II V's - How do you guys practice these?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by kirk95, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. kirk95

    kirk95 Jazz Lines You Can Use in the Blues Silver Supporting Member

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    Ok you guys have inspired me to get back in practice mode....

    I want to increase my II V vocabulary. So I am thinking:

    1> transcribe some lines
    2> take some lines from transcription books

    and practice taking these lines through cycle of 5ths, min 3rds, tri-tones, maj 3rds.

    and learn at least 3 fingerings for each - starting with my pinky, 2nd and 1st fingers

    then apply to some tunes...

    How do you guys practice these?
     
  2. EricT

    EricT Member

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    That's pretty much how I practice. I'm seldom patient enough to practice in all keys and different positions, though..:eek:

    You should also try making your own lines, it's fun and you kind of "create your own style".
     
  3. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Captain!
    You probably know as many as I do, but I just listen to Wes, Benson and those guys and transcribe the lines I like. (I dont write them out, I just learn them by ear) Kenny Garrett has some INCREDIBLY cool ones. I dont really practice them at all. I just learn them and forget them. Three different figers with each finger?? NO WAY! Lol! While you are doing that, I'll be learning more new ones! :p Learn them, forget them, then they come out eventually in your own way. Oh yea, how could i forget Clifford Brown. For some reason, his fall REALLY nice onto the guitar. Pentup house has many fantastic ones.
    Oh yea, Hank Garland is loaded with them as well.
     
  4. EricT

    EricT Member

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    So you don't memorize them at all?
    I have major problems memorizing lines and chord progressions. I don't know why, because in other areas my memory is very good...:confused:
     
  5. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Same here, I can remember stuff from when I was 2 but can't remember the 1,000's of chord progressions I've played over the years. I ascribe it to having a poor ear hence I've been focusing on ear-training. May not help remembering progressions but certainly won't hurt.

    Hey Kirk, it seems this thread has some good insights:


    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45252
     
  6. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    Folks, why not posting some cool II-Vs examples ? :cool:
     
  7. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Eric, I learn them real fast, then play them over one or two songs while they are fresh in my mind. I have to "force" them in. In other words, I have to actually kind of stop for a bar, and let the upcoming II-V come to me, so I can place the new line exactly where it is suppose to go. I do this a few times, then just forget it. Parts of it will then come out in my playing, attached to other lines I know, or lead if Im lucky, my ear somewhere else. Of course I have my cliches that I have just used so much.
     
  8. EricT

    EricT Member

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    Yeah, that has been my solution as well, although I've still got a long way to go. I can listen my way through simple C-F-G type songs, but I'm still far from more complex stuff like jazz...I've seen you mention the David Burge course, is that a good place to start? Is it very time consuming?
     
  9. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Listen to the bass line. Once you have that, its simple. Maj, minor, or Dom. It can only be one of those three.
     
  10. kirk95

    kirk95 Jazz Lines You Can Use in the Blues Silver Supporting Member

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    Besides just memorizing the II V lines the purpose of this exercise is to learn to move lines/ melodies/ motifs through a set of changes. This really helps you develop your solos beyond just playing the same licks over and over. That's why you would take them through the different cycles - 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, tri-tones......

    The masters take an idea and work it through the changes. They're not just playing every lick they know as fast as they can all the time. They develop a solo like a composition.

    I am trying to get better at that!

    Also, trying to get out of thinking scales and move towards really getting inside the chords as they move through the progression. For example, I may improvise a line that goes 1,2,3,5 of the II chord and 1,3,5,b7 on the V chord. Then I want to take that idea through the whole tune.. changing it here and there and/or changing the rhythms ....etc...

    It gives me headaches ..........

    But once you can do that on the fly, playing through changes gets a lot easier. Plus then you can superimpose it over static harmony as well.

    Only a decade more and I'll have that down.:eek:
     
  11. Turbo Gerbil

    Turbo Gerbil Member

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    Can you give an example how you do this? I'm not sure what you mean by cycles.... yes I am a jazz nOOb.
     
  12. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Can't say enough for the Burge courses. He strictly instructs 45 minutes a day no more. What is time consuming is how fast it takes for it to sink in. You have to pass the drills before moving on so you take some many times. In the beginning he allows for two mistakes and later ZERO mistakes. For me, it's taking WAY too long to finish the course but for others, it may sink in more quickly.

    It is an incredible rewarding experience to pass the drills.

    Let me know if you go for it and what you think.
     
  13. EricT

    EricT Member

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    I'll have to see how demanding this semester's curriculum is before I decide, but it definitiely sounds interesting.
    So many things I want to do, and so little time..:)
     
  14. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    I'm a big fan of the old school approach... I say get a copy of the Real Book & a bunch of old classic records, & settle in for some heavy duty woodshedding, line & concept stealing, & chord tone analysis... learn 30-40 standards, focusing on the head/melody first ; sure, you can systematically & mathematically superimpose II-V's over changes, but the players that get to the core are still thinking melody in context of the tune, albeit in more sophisticated terms for this particular genre. If you're a proficient working player that would like to test the waters, hook yourself up with a variety band that does weddings, casuals, society gigs; many of these bands do "dinner sets" that often contain jazz standards, & it's a wonderful/comfortable way to start.

    I do like some books though, & would recommend these:

    Les Wise - Bebop Bible

    Charlie Parker Omnibook

    There's also an out of print book by Howard Roberts called Super Chops; the approach is a bit military, but it emphasizes an important concept - that of getting the blues/rock/etc. player out of phrasing "conversationally" - the premise of the course is to phrase entirely with a steady flow of eighth notes; strict, but effective, & you can always phrase as desired, after the benefits of the course are in place.

    As for the harmonic approach itself - it's quite the can of worms, & really the best teacher is oneself... I would suggest first taking a methodical approach in visualizing the fingerboard, & just start with the key of C. Play D-7 & CMA7 arpeggios all over the neck, starting from various scale degrees, ascending & descending, & try working in some well-placed chromatic passing tones. But the key is of course the V chord, which is quite often full of altered tones... there's a term known as "tension and release" which is associated with the V-I movement... the ear-tweaking outside tonalities over the V, resolving to the sweet chord tones of the I. There are a slew of possibilities for the altered dominant tonalities... I would suggest starting with one concept & milking it dry before moving on... the thing that lays best on the fretboard & is easiest to visualize, for me, is melodic minor up a half step from the root; i.e. in the key of C, Ab melodic minor over the G7 [V] chord.

    It's important to be able to nail "target notes" squarely on the downbeat of each new chord; you should be able to quickly see the 3rds & 7ths for each chord, as these are the primary determining tonalities; roots & perfect fifths are somewhat neutral.

    Minor II-V's are a bit more forgiving... these can also be treated with a 'chord for chord' approach - but for the most part, a melodic minor scale based on the root will *work*, sound reasonably hip, & contain no inherent clams & stinker notes...

    Any calculated approach is likely to sound & feel a bit sterile, mechanical, & contrived at first... but that's cool, our blues & rock pentatonics also started off as such, or at least mine did.
     
  15. RobertMiller

    RobertMiller Member

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    Get yourself a boomerang phrase sampler and "play with yourself"! This really allows you to listen to the progressions and hear the the implied harmonies. Of course, listening to the masters helps as well, but there's nothing like having yourself as the background track when working on new ideas over changes.
     
  16. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I've been learning some out of the Les Wise "Bebop Licks for Guitar" book and then playing them in the cycle with Band in a Box. I try singing them while I'm playing them too. Can't stress the Band in a Box thing enough (unless you have something else that does a good job of accompanying...like a human being).

    I've been trying to mix up ideas from each of the extended, full ii-V-I licks and incorporate them into my playing...or to throw in other licks I've learned here and there into the mix to see how they work. Most of it winds up sounding like garbage and/or like recitation of licks, but sometimes it starts to sound and feel natural for a 10th of a second, then I get hopeful that I may one day have a jazz vocabulary.

    Les's book is pretty good...pure licks, organized by the note of the chord they start off of. I'd imagine a majority of it is just rehashed Yardbird. I paid like $10.50 for it from Amazon, well worth that.
     
  17. amstaf

    amstaf Guest

    First, open the bottle of Tequila, 2nd pour a glass.......
     
  18. brocktoon

    brocktoon Member

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    I think at some point I did systematically work on ii-V progressions, but I don't know if it really did anything for me. It's hard to overstate the importance of transcription. Clifford Brown was a great suggestion.

    My additional advice would be to pick out maybe 3 different standards - it helps if they are songs you actually like. Learn the melody, learn the chords, play it with a friend slowly for a long time. It's just a lot more fun and productive in my experience.

    There will be ii-V progressions in there, as well as other types of chord movement that are common to many other tunes. It also moves you along faster to where you are thinking and hearing in terms of the natural 4 and 8 bar phrases in standard songs and how to play in and against that structure. To me, It really becomes more like music once your experience of the song is more like a sequence of phrases than a sequence of chords. Although some really hard tunes never really get there for me.
     
  19. fig

    fig Member

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    I kind of do what EricT does - although I transcribe solos and write them down.
    I do different styles in order to mix them into my own style - Benson, Martino, Scott Henderson, Robben Ford, John Scofield...plus horn players: Coltrane, Parker.
    I mostly do the lines that sound interesting to me. And then I just play them over and over.
    Because I'm 50, my memory is not what it was 30 years ago, so it takes me longer to learn lines.

    But after I learn them, I try not to play them note for note in order to put my own thing into it. I use them mostly as a guide. Like EricT said, even if you forget, somewhere down the line they come in someplace.
     
  20. fig

    fig Member

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    In talking to Jimmy Bruno, he doesn't think in terms of scales at all. He said he thinks only in terms of melody. He doesn't get into chord/scale relationships because it causes a person to play scales rather than concentrate on making melodies.
    He also said he doesn't look at chords being dominant or altered (G7 as opposed to G7#5b9...etc).
    He just plays as he feels the melody leads regardless of the chord.
    Personally, I really take to that way of thinking. . . .
     

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