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Blues improvisation over chord changes

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Tomo, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Include maybe jazz blues and beyond.

    Please give any simple (less is more!) idea for blues improvisation.

    I love blues so much. I see some guys are trouble or not fully enjoy soloing over blues? Repetitive? and all that.

    For me... it's really important to be a great listener first. Pick one or two cds, listen to that (nothing else) for 3 months at least. Soak music with you and music will stay inside of you.. then sing them, copy them. but keep it simple. There are more ideas follow that...

    By the way, I really liked Gene's comment... Hope you don't mind to paste here..Gene? Actually when I was a student at Berklee... I have spent my time with Gene... I have learned a lot from him about passion for jazz.

    Thanks,


    Tomo

    >><<
    One of the best way to learn how to play over changes is:

    1)Transcribe a simple solo on a tune. However, make sure it is a good solo. Learn to play said solo. Get it under your hands. This way, you'll know what a good solo "feels like" on your instrument.

    2)Try writing out a solo using your theory knowledge and play it. This way, you'll know where you are at "brain" wise.

    3)Develop your ear! Really, this is the most important on learning how to play on changes. You have to be able to hear changes before you can really play on them.

    And on and on it goes. A guru told me that 50 years is the time it takes to learn how to really play. Unless of course you are a genius type, but then you wouldn't ask if you were.
    __________________
    Gene Ess
    www.myspace.com/jazzgenemusic
    www.jazzgenemusic.com
     
  2. Ang3lus

    Ang3lus Member

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    when i start an improv i usually start with pentaonics using the normal 1-3-5 of the chords, lately i've been delving more into voice leading over chords while improvising (start on 1 of 1 chord, finish on the 3 of the 4 chord going to the 5 of the 5 then to the 1 of 1, 5 of the 4 chord, then chrom my way up to the 7 of the 1)

    to move between the I7 and IV7 I use small diminished runs (picked that up from Scott henderson and robben ford), it makes everything so much cooler.

    usually after i've established a "motif" i play around with the dorian scale over each chord (minor progression) and the mixolydian/major scales.

    I also try superimposing pentatonics over the chords, with major i use the 1 5 and 6 (which gives you the major pentatonic)

    these are mostly ideas for the major scale, it seems more forgiving than the minor scale, I don't have many ideas for the minor scales, I go around the pentoatonics and using alot of arpeggios with chromatic establishing ideas.

    after i'm done with all that I use some rhythm ideas.


    this doesn't end does it ? :O
     
  3. mykljpao

    mykljpao Member

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    Since getting back into playing after a LONG layoff, I have felt strongly that the essence of any great solo is that you are playing a melody and then expanding upon the orignal motif. We all lapse into fav patterns from time to time and we all like to show off our current level of flash occassionally but amidst the technical "exercising" I always want to hear something as if it were being sung. My tech and theory chops are nowhere near where they should be....so this is probably a lame form of rationalization but I rarely think in terms of what scale to play and think more about melodic and intervalic components. When I do approach things from a more technical standpoint, I always try to avoid playing strictly pentatonically. I prefer the notion that "there are 12 notes" and they all have a place even if only as quick passing tones between chord tones. And that doesn't even take into consideration bending into the microtones in-between.
    BTW: Tomo, with the way you play blues, most of the rest of us should be just sitting around listening to what YOU have to say, lol.
     
  4. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Thanks for your tips. There are many ways and no end! Bottomless!

    Guitar is so much fun! Even just looking at.... beautiful!

    Sometime I try not to think any scale patten or knowledge and try to follow the sound that I heard before... try to use less notes and more space.

    Albert King sound and B.B. King sound with less notes.

    Rhythm ideas... Yes.. mucho more!

    Thanks,

    Tomo
     
  5. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Thanks for your kind words. Sorry to hear about your lay off. So sorry.

    Good points and thanks for your tips for everyone here at TGP.

    Melodic idea is very important and I like to stay same position to say more... Speaking about bending! Try to bend from 2-b3 or M3.. there are
    many interesting place and.... you can bend with your 3rd finger... 1st finger... Lately (one way to approach) I suggest my students to play only 3 notes and make some melodic phrase with a lot of bending and vibrato.

    Thanks again. It's so much fun to play guitar.... Not only one way to play...
    less notes, more feel... sometime you can just fool around with only triads or only Rt37 groove etc. Yes, having good techniques will help you playing too. Have them and you are ready... You don't have to show off(techniques)

    Tomo
     
  6. mykljpao

    mykljpao Member

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    HA! Tomo, you're such a nice guy. Your sympathy is misplaced, however. My layoff was a 10 year hiatus from playing guitar (self inflicted); band ended and needed a break, built a house, put my energies into martial arts, whitewater kayaking, rock and ice climbing...had to get away from irresponsible musicians and their drama, lol. Everytime I picked up a guitar it felt wrong and only lasted a half hour at best. One day I woke up and just HAD to play again. Knew what I wanted to play and how I wanted it to sound. Took awhile to get back to where I could almost get my fingers to do what I wanted. Came back to music with a maturity and focus that was missing before and find it much more fulfillng than ever. Thankfully, my job in the real world has been and looks to be secure for the foreseeable future.
    And now I can almost afford the gear that I couldn't when younger.
    Bob Brozman has advocated taking a portion of practice time and specifically devoting it to rhythmic ideas. Melody is only half of the equation if things are boring rhythmically. The fewer notes, the more important rhythmic variety becomes. Didn't Miles say that "music is the space between the notes"?
    In spite of your obvious technical skills, it is your feel that comes through so strongly when I've heard you play blues. btw: are you playing blues ukelele yet??
     
  7. jhvox

    jhvox Member

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    Great suggestion. Which one or two CDs would you recommend for blues, Tomo?
     
  8. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Hi Mike, Thanks for your kind words. Sorry! No worry! You can start your guitar anytime and age doesn't matter at all too! Guitar is very interesting.. If you learn this instrument well.. you have no time to improve your playing skills. Interesting! I used to do Karate when I was teen... my karate teacher was great jazz player! He owns 2 Gibson Super 400!!! He taught me how to play jazz first.
    Yes, less is more and melody is important.. but if you only play it in your favorite key, strings set.. not good! Before anything... you (not you..) need to build strong foundation so you will keep improving. I haven't play my Ukelele lately.

    Tomo
     

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