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Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by StevenA, May 21, 2011.
They make guitarists look silly
I've taken a better appreciation for chord voicings & iversions, modes, and arpeggios - they are easier to visualize on a piano.
Jealousy of the sustain pedal led me to work hard on cross-string melodic playing.
Many years ago I played in a jazz trio with a pianist, learned a lot from that experience.
After hearing Bill Evans, I tried to adapt a lot of his chord voicings and arrangements on guitar, and even failing at this gave me lots of ideas and opened my ears a bit for subtleties in harmony, note length, dynamics and such.
From Eddie Costa, I got ideas about how to attack notes when improvising in jazz settings that are more 'aggressive' than the Bill Evans type of thing. Eddie Costa's percussive touch appealed more to me as an ideal in this setting than sax or trumpet.
Hampton Hawes had a great grasp of bebop, and had lines that were very clean, melodic and relatively easy to transcribe. He also played some beautiful intros, which gave me ideas about combining arpeggiated chords, while sustaining notes, with regular single note playing, and chords where the notes are played simultanously.
Hearing McCoy Tyner made me work on being able to play quartal lines effectively on guitar w/flatpick, which I still think is demanding btw.
I think some of this work has made an improvement in my playing, or hope at least.
Thelonious Monk turned me on to stacking minor seconds.
Playing with traditional afro-american gospel taught me a lot about harmony. They get a lot of mileage out of simple progressions by inverting chords. I saw a lot of "ii-V-ing" in action. Learned a lo about diminished passing chords. With thse three tricks, you can get a lot of variety out of a few chords.
Another thing you learn is how to be an ensemble player. Keyboards can fill a lot of space. You have to learn to pick your spots.
Playing piano has helped with guitar tremendously. It mostly helps me visualize chords and melodies, but it also helps me figure out what rhythms sound best, how to sustain notes in arpeggii, how to fill space...
Oscar Peterson's Night Train clarified some things for me - particularly some basic ideas for spicing up blues progressions.
I don't really agree with this. There are great musicians on all instruments. In an ideal world, we can learn from all of them.
I started with Robert Lamm and Count Basie...
...who led me to Terry Kath, Oscar Peterson, and subsequently others...
three words ... Bill Evans' chords
my ears don't hurt anymore...heh!
No seriously though...I love hearing Mc Coy Tyner and those Fourth voicings...
Herbie Hancock, Mulgrew Miller, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett. They taught me that there are giants amongst us.
Ralph Towner taught me that guitar players can play the piano.
I've benefited immeasurably from piano players, especially Herbie Hancock, Walter Gieseking, Maurizio Pollini, Glenn Gould, Lennie Tristano, Joe Zawinul and countless others. But one should listen to everything--even tuba. There's value in every musical sound.
Thanks, man! I played my Yamaha SA1200S (semihollow w/spruce top - really nice guitar) through an Egnater rebel head and a Palmer speaker sim box, if I recall correctly.
This might sound funny but for my blues tone on rhythm for 50s Chicago blues, I was looking for the rumble and sack of bricks in face effect of some of the pianos' rhythms on Howlin' Wolf style recordings ... the piano along with everyone stomping their feet. I wanted my guitar to do that.
The great jazz pianists have been a wellspring. In general it's always helping so to expand my overall conception, allowing my ears to continue to grow. To have both instruments going is the way. That cross-pollination bit is tremendous and feels profound, like a gift. For me the keyboard is so much more a visual tool than the fingerboard ever will be. So much potential is right there before my eyes. Things to do with inner voice motion, contrary motion, obvious options with voice leading well, just seeing things in linear and harmonic ways related to remaining diatonic, (and playing against that for side-slipping,) all the voicings drawn from the extended harmonies of the melodic and harmonic minor (toggling back and forth suggesting things in both major and minor,) advanced substitution principles, diminished harmony, using pedals and successive suspensions to create tension and release etc. By listening to the jazz piano greats I've learned so many fine reharmonization principles/ tricks.... things that few guitarists tend to employ and make use of. Doing this with Tin Pan Alley era jazz standards has been the springboard.
Lots of cool stuff discovered, especially via Brazilian pianists (guitarists too.) The whole notion of chromatic harmony and chord movement that's deceptive/ not following cycle motion... this has opened up to me a lot through exploring the keyboard. I don't think I ever would have seen these things through the fingerboard alone. So many substitution things can be made to work (finessed) that are just a half-step away. If I'm hearing them first and playing them with full intention... then lots of potential emerges. Then there's the whole arranging bag and just experiencing how much more detail seems possible through the keyboard. Little bits will be revealed... like that the chord really suggested should be a E-9b5... and not merely written as E-7 on a chart. The left and right hand independence of the keyboard.... suggesting that with comping for myself with the syncopation that someone like Keith Jarrett might use.... this stuff is brilliant to my ears (and really challenging to suggest on the fretboard.) Close-voiced chords are such an alluring sound. Plenty of voicings are possible with two notes a half step or a whole step apart on the guitar. But things more cluster-like .... B, C and D right together to suggest a Cmaj9 for example... these are cake at the piano... and fully out of reach on the fingerboard for the most part (unless you happen to get lucky and be able to use open strings to suggest them.) All of it's rich. I'm so grateful to at least have a great window on all that potential.
Piano players are much better in interacting with the bassist. An appreciation of the function rather than "haha you can only play 4 strings, I play 6 haha"!