/listen/hear an interesting (and not necessarily intricate or fast moving) melodic line. Maybe something that moves along at a couple of notes per bar to begin with. Aim for simple 2 or four bar phrases. Then, use the highlights (usually chord tones) of these lines as target notes for chord voicings you both enjoy and can easily get your fingers around. After that you can begin to add passing notes, diads, or additional color tones to flesh out the harmonic value of the line you are trying to create. You do NOT have to harmonize every note. In fact, trying to do so at faster speeds is often, I feel, counterproductive...8-)


General, you play in another league! But I think I understand what you say, theoretically...

For people in the early stages of playing jazz, as myself, I do recommend Sweet Georgia Brow. Both for the fun of playing it and for the educational value, or how you should put it. At moderate speed, of course. No need to rush things.

Anyway, Gen Lee, there's a battle going on, between our respective heroes, Django Reinhardt vs. Wes Montgomery Link...

I personally don't understand this at all. I feel that Django speaks to me, but I'm really not able to say that either of them is better than the other. On the contrary, the whole point is that we have both of them, and many others. Isn't it?


Uncle G, what have you been doing instead? More important things, I presume. Or are you trying to stay away a bit, just to be able to return to guitar playing with a fresh mind?


Been working on my house. I'm taking a break tonight, so I may get some time with my guitars.


Working on your house seems reasonable. You've made progress; just lean back and enjoy making some music when you find the time!


I have been in the mood to write a blues tune. Maybe tonight. Let's see, Got up this mornin' .......:D


...an my back hurt like hell....... :D


Not really practice. Been playing for about 3 hours. Set a blues station on Pandora, cranked it all the way and did a kind of call and respond with whichever song came up. This is how I chill and re- center. I'm gonna take tomorrow off and do more of the same. Hell, gonna do more now.


Not really practice? Hmm. Many years ago I discovered that a lot of my technique was coming directly from the tunes I was playing. Invariably, I found myself reaching for things beyond myself whenever I was jamming, or trying to play a tune I liked for the first time. Plus, by playing stuff I actually liked, it allowed me to stay focused for longer periods of time. Finally, playing actual songs would then inspire me to find and practice the techniques behind a given solo or chord progression found in various tunes (see T-Mans comment above re: Sweet Georgia Brown). By playing with people better than you (i.e. your heroes of the day), you learn by Osmosis. Never a bad thing Grumps.8-)


Couldn't make the connection to the Django vs Wes link T-Man. But no matter. Django, Wes, Christian, Tal, Benson, Burrell, Pass, (insert other favorite here) probably wouldn't have much time for such inane didactic-ism. They'd be too busy having fun jamming with each other and creating shared artistic statement. "You gonna play that Gretsch or whistle Dixie?"8-)


It's a guitar magazine poll. They do it like a tennis tournament, two guitarists against each other until there are just two left for the final on the centre court. Another match was between George Harrison and Neil Young. You get it. It's so silly it's almost worth a thread of it's own. But we've had a few of those already, haven't we?

I've heard those stories about musical geniuses, the most advanced for their era, who meet for once and arrange to lock themselves in and play for hours in some sort of musical scientific laboratory experiment. Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke, Django and the pioneer swing accordionist Gus Viseur.

What's that Gretsch/Dixie quote? What does it mean?


It's from the Clint Eastwood movie "The Outlaw Josie Wales". Clint, a wanted "war criminal" for the south, suddenly confronts several Yankee soldiers who for a moment or two are awestruck that they are now facing a desperate and deadly outlaw. After a few seconds of sizing them up for the showdown, Eastwood quips "Are you boy gonna pull them pistols, or whistle Dixie?" You can guess what happens next.8-)

I use it here as a tongue in cheek reference to a couple of good ole boys (Wes & Django) who are about to partake in an artistically deadly duel of musical showdownsmanship...


Aha! I've seen far too few films. This happens all the time. :)


I've had the flu and am just beginning to come back to normal life, well almost. 8-o Yesterday I picked up the Gretsch and had some more fun with Sweet Georgia Brown; it feels so smooth and comfortable to play an electric guitar once in a while! Today I felt I need to attack another tune. I picked Oh Lady Be Good for two reasons: 1) it's on the Django LP that's currently on my turntable (I'm too lazy to change it) and 2) there's an arpeggio exercise over those chord changes in a booklet I have. I've never liked the tune that much, but as long as I can learn a few more things...


glad your feeling better T-Man. Yeah, one thing you have to say about Gretsch guitars is that they do feel smooth and comfortable. Kinda like a '66 Chevy Impala. :)


That's right. Most electric guitar are easier to play; low action, volume taken care of with the help of an amp etc. However, Gretsch guitars have an extra smoothness to them. I only have an Electromatic hollowbody though. It's very comfortable, but I've tried a Setzer Hot Rod model in a music store once and I swear it was as smooth as two Chevy Impalas and a Citroën DS! If I had a reason to play electric I'd be thinking of stepping up to a pro model.


Aaah! Is it the Hilotron model? I notice the Bigsby is in anti-boioioiong position. But you do use it, sometimes?

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