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George Benson method, Peter Farrell

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by ipm, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. ipm

    ipm Member

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    As some of you know, I'm Peter's student for 2 years now and I decided to write about my experience with Peter's teachings. Also, I would like to add that I've started similar thread on Jazz guitar forum, so most information that I will share will be on both forums, although I expect that the discussion will be probably different.

    Before I start first few disclaimers: - my English is what it is, sorry - my goal is to show you guys what this method is all about, but I can't go very deep into it because I can't and I don't want to. If you want deep, contact Peter. - I'm NOT trying to convince you that this method is the best (altough I personally think so), I'm just trying to show what it is. - my comments are based on more than 110 Facebook group lessons, couple of skype lessons with Peter and 2 Complimentary books about the Rhythm I acquired from Peter. - please leave your arguments, bad manner and nasty language out of this thread. - maybe I'll add few more disclaimers later on because I can, I'm the OP.
    So, let's start...
     
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  2. ipm

    ipm Member

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    First I would like to talk generally about the method, what it brings, how different is, what's so innovate in it etc. So, generally it can be said that this method is assembled to show how George Benson plays. But, after learning this you will not be a copy of George, what you will learn is how to think like him. George is a musical genius who managed to convert all the complicated things to very simple ones. He made some crazy breakthroughs in technique, internalization and expression of music, harmonic understanding, rhythm and phrasing and who knows what. He is also known as a player who practiced for years more than 10 hours per a day. So, practice, practice, practice and practice. Peter also stress this too, if you want to learn how to play you MUST practice every day and you must practice the same stuff every day. Following stuff you've got to practice until you can forget about it and play (because you will use this to express your self musically) : - left/right hand technique related stuff - scales fingering and picking (but the way GB plays them), triads, tetrads, staccato playing, other picking excercises like bee picking, rest stroke etc. - subdivisions ABC's - this one is from the Complementary books about the rhythm. - scat singing - wording, listen to GB, Jon Hendrix and other cats singing/scating. IF YOU CAN SING IT, YOU CAN PLAY IT. Always practice this alone at first then apply it to song. Don't play whole song at the beggining, just the part you want to practice your stuff on. More soon...
     
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  3. ipm

    ipm Member

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    Development of Secret of two chords

    Secret of two chords actually is two fold, it revels neck visualisation trick and starting point for developing harmonic richness.

    A) Neck visualisation trick shows how GB splits the neck in 5 positions. In every of those positions Peter executes major, minor, diminished, melodic and harmonic minor etc.



    In video above he shows one line per position (only major and minor), but in his lessons he explains how to easily create thousands of them in major, minor, melodic and harmonic minor etc. The trick here is that player needs to remember only major and relative minor position and not, like for example in CAGED system 5 different major (nothing against CAGED). So, its less thing to remember and flow is easier and quicker.

    Here are 5 positions of Secret of two Chords with one line for each position. I`ve included left hand fingering and right hand picking rules. Observe the extensive usage of three fingers in left hand. They are crucial for speed.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ww4a8v3bbqgznqf/Secret of Two Chords.pdf?dl=0



    B) Secondly, related to harmonic richness - since every chord has its relative, by using dominants or sequences or lines that approach those relatives it's an easy way to multiply your choices when soloing. For example: on Dm7 dorian (So what) soloist have following choices (I'll explain it in steps): Step 1 - relatives
    1. Fmaj and Dm
    2. Cmaj (actuall key) and Am.

    Step 2 - dominants
    1. Cmaj-G7 and Am-E7
    2. Fmaj-C7 and Dm-A7

    Step 3 - further development of dominants
    1.G7 - Abm7, Db7, Gbmaj, Bmaj
    2. E7 - Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj, Abmaj
    3. C7 - Dbm7, Gb7, Bmaj, Emaj
    4. A7 - Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj, Dbmaj

    Step 3 can be developed in other ways too. Now, try to play "So what" with all these choices and remember that all of this can be used harmonically and melodically. And this is just the beginning of harmonic possibilities. Another interesting harmonic concept Peter gave us is in the lesson about Harmonic regions. Many classically trained musicians are familiar with Schoenberg harmonic regions. It's similar concept, but with chords that works in jazz. Totally mind blowing lesson. In that lesson he played Blue moon in like 50 different ways. Again, it is possible to use it harmonically and melodically.
    I'll write some other times about Harmonic regions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  4. ipm

    ipm Member

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    Destroying the lines

    In the free video lesson below Peter explains one very impressive, unfortunately almost forgotten knee to knee experience transfer. I'll break it down, but also I will insert also the prerequisites.

    Prerequisites:
    1. Lines, triads and tetrads - using exact fingering and picking. It is crucial to use prescribed fingering and picking and in beginning simple rhythms cells like straight 16th notes. I would divide this part into following practice routines:
    a) major and parallel minor ideas
    b) melodic minor ideas
    c) harmonic minor ideas - ideas with special attention to diminished and augmented triads as connective tissue d) dominant diminished
    e) whole tone (etc.)

    Here you can use major and minor lines from pdf file from my previous post. Later I will add pdf with MM, HM, DD, WT lines, some tetrads, tetrads with step back etc. Always use major and minor parallels.

    2. Harmonic expansion - here you can use superimpositions of "preparation lines" on parallels like I described in Secret of two chords post. There are other possibilities, later I'll write about them too, but for now it is important to understand preparation lines.
    With these two step you should be able play lines with correct fingerings and picking in straight 16th notes. Learn lines one by one and in one key in the beginning. One key because these lines have strong internal logic of fingerings and picking. If practiced in one key in the begining, you can easily see all the possibilities. This is the same for practicing other stuff like chords, octaves etc. Other keys will fall naturally after that. In the begining it is crucial to learn lines played straight and simple. Focus on correct fingerings and picking, connecting the lines, positions. I will write more about harmonic possibilities, more lines, how to connect some lines etc.

    Destroying the lines - This is where the fun starts. Lets break it down.

    3. Learn the rhythmic cell - without the guitar. Here are absolutely necessary Complimentary books about the rhythm Peter and George sells. (Sorry it sounds like bad advertising, but this is the only resource on the planet I encountered with this type of excercises). Here I will give example on 16th notes. You can sing 16th notes as follows:
    1. Ta ga da ga - 4 16th notes without rests,
    2. ti ga da ga - rest on 1 16th note,
    3. Taa da ga - rest on 2 16th note,
    4. Ta gaa ga - rest on 3 16th note,
    5. Ta ga daa - rest on 4 16th note.

    These are just simple examples from the Complementary books. There are excercises for the rest of 16note possibilities, whole, half, quarter notes, triplets, tuplets, triple feel (2 types), compound meter, cut time, rhythmic displacement etc. Its It's absolutely crucial to have this under the hood for any type of music. Musician without this is incomplete. This is great for sight reading too. My personal impression is that these are the super fun exercises that can be practiced without guitar anywhere you are and if you practice just 15 minutes per day (but every day), in 15 days you'll be totally different player. With these exercises you should be able to sing every rhythmic cell with prescribed wording and your understanding of the rhythm will be much deeper.
    But, the wording Peter uses in these books are just the beginning. They are used to help us to understand deeply the rhythmic cells. Its similar as playing lines with just straight 16th notes and the reason is that we have to eliminate all the distracting things in order to learn and memorize the important ones. Here comes the next step.

    4. Change the "ta ga da ga" words (and other from the books) with drum sounds. You should seek to use high and low drum sounds, different letters like letter L etc. With this you start to feel the dynamics and internalization process starts. Although this can be practiced with the metronome, it is the best to practice it with songs that have great rhythm section. I also use drumgenius app a lot. So, you take the exercise Peter showed in the books and you first learn the rhythmic cells using "ta ga da ga" to memorize them. Then you start experimenting changing the tagadaga words with drums sounds like tun, dn, dg, tk, chk, l etc. Than you play the song and sing the exercises Peter showed using drums sounds. (Best fun I ever had practicing the guitar and its accomplished without the guitar! ). When you practice these exercises along the songs with great rhythm section you start to feel every nuance those players played, every micro change in tempo etc. Priceless. This should also be practiced without the guitar.

    5. Include the guitar. This part is the best demonstrated by Peter in this video (from 30 minute onwards) and I will leave it without my further explanation.

     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  5. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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  6. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Right here. So good!
     
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  7. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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  8. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Love the 1:01 hint. Lol
     
  9. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    Good info.

    I personally would use Am9 for chord number 4 (two chord system) as it's easier to remember for me.

    IMO George has an R&B component and a Charlie Parker component and he can combine the two, especially in how he phrases and his feel.

    Straight ahead Jazz players often don't have much of the R&B component and R&B players often don't have the Charlie Parker component, so George is basically in unoccupied musical territory and he's just very good at it.

    I went over some of the things he uses in a simple way https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/george-benson-subs.1912489

    He quite often uses the minor 3rd routine (up from the Dm7) to generate ideas where Fm7 and Abm7 would be used over Dm7 G7 Cmaj7, but it's also how he does it of course, feel/timing etc.
     
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  10. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    The Gypsy guys also love Benson and Rodney Jones.
    Oberg does a great GB as well. Monster player.

     
  11. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    I see that as just a tritone sub variant on the G7 into Cmaj.

    Is that wrong?
     
  12. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    There are different ways to look at it and arrive at the same sort of result.

    Abm basically equals the altered scale when the leading tone is included ie Ab Melodic Minor or the (Ab) Melodic Minor played a half step up from the dominant (G7).

    Fm7 (Fm6) is just Dm7b5 instead of Dm7.

    Dm7 -> Fm7 -> Abm(maj)7 ascends in minor 3rds, paralleling the diminished repeating minor 3rds routine.

    I think it's just easier to remember for some people as a minor 3rd thing because then it's very similar to the diminished thing.

    Also (from what I remember, see my link above) George sometimes plays Fm and Abm arpeggios over a Dm7, meaning that he was probably thinking in minor 3rds.

    Also, if Abm7 is played over a G7, then the major 7th note happens ie F# over G7, but it doesn't matter that much and some might use it and I think George does when he feels like it.

    The F# over a G7 can easily lead to the G of the Cmaj7 or C7 (or the tritone sub of C7, F#7b5) for instance, it depends on how it's done, anticipating the changes/resolving/not resolving etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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  13. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Tag loves a maj7th note over a dom7 chord.
     
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  14. ivers

    ivers Member

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    Who among us doesn't? :beer

    Great stuff, OP!
     
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  15. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    That m6/dim connection is how I arrived at Barry Harris' stuff.
    For one thing I think of it as the m7b5 a whole step below the root of the dominant.
    And once the penny dropped that I can move those lines in b3 since got clearer.
    As over G7/Dm7/F∆7b5/Bm7b5 used as the dominant group (hey Tag) you can think Abm6 (G7b9#5), Fm6 (G7susb9), Dm6 (G9), and the one that needs some careful attention (G∆7b9).

    This thread is gonna be good
     
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  16. ipm

    ipm Member

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    Soon I will write about "storytelling" and you will see that vertical analysis in George's playing (and most of great players) is insufficient and often inadequate.
    Subs I've posted are serving as bringing different colours to improvisation and should be practiced and understood as is. If you play only chord tones in your solo it's like painting with white colour on white wall. That is ok, but not enough. These other subs brings different colours and life.
     
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  17. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    In C, Gb is just the b5 of the blues scale.
    So b5 of keys blues scale = maj7 of the keys Dom7 chord. Use it in C blues phrases over the G7 chord and it sounds killer. That's just 1 cool way to look at it.
     
  18. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    And if someone actually thinks this through...the uses of the major and minor Blues scales a lot of stuff gets a lot deeper and clearer.
    Good one Tag.

    Side note my fave improv exercise has become using 12 chords...all the same gender in random order and using nothing but minor and major blues scales over it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  19. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Notice the avoidance of the 4th in the maj7 chord fingerings. (Ex: F note in Cmaj.)
    What chords contain that note in the C maj scale? ......The Dominant chords. ii IV V viib5.
    What chords does that leave you with?
    The tonic chords. I iii vi.
     
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  20. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    You lost me Ed. Do you mean putting down a backing and just playing random say...Maj7 chords and then trying to improvise on it just using those 2 scales?? Im not following you.
     

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